If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ann Charles (Part 2) author of the Deadwood Series

I’m continuing my interview with author and award winner Ann Charles today. If you didn’t catch last week’s interview, here’s the link (embedded link). Today, we’re focusing on Ann’s publishing decisions, which I’ve found interesting.

Let’s address the elephant in the room. Even though you won the 2010 Daphne du Maurier Award for your manuscript of the first book, no mainstream publishers took it. Have you any clues as to why this happened? And now that your sales are outstanding have any of these publishers approached you?

The common response my agent received from editors when she was shopping my book from one mainstream publisher to the next was that it wouldn’t make it past the marketing department because the audience wasn’t “big” enough for this type of book. In other words, it wouldn’t sell enough copies to make it a worthwhile purchase. I received many compliments on the story and my writing from editors, but one rejection followed another.

No publishers have approached me so far, even after winning the Golden Heart award from Romance Writers of America® at the beginning of July 2011 for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements. I long ago gave up on mainstream publishers ever wanting someone who writes such a mixed genre story. But I didn’t give up on readers, because I love mixed genre books, and I know there are a lot of others out there who share my tastes. These are the people I’m hoping to find and entertain.

If you were approached, would you consider going with a mainstream publisher?

Honestly, I’m a little leery at the moment. I know many authors who have had their careers crippled by clauses in publishing contracts. The nightmares keep rolling in every week about a mystery and/or romance series locked up and e-rights signed away. If a mainstream publisher approached me, I’d hire an IP attorney and be very anal about every item in the contract.

I’ve read blogs about what author’s make on their books, and they widely vary even when the books are selling well, depending on what deals were struck, how the books are published and the genre. (Not to be too nosy, but…) What kind of money have you made from the first book so far?

Corvallis Press pays me royalties for electronic books every month and royalties for print books every six months. By the beginning of August, I’ll have made over $3500 in electronic royalties alone. That’s a nice amount for a first book, but it still leaves me in the red on what I’ve paid out for marketing and promotion.

I also own part of Corvallis Press (which is the reason I went with this brand new small publisher), and I receive part of the revenue from sales. That percentage earns me as much money as I make in royalties. So, add the two together, and I’m smiling more these days. However, we have agreed to reinvest a large portion of profits into Corvallis Press, so I’m not exactly hitting the craps table in Vegas ... yet.

Will Corvallis Press accept submissions?

Corvallis Press will be accepting manuscripts in the future, but for this first year, we're mainly building the business with my books and maybe a couple of other authors with whom we have already built a relationship. We don't want to grow too fast because we want to make sure we do things correctly with our authors best interests in mind. (I'm an author first, and being treated fairly by Corvallis Press is a must.)

When we do begin taking submissions, we will not only be looking for a great book (I know, sounds very cliché), but we'll also be looking for authors who know how to promote and market and who have developed a platform. Corvallis Press will offer some marketing and promotional assistance, but we're a small press with a smaller budget than the big publishers. We have to be realistic.

If you're an author who wants to be under a publisher's umbrella, wants to have your book delivered to the public in a much quicker time than if you were to go through a bigger publisher, and wants to have more control over the marketing and promotion of your book, then Corvallis Press may be of interest to you.

As for genres that will be accepted, we're definitely open to mixed genre-that's about all I write. Mainly, we'll be looking for the right combination of story and author platform.

You added graphics to your manuscript that were surprising. Was this costly and will you do it again?

My brother is my illustrator, and I love to promote his artwork, so I will definitely continue to include graphics in my books. As for the cost, I cut a deal with my brother and share a percentage of my royalties. In exchange he draws the art for my covers, my inside illustrations, and my website. One of the really cool things about working with him is that he joins me at book signings with his art, which often compliments my books. I think having the visual art there draws a lot of people who would walk on by. Co-promoting like this also increases our fan base. Many of my author friends and fans have bought prints from him and are now fans of his, and the same goes in reverse for his friends and fans with my books.

Do you take your kids to amusement parks? How about farms? (I ask because Ann admits to fear of cows and love of amusement parts.)

Yes and yes. I think my youngest is going to be a big roller coaster fan—she has that spunk and the willingness to leap off the top bunk-bed into a waiting bean bag below, much to her mother’s shock. As for the farms, I was raised on one, and I love taking my kids “back home” to see what real-life farming is like. I plan to take them back every summer to have a chance to ride tractors and combines and learn all about life as a farmer.

Do you teach writing or marketing classes for writers?

I mainly teach classes on career platform-building and marketing/promotion. My writing-related workshops have to do with less craft-specific topics, such as being a left-brained vs. right-brained writer or giving tips to make your manuscripts shine. This year I have taught (or will be teaching) workshops on career tips for emerging authors, how to grow your audience, how to build your platform (even if you’re unpublished), tips for writing suspense, plot storming for left- and right-brained authors, and scene/sequel. I teach both online classes and in-person workshops at conferences and local chapter meetings. I’m super excited to have been invited to the South Dakota Festival of Books this year to teach workshops and sign books during that three-day conference in Deadwood.

Ann is available to answer questions for those authors trying to decide among mainstream, small publishers or self-publishing. Please leave your question in our comments section. Thanks for the interviews, Ann.
E. B. Davis

Ann’s websites: http://www.anncharles.com/, www.anncharles.com/deadwood and http://www.1stturningpoint.com/


Pauline Alldred said...

Small publishers seem more in touch with authors and readers, and more able to adjust to individual marketing plans. However, when I think about developing a platform, my stomach drops. I write about nurses and patients but I don't want to compete with medical mysteries or show nurses as constantly looking for Mr. Right as they flit from bedside to bedside. I could emphasize I know work in large urban hospitals from the inside and just how unglamorous and heartbreaking nursing can be. I wonder if that would be a different enough perspective to include in a platform.

Kara Cerise said...

It's a shame that publishers don't take more of a chance on mixed genre because I think there is a growing demand for it. However, I am seeing more mixed genre movies.

I would like to take an online platform class! Where do I sign up?:)

E. B. Davis said...

It's been a ridiculous day--sorry I haven't been around much.

I've talked with Ann about giving a platform class in the fall of 2012 for the Guppies. I think, though, that her partner will have to teach the class because the policy is that we can't pay a member, which is why Ramona resigned to edit Fish Nets.

I think that they have a class that you could take outside of the group, which can be accessed through the 1st Turning Point website. Ann, is this true?

Ann Charles said...

Same here, Elaine! Sorry for being so quiet. As I chow down some supper and fan myself like a sophisticated southern woman, I will work on answers to comments. Thank you for your patience! Ann

Ann Charles said...

Pauline, developing a platform take a lot of time and lots of baby steps. When you give yourself more time to build it, you can have a lot of fun making it happen. In the book I cowrote regarding building your platform, we stress babysteps repeatedly, because we know how overwhelming it can be. I have another book coming out in September called Growing Your Audience where we talk about some audience building ideas depending on your book (the last part of your comment made me think of this). Just like building a platform, growing an audience takes time and requires a bunch of smaller steps that lead to big results in the end. You have an interesting subject and a solid background in it. Go forth and begin building your platform and growing your audience. It just takes a little time and a bit of energy. Good luck!

Edie Ramer said...

Ann, I share your views on NY publishers. I think you've been very smart about publishing your books. Go you!

Ann Charles said...

Kara, I agree on the mixed genre bit. I love the mixed movies and books. They are so much fun!

Elaine, that is news to me about the Guppies and not paying a member. Not that I am upset or anything like that, I just didn't know about that rule.

Kara, I don't think I have a platform class lined up anytime soon, but Jacquie Rogers and I just put out the first book in our Platform Building series of books. It's called Nail It! The Secret to Building an Effective Fiction Writer's Platform (a mouthful, yes, I know). This is the first book in a five book series we are working on. You can find it on Amazon and Smashwords. I'm still working on my 2012 workshop schedule, though, so that may change.

Thank you for your interest in it and for commenting!

Ann Charles said...

Edie, thank you! It takes one to know one. :) It's definitely been a great learning endeavor, and there is so much more to soak up and figure out. I just need a watch that stops time. Thank you for stopping by!