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Interview with Kieran Kramer, author of “When Harry Met Molly”

Kieran Kramer, a former CIA employee, journalist, and English teacher, lives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina with her family. Game show veteran, karaoke enthusiast, and general adventurer, her motto is, “Life rewards action.” When Harry Met Molly, a lighthearted Regency-set historical, is her debut novel with St. Martin’s Press. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and at www.kierankramerbooks.com.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Kieran.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

A: First time.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

A: Madeira, My Dear. It was a 60,000-word Regency I wrote when my two oldest kids (now 19 and 17) were toddlers. It wasn’t published probably because it contained a dog’s POV and lots of headhopping and an untraceable character arc for the main characters!

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

A: For When Harry Met Molly, I specifically targeted my agent—I knew she was exactly the right fit for me, so I didn’t go through a lot of rejections. We connected immediately.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: Well, I’d had rejections before When Harry Met Molly. And I overcame them at first by putting the manuscript in a drawer. I did that to Madeira, My Dear after one rejection. And then over a whole decade went by before I re-opened the idea that maybe I should send something out. I realize now I lost a lot of time, but the truth was, if I’d really wanted to make writing a career back then, I would have kept on submitting. I found myself more drawn to the rearing of my children and being a volunteer in the community. I wrote as stress relief and as a hobby. It wasn’t until my children began growing up that I felt this sweet daydream I’d always cherished—of being a published writer—blossom into a very deep craving that I felt I simply HAD to pursue. I realized I’d made that transition when it got to be painful for me to enter a Barnes and Noble or a Borders.  That never used to happen.

At that point, I realized, I want this. Badly.

So in that second phase of my development as a writer, when I experienced rejections, I tried to look very objectively at what I was doing wrong. I had a few manuscripts that weren’t very marketable, plain and simple, even though I knew in my gut that my voice was. So I decided to pay much more attention to finding a high concept in my next manuscript. That, along with dedication to my own voice, paid off.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: I had always wanted to be a St. Martin’s Press author and work with Jennifer Enderlin. They’re such a classy publishing house, and I love how they have no guidelines. I grew up reading books published by them. Among my favorites were the James Herriot novels (he was the Yorkshire vet who began his writing career with All Creatures Great and Small).

I also love Janet Evanovich, Emily Giffin, Jennifer Crusie, and lots of other authors who have worked under the mentorship of Jennifer Enderlin. I had heard her speak at conferences, too. She has such a warm, energetic spirit, I was completely charmed by her. I determined that she was the editor I wanted to work with more than any editor on the planet!

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: It felt quite surreal to get The Call!! I was in a car driving down a country road when it came. I told my agent I needed to hang up because I was so excited, I might drive off into a corn field!! When I got home, I told all my family, who were ecstatic. I think the greatest part was being able to show my kids that persistence and sheer belief in the dream pay off. And then I ran down the street telling all my neighbors. It was such a memorable day.

Yet at the same time, I felt my life was still the same in a very basic way. My priorities hadn’t changed—family and friends were what mattered most. I guess I mean to say, I was extremely grateful for this new phase in my life, but I was still the same old person. I think sometimes we think we’ll change in fundamental ways when we hit new milestones, but that’s not necessarily so, at least in my case. I made a commitment to myself that no matter what happened with my writing life, I would be okay. I think we need to remind ourselves that it’s the trying that matters most. That shows courage and faith. We are at our very best when we try, so I would have been darned proud of myself whether or not I got published. And that’s not a load of hooey I’m throwing at you, either. I was very intentional about that.

Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: Build a website.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: No. This is the way that’s best for me. I like being affiliated with a tried-and-true publishing house and having an agent to rely on for her expertise on the business side of things.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: I’m still working on my first contract, which is for four books. I’ve completed three and am in the midst of the fourth. I think I’ve learned a lot already. It’s hard to put into one paragraph how much I’ve learned. Writing under deadline frees you up from the constant dithering I used to do, wondering if I should change this plot point to that plot point or change a character’s motivation, etc. When the clock is ticking, you have to learn to make decisions faster and imbue them with confidence. You have to learn to trust your gut. I recommend every writer without a contract write under strict deadline. What comes from your gut is better than anything else you’ll produce.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: Well, I don’t think I would have attempted to speed things up. I easily could have tried to by writing more and submitting more. But each of us develops at our own pace. I really believe there’s a season for all things, and those years when I was with my children (two of whom are still school-age) were a special time. I was nurturing the dream slowly, the way you put a bottle of wine away in the cellar and let it slowly reach its full potential. I think that a lot of the time, we feel very rushed in our lives, and we’re convinced our worth is measured simply by our outward achievements. But I firmly believe we’re totally fabulous inherently, every single one of us. And our fabulousness has nothing to do with our achievements.  That gives me a certain peace. I have nothing to prove to anyone. That peace of mind, ironically, makes it easier for me to be creative.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: I’ve been thrilled with getting starred reviews from various prestigious periodicals such as Booklist, Library Journal, and RT Book Reviews magazine. But I’d have to say my greatest achievement has been balancing my writing life with my personal life. Things are never dull, and I love that.

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: Principal of a school or a doctor or lead singer in a great rock band.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A:  No, I wouldn’t give up being an author for any of those professions—although it might be tempting to join a great rock band!! <G>. I’m very happy where I am.  I want to give back, though. I like being of service, so I hope as time goes on, I’ll figure out some ways to pay forward all the kindnesses shown me in my writing career.

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A:  Still writing and hopefully, still publishing.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: Yes. Make sure you’re not wasting a single second of any day pining for what you don’t have. Find the good in what you have right now. Hold onto those writing dreams, but don’t suffocate them by being anxious. Be proud of yourself for recognizing the storytelling passion inside you. Be happy that you’re moving along that road toward publication. The best stories come from people who live in the present. So have fun. Write your stories. Send them out. Celebrate every writing accomplishment. Be sad about rejections if you want to be, but after 24 hours, move on.

Don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel about this writing goal of yours. Know yourself and why you want it. And then pursue it with gusto—without any fear. And if you do, you’ve already succeeded in my view.

I believe the true measure of a person’s success is whether you’re willing to step forward with no guarantees and do it with hope, with a twinkle in your eye, and a spring in your step. Success is having your glass half-full—no matter what happens to you that day.  A person with that kind of attitude will have a lot more energy to pursue her writing goals and an extra layer of perseverance if she runs into obstacles along the way. I also happen to believe a writer with that sort of worldview will attract a lot more readers. Joy can’t be faked, and especially in romance novels, I believe there has to be a sense of joy. Love is a wonderful thing. And romance novelists celebrate that fact. I’m proud to be among their number.

Wow, this has been a lot of fun! Thanks for having me here on Beyond the Books. I really enjoyed answering your questions. And I hope everyone who’s read this and has the yen to write will pick up a pen today—or get on their computers and tap away until that story’s on the page!

Hugs to all,

Kieran :>)

Pump Up Your Book announces murder mystery author Shelly Frome’s ‘The Twinning Murders’ virtual book tour

Shelly FromeJoin Shelly Frome, author of the murder mystery novel, The Twinning Murders (Beckham Publications), as he virtually tours the blogosphere November 15 – December 17 ‘10 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

Shelly Frome is a Professor Emeritus of dramatic arts at the University of Connecticut. A former professional actor and theater director, his writing credits include a number of national and international articles on acting and theater, profiles of artists and notable figures in the arts, books on theater and film and mystery novels.

His books include The Art and Craft of Screenwriting, Tinseltown Riff, Lilac Moon, The Actors Studio, Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Playwriting: A Complete Guide to Creating Theater and his most recent, The Twinning Murders.

The Twinning MurdersThe Twinning Murders is a modern day classic mystery centering on the ventures of Emily Ryder, a thirty-something rambler and tour guide.

The story opens just before she embarks on this year’s Twinning ritual exchange. It’s between her historic New England home and its sister village deep in Dartmoor, a wild upland area in the west of the county of Devon, England. Emily becomes personally involved in a suspicious death..

A few days later, at the Twinning itself, her main client meets the same fate. As Emily’s world continues to unravel, and though she has little help, she finds herself compelled to piece together the games being played on both sides of the Atlantic.

To find out where Shelly will be appearing on his virtual book tour, visit his official tour page at Pump Up Your Book here.

Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours for authors looking for maximum online promotion to sell their books. Visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com to find out how we can take your book to the virtual level!

Interview with James Livingston: ‘…be sure to enjoy what you do.’

James D. Livingston’s professional career was in physics, first at GE and later at MIT, and most of his writings in the 20th century were in physics, including one popular-science book (Driving Force: The Natural Magic of Magnets, Harvard, 1996). As he gradually moved into retirement in the 21st century, he began to broaden his writing topics into American history, a long-time interest of his. His latest book in this genre is Arsenic and Clam Chowder: Murder in Gilded Age New York. This and his earlier books are described on his Author’s Guild website, www.jamesdlivingston.net.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Jim.  Can you start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

First, thanks to you for hosting me in this interview. I’ve had three other books published before the latest one, two in science and one in history.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

My first published book was Driving Force: The Natural Magic of Magnets (Harvard, 1996), a popular-science book.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I first tried commercial presses, and received over a dozen rejections. But as soon as I decided to try university presses, Harvard expressed interest immediately, and I had a contract within a couple of weeks. 

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

Each rejection was certainly a downer, but I persevered, reminding myself that many famous books first received many rejections. And all the rejections make you feel even better when you do finally land a contract. You realize you’ve really accomplished something.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them? 

Harvard University Press published it. Once I decided to approach university presses, Harvard was my first choice, partly because I have a degree from Harvard and partly because they are in Cambridge and I was working in Cambridge at MIT. It was easy to meet with the editor, and I got a couple of free lunches that way! And the name Harvard on the book cover seems to carry some weight.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It felt great, and my wife and I celebrated with a bottle of champagne. But I have to confess that we used to drink champagne once a week whether or not we had anything to celebrate.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

The book was a popular science book about magnets. I had previously helped a company that made refrigerator magnets, and they provided me with a few hundred fridge magnets carrying the cover of my book. I used those for direct mail to many people and many companies in the magnet business. Back in 1996, I concentrated on targeted direct mail and traditional media, but today it is equally if not more important to do web marketing. This on-line interview with you today is part of my web marketing for my latest book, Arsenic and Clam Chowder.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

No, that route eventually worked well. Driving Force ended up with about 30 reviews, including one in The New York Times that probably sold the most books. The book sold very well by university press standards, and now, 14 years later, is still selling a few hundred copies a year.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

Since Driving Force, I’ve published an undergraduate textbook and two books in history. My professional career was in physics, and for the first 40 years, I published a lot in science, writing mostly for other scientists. Driving Force was the first where I aimed for a general audience. That was good practice for my two history books, A Very Dangerous Woman (2004, with my wife as co-author) and my latest book, Arsenic and Clam Chowder: Murder in Gilded Age New York (2010). They’re both aimed at a general audience. So I’ve grown in the breadth of the topics of my books, and in the size of the audience I’m writing for.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

Fortunately, I never depended on my writing for the bulk of my income. So, I didn’t have to feel myself a failure if my books didn’t reach the bestseller lists and earn lots of money. I might have done better if I had hired a PR firm, but didn’t want to spend the money.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

I considered each of my books a major accomplishment at the time, but I am currently proudest of my latest, Arsenic and Clam Chowder: Murder in Gilded Age New York. It centers on a sensational murder trial of the 1890s, but also provides a window into the fascinating wider world of Gilded Age New York. It’s a great story in a great setting. 

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

My professional career was in science, over 30 years in research with GE and about 20 years of teaching at MIT. Writing was an important part of both those jobs, but it is only in full retirement that my major activity has been writing. It’s fortunate that I now have pensions from both GE and MIT, and don’t have to rely on the royalties from book sales to survive. I couldn’t live on my book royalties, but they help cover my gas money.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

During my science career, I was an author of over 150 articles in scientific journals, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries, plus two books. So I was both an author and a scientist. Communication is important in all professions, including science. Now that I have retired from full-time science, I can focus more on writing, some in science and some in history, my two major interests.

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

I just turned 80, and life-expectancy statistics suggest that I probably won’t be here ten years from now. If I am, I probably won’t still be writing books. But I may still be busy trying to market the great book I published when I was 80, Arsenic and Clam Chowder.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Until you are lucky and strike it rich with a blockbuster best seller, you should have another career that can provide you with sufficient income to allow you to have fun writing on the side. And be sure to enjoy what you do.

Interview with Cheryl C. Malandrinos: ‘Set goals and work hard to achieve them.’

Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. A regular contributor for Writer2Writer, her articles focus on increasing productivity through time management and organization. A founding member of Musing Our Children, Ms. Malandrinos is also Editor in Chief of the group’s quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens.     

Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Little Shepherd is her first children’s book. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two young daughters. She also has a son who is married. 

You can visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com or the Little Shepherd blog at http://littleshepherdchildrensbook.blogspot.com/

 

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Cheryl.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Thanks for hosting me today. Little Shepherd is my first published book, though I have had several time management articles published as a regular contributor for Writer2Writer.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

The first completed manuscript I wrote was titled, The Sisterhood. It tells the story of three sisters who grew up as rivals, but who are forced to pull together when the youngest sister is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. I co-wrote it with my sister. We’re hoping to make time to edit it and see it published one day.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

Little Shepherd was accepted by the first publishing house I submitted it to. I performed market research to help me know what kinds of books they were publishing, reading and reviewing several Guardian Angel Publishing titles, before submitting my manuscript to them. 

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

While Little Shepherd was not rejected, I did experience rejection as a writer of magazine articles. I put together articles on parenting, women’s health issues, and gardening, but national magazines weren’t biting.

I think the fastest rejection came within a week of me submitting my query. That one stung for a bit.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them? 

Little Shepherd was released by Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP). It is a small press owned and operated by Lynda S. Burch. I learned about GAP when one of their authors queried me for a book review. I was impressed by the total package: imaginative storytelling, stunning artwork, and a quality book that all these years later is still in one piece after many hands have flipped its pages. I began seeking out titles from other GAP authors to review and never found a bad apple in the basket.

While the idea for Little Shepherd came to me earlier than my introduction to GAP, when I sat down to write my story, I thought of everything I liked about GAP’s books and wrote it in that fashion. The polished version of the manuscript was accepted by Guardian Angel Publishing after some additional edits.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

On top of the world, over the moon, you know the regular type of feelings I bet most first time authors experience. I had dreamed of being a writer since childhood and now my dream was coming true.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

You mean other than emailing everyone I know, tweeting, and posting on Facebook about it? I feel so bad for my family and friends because I’m not a shy author. I work in the online world, so most of my promotional efforts have been online. I changed up my website, posted announcements on all my blogs, started a new blog just for the book, and began planning my two-and-a-half month virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book.

I also have local events planned in October and November.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

The only thing I would change is that I would try to find a way to have done this ten years ago. My lifestyle didn’t really allow for that at the time. I was newly married, working fulltime, with a teenager at home and baby on the way.

Other than that, I’m happy with how things turned out.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

I have a manuscript I am hoping to pitch to a publisher at this year’s Muse Online Writers Conference and I also have another work in progress about twelve chapters in. I’m waiting to hear back from a client on a ghostwriting project too, so I’ll be busy.

I’ve spent time honing my craft by participating in critique groups. Blogging regularly helps me to be a better self-editor, though I still edit others’ work better than my own. If this ghostwriting project comes to fruition it will be the first time I’ve tackled something of this nature, but I hope that will lead to additional work.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I don’t know that I could have speed things up. I spent many years as a single parent and worked fulltime until 2004 when I quit to stay home with the children and tried to carve out a writing career. Perhaps I could have been a bit more persistent in those earlier years, but my girls were little and I had to focus on them. Now that they are in school during the day, I feel okay with spending that time writing and promoting my virtual book tour clients.

As for mistakes, when I began pitching to magazine markets I wasn’t as diligent in my market research as I am now.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

I am sitting on two panels at the Write Angles Conference in October. Along with several others, I’ll be discussing how to launch your book into cyberspace and how to make time to write. 

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

I love my job as a virtual book tour coordinator for Pump Up Your Book. It has allowed me to find some fabulous authors I might never have heard of otherwise. Many of my clients have become good friends.

When I was a child I wanted to be a teacher or a writer. As a mom I’ll always be a teacher, and I’m also a writer, so I feel blessed.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

Right now I have the best of both worlds, so I’m happy. 

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

Still promoting great books online and hopefully having several more books with my name on them available for sale.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

If God has graced you with the gift of words, you should do your best to develop that gift and look for opportunities to use it. It requires discipline to carve out time for writing amongst your other responsibilities, but if you feel called to do it, don’t ignore it. Set goals and work hard to achieve them. If it’s meant to be, it will happen.

Interview with Jackie M. Johnson: ‘Getting rid of fear and believing in yourself really helps.’

Jackie M. Johnson is an author and freelance writer. Her first book, Power Prayers for Women, has touched the lives of nearly 200,000 readers. When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton is Empty, a helpful resource for singles who need healing from a relationship breakup, was released in May 2010. She has also written articles, poetry, and hundreds of devotionals. A native of Milwaukee, Jackie lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Visit her encouragement blog, A New Day Café, at anewdaycafe.blogspot.com or website at http://www.jackiejohnsoncreative.com/

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Jackie.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

A: It’s good to be here. I’ve written two books: Power Prayers for Women (Barbour Publishing) was released in 2007, and When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton is Empty (Moody Publishing) came out in May 2010.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

A: My first book was Power Prayers for Women. The publisher chose the name, as it often goes, but it packs a punch in four words.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

A: My first book was published by a mainstream publisher. I had a few rejections. 

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: Sure, you feel a bit discouraged. But I’m always hopeful. I have a lot of passion and tenacity, and I believe that every “no” brings you one step closer to your final “yes.”

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them? 

A: Basically, I sent letters to a number of publishers I was interested in working with (this was before you needed an agent to get a publishers attention) and I collaborated with the one who wanted to work with me. Power Prayers for Women was published by Barbour Publishing in Ohio. They have an excellent reputation in the industry for high quality work, integrity, and distribution success.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: Elated! Being a published author was a lifelong goal, so I was very happy when I got the phone call for my first book deal. I celebrated by going out for dinner with close friends. They brought me balloons, flowers, and cards—and shared my joy!

Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: I called a local radio station and booked an interview. Every May there is a National Day of Prayer in America, so I asked the station manager if he’d be interested in doing an interview since the topic of my book was prayer.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: No. Things seemed to be working well on the path I’ve taken.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: Yes, my second book When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton is Empty just came out in May. I feel I’ve grown in my writing because I’ve learned to write “tighter” and say things more succinctly. Editors have helped me grow, too, because they encourage you to use the best word possible (“be specific, not generic”) and to get to your point quickly. I think it’s always wise to polish your writing craft and desire to become a better writer.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: Getting rid of fear and believing in yourself really helps. I would have sent letters to publishers sooner. Years ago I didn’t have the confidence that I was good enough; now I know better. If you have something to say, and can present it well, then you need to just get out there and pursue publication. Have courage and press on!

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: I’m certainly pleased with achieving nearly 200,000 in sales for my first book. But touching the lives of readers is what really gets me. Like the young woman in India who wrote to let me know how much my book helped her. Or, the woman on FaceBook who said that she’d only read the Introduction but already she was reduced to tears because the book was speaking to her need.

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: I would own a large spa in a resort location (perhaps by the ocean), oversee the work, and find joy in people coming to it weary and leaving replenished.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: Interesting idea to combine both worlds.  I am an author. For now, I will go to spas not run them. 

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: Content. Joyful. Connected with people who are life-giving and hope-filled, like me.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: Yes. Persevere. Hone your craft. Strive to be a better writer. Go to writer’s conferences. Join writer’s groups and get feedback. Write what you love. Believe in your dream. Have courage and lots of tenacity. You know what they say, “Success happens when Preparation meets Opportunity.” So, go get ready!

Friday Feature – Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself as a Black Woman – Tinisha Nicole Johnson

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Can you image your life better than it is now? Then maybe, this next book is just the right book for you. Author Tinisha Nicole Johnson is on virtual book tour with her latest book Lessons Learned: Loving Yourself as a Black Woman.

Lessons Learned: discusses many of the issues and concerns women in their twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties face in their personal and professional life from sexism, racism, hair, balancing family, relationships, and much more. The book highlights ten life lessons that are of top priority when it comes to a black woman’s emotions, personal perceptions, and life in general. The book is written to inspire women of all ages, and invite them to realize that real happiness begins from the inside out. Although written specifically with the black woman in mind, many of the concepts in the book would benefit any woman.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Tinisha Nicole Johnson. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

A: I am multi-published. Lessons Learned is my fifth book, and it is a non-fiction.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

A: The name of my first published book is titled, Searchable Whereabouts. It is a mystery novel.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

A: Wow, it’s really embarrassing to say. Honestly, I lost count, but I’d have to say at least one-hundred.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: The rejections made me feel horrible, but I’ve always had a love for writing, so I just kept sending out the query letters and manuscripts, and kept writing in the meantime. Looking back, I can’t believe how persistent I was.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: When my first book Searchable Whereabouts, a mystery, was published, a small press publisher named Xpress Yourself Publishing (XYP), offered me a contract and published my book. I’m very grateful to XYP, because after receiving over 100 rejections prior, I decided to send out my last query letter, while in the middle of trying to self-publish. That last query letter was sent to XYP.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: It was like a dream come true. I couldn’t believe it, after the work of finally completing the novel and after spending more than a year searching for a mainstream publisher. I celebrated by opening up a bottle of champagne and going out to dinner.

Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: I had a book release party – inviting friends and family, and made it into a social get-to-gather.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: No, because my only other choice was to self-publish, and I didn’t want to go that route. Self-publishing a book is great for many authors, and I applaud them for their hard work and dedication, but self-publishing wasn’t for me. Although, I would have self-published if I had to.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: I have grown so much as a writer, since my first book was published. I have written six published books as of April 2010. I’ve improved the quality and quantity of my writing. I’ve taken various writings classes, and attended writers conferences and events. I learn from other writers all the time. I’m constantly networking. I’m still growing as an author, and I love every minute of it.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: Looking back, I could have did a lot of things differently. One of the things I could have done differently that may have slowed down me getting a publisher was the editing portion. I edited my book myself, and that was a big mistake. I was sort of naïve to the publishing industry, and I should have researched it more. I should have gotten my book professionally edited, and I should have joined a writer’s group while writing the book. Both of these things would have saved me a lot of headaches.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: Just the fact of seeing my name in print is a big accomplishment for me. Leaving back a legacy for others to see my words written down in books is a blessing. I hope to inspire or/and entertain people years after I’m gone through my words. Another accomplishment I’d say I’ve achieved is simply becoming a better writer. After I had my first book published, in early 2008, I have since written six books, and working on two other books, which I hope to find homes for soon.

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: Nothing else for me personally can compare to being a writer and author. I love being creative, and writing fulfills that need. I’ve given this question a lot of thought, even before this interview. I honestly wouldn’t want to be doing anything else as a career. If it involves writing, I want to be involved in it.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: I’ve combined the best of both worlds. I’m currently looking into freelance writing and maybe even some teaching in writing (that’s down the road.)

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: I see myself with several books under my belt – a veteran in the literary field and perhaps taking up teaching in the field of writing, or opening up a school that caters to several elements and genres in the field of writing. I’d like to help other aspiring writers to fulfill their dreams.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: Be persistent, stay learnable, and constantly read other author’s book. That really is what it’s about. I also always advise writers that being published has to be a passion. If it’s not a passion then give it up and find out what your real passion is.

Click Here to Watch the Book Video

BIO:

 
Tinisha Nicole Johnson is an Author/Writer/Poet. Besides writing, Tinisha also hosts political and sports teleconferences as a profession. Tinisha is also co-founder of (ASA) Authors Supporting Authors. ASA is a non-profit, that provides support to other other authors and promotes literacy. Connect with the author at the following links: http://www.TinishaNicoleJohnson.com

http://twitter.com/tinisha

http://www.facebook.com/tinishanicolejohnson

http://tinishajohnson.blogspot.com

Beyond the Books with Jay Slosar, author of “Culture of Excess”

Jay Slosar, Ph.D., is the author of a provocative new book The Culture of Excess: How Americans Lost Self-Control and Why We Need to Redefine Success (ABC-CLIO, LLC, November 2009). For the past quarter-century he has run a successful private practice as a licensed psychologist and has provided direct clinical and consulting services in a variety of diverse settings. Currently, Dr. Slosar is also an adjunct assistant professor at Chapman University in Orange County, California. He also provides forensic evaluations from court referrals, specializing in evaluating teenagers. His web site and blog is at www.cultureofexcess.com


Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, (Jay). Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

A: I have published professional articles and a training manual. But this is my first book.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

A: A training Manual for Residential Treatment Services for Children. Eventually was published. But small publisher didn’t sell as many as I did from the trunk of my car.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

A: Many. This went on for 2 years. I finally got an offer from what I thought was a legit publisher and they offered such a low royalty rate I turned it down. Everyone thought I was crazy. But I held out and the publisher that has taken my book initially rejected it. But I went back to a different editor and she liked it and moved it forward. In the meantime, I kept improving the work and getting as much feedback as I could. It was a very long process—I would say a struggle.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: I am the type of person that takes a rejection and sulks for a while. But eventually, I regroup and then take a different course. What kept me going was that there was high interest in what I was writing about. Whenever I would talk about it—others responded very positively.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: Praeger publishers, now part of ABC-CLIO. I chose them because they handle books that are “tweeners”—not full academic books, but not trade and self-help either. That is books that are in between the two and for the bookstore and general educated public.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: I was happy but had to dampen my expectations—quickly realizing—how many books there are out there. I can’t say I really celebrated yet—its too soon—I have been spending all my time marketing.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: Notified everyone I knew and all organizations and places I am associated with.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: I don’t think I had any other choices except self publish—and I knew that wasn’t very desirable.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: Always growing—planning next book already, but trying hard to make this one successful to use as a platform to continue.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: Develop my writing style sooner, my early drafts were rants.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: Praise/compliments from others. I hope more accolades come but book is just out.

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: I am a psychologist and happy with it. Maybe Sociology. Of course, a musician.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: I am a psychologist and author.

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: Continuing to write.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: Rejection and failure are part of growth. I write about this in Chapter 3 of my book. “Chance benefits only the prepared mind.” (Louie Pasteur) That is, opportunity comes your way, but you have to be prepared and ready to recognize and jump on it.

Beyond the Books with Susie Larson, author of Embracing Your Freedom

With enthusiasm, humor, and conviction, author/speaker Susie Larson has spoken to thousands of women locally, nationally, and internationally. Susie’s new release is titled, Embracing Your Freedom: A Personal Experience in God’s Heart for Justice (Moody Publishers). She just finished writing her sixth book, Growing Grateful Kids, which, releases in March of 2010. Susie has been interviewed on radio stations across the country and serves as a regular guest host for Along the Way (A two-hour talk radio show on Faith Radio-900 AM). While in Washington D.C., Susie and her husband Kevin, along with national recording artist Sara Groves and her husband Troy, represented International Justice Mission’s concerns in meetings with Congress as part of their efforts to abolish and prevent human trafficking and slavery. Susie comes with a passion to share the love of a Savior who will never let us go.

Web: www.susielarson.com

Blog: susielarsonblog.typepad.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/deeperlifeinchrist

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Susie Larson.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

A: Thanks for having me. To answer your question, I am multi-published. I’ve written six books, one devotional journal, contributed to several books, and I’ve written numerous articles.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

A: The title of my very first book is, Mercy in the Wilderness: A Selfish Heart a Faithful God. I self-published that book because of its memoir-like style; I wrote it for a very specific audience: those who hear me speak, hear my story, and as a result, want to buy my book. After researching the publishing process, I knew self-publishing was the route I needed to take with this book. Mercy in the Wilderness is now in its third printing and sells itself at conferences when I tell my story.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

A: As I mentioned, I self-published my first book so I didn’t experience any rejections with that one. I don’t at all regret going that route with my first book. I learned a lot in the process and the book paid for itself within the first six months. 

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: Rejections are difficult for anybody. I know for myself, the rejections I experienced in my writing journey were all a part of a bigger process for me. God was readying me for ministry, and in order for me to be effective, I needed to be able to separate who I am with what I do. When rejections came my way, I got on my knees and I surrendered myself afresh to the Lord. I’d take some time and give myself a little distance from the manuscript, then, in due time, I’d pick it back up again and try to look at it with fresh eyes.

If our identity is too tied up into what we accomplish (or not), God’s important message of grace and freedom will get lost in translation through us. Sometimes He seems agonizingly uninterested in our timeline or our desperate desires to be published, but that’s not so. Truly, He knows us better than we know ourselves and He is intimately engaged with us on this journey. We have to learn the craft, learn to write a great proposal, understand our audience, do our best, and then leave the rest with Him. He knows what He’s doing with our lives.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: I published my first book with Essence Publishing out of Canada (2000). I chose Essence because they clearly communicated the different options available, were regularly accessible to us, and had the most competitive pricing for our needs. That was back in the year 2000, and I’ve since noticed quite a number of self-publishing houses that have hit the scenes and are super competitive in pricing. A number of those new houses offer great marketing help as well.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: You know I felt different after each first experience. When my self-published book released, we had a book release party with lots of friends and ministry partners. That was a big first step for me. When my devotional journal released, I didn’t really celebrate but I was excited about the opportunity. It was my first contracted project (not counting my published articles), although my contract was with a stationary publisher, not a mainstream publisher. For me, the really big first was when I published Balance That Works When Life Doesn’t: Simple Steps to a Woman’s Physical and Spiritual Health (Harvest House Publishers). This was my first CBA contract and was a very big deal to me. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was giving my son a haircut when I my agent called me with the good news. I ran around the house; I jumped up and down and I cheered. I ran upstairs to call my husband (who, by the way, came home with a dozen roses). My poor son sat there with a partial haircut until I came to my senses again.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: We did several things simultaneously. We mailed out hundreds and hundreds of postcards along with invitations to our book release party. I held up my book at all of my speaking events and shared a few sentences on why the message was important to me. We developed a website.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: No, I’d go this same route again if given the chance. Writing is a tough business and it can take years to see your first book published. I thoroughly enjoyed self-publishing because it gave me an inside look at the process while moving ahead with my dream. After writing six books, I still don’t think my first book fits in a mainstream publishing house, but even so, there are thousands of people out there whose lives have been changed by its message. I know I did the right thing. It was a perfect starting point for me.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: As I mentioned, my sixth book releases this spring (March, 2010). Also, I’ve contributed to several books, published approximately fifty articles with Focus on the Family and published several articles with other publications.

I’ve grown as an author mostly because I’ve grown as a Christ-follower. As I mature in Him, my message also matures. On a technical level, I’m learning that less is truly more. When we try to cast too wide a net with our message, we rarely impact anyone significantly. But if we narrow the focus of our intended audience, hone our craft, and write from a place of true passion and experience, we will connect with readers on a very deep level. Readers appreciate being singled out and encouraged along the way. One of the favorite things I hear from readers is this statement: you wrote this book for ME.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: I believe I was on track with God’s best timing for me with regards to publishing books. But here’s one thing I wish I had done differently: in those earlier years, I was a little shy about assembling a mailing list and acquiring email addresses. It all seemed too self-promoting to me to ask for emails when I didn’t even have a book to offer. Nowadays you have blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and a host of other ways to communicate with your subscribers. Even if you don’t have a book to offer your subscribers, you can stay connected with them. It’s important to establish your platform in a consistent, professional way.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: Of course, the biggest accomplishment for me is the number of changed lives I hear about on a regular basis. It almost overwhelms me to read these kinds of statements: That book saved my marriage. That book saved my life. I’ve never been the same since I read your book. I’ve never known God’s presence or understood His love until your conference (and to all of these statements, I say, thank you, Lord).

Another thing I’m very excited about is the way that my ministry/career is evolving into a three-pronged approach: speaking, writing, and radio. I love each of these modes of communication equally and I’m very thankful for the opportunities that are before me in all three of these areas. 

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: I know that I’m walking out the exact calling for which God designed me. And I’ve never been more fulfilled and motivated to make my days count than I am today. I have friends who are writers, period. I have other friends who are speakers, but not writers. I have other friends in radio, but they don’t speak or write. They are all specialists in their field. But it’s different with me. I don’t want to be exclusively any one of these. I have found my niche by balancing my time between the three. I have my work cut out for me. It takes a while to master three crafts, but that’s what I want to do.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: As I mentioned in my answer above, I’ve found the best in all three worlds! 

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: Lord willing, I see myself with a thriving, daily radio program, five to seven more books under my belt, and a continually growing speaking platform. I would also like to write a few Bible studies with companion teaching DVD’s.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: Don’t let the dream consume you; let it motivate you. Don’t let your life get out of balance in order to achieve your dream. If you do, you won’t last there. Keep your walk of faith your utmost priority. Be available for your loved ones. Take care of your body through exercise and nourishing food. And remember, you are valuable because God says you are, not because a publisher validated your work. Humbly receive criticism, hone your craft, and put your hope in God. In due time, your dreams will come true. 

Beyond the Books with Historical Novelist J.M. Hochstetler

J. M. Hochstetler graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Germanic languages. She was an editor with Abingdon Press for twelve years and has published four novels. Joan is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Christian Authors Network, Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, Nashville Christian Writers Association, and Historical Novels Society. She and her husband, a retired pastor with the United Methodist Church, live near Nashville, Tennessee.

You can visit Joan online at www.jmhochstetler.com or at this book’s blog http://americanpatriotseries.blogspot.com.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Joan. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

A: I have published four novels. Daughter of Liberty, Native Son, and Wind of the Spirit, the first three books of the critically acclaimed American Patriot Series, are set during the American Revolution. One Holy Night, a retelling of the Christmas story set in modern times, is the 2009 Christian Small Publishers Fiction Book of the Year and was a finalist in the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year contest.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

A: The title is Falkenberg. It’s an epic medieval tragedy set in Europe during the time of the Holy Roman Empire, and it hasn’t been published. When I finished it, I submitted it a number of places and got a bunch of rejects. Meanwhile I was working on my next project, so I shelved it and moved on. I am going to resurrect it someday, though, and see if I can’t get it published. It’s a powerful story. I believe in it and I’d love to see it in readers’ hands.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

A: Daughter of Liberty was rejected by just about every Christian publisher and a number of secular publishers before Zondervan finally accepted it.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: It never feels good to get a rejection. With every one you really question whether you’ll ever be good enough to succeed. There were a lot of times when I felt that I’d reached a dead end and should simply quit. And there were long periods when I didn’t write or wrote only sporadically. One thing that helped me the most in persisting was joining American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). That enabled me to develop a circle of writer friends who understood what I was going through and kept on encouraging me. I also finally admitted that writing is as natural as breathing to me. I held onto faith that I was called to do what I was doing, that there was a greater purpose in my work, and that the right doors would open at the right time.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: I really didn’t choose them—they chose me. My agent submitted my proposal to Zondervan, and they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: I was on top of the world, that’s for sure! I told everybody I knew, and then threw a party at a local venue.

Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: I made contacts with all the local news media and churches and sent out a bunch of promotional mailings.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: No. Although my first experience ended up not being a good one, it was a tremendous learning experience. I benefited from it.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: Subsequent volumes in my series are scheduled to release in the next few years. Crucible of War is next up and releases in 2011.

I feel that I’ve become stronger at the craft of writing and have developed a more distinct voice and style. As I’ve gotten older, I find myself thinking more deeply about life, which I think is typical of most of us. I have insights—and questions—I didn’t have in my younger days. I think that reflects in my stories.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: Attending more writers conferences would have helped a lot. It would have allowed me to make direct contacts with editors and agents while learning the craft and the business. If I’d been able to find a writers group in my area, I’d have grown as a writer more quickly. Looking back on it, I also wish I’d done more careful market research and persisted in sending out those proposals instead of setting the project aside and moving on to a new one after I got a few rejections. I’m convinced I would have gotten a contract sooner if I’d kept at it.

I made some of the typical mistakes new writers make in paying for a critique by an agent and paying another agent up-front money to take me on. Don’t ever do that! Once I joined ACFW and got on the e-mail loop, I learned a lot of things that helped me to avoid subsequent pitfalls.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: Founding my own small press, Sheaf House Publishers is undoubtedly the biggest one. Now I can see things from the other side of the fence, and that has informed my own writing. I also have the privilege of publishing some truly excellent authors who inspire me to work even harder.

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: Something in the field of art or interior design. Or maybe archaeology.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: I really think I have the best of both worlds. I can incorporate all those elements in my stories, and I have total control over!

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: By then I hope to have most of my American Patriot Series published, and I’ll be on to some projects that have been lying about for a while, including Falkenberg. And Sheaf House will be prospering.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: Never give up. If all the doors slam in your face, find a way to make your own door. If Plan A doesn’t succeed, try Plan B and C and D and on and on. The race doesn’t always go to the swift. But it always goes to those who persist.

Beyond the Books with Contemporary Women’s Fiction Author Joy DeKok

Joy DeKok is the author of five published books, a professional speaker, and an author coach. She recently opened an office in Rochester, MN where she offers private coaching, group coaching, and holds writing seminars. Her debut novel, Rain Dance, released with Sheaf House Publishers in August. You can learn more about Joy at www.gettingitwrite.net, www.joydekok.com, www.raindancebook.com, or www.believe4kids.com.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Joy. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

A: Thanks for having me. I have four books in print right now with a fifth releasing in March 2010.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

A: Under His Wings was published by Barbour Publishing. After a couple of years out of print, it is being re-released by Sheaf House Publishing in March. I didn’t set out to write this book. At a writer’s conference a speaker invited us to send her our bird stories. I picked a couple I’d written and submitted them. She asked for a few more. Eventually, Cristine Bolley edited and agented the book and although all the stories are mine she is listed as my co-author. Cris taught me a lot about the writing, editing, and publishing process.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

A: None. It was a much different story though for Rain Dance. Every major publishing house and several smaller ones rejected it. With those dreaded responses came several personal letters encouraging me to self-publish. After carefully considering the options, I chose Print-on-Demand. My new publisher discovered the novel after reading the POD version.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: Rejection is hard. I tried to separate the emotion from it and see everyone as a professional decline. Sometimes this worked and sometimes it didn’t.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: Barbour Publishing chose Under His Wings and I accepted. I had done my homework though. Their devotionals were priced low and popular with book sellers and readers. It felt like a good match and it was.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: I was excited. I loved the cover, format, and the way my name looked in print. My husband took me to our favorite restaurant.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: I did a bunch of stuff all in one day. I made and printed book marks and postcards, and sent them out. Then, I sent out emails and set up a book signing at a local store. I sent out a press release to our local newspaper as well as the radio and TV stations.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: No. Even with Rain Dance. Utilizing POD got the book in the hands of a publisher who not only liked it, but had a vision for it. I learned so much from the POD process and am thankful for it. Some people think that POD or any kind of self/vanity publishing is the easy way out. That cracks me up. I became the investor, designer, and marketing department. If that book was going to get into the hands of readers it was up to me to get it there. I was told I was vain and my book was illegitimate and would always be second class. Vanity had little do with the decision – I followed the advice of two very big publishing houses and two well-known and experienced agents. As for the illegitimate part, I know they meant it was unauthorized. (see Webster’s Dictionary) It hurt to hear that. I’d put myself into the book heart and soul. Then I’d invested financially and become a professional who had readers writing to her weekly. I saw then that no matter what someone says, readers are the only authorization needed.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: I am published traditionally and I continue to publish using a POD press as well. My children’s books have not been accepted traditionally and I enjoy the POD process and my books are selling well.

A year ago, I became a co-owner in Sheaf House Publishers, a traditional publisher who has contracted 17 authors in both fiction and non-fiction. I’m the VP of Marketing and Promotions as well as the acquisitions editor for their non-fiction imprint, Journey Press.

At first glance this might all seem contradictory. To me, it makes perfect sense. I believe there are many publishing options and none is more acceptable than the other. Being traditionally published is great. Publishing via POD is great. All my books are selling and I hear from readers who are asking for more. They don’t care where the books were published as long as the writing satisfies.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: I’m not sure. It’s so easy to shoulda, woulda, coulda ourselves. Every experience in the process was valuable – even the painful ones.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: Joining Sheaf House Publishers. We are publishing some fantastic books. In fact, we recently signed with Joe Bonsall (a member of the Oak Ridge Boys) for his latest project One Man’s Perspective. I get to work with all our authors and while we’re all working extremely hard, we’re also having a blast. Joan Shoup stepped out in faith and then I got to step up and join her. What a privilege!

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: Well, I sometimes day dream about being a NASCAR driver. Really. Or maybe that’s what they call fantasy – the dangerous thing you think about doing, but wouldn’t really do?

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: No. I love writing, speaking, publishing, and coaching. For me, when a coaching client succeeds or one of our authors sells a book, it’s as for me exciting as when it happens to me.

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: I see me doing the same things and loving them just as much or more.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: Trust your heart with your story and your publishing process. Write and publish like no one’s looking. Then dance.

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