Welcome to Beyond the Books, Carolyn. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
For Cory’s Sake is my first published work.
What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?
For Cory’s Sake is also my first completed novel.
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 queried two agents and was rejected by both.
How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
I don’t have any anger, despair, bewilderment or otherwise interesting emotions to report. I would describe my reaction as a shrug and a philosophical “oh well.” I did realize early that it might be a long slog to the agented path, and then suddenly I was distracted by a little sign-post (actually, internet ad banner) pointing to an intriguing alternate road.
When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
I published For Cory’s Sake through Outskirts Press, a print-on-demand publishing company. I chose them because they have a pretty website. Just kidding; I chose them because they said that it should not be more arduous to publish my book than it was to create my novel. I agreed with that sentiment. I also liked the amount of control (total) I would have over my book product.
How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
You should’ve seen me waiting on my couch for the UPS guy and my first author copies. It was like a kid waiting for Santa Claus. You should’ve seen me staring at my first royalty check. It was only a fraction of what I made in any of my wage or salary jobs, but it felt like a bigger accomplishment. I had created something; I was a mini-entrepreneur; I had taken deliberate and (back-pat) pretty brave action. It was good.
What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
I had an online book launch, and it was a bit of a thuddy-dud. Not much happened, including book sales. Can I talk about the best thing I’ve done? Thanks. I believe that would be getting reviews of my book from real readers. I was very impressed by how thoughtful and honest most of them were, and I like being able to quote what others have said about my book. It seems to be an important process, though it can get expensive.
If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
If an agent were to come a-knockin’ we would definitely talk, but I’m happy with the way I did it. It got done, which is a big point.
Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
For Cory’s Sake was published in February 2009, and for now I am focusing on promoting my one book, giving it at least a year to see what I can do with it. Do-it-yourself book promotion is part and parcel of being an author, and I’ve grown most through the process of figuring out this aspect. I’ve learned how to set up a website, blog, tweet and find experts—all things I would probably never have tried or needed had I not published.
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 hurried along pretty quickly, once I decided in earnest to publish. I don’t feel that I lost any time.
What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
I was a Finalist in the Science Fiction category of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. I’m waiting on other contests and will hopefully have more to report in the future.
If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
I’m drawing a blank. I do currently have a retail career, which I fell into quite accidentally. Becoming an author was my first instance of deliberately choosing a profession.
Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
Give up being an author for retail? I’ll have to think about that . . . I’d have to say I would not give up being an author for any profession that comes to mind. I do have the best of both worlds, though. Retail pays my bills and keeps me grounded on this planet, and writing gives me immense satisfaction and an escape from excessive reality.
How do you see yourself in ten years?
I’d have three books, a family I hope, more cats maybe and I’d be more deeply educated and involved in the social issues I care about. Looks pretty good.