The birth of a new novel, that is.
First there is the tremendous fun of writing it. (Yes, it IS fun.) Then there is the challenge of finding the right publisher. Here are three must-happens: (1) That they like you. (2) You like them. And (3), you can work together harmoniously. )
I had been with the same mystery publisher through five books, but they closed that imprint after number five came out, and I needed to find a home for number six, already at least half-way done by that time.
Now, after the fact, I can say that there was very little tension during this period because–much to my amazement–when word got out that my initial mystery publisher was no longer in that business, a few small press publishers (I’m a small-press-gal) got in touch with me asking about my interest in submitting to them. WOW. This was not at all like the first time around (actually, that was selling my literary non-fiction), or the second (selling my mystery series). But I still had to decide if any of those who contacted me sounded like a fit. I communicated with several of the publishers by e-mail and even had a face-to-face interview with one after a meeting we both attended. Eventually the answer became clear. Personalities had clicked, help offered pleased me, goals were similar, and on and on. In August (at Killer Nashville) I signed a book contract with Tony Burton, my new editor at Wolfmont Press.
And now my book, JOURNEY TO DIE FOR, will be out in May. I barely have time to sleep. I have signed on for at least 30 upcoming appearances, speaking events, seminars– sometimes three a weekend. And that’s just in April through the first weekend in June! I am sending out publicity hither and yon, e-mailing media folks, seeing to review sources my publisher does not reach, and ordering publicity items that don’t come from that publisher. Does anyone outside the writing field understand what this is like? (See the “Happenings” page on my web site for the events schedule: http://www.RadinesBooks.com )
Today, being a published author is definitely is NOT sending a book off to be published and then sitting back to relax and enjoy your fame while the checks come.
Nunh-unh. That is how it used to be, (I am told) but the times have changed.
A word to all those currently working on their first novels. Decide NOW who your readers will be and how you will appeal to them. Better yet, decide before you write the first word. You can adjust your imagination and dreams enough to please that market. Because, do you know what you will need to include in your submission to any agent or publisher? Your “platform” which is pub-speak for your marketing plan.
Is it any wonder so many of us look back with longing on the days when the best and most enjoyable part of a writing career was found in what we did most of the time? That was….writing!
So, writers, get ready for the future right now.
And, for fun away from that computer, all of you are invited to JOURNEY TO DIE FOR’s launch party! If you are anywhere near Van Buren, Arkansas, come there on May 8 for the National Train Day Festival. My newest novel opens on the Arkansas and Missouri Excursion Train’s day trip going from Springdale to Van Buren, AR. Historic, entertaining, exciting. And, when Henry King and Carrie McCrite King take it…chilling. On May 8 you can pick up an autographed copy of the book and also, if you choose, enjoy a short ride on an “old-fashioned” train in beautifully restored passenger cars dating back to the 1920’s. Do come! Radine