Thursday, October 9, 2014

Birds of Different Feathers: Flying Towards Your Own Publication Path

As a Reader, I want to read your written story. And here's what I want to tell you as an Author: Don't be intimidated by the millions of books out there, the varied ways someone becomes published or even how other authors market themselves. Learn from other authors, respect them but find your own way by researching what process fits your personality best.

Over the past few years, I have become more aware of how unique and personal each person's path is, whether they are published traditionally, indie or self. These experiences are fascinating and encouraging especially as the world of publishing changes.

 As time goes on, certain other changes will need to be made as well. For example, I hope one day that Writers Conferences will place less emphasis on agents and in turn, focus more on editing and revising...very important tenants in having Your body of work truly brought to life. I also look forward to Conferences and Award Committees opening themselves up to Indie and Small Press published books as candidates and their respective authors as speakers and panelists. Here's the thing: We are All Writers and our stories are magical in terms of connecting us to Readers, most of whom don't care how we are published. They just want a well-written and engaging story, to dedicate precious hours out of their lives for a book they have Chosen to read. So in short, I will tell you about my own experience.

My debut novel came to me in a dream around four years ago, as cliche as that might sound. I woke up, wrote down the image I saw: an elegant, deceptive man in a Venetian bird mask and thus was born, Thomas Carpenter. After finishing the novel a year later, I spent another year having it beta read and edited...crucial processes in peeling away the superfluous layers. I was fortunate to come across a lovely author in the industry who was willing to offer me some advice on police procedurals...very educational. After more editing and "cutting my darlings" in many chapters, I was done.

My debut novel, THE FEATHERS, is what I would consider a literary thriller along with a supernatural/paranormal essence. After reaching out to agents, I received many rejections (albeit nice ones). I had heard stories of authors waiting around for years to obtain an agent and become published. I simply didn't want to go that route and decided to switch gears and move towards an Indie Press. My press is an imprint of a wonderful bookstore in Portsmouth, NH and they have been Lovely in terms of allowing me a "say so" from beginning to end. I was able to choose the cover (art created by a dear friend just for my character) and how the inside of the book would be displayed. I might not be distributed in every bookstore across the country but hiring a PR person has enabled me in terms of reaching out to book clubs, indie book stores and book signings. Word of Mouth has also played a Very important role and again, I can only thank my amazing readers for this. I am currently working on the next novel, the second book in my series. It, too, will be a literary/paranormal/thriller.

The publishing world is in is as varied as the many authors and their books out there waiting and wanting to be read.

Readers are our life blood. Knowing that they are reading and enjoying my debut novel means the world to me. Respect other authors, grow your readership and always hold sacred that bond you share with a Reader. It makes the whole journey worthwhile no matter how you're published.

Cynthia Lott is a Writer, Researcher, Vegetarian, and loves hearing life stories over a glass of good wine. She is also a member of Sisters in Crime, Inc., Atlanta Writers Club, Inc., and International Thriller Writers, Inc. THE FEATHERS is her debut novel.

Thomas Carpenter - dead for 100 years - returns in 1978 to avenge his murder. He proves a challenge for a New Orleans novice detective Brenda Shapira and her senior partner, Roy Agnew. When 35-year-old Shapira discovers the first victim in the historic Garden District, the beginning of 1978 will be anything but ordinary. As she unravels this long ago mystery steeped in New Orleans history and the Yellow Fever epidemic, Brenda realizes that she may be Carpenter's next victim.


Jenny Milchman said...

Congrats on your debut, Cynthia! Yet another interesting approach to bringing books to readers...

Cynthia Lott said...

Thank you, Jenny! x

Beth said...

I loved hearing about your journey and can't believe your novel came to you in a dream! Big congrats on your debut. I know exactly how excited you are since I'm in the same boat! I also love the cover art. Well done.

Cynthia Lott said...

Thank you, Beth! x

Gay Yellen said...

Beautifully said. Best of luck to you.

cynthia lott said...

Thank you, Gay! x