Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Finally Published... now what

Wow, what a journey!!! I am finally a published author. The excitement has not waned but the reality has finally set in...I gotta work!!We aspiring authors imagine as soon as our books hit the shelves that fortune and fame will be quick to follow. We look at the Nora Roberts and the Terry McMillians and immediately imagine our novel on the small small screen or nearest cinaplex. We imagine reviews pouring in from Publishers Weekly , blurbs in Essence Magazine or radio interviews galore. Then we realize that the phone hasn't rung , no one has yet to return your email and your publicist has assured you that the book signings are being scheduled. Doesn't anyone recognize my gift! Yes, you just have to wait until the pass on the good news about your novel to their friends. In the meantime, keep positive, don't slack on your day job, and use every opportunity to promote yourself and your novel.Now, I don't have all the answers nor am I an expert but I have started off to a modestly good start. Here are a few tips that I think helped me make steady strides.

1) A Myspace page - its free and you have access to more people than you can imagine. Post excerpts from your novel ( with approval from your pub if you have one), thoughts for the day, etc. Make friends with not only fellow authors or book clubs but people that may fit your demographics. Do not narrow your friends down by race or gender. But be wise, a 55 year old retiree may not appreciate your literary rendering of hoodlife. If you feel your novel falls into a genre that an established author writes in , acquaint yourself w/ some of their friends.

2) Enlist foot soilders - Friends and family should be armed with postcards, promo excerpts and what ever else you may have that can promote your novel. Try get family and friends that work at hospitals and large corporations. Choose your troops carefully. If they are not the most loquacious or outgoing do enlist them unless the specifically ask you. While they may support you , don't make them feel guilty of they are not comfortable being outgoing.

3) Become an internet sleuth - Surf for sites that feature authors or post work. There are tons of web sites that feature authors, post book signing, interview, etc. Some are fee based, so decide of the fee is worth it.

4) Be an online columnist or blogger - What better way to build a readership than writing an online column or blog that revolves around the subject matter of your novel or book. Many website and web zine take on columnist. Even though you in most cases you will not get paid, you have a world wide presence.

5) Join online groups- Make sure to not only join writers groups but reader and literary lovers groups. Be interactive and post comments and questions regularly so people can get to know who you are.

6) Vistaprint.com - this website by far has the lowest printing cost I have ever seen.

7) Exhale - If you can work overtime for a J-O-B. , you can work overtime to make your dream a reality. Rome wasn't built in one day , it took hard work , planning and faith.

I hope this little list helped. I will post so more stuff shortly but know above all else that the greatest asset you have is you and the greatest source is the GREAT I AM. The Creator gave identification of self as "I am that I am ..." So never position I am in a negative...

Peace!!!! Check my synopsis & excerpt on my my personal blog !!!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

My Publishing Journey - Installment 3

Every Friday, I will take you on my publishing journey. I will provide a window into the world of an author, my interaction with the publisher, and the marketing/promotions involved.
Okay, so I'm a day off with this post. This week was a slow week with the writing because of a tedious week with the day-job. But you've got to earn an living. I did manage to crank out a second chapter for my young adult proposal.
The biggest hurdle with writing young adult is to keep the sentences fairly simple. I'm not pretending to write high-brow lit, so long convulted sentences with SAT-type words are not the order of the day. I'm also not writing with heavy dosage of hip lingo since most terms are dated six months to a year later. If that's the case, then my book would be dated by the time it got to the publishers and then finally to the bookshelves.
I'm enjoying the story as it unfolds, which sometimes doesn't always happen if I get mired into the pitfalls of writing: sagging middle of the story, weak characters, stilted expressions etc. The cast of characters is getting bigger. Maybe in the rewrite, some of them may not be necessary to the forward movement of the heroine's story. There is a developing subplot with her best friend, but I'm careful not to let it overshadow the main plotline.
So heading back to work on the third chapter. Here's hoping that I don't fall too behind with my timeline.
Enjoy your Valentine's day.
See you next week.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


I was coming off a frenzied three weeks of hammering out WICKED WAYS, the sequel to GETTING HERS, when I decided to take a break and check my email. (Mistake #1). I read an email from my editor from Harlequin saying that she couldn't wait to read my next installment in my Pause for Men Series on Friday. Needless to say it was Wednesday at the time. My hands began to shake and I went into a mild panic attack. Of course my editor MUST be insane. I didn't owe her a book in two days! I scrambled through my files and located my contract. YIKES! She was right. And not only was she right she was actually giving my 2 days grace. I was fresh out of ideas, so the only thing to do was ignore the email of course! I still needed a week to finish the book I was working on.
I eventually called my agent who contacted my editor who graciously said, "Friday is fine." Friday! That was a week away. I finished WICKED WAYS, emailed it to my editor and took a one day break to clear my head. But the only coherent thought in my head was that it was impossible. Yet, I had no choice. The cover was already produced and it was scheduled for release in July. What I needed was a plan. And the one writer friend I knew who could knock out a book in record time was my girl L.A. Banks (aka Leslie Esdaile). After consoling me for about ten minutes, she told me of a plan of action.
1. I needed to be selfish, cut myself off from family, friends and the dreaded internet.
2. Start at 6 am. (yick)
3. Write in blocks of four hours. Take an hour break in between for food and exercise.
4. Stop by ten p.m.
5. Make my notes for the next day and go to bed.
Well... I did exactly what she said. My generaly daily output on a good day is anywhere from 20-25 pages per day. With this plan I was able to up the ante to 35-40 pages in a day.
Fortunately, it was regents week and my son was off from school, so instead of spending the hour in the morning getting him up and out and to school, I had that time to work. And I worked.
But Friday arrived I only had 156 pages. Panic once again set in, but I was going to be brave. I called my editor myself and once again she was very gracious and said "Monday, first thing is fine." Ouch.
I continued with the plan throughout the day and through the weekend. When Monday came I had 210 pages. But miracles to happen. I wrote a grand total of 55 pages in one day. I emailed my completed manuscript at 4:45 on Monday!!! Much to the delight of my editor.
Of course this in NOT something I would recommend on a regular basis. However the plan works. It is simply a matter of being focused and staying the course.
With any book, you must have a plan of action and goals that you set for yourself. If it's five pages per day or a chapter per day, stick with it and do it.
The bottomline is, a writer writes!
Good luck

Friday, February 02, 2007

My Publishing Journey - Installment 2

Every Friday, I will take you on my publishing journey. I will provide a window into the world of an author, my interaction with the publisher, and the marketing/promotions involved.

This week I did manage to finish up my proposal launching a five-book series. I was two days late from my timeline, but nevertheless, got it done. It ended up being a four page synopsis and three chapters (49 pages), which I emailed to my agent.

I took a day off then started working on my yound adult proposal. Since this is a new genre for me, I solicited an author-friend's quick approval. I finished the synopsis and the first chapter and got it off to my author-friend. I have two more chapters to write, probably by this weekend, which means my agent will have another proposal by next week to market.

While working on the young adult book, my agent emails me that the editor is interested in seeing additional proposals, ASAP. I'm faced with setting down the young adult ficition that no one is knocking down my door for, or working on the proposals that an editor wants to see.

I know the answer seems pretty clear, but....

I'm sticking with my young adult because I'm too close to finishing the required three chapters. I wrote the first chapter in less than a day, so I think that I can finish the other two over the weekend.

I do know that one of the romance series will take place in Europe. Haven't nailed down a country, but I'm pretty sure my American heroine is going to have a wonderful time in a foreign land with the man of her dreams.

See ya next week, for the next installment.

Michelle Monkou