How to Get Published by ‘The Right Track’ Jill Limber

How to Get Published is a continuing feature at As the Pages Turn where we ask authors to tell us their publishing stories. Was it a rocky road or did it come easy for them? Did they start with an agent and get a NY publisher interested in their book or did they self-publish? What words of wisdom do they have for all of us who would like to be published one day?

Today’s guest is Jill Limber, author of the contemporary romance, The Right Track (Boroughs Publishing Group).

How I Got Published

By Jill Limber, author of The Right Track

The Right Track is my third book, but my first contemporary. It was such a change from writing historical romance I decided to write about something I was very familiar with. The plan worked, because I submitted it to a New York publisher without the help of an agent, and it was picked up right away.

This book was perhaps the most fun to write of all my books. The fun part involves the setting of the book. It takes place on a private railroad car as the hero and heroine travel across the United States.

The setting is a real car, built almost one hundred years ago, and the book was written on that car. My other job is being a professional chef and the owner of a catering company. I have worked as a personal chef for the owner of the railroad car for years.

The inspiration for the book was a complete no-brainer, and I didn’t have to do a lot of research. When travelling by train, even if you’re working, there is enough downtime to get a fair amount of writing done. The hardest part is to not get too distracted by the scenery and lose your concentration.

I remember writing one scene as we started up into the Rocky Mountains. We had spent the night in the station in Oakland California, and the car had been switched from the back of the Coast Starlight up from San Diego to the rear of the California Zephyr for the second leg of our trip to Chicago. It had rained during the night, but the day dawned clear. It was in the spring and as we left the city, there were wild flowers everywhere.

We climbed into the foothills of the Rockies, where the views are always spectacular. By the time we got to five thousand feet or so, the snow started to fall, and within an hour, the forest was transformed into a winter wonderland. Needless to say, I didn’t do as much writing that day as I had hoped. Between gazing out the windows and treating the owners and staff to fresh baked cookies and hot chocolate, as well as the usual three full meals, there wasn’t a lot of time left over.

I suppose my best advice for someone starting out is the old standard: Write what you know. It is easier to craft a great story if you are on familiar territory.

A multi-published author and former RWA President, Jill Limber’s latest books are Montana Morning, A Heart That Dares and The Right Track. As a child, some of Jill’s tales got her in trouble, but now she gets paid for them. Residing in San Diego with her husband and a trio of dogs and one very ancient cat, Jill’s favorite pastime is to gather friends and family for good food, conversation and plenty of laughter.

You can visit her website at www.JillLimber.com.

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How to Get Published by ‘Equity of Evil’ Rudy Mazzocchi

How to Get Published is a continuing feature at As the Pages Turn where we ask authors to tell us their publishing stories. Was it a rocky road or did it come easy for them? Did they start with an agent and get a NY publisher interested in their book or did they self-publish? What words of wisdom do they have for all of us who would like to be published one day?

Today’s guest is Rudy Mazzocchi, author of the medical thriller, Equity of Evil (Twilight Times Books).

How I Got Published

By Rudy A. Mazzocchi – Author of EQUITY of EVIL

Getting published… sounds easy enough. I’ve authored a few journal articles, approximately fifty patent applications, wrote dozens of business plans, and gave presentations to the most sophisticated venture capitalist and investment bankers in the country… but getting that first novel published?… it may have been easier to run for state Governor.

Forget the struggle of researching and crafting that first manuscript, the hours, days and eventually months of seclusion from family, friends and colleagues. The kids thinking you’re even more of a workaholic than their school term paper described, the wife not sure if you’re on line with your girlfriend or totally addicted to porn. You write, edit, write, and re-write… never knowing if more than a dozen eyes will absorb your work before glazing over, or worse, never finishing.

While writing, I tried to educate myself on the “process” of this new industry… at least new to me! Having never taken a writing course or even anything past English Literature 101 in college, how did I ever convince myself I could take on such a task? Was it arrogance? Maybe, but more likely it was that damn persistence and determination that drove my existence as an entrepreneur.

My personal network found an old colleague who had become a free-lance editor who was ironically in the process of writing his latest book, “Magic for your Writing – Help for the Aspiring Writer”. He schooled me in many of the fundamentals through an informal engagement as my editor as I continued to try to stay a few chapters ahead him with my writing.

Someone once told me that “there’s probably a novel within each and everyone us”… which I agree is probably true! But according to those internet databases, less than 10% of authors ever become “published” and approximately 2% ever generate any income from actual sales. Despite these lack-luster figures, self-publishing continues to grow nearly 180% each year.

After talking with a dozen editors and other authors in the “biz”, they convinced me to forego self-publishing unless I had a few extra thousand dollars to throw away and space in my garage to store inventory that would take years to move. So I took the classic approach and attempted to find a Literary Agent who would relentlessly negotiate on my behalf to select the best of the blue-chip publishers, all of whom would surely be fighting over the rights to my “book”. (Of course, the Agent would also need to have relationships with producers in Hollywood who would be lining up for movie rights!) Next challenge… to figure out what a “query letter” should look like.

Scratch that… next challenge… how to deal with all the rejection letters stimulated from those query letters. No one told me that agents weren’t willing to consider “first time authors”! So how did all those second time authors get past “NO”? So, I defaulted back to the entrepreneur inside me and found renewed arrogance to determine who I would “allow” to be my Agent. I selected the Trident Media Group in New York and became a Literary Agent Stalker. After an embarrassing number of emails, calls, letters and an eventual I’m-in-town, can-I-stop-by-for-a-personal-introduction visit, she finally said…  “maybe”. My manuscript had to be accepted for another professional edit by one of their 3-4 top editors. If one of them agreed to read, review and edit,then they “might” consider floating the manuscript by a few of their publishers. Another couple of payments and six months later, including a new ending, it was finally ready for prime time. Not surprisingly, the verdict was about the same. Publishers thought the topic/theme was too controversial to take such a risk with a new author.

Now with a highly-polished, tight manuscript in hand, I then re-contacted my original editor (Gerry Mills) who introduced me to his ebook publisher, Twilight Times Books—a smaller publishing house who finally shared and understood my entrepreneurial spirit.

Nearly three and a half years have passed after starting the outline for EQUITY of EVIL: a year of research and writing, a year of editing and re-writing, another year of stalking agents and publishers, and six months of additional editing. So here we are… kicking off a Virtual Book Tour with a publicist (Pump Up Your Book), seeking reviewers, doing interviews, and preparing for a release on March 5th. Oh by the way, here is my Book Trailer, Blog, Website, Twitter, Facebook, and Publisher information. Someone please tell me what am I missing?

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAYkQEQBnLk

Blog: http://rudymazzocchi.wordpress.com

Website: www.rudymazzocchi.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/RudyMazzocchi

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MazzocchiAuthor

Book Tour: http://twilighttimesbooks.com/EquityofEvil_ch1.html#author_news

Publisher (To Order): http://twilighttimesbooks.com/ttb_arc_order.html#EquityofEvil

 Rudy A. Mazzochiis best known as a medical device and biotechnology entrepreneur, inventor, and angel investor, with a history of starting new technology ventures throughout the U.S. and Europe. He’s been privileged to have the opportunity to see the newest innovations in healthcare and work with some of the most brilliant researchers, scientists and physicians in the industry.

Authoring more than 50 patents, he has helped pioneer new companies involved in cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, neurosurgery and even embryonic stem-cell development. Through these efforts, he has become the recipient of many technology and business awards, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Healthcare and the Businessman of the Year Award.

Combining these experiences and opportunities, with thousands of hours of travel and long evenings in hotel rooms, he found the initiative to start writing a collection of medical thrillers based on true events, the first of which is entitled EQUITY of EVIL.

You can visit his website at www.rudymazzocchi.com.

How to Get Published by Karen Simpson

How to Get Published is a continuing feature at As the Pages  Turn where we ask authors to tell us their publishing stories.  Was it a rocky road or did it come easy for them?  Did they start with an  agent and get a NY publisher interested in their book or did they self-publish?  What words of wisdom do they have for all of us who would like to be published one day?

Act of Grace  Today’s guest is Karen Simpson, author of the contemporary speculative fiction novel Act of Grace .

When I finished my first novel, I promised my character Grace that I would find her a good home. I kept my promise, but it didn’t happen the way I always imagined it would.

After about ten years of writing, critiques groups and workshops, I queried and finally got an agent out of New York. I was hopeful, she was hopeful. She did her best to sell the manuscript, but it seemed that while many of the editors loved my work they turned Act of Grace down because they didn’t think there was a market for a speculative fiction novel that dealt with issues of race.

“I’ll keep trying.” My agent said; however, I could tell she was discouraged.

Now, I knew I was suppose to wait on my agent to do the magic that agents do, but as the rejections from editors continued to piled up I realized I was probably going to have to do something different to pave the way to publishing success. I knew I didn’t want to self-publish my book so I began to consider the option of finding a small or independent publisher.

One November morning my agent sent me a flurry of rejection emails from editors and I got angry. I typed “African American Literary Publishers” into Goggle and up popped the name Plenary Publishing.

Sometimes you have to take a leap off the cliff into the unknown and trust that God and the ancestors will throw you some wings on the way down. I followed Plenary’s detailed submissions directions, pressed the send button and waited and waited and waited. I waited so long I almost forgot that I had submitted to them. Great blessing sometime come to those who wait. On May 13, the day after my birthday, I received a request for the full manuscript of my novel Act of Grace. A month later I had the contract in my hands.

The editing of the novel went smoothly. Of course, there were the general delays that come with any publishing project but I am very happy with my novel and have received excellent reviews.

My advice to new writers is if you are serious about getting published, work at writing as you would a career or job. Learn the craft by become a part of critiques groups, go to as many conferences as you can afford. Read all kinds of novels and writing books, but, in addition, read books and blogs about how to conduct the business side of writing. A good book to start with is The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry.

Karen Simpson is passionate about the craft of writing fiction, the art of quilting, and the discipline of historical research. She received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Husbandry, M.A. in Foreign and International Trade and a M.S. in Historic Preservation. A historic preservationist trained in heritage interpretation and administration, the subjects and themes of her fiction are often taken from the stories she discovers while doing research for museum exhibits. In 2009 Simpson was awarded the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Older Writers Grant.  She is lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Act of Grace is her first novel.

You can visit Karen Simpson’s website at www.karensimpsonwrites, her blog at www.lafreya.blogspot.com or connect with her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lafreya1

Special Feature: How to Get Published by Mary Carter

How to Get Published is a continuing feature at As the Pages Turn where we ask authors to tell us their publishing stories.  Was it a rocky road or did it come easy for them?  Did they start with an  agent and get a NY publisher interested in their book or did they self-publish?  What words of wisdom do they have for all of us who would like to be published one day?

The Pub Across the PondToday’s guest is Mary Carter, author of the women’s fiction novel, The Pub Across the Pond (Kensington).

I started writing SHE’LL TAKE IT in January of 2004 as a New Year’s goal. I had always been a voracious reader, and a writer. I’d written poems, short stories, plays, and had even tackled a screenplay. I was reading a novel at the time that I didn’t think was very good and I was surprised it had been published. I thought—“I can do better than this.” I took an online writing course. I liked the course, but the teacher wasn’t supportive of my main character. She was a kleptomaniac and he cautioned readers wouldn’t root for a klepto. I went with my gut—a powerful lesson. After numerous stops, and starts, I had a first draft. A beginning, middle, and end, a strong main character, and tons of obstacles. In the past I left works unfinished, quitting when the work was a mess. (First drafts are always messy things). I started reading novels critically. Taking them apart, analyzing them. I actually sat down and outlined novels to see if they followed the beats I’d been reading about in various writing books. (I read a ton books on writing). I completed a second draft, and made ten copies for ten friends. I weighed their feedback carefully and rewrote the manuscript. Next I bought LITERARY MARKETPLACE and queried agents. I heard from one who wanted to read my first 50 pages. She eventually passed, but talked to me on the phone about what she didn’t like. She encouraged me to move on and write something else. I also ignored this advice. And then, a second agent asked to read my full manuscript. He offered to represent me. Although I am no longer with this agent, I am truly grateful. Four months later he sold the book to Kensington. The day I got the news I was walking down the dock on Lake Union in Seattle where I lived at the time, and saw a double rainbow. It’s been an incredible journey ever since. If you’re looking to get published, get serious about learning the craft, be open to feedback, listen to your gut, and never give up.

Mary Carter 5MARY CARTER is a freelance writer and novelist.  The Pub Across the Pond is her fifth novel with Kensington. Her other works include:  My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues, She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged.  In addition to her novels she has written two novellas: A Very Maui Christmas in the best selling anthology Holiday Magic, and The Honeymoon House in the best selling anthology Almost Home. She is currently working on a new novel for Kensington.

Readers are welcome to visit her at www.marycarterbooks.com.

Visit her at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Carter-Books/248226365259.

Special Feature: How to Get Published by Richard Blunt

How to Get Published is a continuing feature at As the Pages Turn where we ask authors to tell us their publishing stories.  Was it a rocky road or did it come easy for them?  Did they start with an  agent and get a NY publisher interested in their book or did they self-publish?  What words of wisdom do they have for all of us who would like to be published one day?

 Today’s guest is Richard Blunt, author of the fantasy novel, Lucas Trent: Guardian in Magic (Author House).

Greetings As the Pages Turn! Wanne hear another story of a first time author on his way to publishing? Well, then buckle your seat belts, ‘cause it’s going to be a bumpy ride…

It all started more than a year ago when I finally finished Guardian in Magic, which is part one of my fantasy story. I had no clue about publishing, didn’t even plan to publish at all at the beginning, so I walked the internet up and down and read about other people’s experiences in discussion boards and blog posts. What I read there was quite shocking for me. Many posters honestly thought that writing a nice story and sending it to one publisher is all it takes to make millions off a book. Well, luckily I was never that naïve… The ugly truth for a first time author in the fiction world is: it’s hard. And it’s not chLucas Trenteap at all. If you want your book to have any chance on the market you have to spend money on it to get the ball rolling.

So I started at square one: Editing. I am not a native speaker, so for me this was a no-brainer. But still I can tell you from that experience: You need a professional editor, no matter how good your English is. The 1.000 bucks I spent on having my 268 pages proof read was money very well spent. I learned a lot about writing styles and ways to express certain things to make them more readable through that. It’s more than worth it.

Back then I thought those 1.000 bucks would be my major investment for the publishing, damn, I am naïve after all… Yes, there are publishers that will cover all expenses and do everything else for you, but I have to ask you two questions there: 1) How much time and money does it take to find such a publisher and convince him to accept you? 2) Do you really want to give the complete control over your book to someone else? I heard from friends in regard to the first question that they spent weeks and months traveling from one book fare to the next, just to talk some publishers into even taking a look at his work. (None of those have published so far by the way…) I definitely didn’t want to do that, but my real decision for self-publishing only came when I per accident got hold of a publishing contract. Bloody hell… You need a lawyer to understand that… Luckily I do have some experience with this, so at least I figured out some passages in the paperwork that I definitely didn’t want to have in mine. Getting 20% royalty on the list price is cool, but what’s it worth if you can’t control the list price? The publisher is per contract allowed to even give your book away for free if they see fit… I don’t care about that…

OK, so self-publishing it was. After bumping around the internet again for a while, I chose my publisher: AuthorHouse. And there another 2.000 dollars went out the window… Why not start with the smaller package? They start at $599. Well, because if you look at the details it just makes sense. The “booksellers return program” is something that just convinced me, especially as a first time author.

So, 3.000 dollars so far, but that’s it now, right? Well, no… There is one thing I just could not live with: the “Custom full color cover” is nice, but it is always based on a picture that comes off a gallery. It might do, but in the end the cover is the first thing everyone sees on a book. Do you really want to do a half-ass job there? I didn’t… And it cost me another 500 dollars. But again it paid off. The cover illustration took 8 weeks to finish, but when I looked at the final piece for the first time it rendered me speechless. Once again worth every penny…

But now we are done, right? Well, no… The book is out now, after a painstaking process that took another three months to complete, where I had to be more of a project manager than an author, even though I hired specialists to do the job. But what good is a book that’s out there if nobody knows about it? And that my friends is where it gets REALLY expensive… The magic word is called “Marketing”. You can have everything from simple postcards to full blown marketing campaigns and even a specialized rewriting to target Hollywood producers. Beware of your budget is all I can say… You will burn through it fast if you are not extra careful.

How much did it cost me in the end? No comment… Was it worth it? I am quite sure that it was. Will I get rich through publishing? No.

So here is my conclusion about all this: If you expect to make quick money with little effort, seek life elsewhere. If you think you can get rich with your first book, think again. If you rely on the professionalism of the publishers or support companies you are out of luck. But if you still want to be an author even with knowing all this, you will have loads of fun. And you will most likely agree that it’s all worth it in the end.

Being an author is about telling a story, not about making money. Sometimes those two combine, but many times they don’t. That’s how it is…

Richard Blunt is the author of the fantasy novel, Lucas Trent: Guardian in Magic.

He is currently working on his second book in the Lucas Trent series.

You can visit his website at www.lucastrent.com.

Visit him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lucas_trent and Facebook at www.facebook.com/people/richard-blunt.