December 29, 2010

Made It Moment: Lala Corriere

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 1:10 pm

Widow’s RowOK, despite the holiday tree posted right here a few days ago, I figure many of you probably got e readers underneath your tree or on one of those eight special nights or as a sign of the Solstice season–or the times!

If you did, I suggest you check out this debut novel by Lala Corriere. One of the nice things about reading digitally is that you can try out a totally new author without making the investment of a trip to the bookstore or library, without paying for shipping, or adding so much as one volume to your otherwise teetering stacks. It’s my hope that such “ease of entry” will pave the way for many talented writers to find audiences, in print and onscreen. Today, I offer you one.

Lala Corriere

I Did it My Way!

Hopefully readers might remember old Blue Eyes, or at least recall his name.

I’m honored that Jenny invited me to share with you my ‘made-it moment’. So let’s jump right in!

Sinatra is a classic that has survived the ages, and aged like a fine cabernet sauvignon. It makes me wonder. Is the publishing industry adapting and growing and keeping its pulse on the changing times, or is it becoming a classic windmill saga?

Sadly, it’s been my experience that the industry was ill prepared to make any paradigm shifts. Their analysis paralysis began long before the country’s economic collapse. I can illustrate this. It took many years for agents and editors to accept email queries, let alone manuscript partials and fulls. Old school or tried and proven?

This is my story, and for me it is my made-it moment. I don’t think it is unlike many other fine authors whose stories deserve to be out there and be read. My recent release, Widow’s Row, was held up on an exclusive submission by two publishing houses for a total of over two years. Imprisoned. I get it. Art is subjective. One house had seven levels of acceptance. Widow’s Row made it to level seven only to be rejected because it didn’t qualify as a mystery. Hmmmm. That first manuscript page where we all write our name, title, our ‘please call me soon’ contact information, also included the genre. Romantic Suspense.

The good news is that this experience allowed me access to an outside review process by several professional non-biased readers. And their responses rocked the ultimate highs and lows on the subjectivity scales. These scales are not exactly those of justice. One critic said she would read anything I wrote. Forever and ever. Another one tersely commented that he couldn’t muddy through my first chapter.

Lesson number one. Exercise that back of yours. You have to toughen it up, and slather gallons of slicked up goo [product of your choice] for the negativity to slide right on off , and bury it six feet under.

I had a chore to do. First, after those two longs years in captivity, I had to make some revisions to my manuscript. Some words/scenes time-stamped my story. Lesson two. This process toward publication might take a while. Avoid anything that dates your story unless you’re writing an historical.

Next up. I had to identify my goal. Ultimately, it was simple. I wanted to be read. This is a scary notion, but I spent many a day and long nights questioning my motives. And ME. On introspection, I finally saw my truth. I have always been one to go it alone. Always. I was president of my own interior design company. I did high-end residential real estate sales. All by my little self. I raised two boys. All by my little self. Where was that person?

I believe I should have taken control of my career a long time ago. I believe no one person or entity will nurture, promote, or advance my writing as much as me. I admit I had a huge problem with the very idea of anything considered vanity press. You know. Even though growing in momentum, there is still a bad image out there. Because there is a lot of crap going up out there. You know it. I know it. But it’s getting awesomely better!

My made it moment? This decision to take charge. I write good stuff. No crap. So I scraped myself off the blades of the old windmill and got with it.

Do I have readers? Yes

Do I have good reviews? Yes. Reviews other than my sister, second cousin, and friend of a friend? Yes. Strangers. New friends I haven’t met.

Do I have a career I am proud of, and am I in control of my future? Yes.

Do I have exponential/viral sales? Yes. More new friends.

Am I jumping on my bed and blanketing myself with one hundred dollar bills? No. Not exactly.

Do I have a few caveats? Yes. One more lesson.

To go it alone, you have to have several outside reviewers that will tell you when your writing sucks. I admit it was with good luck that Sidney Sheldon took me under his wings so long ago. You also have to set your own deadlines, and by gosh, you have to meet them. I was lucky to have some skills and networks available that made my journey glide smoothly. I resisted anyone who might suggest I change my title. No one tried, but still, this was important to me. I also knew exactly what cover art I wanted and I knew how to get it. And I learned how to make my own trailer. And one more final thought, I am prepared to release my second title, CoverBoy, in March. Momentum is a good thing.

While I certainly didn’t help or even foresee the pioneering of this new market, my sales numbers prove I’ve caught the wave. And for one not much into water sports, let me tell you that it’s quite a ride!

Lala Corriere writes suspense with romantic elements. While she enjoys vivid descriptions of the most nefarious of characters, she also insists on including a redeeming social message in her work, bringing readers to experience human conditions in ways with which many may not be familiar. “With a deeper awareness,” Lala says, “comes understanding, be it a small acceptance or a life altering epiphany.”


  1. Wow, Lala, your experience mirrors in many ways that of Jenny herself.

    I have a similar “genre” story too: and I apologize to Jenny, who’s probably read it 50 times by now. lol. I write historical fiction, my first submission of which was about Vlad the Impaler (the historical Dracula). My query letter made clear, a couple of times over, that I was treating him as a purely historical character, and that “there is no supernatural element in this story.”

    I got an agent to read the ms and ask for more. I got him to read the whole ms. I got him to call me on the phone and talk to me for over an hour. The culimation of all this?

    “Here’s my problem….there are no vampires in it.”

    Sometimes agents and publishers just make you want to smack your head on your desk and ask, “Why bother.”

    I guess the “why” is that, every once in a while, someone gets it.

    Congrats on grabbing things in your own 2 hands. I would love to read your book. Is it downloadable only, or is there any hard copy available?

    Thanks, good luck, and congratulations!

    Comment by Savvy — December 29, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

  2. What a wonderful story! I love how you took control!

    Comment by Judy — December 29, 2010 @ 5:20 pm

  3. Oops, duh, my statement should have been that he read the query, then a sample, then the whole ms. Sorry….typo fingers today!

    Comment by Savvy — December 29, 2010 @ 6:36 pm

  4. Full disclosure: Lala is my sister.

    But I couldn’t be more proud that you made the decision to be a pioneer in the brave new world of e-books. Would you have made the decision to e-pub had you been scooped up by one of the publsihing houses that loved your book almost to death? Maybe not now, but probably sooner rather than later.

    The point is, you got to the point where you’d had enough. Publisher’s moods change. Their budgets change. Their personnel changes. And you, scrappy little sister that you are, thumbed your nose and took a huge, personal, terrifying risk.

    And will very soon be blanketed not only by hundred dollar bills, but by a large and loyal reader base.

    You go, girl.

    Comment by Peg Brantley — December 29, 2010 @ 10:18 pm

  5. Thanks for all your fun comments, Savvy, Judy, and Peg! Currently, Savvy, I have no plans to take Widow’s Row to traditional print, although I’ll keep an eye on it and be open to publishers and POD venues. One frustration is that I’ve been so busy with the marketing that I’ve not been WRITING. That will change with a set % of time/devotion to each. And wouldn’t that issue be the same if I were to have gone the DTB route, big house or not?
    My best regards, and my best wishes to you and yours for the new year. Lala

    Comment by Lala Corriere — December 30, 2010 @ 12:18 pm

  6. Lala, you are inspiring. Taking control is, I believe, the number one caveat of any writer’s career. The days of handing off a ms to unknown entity and praying they love it enough to sell it like they wrote it, are gone. Just like Hollywood finally figuring out the star system such as it was didn’t work, with a little help from the unions, maybe one day soon the Big Houses(big scary words here) will clued in.

    Brava to you and I’m certain you will succeed beyond anyone’s expectations.


    Comment by Karyne — December 30, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

  7. Lala,

    What an inspiring piece! I had a book that was held hostage under similar circumstances for a year and a half. And then I came to a lot of the same conclusions that you did. I can defintely emphathize with what you went though. Don’t you feel great about how far you’ve come by taking charge? Congratulations on a job well done. Marja

    Comment by Marja McGraw — December 30, 2010 @ 5:37 pm

  8. Lala, I hope you’ve made a lot of new fans here the past couple of days, and thanks so much again for sharing your inspiring story.

    Marja, I think it sounds like you may have a Moment to write yourself…? I would be honored if you did :) I hope all the commenters will be sharing theirs before too long!

    Comment by jenny — December 30, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

  9. Thank you all for your comments. You’ve inspired me right back, Karyne and Jenny. And Marja, you have forever been someone I follow with great admiration. You’ve also always been there for my dumbest of dumb questions.

    Let’s all go out and have a CRAZY good year!

    Comment by Lala Corriere — January 2, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

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