May 24, 2011

Made It Moment: Kris Bock

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 8:31 am


There often seems to be–on this blog, the wider net, and even so-called real life–a chasm between traditional and independent (or self) publishing. I like Kris Bock’s Moment because it shows how an author can bridge this gap– possibly gaining the best of both worlds.

Kris Bock

I sold the first novel I ever wrote, a historical drama for middle school students called The Well of Sacrifice. I had made it! I had a masters degree in Professional Writing and Publishing, experience in magazine editorial, and $15,000 in savings. I quit my job to be a full-time novelist.

I failed to sell my next 10 novels. I did work-for-hire nonfiction and wrote for magazines, but I eventually realized I’d gotten lucky with The Well of Sacrifice. It’s still in print, but I had a lot to learn about writing novels before I sold another one.

In 2008, I sold a series about a brother and sister who travel with a ghost hunter TV show. I had made it! The first three Haunted books—The Ghost on the Stairs, The Riverboat Phantom and The Knight in the Shadows—came out in 2009.

I expected to stay busy with Haunted for a few years. But the company reorganized and fired my editor. The series died.

I kept writing, but publishers seemed to want a few specific genres (vampires, anyone?).

I was getting a little depressed by this point. I needed to try something different. I’d been reading mainly romantic suspense, so I decided to write for adults. Rattled — about two best friends hunting for a long-lost treasure in the desert of New Mexico, with help from a sexy helicopter pilot and a larger-than-life cat — was great fun to write.

Meanwhile, I started exploring self-publishing. Why not release the fourth Haunted book on my own? Why not release my Egyptian mystery for kids, The Eyes of Pharaoh?

Back to Rattled. My agent thought we could sell it. But I loved the control I had with “indie” publishing, especially in terms of timing. It could take months to get a contract and years before the book came out. If I self-published Rattled, I could launch it at the Left Coast Crime convention, where I was giving two presentations. I wouldn’t get an advance, but if this book did well, I’d do better in the long run.

It was a gamble, but isn’t all of publishing—and the rest of life?

I hired a cover artist, and dealt with proofreading and interior design. When I saw what would be the final cover art, I got a little chill. I got another when I uploaded the cover and interior to be published. I had a sudden thought—We’re making a book!

It’s too early to judge the success of Rattled, but I have a book I’m proud of, and I feel in control of my career again. I haven’t made it, not by a long shot, but in the meantime, those little moments are worth celebrating.

Kris Bock writes action-packed romantic suspense, often involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. A full-time writer, her hobbies include hiking, rock climbing, and photography. To learn more about her latest work or read the first three chapters of Rattled, visit

Ms. Bock also writes for young people under the name Chris Eboch. The Eyes of Pharaoh is an action-packed mystery set in ancient Egypt. In The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan girl in ninth-century Guatemala rebels against the High Priest who sacrifices anyone challenging his power. Read excerpts at


  1. Great story! I think there are lots of ways to publish,and no one way is perfect.

    Comment by Judy — May 24, 2011 @ 9:51 am

  2. I think that’s the most exciting thing about all these new opportunities in publishing–it’s not necessarily an either/or thing any more between traditional publishing and self-publishing. An author can do what he/she thinks is best for any particular book. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    Comment by Lauren S — May 24, 2011 @ 10:11 am

  3. Congrats on all your trad success-AND on taking the reins in your own hands!

    Comment by Savvy — May 24, 2011 @ 10:59 am

  4. I’ve been seeing enormous interest in “indie” publishing, not just from first-timers who may (mistakenly) see it as an easier path, but from published authors who want to bring back their out of print books, continue with a series that the publisher dropped, or release a title that doesn’t resonate with big publishers. Self-publishing has its own challenges and pitfalls, but at least today authors aren’t completely at the mercy of market trends and buyers from chain bookstore.

    Comment by Kris Bock — May 24, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

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