March 6, 2012

Guest Post: Pamela DuMond

Filed under: The Writing Life — jenny @ 12:58 pm

Cupcakes, Sales, and Cocktails

Pamela DuMond shared her Made It Moment here last year and today she is back to update us on how her writing life and dreams have evolved since. Pam’s debut novel CUPCAKES, LIES, & DEAD GUYS was an e book hit and so Pam is situated to reflect on both the benefits and shortfalls of digital publishing. Read on for Pam’s unique take, and celebrate the e release of her brand new CUPCAKES novella!

Pamela DuMond

Publishing: A Foot in Two Worlds – A Dream in All
The publishing world’s changing every day.

Traditional publishers, known as the Big 6, are now in 2012 thought by many (not all) to be the Big 7. This is because Amazon is pushing (also termed, ‘stepping-on-many-toes,’) in their quest to join this private club.

In 2010, “Indie Publishers,” was the term used to designate small presses.

In 2010,“Self-Published,” referred to those brave souls/individuals who chose to forge ahead and publish on their own. Two years previously, this action was frowned upon by well — almost everyone.

Times Change…. CUT TO –

2011 and 2012.

Indie Publishers,” is now the preferred terminology previously used for “Self-Publishers.”

Formerly termed, “Indie Publishers,” are now called, “Small Presses.”

Many writers that used to call “Traditional Publishers,” now term them, “Legacy Publishers.” (FYI: Many traditionally published writers and their publishers do not like or condone this term.)

It’s a little confusing, yes?

Am I out of my flippin’ mind for wanting a foot in ALL these worlds?


I finished my first novel – Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys in 2008. Approximately forty agents rejected my ms. In 2009 I signed with a junior agent at a major agency. Color me happy!

In 2009-2010 my agent shopped my novel to approximately forty editors at traditional publishing houses where it was again, rejected. After nine months, the super-fine agency fired my agent, fired me and I was agent-orphaned. (This sucked.)

One Foot: Small Presses

Lucky for me, a writer friend/acquaintance picked up the ball and ran with it. She asked Ken Lewis at Krill Press if he’d read my book. He loved it, said yes, and we had a deal. Yay! Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys was published in late 2010. To date it has sold nearly 8500 copies. These aren’t Amanda Hocking figures, but considering most self-pubbed and small press books sell between 100 to 1000 copies, it’s a decent number and I’m proud of it.

I also marketed the heck out of this book on a dime. (Different blogpost.)

In 2010, not knowing what would happen with Cupcakes novel, I wrote a novel in a completely different genre. It’s a YA time travel historical romantic thriller called The Messenger’s Handbook.

Second Foot: Traditional Publishers – I’m still dreaming.

I’ve been shopping The Messenger’s Handbook to agents and publishers (small, big, and micro) for a while. Again, for the most part I’m hitting closed doors, closed minds, and hearing a cacophony of, “Nos.”

One micro press loves it and offered to publish it. But also encouraged me to continue shopping it to bigger presses with better distribution. Several well-connected small presses requested the full ms. A few said no, and I’ve yet to hear back from others.

Some agents are perusing my ms’s fulls and partials. Just today I got yet another agent rejection.

Thanks to Jenny Milchman’s encouragement, I entered The Messenger’s Handbook in the ABNA competition where, thanks to writers who helped me hone the pitch, it made it to the second round.

Foot Number Three: Self-Publishing

In summer of 2011, readers started asking about the next Cupcakes book. Oopsies! I was working on two sequels but knew neither would be completed before the end of 2011.

I decided to set these aside and instead wrote a Cupcakes Novella. I hired my editor. I hired, an e-book conversion company, (which I highly recommend.) And my friend and fab screenwriter, Michael James Canales, created the novella’s cover.

I self-pubbed Cupcakes, Sales, and Cocktails on 12/24/11.  As of 3/6/12, it’s sold over 1600 copies.

I embarked on another adventure by putting the novella up for free on the Kindle DP Select program. Exciting- yes. Scary – yes. Necessary – yes. I did two give-away days in early February. 18, 200 copies were dl. In the “Free” Kindle store, the novella hit #8 in overall sales, #1 in Humor, #1 in Mystery, and #1 in Female Sleuths. Exciting! I did another giveaway on March 1st.  And only gave away 262 books. Go figure.

Back to the Second Foot: Traditional Publishers

And I’m back to my dream. In today’s market, with all the craziness —  how long does one wait for the agents and traditional publishers and even small presses to respond?

Unlike Jenny Milchman who persevered for eleven years, (major congrats on Jenny’s tenacity and her book deals,) remember, I don’t currently have an agent. Which means I cannot shop my YA to traditional publishing houses.

I have harbored the dream of breaking into traditional publishing for years. I want a savvy agent. I want to work with an incredible editor at a well-connected house. I want to walk into a bookstore and see my books. I want to attend signings. (My own as well as other authors.)

I’d love a foot in all worlds. But when is it time to face the reality? Call it a day? Move on? What would you do? What do you think? What is your story?

Pamela DuMond was born and raised in the Midwest. She moved to Los Angeles for love. When that tanked, she stayed for the beautiful weather. While Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys is her debut novel, she contributed essays on intuition to Soul Moments: Marvelous Stories of Synchronicity – Meaningful Coincidences from a Seemingly Random World, edited by Phil Cousineau. She’s also edited more than her share of self-help books.

Pamela discovered and pitched Erin Brockovich’s life story to a production company. Erin Brockovich the movie was nominated for four Academy Awards. Julia Roberts won her Best Actress Oscar for portraying Erin.

With Joe Wilson, Pamela co-created Celebrity Jar of Air, the internationally acclaimed comedic jar that may or may not have contained air molecules breathed by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Pamela is an author, writer, chiropractor and cranio-sacral therapist. She loves reading, writing, the beach, yoga, movies, animals and her family. She lives in Venice Beach, California with her furballs. She’s currently writing the second book in the Annie Graceland series, as well as a YA para-normal romance. She lives for a good giggle.


  1. Pamela – I love it that you want a foot in all those worlds. I am loving the whole process too! Good luck in achieving what you want in your work!

    Comment by Connie J Jasperson — March 6, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

  2. Good luck! May you achieve success in all you do. Thanks for sharing, Jenny and Pamela!

    Comment by Pamela Brennan Albacete — March 6, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  3. Good thoughts of what the alternatives and options are.

    Arthur Levine

    Comment by Arthur Levine — March 6, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

  4. Pamela, sometimes I think no matter what we do or how hard we try, only a tiny fraction, and perhaps lucky folks will make it to the top of the publishing/sales pyramid.

    So……what’s so bad about having average Indie sales and writing exactly the genre and style which we enjoy? (Not that you are saying otherwise).

    Good luck and thanks for sharing!

    Comment by "Doctor Barbara" - Barbara Ebel — March 6, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

  5. Good luck, Pamela! I, too, have a foot in each door. I’ve gone the traditional publishing route with my kids books. I’ve gone with two epublishers, and I’ve put up books myself. The publishing world has changed, and it’s still in flux.

    Comment by Marilyn Levinson — March 6, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

  6. Thanks Connie and Pamela, Arthur and Doctor Barbara. It’s been an interesting ride. Best,

    Comment by Pamela DuMond — March 6, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  7. Marilyn – Good to know one can still have it all!

    Comment by Pamela DuMond — March 6, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  8. Pamela, I wish we could sit down and have a long heart-to-heart. You’ve done an amazing job of framing all the issues that I’ve been thinking about for the last year. I understand that feeling of wanting to walk into a bookstore and see your book all over. Like you, I didn’t want to wait until I beat down the gates of ‘legacy publishers’ either.

    Actually, I’ll be in LA at the end of the month so we could have my heart-to-heart. Jenny has all my contact info and, having had lots of long talks with me, can vouch that (while scatterbrained) I’m not a random internet psycho.

    Comment by Johanna — March 6, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

  9. Johanna – I’d love to have that heart to heart talk. Plan on it. Feel free to e-mail me at


    Comment by Pamela DuMond — March 6, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

  10. Three? That’s a lotta footage. How many next year?

    Comment by Dave Thome — March 6, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

  11. I am convinced that you’re going to make it to a legacy publisher, Pam. You’re doing everything right and you’ve definitely got everything it takes to go the whole route. I’ll be buying your books out of bookstores before you know it. Keep on doing what you’re doing, ’cause you’re doing great!

    Cheers, Beth

    Comment by Beth Anderson — March 6, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

  12. You are a perfect example of a can-do attitude, Pamela.

    It helps to have a wonderful wit and great characters, too.

    Comment by Ramona — March 6, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

  13. HI Pamela. I love your titles and your books. Your creativity, promotional skills and wonderful sense of humor will take you far. Keep working it. We’re rooting for you. And don’t stop writing either!

    Comment by Cindy Sample — March 6, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

  14. Thanks Ramona, Cindy, Beth and Dave. Appreciate your cheerleading! You all keep writing as well. xo,

    Comment by Pamela DuMond — March 6, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

  15. Oh, wow, I love it when friendship connections are made right here on the blog! (I’m just waiting for a marriage to come out of one of these comment streams :) Pam & Johanna, you’ll have a blast, wish I could be there, too!

    You guys are all doing well in various of these domains–it teaches me to underestimate none of them. Taken together, or one at a time, they add up to a career.

    Happy writing, everyone–and, happy publishing!

    Comment by jenny — March 6, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

  16. Pam,

    I have the same dream of making it to the “big time,” but so do an awful lot of other talented writers. It sounds like you’re really doing well and deserve every bit of your current success because you’ve worked hard for it.

    All the best,

    Jacqueline Seewald
    THE TRUTH SLEUTH–now in large print

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — March 6, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

  17. Thanks for this article. I found it informative, interesting and helpful. Good job!

    Comment by Holly Michael — March 6, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

  18. I hear you Jacqueline. Thanks for your compliment. Glad Jenny and I could help, Holly. Jenny Milchman – you are hysterical!


    Comment by Pamela DuMond — March 6, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

  19. Pamela,

    You’re doing so well. I’d call it a day and move on. However, you’re entitled to your dream of going with a legacy publisher, although I can’t imagine why. No control over your manuscript, your title or your cover, months of waiting for the darn thing to come down the chute — today’s writer doesn’t have to settle for that. But it’s your dream and I hope things work out for you.

    I downloaded CUPCAKES,SALES AND COCKTAILS but haven’t had a chance yet to read it. My download TBR stack now is bigger than my print stack.

    Pat Browning

    Comment by Pat Browning — March 6, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

  20. Pamela:

    Wow, I’m so, so impressed by you. You have everything it takes to be successful. (Plus I love anytime cupcakes are highlighted, preferably chocolate ones.)

    Continued good luck,

    Comment by Judy — March 6, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

  21. Pat Browning – You’re right. Thank you. When do I get to read your next book?!? Judy – thank you so much. I agree. Chocolate cupcakes help just about everything. ;)


    Comment by Pamela DuMond — March 7, 2012 @ 1:39 am

  22. Pamela,

    Boy can I relate to your story. I was published by Ballantine, then orphaned there, then assigned to an editor who never liked me or my books. He didn’t reject my last book there – he just never read it. After four months, I withdrew it from consideration. So, after four traditionally published books, I’ve recently published my fifth myself.

    Do I ever get a different reception when I go into bookstores now. You write about different worlds, I feel like they are alternate universes (maybe that’s just because I’ve become a fan of Fringe reruns on Hulu). I feel like I’ve become my own doppelgänger. And to finish the metaphor, I guess that makes Joe Konrath my Walter.

    I think it will become more and more possible to maintain a presence in both universes, and I really admire writers like you who have the tenacity to keep on trying.

    Best of luck to you.

    Comment by Christine Kling — March 7, 2012 @ 9:32 am

  23. I’m in early days being traditionally published, ie, pre-book-coming-out, but my feeling so far is that there are advantages on both sides–in some cases huge ones. Pat Browning mentions two for the indie side: speed, control. The ones I’ve seen from my publisher are significant as well. And there are big unknowns to how both worlds will play out, so casting your lot with either is a definite judgment call. My feeling is that it’s about what suits you as an author, what suits your book–and which opportunities present themselves. I am very, very glad there is the indie route because it’s bringing great books to the table, which would otherwise have gone undiscovered.

    Comment by jenny — March 7, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

  24. Christine – ouch! That sounds like a difficult experience. Glad you are bouncing back. Jenny – I agree. Again, ideally I would still wish for a foot in all worlds. And I’m also so happy for you!


    Comment by Pamela DuMond — March 7, 2012 @ 11:39 pm

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