Having just been lucky enough to get to see the revival of Annie on Broadway (Christmas gift; thanks, mom!) I have a third figure from history in my head. If you’re wondering who the first and second figures are, well, you’ll meet them in a moment in Lois Winston’s returning guest post.
But first let me give you FDR’s quote: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
Lois has faced some huge writing and publishing mountains. And if she feared them…well, she got over it, with wonderful results for her readers. Lois, as we enter this new year, I wish you everything good in it.
Leo Tolstoy said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
I totally disagree. My life has been a series of changes, some precipitated by me, some thrust upon me. Circumstances change, situations change, we change to adapt to these changes. The only thing that is certain in our lives is uncertainty. As Old Blue Eyes said, you can be riding high in April, shot down in May. (And when was the last time you read a blog post that mentioned both Leo Tolstoy and Frank Sinatra?)
When Jenny invited me to guest once again on Suspense Your Disbelief, she suggested I write about “walking both publishing paths.” And that got me thinking about the changes that have occurred in my life since I first decided to write a book.
Like Jenny, my path to publication was anything but instantaneous. It took me a decade – almost to the day that I first sat down to write – to sell my first novel, Talk Gertie To Me, a humorous take on the relationship between a mother and daughter. Along the way I learned quite a bit about both writing and the world of publishing, so much so that shortly after I sold Talk Gertie To Me, the agency that reps me invited me to join them as an associate. Within the span of a few months I went from being an unpublished writer to a published author and a literary agent. Huge changes.
As any published author will tell you, selling a book is no guarantee of sales of future books. After the publication of my first book and my option book, the romantic suspense Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception, I made the decision not to publish any more books with that publisher. This was one of those take-a-deep-breath-and-do-what-you-know-you-need-to-do changes.
Unfortunately, the publishing industry was also changing at this time, and publishers were hot for books in genres other than the ones I wrote. “Hot” being the operative word here as erotica and erotic romance were becoming all the rage.
At the suggestion of my agent, I began to write a crafting mystery. Another change for me. The result was Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in what was to become my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries. Today is the official release date of Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, the third book in the series.
But this wasn’t the end of the changes, either for me or the publishing industry. Many authors were beginning to have success with independent publishing, both with their backlists and never-before-published works. Once upon a time the thought of self-publishing would never have occurred to me. However, I was sitting on two out-of-print backlist books and several manuscripts that had received rejections, not due to the writing but for being the wrong manuscripts at the wrong time.
So this past summer I took the indie plunge. I brought out the unpublished works under a pen name, Emma Carlyle, because I didn’t want to confuse the fan base I’d built for my mysteries. Mystery readers read to solve whodunit; romance readers read for the relationship between the hero and heroine. I also published my two backlist books, two novellas, and a non-fiction book.
One of the novellas, Elementary, My Dear Gertie, is both a sequel to Talk Gertie To Me, and a cross-over, plunging the characters from my humorous women’s fiction novel into a mystery. Crewel Intentions is a short story featuring the protagonist from my mystery series.
And finally, there’s Top Ten Reasons Your Novel Is Rejected. This is a book that came about from teaching workshops and continuing education courses. After years of students telling me I should write a book on the subject, I finally did. The book contains much of what I’ve learned from my years as both a literary agent and a published author.
As I write this, I’m in the midst of more changes, having once again made a difficult take-a-deep-breath-and-do-what-you-know-you-need-to-do decision. I’m hoping for a positive outcome, but whatever happens, the one thing that’s certain is I’m changing once again. Tolstoy was so wrong.
Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack. Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Kirkus Reviews dubbed it, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” Death By Killer Mop Doll was released this past January. Crewel Intentions, an Anastasia Pollack Mini-Mystery is now available as an ebook, and Revenge of the Crafty Corpse is a January 2013 release.
Lois is also published in women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. In addition, she’s an award-winning crafts and needlework designer and an agent with the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency. She’s also the author of the recently released Top Ten Reasons Your Novel is Rejected.