The Joys of Variety in Publishing (Guest Post by Lara Nance) – Win A Copy of Memories of Murder!

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Update: The winner of Lara’s giveaway is Cynthia Clay. Congratulations Cynthia, you’ve won a copy of Laura’s book, Memories of Murder. I’ll shoot you an email now.

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Hi everyone. I have a special treat for you today. The fabulous Lara Nance is here to present a guest post on variety in publishing. Without further do, here she is:

I have seen so many stories lately about self-publishing success and people who are interested in different forms of publishing that it made me stop and evaluate my own goals.

A few years ago, I told myself that I only wanted to be traditionally published. I thought it a worthy goal and the only way to get enough distribution to make any serious money over time.

After many, many rejections from both traditional publishers and agents, I thought that a “yes” might be nice. So, I took my current work at that point and sent it to a small press that I had heard good things about. That book was Memories of Murder, which was just released this month, and the publisher was Crescent Moon Press.

It felt so great having something published that I was proud of, and a great group of people at CMP to work with. Then they accepted another book I had written before Memories and I was on cloud nine. I felt as though I finally had a foot in the publishing business, and it felt good!

Then about two weeks later, an agent who had my latest work, a steampunk adventure, offered me representation. I was ecstatic. That was back in November of 2010. She’s submitted that novel to 6 of the big NY publishers and the word is “prepare to wait in today’s market.”

So, I read these self publishing stories and with a big “DUH” I thought, why do you have to have only one goal? Why can’t you have some books published with small presses, some works in the hopper with traditional publishers, and even experiment with self-publishing if you want to? Guess what? You can!

As long as you abide by the contracts you have with publishers and agents, anything is possible. That’s why my agent and I agree that she will rep me on the books I choose. If I want to write a sequel to a book for CMP or self publish something, that’s my decision. As far as CMP is concerned, they only have a right of first refusal to any books I write that have characters from books they’ve previously published.

Sooo, what about that regency romance I wrote three years ago and shopped around to agents with no luck? It doesn’t fit with CMP and I decided after I wrote it that regency is not my big thing and I wouldn’t want to head in that direction with my agent. So, I may publish it myself under a pen name. Who knows, I might make some money from it instead of it gathering cyber-dust on my hard-drive.

I’ve realized the best part of having different goals in publishing is that all the activity keeps me REALLY busy. And that’s good because then I don’t worry about the book that’s been with publishers in NY for six months, I barely think about it in the midst of the whirlwind of promoting my books from CMP, self-pubbing my regency, and working on my current WIP (an urban fantasy I will submit to my agent).

Sure, today’s publishing world is a little schizophrenic and unsettled, but carpe diem! Seize the Day! Use the multitude of options out there to your advantage and you might find something you never dreamed of is your ticket to success. But, please, please, understand – you have to have a good story that’s well edited in any method of publishing to be successful.

What about you? Are you considering self-publishing? Do you have a success or horror story about an alternate form of publishing you tried? Let us know! (One lucky commenter will win your choice of an e-book or print copy of Lara’s book, Memories of Murder! Winner will be announced in an update to this post on Friday.)

Lara Nance

www.laranance.com

Author of Memories of Murder

Available at www.CrescentMoonPress.com

Bio:

Lara Nance grew up and lived in many cites through the South. She started out with a career in business/marketing for twenty years and then went back to school for a masters in nursing and is currently a nurse practitioner in Virginia Beach, VA.

Having been on the fencing team in college and now living on a sailboat convinces her that she was a pirate in another life, or possibly kin to Errol Flynn… However, due to the unfortunate demise of the romantic pirates of the past, she lives out her fantasies and adventures in her stories.

From ghosts, witches, and energy vampires to steampunk adventures, she is willing to explore a variety of paranormal activities within compelling tales of danger, suspense and romance. Look for interesting true historical tidbits woven into her fiction which invite the reader to explore further after the novel is finished.

Currently docked in Norfolk, Virginia (until the wind changes) Lara enjoys reading, of course writing, a variety of artistic endeavors, cooking and sailing with her husband, Joe, and Yorkie, Rio. You can visit her on her website: www.laranance.com

Blurb for Memories of Murder:

After Maeve renounces her powers as a witch and moves to Virginia to start a new life, the last thing she expects to see is a man jump to his death the second she gets out of her car. She also doesn’t expect to fall in love with the town’s sexy sheriff, Paul, the son of one of her Alzheimer patients. Unfortunately, as their relationship intensifies, so does the energy of the malicious presence haunting the old asylum whose ruins lie beneath where Maeve works.

When a century old journal with ties to the asylum’s long forgotten cemetery surfaces, Maeve must conquer her inner demons and harness the magic she’s denied in order to stop the murders. If she doesn’t, she and Paul may be the phantom asylum killer’s next victims.

Excerpt:

Copyright © 2011 Lara Nance
All rights reserved — a Crescent Moon Press publication

“Ready?” Maeve found Paul sitting in the foyer near the Golden Acres entrance. He had changed out of his uniform into black slacks, a white Polo shirt, and a tan raw silk blazer.

“Yes, let’s go. I’m in the Range Rover over there.” Paul pointed.

The tingle of excitement had returned upon seeing him. She walked to her car, a little breathless. Hopefully they could talk about more than ghosts and evil spirits tonight. She’d shut herself off from others since the attack, filled with guilt and fear. But she was desperate to get over the closed-off feeling that lingered and to connect emotionally to others.

She followed Paul’s car past the guardhouse, down the winding road alongside the mountain, and into downtown Rolling Gap. The view over the ravine to her right took her breath away. Jagged rocks interspersed with mountain laurel and cedar trees made a spectacular combination.

Paul sped away from her, going faster and faster. She frowned. Was he showing off? If so, it wasn’t funny. It was dangerous. Two of his wheels came off the road around a turn. When the tires landed back on the pavement, the brake lights remained red, but his car went faster. Her heart nearly stopped. Something had to be wrong with his car.

She increased her speed as much as she dared and lost her breath when he skidded around another curve, almost losing control. He could be killed! Instinct took control. Raising one hand from the wheel, she strained her fingers outward. She recited the words of old, and a silvery stream of mist flew from her hand. A sheen of perspiration dotted her upper lip as she twisted her fingers, melding strands of magical gossamer together to form a web that attached to Paul’s car. She pulled back on the strands and kept the vehicle from sliding off the edge of the ravine. Her voice grew louder. She tried to direct the path of the car with the web, but only managed to slow it. The best she could manage was to force the SUV into a tree to completely halt its progress.

She skidded to a stop beside him, jumped out, and ran to his door. Clouds of dust swirled up around them. He clutched both arms around the wheel, and a small cut on his forehead oozed blood. She wrenched open the door, and he tumbled out, keeping a hand on his arm as he looked back at his car.

“What the…”

“Paul, get in my car. Now. We have to get out of here.”

“The brakes just gave out on my truck. But I don’t know how it stopped.”

“That’s not what happened. You have to trust me. We have to get away from this place,” she pleaded.

He hesitated a second, then slammed his door shut and pushed her toward the driver’s side. He climbed into the passenger seat.

“Go.” He barked out the order with one hand on the dash.

He groaned and touched his head. She put the car in gear and hit the accelerator. She was glad he didn’t question the need for urgency or where she was taking him. She couldn’t explain anything until they were safely inside the protective barrier the Gems had spelled around her cabin.

They were only five minutes from her place, but it felt like an eternity getting there. She flew up the dirt road and skidded to a stop at the front door. Her mind reeled over what had just occurred. There was no denying she had her powers back, and she was grateful her witch instincts had taken control. If she had paused to think, Paul would be dead. But how had the binding broken?

“Maeve, wait a minute…”

“Come on.” She frantically pulled him inside the cabin, slammed the door shut, and took a deep breath. Liadan gazed up at her.

“Damn it, Maeve, what happened?” He spun her around to face him. His fingers dug into her upper arms.

“Come in, Paul. Sit down, and I’ll try to explain.” She breathed a sigh of relief as the grip on her arms relaxed. He followed her into the living room and sat on the sofa. She ran into the bathroom for the first aid kit and her medical bag.

She knelt before him, cleaned the wound on his forehead, and put a Band-Aid on it, even though he tried to brush away her ministrations. Then she checked his eyes and neurological status. No sign of cranial injury other than the small cut. Pulse was up, but then, so was hers. He had not sustained a serious injury. She had been so afraid the vehicle was going too fast when she moved it to crash into the tree, but it appeared he hadn’t hit his head very hard.

“My brakes gave out completely, and yet somehow my vehicle stopped. I don’t understand it.”

“I know, I know. Just…”

“I’m not stupid. This is almost exactly what happened to my father today.”

She nodded.

“You agree?” His brows went up.

“Yes, I do. And if I’m right, the same thing caused both accidents.”

She imagined the thoughts that must be running through his head. She had to tell him everything now. If she didn’t, he would be dead in the next few days. He needed protection.

She stood up. “Want a glass of wine? This is going to be a long conversation.”

“Since I was just nearly killed, how about some whisky?” He fell back against the sofa. Liadan put her paws on his chest and licked his face.

Maeve walked into the kitchen, trying to figure out how she’d gotten her powers back. It dawned on her that the morning after the Gems had arrived, her tea was not in its regular spot on the counter. She’d assumed her mother had only been cleaning, but apparently she’d also switched the contents of the jar to non-spelled tea.

She reached into the cabinet for the tea container and looked at it, shaking her head, then laughed. Never had she been so glad for the Gems meddling in her life. She threw it in the trash and returned to the living room with glasses, red wine, and a small bottle of George Dickel, missing a few sips. “Here you go.”

He took the whiskey and tossed back a shot, then poured another glass, which he held between his hands. “So, what is it that tried to kill me and my father today?”

“You’re not going to believe me at first, but if you’ll hear me out, I think I have a pretty good case.”

He gestured with one hand for her to begin.

“Everything I’ve seen and heard, all the information in the journal, points to the presence of an evil spirit. I believe it’s the spirit of Dr. Colton Carterage.”

Paul stared at her for several moments. “You’re serious.”

“Completely.” She poured herself a glass of red wine from the freshly opened bottle and sat in the chair across from him. A tingle of energy floated in the air. She recognized a witch cat at work. She tried desperately not to laugh at Liadan working her little cat magic on him, licking his face, nuzzling his chest, pushing her paws against his arm. He couldn’t have known what was happening, but darling LiLi was removing the mists of doubt from Paul’s eyes.

Maeve explained about patients in the dementia unit seeing the ghosts of people described in the book. She told him about the white deer and why the limb had fallen. When she came to the part she dreaded most, she looked at LiLi, and the cat complied. She curled up in his lap, purring, increasing the intensity of her witchy magic to strengthen his belief.

“There’s one more thing you need to know. My mother, my aunts…and me…we’re witches.”

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28 thoughts on “The Joys of Variety in Publishing (Guest Post by Lara Nance) – Win A Copy of Memories of Murder!

    Rosalie Lario responded:
    March 29, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Lara. I too have recently realized that variety is the key to success in today’s market. Plus, it’s also fun to be able to tell different types of stories!

      Lara Nance said:
      March 29, 2011 at 10:28 am

      Yes, it is! I’m also cautious because so many people are self-pubbing without doing their homework to make their book shine.
      We don’t want to make self-pubbing a bad word or it won’t work for anyone.

    Elizabeth Frost said:
    March 29, 2011 at 10:15 am

    No tales of publishing of any kind. But writing is like having your own small business and in this economic climate you haveto be flexible. And keep as much control over your career as you can.

    I’d like to also add that the excerpt was dynamite – very nicely done.

      Lara Nance said:
      March 29, 2011 at 10:29 am

      Elizabeth, thanks for the kind words on the excerpt.
      And so true, in today’s world flexibility is a MUST!!!

    Traci Bell said:
    March 29, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Hi Lara,

    Even Bob Mayer is stepping away from traditional publishing with his new novel coming out later this month. I think that’s a trend we will continue to see.

    Traci

    Lara Nance said:
    March 29, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Yes, Traci
    I’m very interested to see where all this is going. I’d sure love to be a success story in any of the options out there!!

    jean Murray said:
    March 29, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Lara,
    Diversify. I think that is very valuable advice. Book sellers do it, so should we. Great post.
    Jean

      Lara Nance said:
      March 29, 2011 at 11:01 am

      Yes, Jean
      Exactly. We need to stay open to new opportunities or we’ll be left behind for sure!

    Judi Judi Judi said:
    March 29, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Great post, Lara.
    I have books with two different small presses under two different names (pseudonym for my erotica). I love my publishers and will continue to work with them. But if I write something in the future that doesn’t quite fit for them, I wouldn’t hesitate to Kindle it.

    I have a sci fi that I’m hoping to pitch to Crescent Moon next month. If I don’t connect with the editor, I’ll submit anyway.

    I think it’s fabulous the way e-pubs and small presses have thrown the publishing doors wide open.

      Lara Nance said:
      March 29, 2011 at 11:03 am

      Ooooo I love Sci-fi! And Crescent Moon has been simply awesome to work with. Good luck with the submission!

    Debra Holland said:
    March 29, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Lara,

    I think you’re right about diversifying. I’m already diversified with my writing–nonfiction, fiction, including historical, paranormal, and contemporary–so why not with the way they are published?

    My original agent couldn’t sell my Golden Heart Winner, Wild Montana Sky, because it was “sweet,” not sexy. So I’m going to self-publish the series. The covers are being designed now.
    I have a fantasy series that I also want to self-publish. And I’m not sure what to do with my series contemporary. Maybe try Harlequin first.

    I have a nonfiction book on grief from a NY publisher coming out in November. And another nonfiction book on boundary setting with difficult people that I’m going to self-publish. Also another short nonfiction book for managers dealing with the sudden death of an employee to self-publish.

    I’ll have my agent submit my Space Opera to NY.

    I have some friends doing well with Kindle and Smashwords. The stories are enjoyable! Delle Jacobs is a good example. NY definitely missed out with not buying her! I have some other friends that I can’t wait to read. Now that the grief book is sent off to my editor, I have time for reading again. 🙂

      Lara Nance said:
      March 29, 2011 at 11:06 am

      Debra, I’ve heard that story a lot about major award winners not being able to get a contract because it doesn’t fit the NY mold.
      I still love Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer and they were sweet, so there has to be a market for it out there.
      Good luck on all your endeavors. Kudos for being true to yourself!

    Debra Holland said:
    March 29, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Lara,

    Thanks SO much for this comment. It’s so nice to have someone understand right away. It’s what I’ve been telling people for years. I LOVE Jane Austin and Georgette Heyer, too. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the sexy books, but I’d like a variety. Plus, I think there’s a whole demographic of readers who don’t like sexy, but don’t want inspirationals either. I think they may have stopped reading romance, so I don’t know how to reach them. I’ll welcome any ideas. 🙂

      Lara Nance said:
      March 29, 2011 at 11:43 am

      Exactly, My regency is VERY Georgette Heyer. No one would look at it, but I bet she out sells every other regency author out there. Sometimes it’s the witty social interaction that’s entertaining

    Debra Holland said:
    March 29, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Let me know why you self-publish your regency. I’ll buy it!!!

      Lara Nance said:
      March 29, 2011 at 11:54 am

      I will and you do the same!

    Bobbye Terry said:
    March 29, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Good for you, Lara!

    Just indie published my first in a sci-fi novel series and its historical prequel. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, but indie publishing is a lot of work.

      Lara Nance said:
      March 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      Any feedback on it yet? Sales? I’m thinking a big part of the success has to be pricing also. People are willing to risk $2.99 or 99 cents on an unknown author it seems. What do you think?

        Bobbye Terry said:
        March 29, 2011 at 1:31 pm

        Not many sales yet, but great reviews on my shorter read, Millicent. However, it will be featured at a prominent site at the end of the week, and I know that will help tremendously. It’s what put my Terry Campbell backlist with co-author Linda Campbell into orbit.

    Lara Nance said:
    March 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Well, good luck with it, Bobbye!

    Nina Pierce said:
    March 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I think the publishing world is changing so fast it’s only a good business decision to spread yourself throughout the market avenues. I’m dipping my toe into the self-publishing world this month … and crossing my fingers. 😉

      Lara Nance said:
      March 29, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      Good luck Nina! What genre? And what’s your pricing strategy?

    Christine Ashworth said:
    March 29, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Excellent points, Lara – you do sound busy! Congrats on the agent, and the release!

      Lara Nance said:
      March 29, 2011 at 7:55 pm

      Thanks, Christine! Yes, I go from one project to the next and I love to be busy! Keeps me from being impatient!

    Cynthia Clay said:
    March 29, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    First, congrats on your book sales and on getting an agent! Next, you left out one of the publishing options: e-publishers. There are legit e-publishers who do not charge you anything. They edit your book, create a cover, and sell it on their site. You get a royalty of 30% or so, depending on the publisher. Some of these publishers have been around for years and are profitable ventures. There is a list of legit e-publishers at epicauthors.com to get you started in your search for an e-publisher. Self published books still suffer a stigma against them, so try an e-publisher as part of your multi-publishing plans.

      Lara Nance said:
      March 29, 2011 at 7:59 pm

      Thanks, Cynthia. Good point. E-publishing is certianly an area that people need to consider with self-pubbing. Based on your goals and the genre, print may not be necessary. Do you homework and chose the best option for you.

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