Category Archives: Publishing a Book

Wondering about publishing a book? Authors share stories of how they first published. Scroll to bottom of current post to access previous stories.

Publishing a Book: Christian fiction author Lisa Lickel Tells How She First Published

Lisa Lickel D (3) 46 KBWondering how to go about publishing a book? A couple of weeks ago, I started off a new blog feature called How I First Published. I told my story, then invited other writers to share theirs. I’ve had an overwhelming response and have a lot of great stories coming up to share with you. First up is Lisa Lickel.

Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. A muti-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and magazine editor. Visit her at LisaLickel.com. And now, here’s my interview with Lisa:

What was your first published novel?

My first published novel was The Gold Standard, a cozy mystery.

Was it a traditional publishing contract or did you go indie?

The book was for Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents: Mysteries book club that had a brief run, 2008-2010.

How did that come about?

I had joined ACFW, American Christian Fiction Writers, and was in a critique group when the news that Barbour was hatching a new line came down the pipe. I had never heard of a cozy mystery, but I liked mysteries, so I thought I’d give it a try. I was signed nearly right away, much to my surprise.

How did this make you feel? Has it been as good as you expected, or a letdown, or exhausting, for example?

I was ecstatic and nervous at the same time, especially since my agent told Barbour the manuscript was finished—which it wasn’t. I ended up writing the first draft, less the first three chapters, over the next four days. The experience tanked after that, to be honest, due to a lot of things which ended up with the cancellation of the book club not long afterward. These things happen!

Tell us what’s happened with your writing journey since.

I’ve been blessed to publish at least one novel and other things at least once a year ever since 2009. I have an agent, and have since expanded into professional editing. I’ve had a dozen novels published since then; even my first two have been resold and repackaged by new publishers, and I’ve met great people in all walks of the writing field. Several of my editing clients have won awards, and I’m honestly for them.

Now…tell us about some of your books and where our readers can find them:

THELASTDETAIL_EBOOK_arr (2)The Last Detail

Hope, love, and loss meld two polar opposite personalities. How long can they keep passion for their ministry and each other after the wedding?

$3.99 eBook/$14.99 Print

Publisher: Prism Book Group, Illuminate: http://www.prismbookgroup.com/TheLastDetail.html

Amazon http://amzn.to/1a0Bapx

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/1cKdDcK

Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/390240

All Romance ebooks: http://bit.ly/1hDtSNh

 

bravenewcentury_new_arr (2)Brave New Century

Brave New Century is an anthology of four novellas featuring young women at the turn of the twentieth century, finding their identity and love as they enter into a new era in which women’s suffrage and independence were first making national headlines.

13.99 print 3.99 eBook

 

Publisher: Prism Book Group, Illuminate: http://www.prismbookgroup.com/BraveNewCentury.html

Amazon Kindle or Pint: http://amzn.to/1fejbQc

Smashwords eBook formats: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376373

Barnes and Noble, Nook or Print: http://bit.ly/19dtyw3

 
Soon to be in print!

Healing-Grace-v2b (2)

Healing Grace

Grace has a secret. Just like her aunt, and her grandmother before her, she could fix anyone with a touch, at a cost she never questioned— until her husband developed cancer and died.

Soon to be in print!

$5.95 eBook, discounted

MuseItUp store – http://bit.ly/1pK9IGj

Amazon http://amzn.to/1iYA1Wm

Barnes and Noble – http://bit.ly/1o9Y567

Kobo – http://bit.ly/TDSgnW

Smashwords -http://bit.ly/1lAimiv

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How I First Published: Robin Johns Grant

First time holding a copy of my first book,  Summer's Winter.
First time holding a copy of my first book, Summer’s Winter.

This is the first in what I hope  to be a regular series of posts in which authors tell us about their first publication experience. I’m going first, experimenting on myself, as usual. If you’re a published author–indie, traditional, small press, whatever–and would like to be featured, use the Contact tab at the top of the page and let me know. You would be answering these same questions–and can plug  any current project you would like to, naturally! Your book(s) don’t have to be specifically Christian, but I won’t feature books that are offensive or contrary to a mainstream Christian worldview. Hey, it’s my blog, right?

HOW I FIRST PUBLISHED

What was your first published novel?

Summer’s Winter, which I published in January of this year. I just happen to have the tagline handy: When preacher’s daughter Jeanine meets her obsession, movie star Jamie, his dark secrets threaten her faith and her life.

I call it a love story wrapped in a mystery. When forced to choose a genre for it, I have to choose Christian romantic suspense. There is most definitely love and suspense!

Was it a traditional publishing contract or did you go indie?

After trying to land a traditional publishing contract for literally decades, I finally went indie, although I used Story Merchant Books to do the publishing work for me instead  of doing everything myself.

How did that come about?

It came at the end of an incredibly long and winding road. If you want to know more about that journey, click on the tab at the top of this page that says The Queen’s Archives. That’s my old blog, from the days I was trying so desperately to land a contract and dealing with frustration and particularly with learning to trust and wait on the Lord. This post is my announcement that I had finally decided to go Indie. I was afraid my writer friends would see me as a quitter, but they’ve been very supportive.

But I digress. As I reached one of those points in my life when I was ready to give up on the whole thing and take up knitting or quilting or almost anything other than writing, I went to a Nancy Grace book signing. Nancy is a well-known TV personality and has her own show on HLN, as well as having written two NYT best-selling suspense novels. She is also a childhood friend of mine. She asked about my writing and then, hallelujah!—she offered to help me.

Now, if I was telling any story other than my own life story, at this point Nancy would have gotten me a fat publishing contract and I, too, would be a best-selling author today. I would also have lived happily ever after. Possibly in a castle.

But this is my life story and if there’s one thing God wants to teach me, it’s patience. Nancy referred me to a man named Ken Atchity, who has worn many hats: writer, literary agent,  publicist, even film producer. He suggested major edits to the manuscript of Summer’s Winter, and then when we both thought it was in great shape, he gave me a choice. Choice one, he would represent me as a traditional literary agent. But he warned me that the traditional publishing model was getting harder and harder for a new writer to break into. I should be prepared to…guess what…WAIT. It might take a long time. Choice two, I could go ahead and get Summer’s Winter out there. Based on what he was seeing happen in the publishing world, he believed not only that indie authors can be successful these days, but also that traditional publishers get a lot of their new talent by scooping up successful indie authors. It sort of stinks, but it also makes sense from their point to sign authors who have already proved they can market their books—and write stories that people want to read.

So, I opted to go indie and see what would happen. I was just coming off an unsuccessful five-year stint with another agent and was ready to try something different.

How did this first publication make you feel? Has it been as good as you expected, or a letdown, or exhausting, for example?

All of the above! Plus just about every other emotion you can imagine. I have loved interacting with readers who enjoyed Summer’s  Winter.

 

It's a great book. Really. I swear.
It’s a great book. Really. I swear.

I’ve had really exciting times when I was receiving good reviews and selling well. Probably the most exciting thing to me was that John Granger, who writes books of literary analysis and is a Harry Potter expert, read my book, loved it, and interviewed me on his blog! What an honor that was! (I mean, hey, this man is an expert on REAL literature!)

And then there have been times like this past week, when sales and reviews have dried up and I’m incredibly frustrated again. I never would have dreamed how much time it takes to market a book. I have a full-time job as a librarian, and I feel like marketing is another full-timer. And oh yeah, I need to squeeze in family and writing more books somewhere!

When you self-publish, you can feel it’s all on your shoulders, that you’re bearing the burden alone. Fortunately I belong to a wonderful Christian marketing group called  the John 3:16 Marketing Network. Just today, they were reminding me that it’s NOT all in my hands, but in God’s. I should know that myself, but sometimes you need brothers and sisters around to remind you.

Tell us what’s happened with your writing journey since.

I finished writing my next book, Jordan’s Shadow, which is a creepy gothic young adult novel. It’s still in the hands of two traditional publishers who have shown interest, but the process is just so slow. I’m trying to decide whether to keep waiting on them or continue this indie path. It’s still up in the air right now. I also just started writing the sequel to Summer’s Winter.

 

 

 

 

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