Category Archives: Publishing

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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When planning our next steps: consider successes or failures?

29fll.jpg.w300h206I started off today in a quandary about the next step in my writing and publishing journey. If I continue to throw myself into making a go of indie publishing, then I need to come out with another book soon. I have another book, Jordan’s Shadow, almost ready.  Jordan’s Shadow is a creepy YA gothic suspense novel. (If you want to read the beginning of it, see the form over on the right side of the page.) The manuscript is in the hands of Beta readers and hopefully the changes I’ll need to make based on their reading won’t take long.

But…around the end of 2013, I submitted a proposal for Jordan’s Shadow to a small press that I thought would be the perfect fit for it. They liked the proposal and requested the full manuscript—a great sign. I sent them the full manuscript on January 2 and was warned that it could take them one to two years to make a decision. One to two years!

I had also sent a query letter to another small press about Jordan’s Shadow. Now, a query is the very first step in the publishing process—just a letter asking for permission to submit a proposal—and then you hope after that they will request the full manuscript. It took this press five months to respond to my query. It was a very nice response, expressing interest and asking for a proposal. But five months to respond to a letter! Based on that, I would assume it will take them eight or nine months to respond to a proposal. And if they ask for the manuscript? Good grief, probably another year or two.

Actually, none of this surprises me, since I’ve spent several decades playing this game. I thought I’d given it up. Still, it’s awfully hard to just say no to a traditional publisher that’s considering your work. I’ve been out there on my own for a few months now—footing the bill all by myself, marketing all by myself. The idea of having someone else take some of that burden off my shoulders is absolutely delicious.

As I’ve been racking my brain about which direction to go from here with my writing—throw myself completely into indie publishing and get to work on Jordan’s Shadow, or sit back and wait once again on my personal Holy Grail, the traditional publishing contract—I ended up reading two different articles in which writers talk about success and failure.

Funny how that happens, isn’t it?

One is a post by Dan Balow on The Steve Laube Agency’s blog. The other was assigned reading as part of a Mythgard class I’m taking on the Harry Potter series.—J.K. Rowling’s commencement address at Harvard University a few years ago.

Balow maintained that your successes will ultimately determine your writing path, not the plans you make for yourself. Rowling seemed to be saying the opposite—that your failures can be the most important, and ultimately most beneficial, parts of your life.

I honestly think, though, that both authors are getting at the same thing. Rowling said, “Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.” (Writing novels, fortunately for us!) Failure, she said, was important because it was a “stripping away of the inessential.” She was no longer wasting time on what didn’t matter, because she had failed at those things and had to leave them behind, anyway.

Balow says, “your future is determined more by your successes than by your plans…Across all of the arts, there are actors, authors, singers, comedians, painters and composers who at one point early in their lives had dreams that were much wider or at least different than what they are currently experiencing, but their success in a certain arena has determined their future.”

In agonizing over the next step in my writing career, I asked my online marketing group for advice. One of them told me to ask myself what I really want from my writing—which is funny, because when I spoke to a creative writing class recently, I told them the same thing. I still think it’s good advice. However, as Balow says, we need to “avoid over-thinking and over-planning. Especially for Christian authors, there is the underlying power of God who often makes no logical sense to us as to what He is doing, at least until we can see what His purpose really is.”

I can worry over a decision until my head aches—which it currently is—but ultimately, God will determine the outcome anyway.

And that’s really a good thing, isn’t it?

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