Tag Archives: #self-publishing

Mystery Writer Barbara Ann Derksen Tells How She First Published


Christian Canadian mystery author Barbara Ann Derksen.
Barbara Ann Derksen

I’m so happy today to have Canadian author Barbara Ann Derksen on “How I First Published.” Barbara writes fabulous mysteries. I  love her latest series, Finders Keepers. And now, here’s Barbara to tell us how she published.

Essence of Evil by Canadian Christian author Barbara Ann Derksen

What  was  your  first published novel? Did you go  indie or traditional?

 My first book was in the mystery genre and written from a collection of short stories while I worked as a journalist for a nearby newspaper. When the story was finished, I sent query letters to several traditional publishers expecting to be “discovered.”
Eleven rejection letters later, I began to explore self-publishing. .

The name of the book is Mind Trap. It is the story of a woman with anger issues stemming from abuse when she was a child and how it affects her life and the lives of those around her. Road rage is a topic that radio shows and TV interviews picked up on because she used her car as a murder weapon in a fit of rage. That was in 2003. Then in 2004 I attended my first writer’s conference and learned what I didn’t know and why the book was not picked up by a traditional publisher.

I chose to use Authorhouse. I learned a lot but found over the years better ways to publish that are less costly and more supportive. I discovered that whether you publish traditionally or indie, the work of marketing is pretty much left to you. These days we need to have a social media voice and a brand before the traditional publishers will even look at you. I also write in different genres (May be good or bad depending on who you listen to) and a traditional publisher, I’ve been told, won’t let you do that.

Authorhouse created my cover based on the short synopsis I gave them of the book. However, now that I’ve pulled the book to rewrite and edit it, I will also have a new cover designed. I’ve learned a lot about what to do and what not to do since Mind Trap was published so plan to put my knowledge to work to perfect the story. Once they had the book done, I began to make the rounds of bookstores in major cities nearby and schedule TV and radio spots when I could to let people know I was in their city. It was a learning experience all around but fun.

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

I experienced a wonderful sense of accomplishment when I held that book in my hands for the first time, as I do with each subsequent novel I’ve written. I was disappointed that some publisher wasn’t just waiting for my work but then I didn’t know how many manuscripts they have to peruse and at the first writer’s conference I learned they can afford to be choosy. I also learned that my boss was God and that to submit shoddy work was not appropriate. Writing from a Christian perspective is ministry, a calling from God. So the results, if I’ve done my part, are His.

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

Since that first book, I’ve successfully self-published 18 titles. I’ve completed a four-book series in the mystery genre with two books of another series done. Six devotionals speak to motorcyclists and others on a variety of topics and three books are children’s stories with another children’s series in audio book form only. I completed a collection of short stories honoring the veterans of the Korean Conflict, and a household management guide for busy parents. I am currently working on Book three in the Finder’s Keepers Mystery Series.

Shadow Stalker, Book one in Finder’s Keepers:

Shadow Stalker, Book one in Finder's Keepers, Christian mystery series
An ominous shadow hangs over her, as Christine Finder, alias Melissa Rompart, visits the
brutal slaying of her parents most nights in a dream. The threat of discovery propels her to search for the
whereabouts of the killer to see the man brought to justice. In the meantime, the killer stalks her mind
while she operates Finder’s Keepers, an agency that searches for the people her clients hire her to find.
Nathan Brent is only four years old and missing. Will she find him in time or will the killer find her first?


About Barbara:

Born in Canada, Barbara lived in the US for 12 years. There her writing surfaced as she worked under contract as a journalist for six years with over 2500 articles published in newspapers and magazines during that time. Meeting and interviewing people, digging for the hidden gems in their lives, made those years informative as well as instructive. She began attending Colorado Christian Writer’s Conferences and each year, under the tutelage of great Christian writer’s like James Scott Bell, Angela Hunt, and others, she honed her skills.

Barbara has developed a speaking platform and has spoken across the US and in Manitoba, Canada for women’s groups and in church services on topics such as The Writing Experience, working in the ministry of Christian Motorcyclists Association, Love, Parenting, Time Management, and a host of others.

With 17 books to her credit, one currently inactive and awaiting revision, each one surpasses the last, according to her readers. They look forward to discovering the new characters in a new series Finders Keepers.  (Book One  is Shadow Stalker.)

Connect with Barbara at:
Google + – http://bit.ly/1fvrT7L
Twitter – http://twitter.com/@BarbaraADerksen

Ane Mulligan: the “long way around” to first publishing contract

Ane Mulligan, author of Southern fried Christian fiction
Ane Mulligan

I am absolutely thrilled to have Ane Mulligan telling the story of her first publishing contract on “How I First Published,” for several reasons. First, she was gracious enough to be on my blog the day before the release of her first novel, Chapel Springs Revival. Second, Ane is special to me because she’s the one who suggested the title of my first novel, Summer’s Winter–a title I still love–and because she forgave me with good humor when I forgot to put her in the  Acknowledgements. I’m also so glad to have Ane tell her story because I so identify with it–the long wait, wondering if you’re on the right road, learning to trust God. It’s a very encouraging story. So enjoy, and congratulations, Ane! I’m going to pre-order your book as soon as I get  this post done! 

Chapel Springs Revival by Anne Mulligan

What was your first published novel?

Chapel Springs Revival releases tomorrow (September 8).

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

I started long before Indie lost the “vanity” aspect. I had a dream of publishing traditionally and so I waited until that happened.

 How did that come about?

The long way around. In 2003, I started my first novel and found some crit partners, ones who told me plainly I had a lot to learn. I bought all the books on the craft of fiction writing they recommended. I read them and absorbed more.

In 2006, an editor took my manuscript to committee. While I waited for the result, expecting a contract of course, I got an agent. However…sigh…the editorial committee said no. I was discouraged. I asked God…okay, I whined…why wasn’t I getting anywhere? I needed a sign. And God gave me the one in the form of an editor affirming my writing. That carried me for months.

I kept writing and going to conferences and learning more. In 2010, my agent called to say my manuscript had passed editorial committee and was going to pub board. Pub board loved it, but their slate was filled, so the editor would hold it for their next quarter. Only she retired and her computer hard drive was wiped clean. I was lost in cyber oblivion. Then my agent retired.

Do you see a pattern here? I did and it looked like a maze.

Once again, I whined, “Lord, what’s going on?”

And He said, “Wait. Trust me.” He didn’t offer me another choice, so I chose to trust.

It wasn’t too long before my agent received an offer for a 2-book contract. But once again, God said no, we both felt it, and we turned it down. By this time, I began to wonder if I’d ever publish. Yes, that was my goal, but if God had something different for me, I was fine with it. I just felt bad for my agent, who worked so hard for me.

Then, in August of 2013, nearly eleven years after I began this journey, my agent called with an offer from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. And my heart quickened. All right, God! This was it. This time, He said, “Yes.”

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

It’s been wonderful. I’ve got an author rep, who has guided me through the process, and a wonderful editor, one whose writing I’ve loved for years! I also was blessed with a fairly easy edit, due in large part to my wonderful crit partners!

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

Office of Southern Christian author Ane Mulligan

I took a short break and Hubs and I did the Great Office Switch. I’d been writing for years from a corner of the master bedroom. It was time for a real office. I’m delighted to say, it’s complete and I’m working on the third book in the series.

 About Ane:

While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.


About Chapel Springs Revival

With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It’s impossible not to, what with Claire’s zany antics and Patsy’s self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is personal.

With their marriages in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.