Let's get this summer weekend started with A Thin Slice of Heaven, a juicy paranormal-romance from author p.m. terrell.
You know it's not very often I have such established authors visit my blog, but when I'm lucky enough to have them, I love to find out their thoughts about the publishing industry.
Sooo, I call p.m. terrell to center stage.
Take it away.
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What would I tell a new author?
My first book was published in 1984, eight years before smart phones, sixteen years before the iPad and fourteen years before Google launched. Most people didn’t have email addresses, queries were done the old-fashioned way with self-addressed-stamped-envelopes for the return of printed manuscripts, and editing was done with red pens. I’ve seen more changes in the publishing industry than I ever could have imagined, and one of the most profound changes has come through the rise of Indie authors and pop-up publishers.
So what would I tell a new author who is just getting started in this industry?
1) Don’t quit your day job. It was true then and it’s still true today. You might believe your manuscript is the best thing to hit the world since fires and wheels, but trust me: it isn’t. Unless your publisher specifically tells you that they’re investing tens of thousands of dollars in your promotion and marketing campaign, you are not going to have people lined up around the block just for a glimpse of you. You won’t reach the New York Times bestseller list without somebody’s deep pockets, and your income probably won’t fund that yacht you’ve had your eyes on.
2) Get your ego off your shoulder. There really is no room for big egos in the publishing industry. Publishers and literary agents will recognize an inflated ego from miles away and the doors will slam in your face. You are not special just because you wrote a book; you’re only special if you wrote a great one. And you won’t be the judge of that; the public will.
3) Never write to stroke your image. If the reason you are writing that manuscript is for people to praise you, then stop writing now. If you ask someone for an opinion, be prepared for an honest one—and whatever you do, don’t shoot the messenger.
4) Write because it makes you feel good. Every successful author knows what its like to be “in the zone” –as if the words, scenes and characters were being handed to you by some unseen muse. If your book is never published and another soul never reads it, it’s still a worthwhile venture if you enjoyed writing it or the act of writing transformed you.
5) Never preach. Your book should never seek to impart your personal viewpoints unless you already have a claim to fame as a political pundit, religious zealot or noted expert, and the book is an extension of that. Otherwise, keep your opinions to yourself.
6) Have a point. Don’t meander all over the place. Point A is where you started and Point Z is where you’ll end. It’s the telling of how you reached that final destination that is the story, and it must be concise and entertaining. Keep your plot in mind every step of the way.
7) Keep it moving. Life is filled with minutiae. Books are not. Every page must propel the story forward; if it doesn’t, it’s just bogging things down.
8) Learn the industry. Whether you are traditionally published or self-published, it benefits everybody if you can learn as much as possible about this industry: the editing process, the production process, distribution, retailers, publishers, marketing and promotional campaigns, royalty statements, assessing what works and what doesn’t. Because when that book is out of your hands, its success remains in your hands.
9) Have a plan. Develop a strategy for getting your name and your book in front of the public, whether it’s through media coverage, physical book signings, Internet appearances, or a combination. Then be ready at a moment’s notice to change it, tweak it, fix it or start over. This industry is moving fast and, as Stewart Brand stated, “…if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” He might have said it about technology but it’s true in the publishing industry as well.
10) Remember it is a journey. Writing the book is the easy part; marketing it will be the most difficult task you’ll ever undertake unless you’re already a successful marketing guru. At one time, publishers gave books three months to sink or swim but that isn’t true anymore. You can’t give up three months or six months or nine months down the road. And if you can’t learn to enjoy the ride, it isn’t worth doing.
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Thank you so much for sharing.
Now on to the good stuff, so grab a comfy chair and a cool drink because this little gem will have you hooked and wanting more in no time.
A Thin Slice
by p.m. terrell
She had arranged to meet her husband in Northern Ireland for a second honeymoon, but when Charleigh arrives at the remote castle, she receives a message that he won’t be coming—and that he’s leaving her for another woman.
Stranded for the weekend by a snowstorm that has blocked all access to the castle, she finds herself three thousand miles from home in a country she knows nothing about.
She is soon joined by Sean Bracken, the great-grandson of Laird Bracken, the original owner of the castle, and she finds herself falling quickly and madly in love with him. There’s just one problem: he’s dead.
As the castle begins to come alive with secrets from centuries past, she finds herself trapped between parallel worlds. Caught up in a mass haunting, she can no longer recognize the line between the living and the dead. Now she’s discovering that her appearance there wasn’t by accident—and her life is about to change forever.
“What’s happening?” Charleigh whispered. Her throat had grown dry and her voice was hoarse with tension. Though she attempted to keep her tone low so they would remain unobserved, it sounded loud and harsh in the strident atmosphere that seemed suddenly to have gripped the village. She felt anxiety growing deep within her and the urge to get back to the castle burgeoned with ferocity and urgency; but she realized with a sickening sensation in the pit of her soul that the growing inharmonious throngs were between them and the sanctuary of her room.
“Do not be afraid, m’ Leah,” Sean answered. He did not whisper but his voice was deep and taut. After a moment, he said, “They are reenacting an event that occurred… some time ago.”
“Oh,” she breathed. She should have felt relief but her insides continued to roil as if his explanation did not match the scene unfolding before her. Nervously, she said, “Reenactors. We have them in America.”
“You have witnessed them, then?”
“Yes. I find them very interesting…” She forced the words past her dry lips. “They reenact battles from the Civil War and the Revolutionary War, mainly.”
As the churning skies turned to the color of tar, Charleigh could discern the sources of the strange glow: they were torches held aloft by dozens of people. More were joining them, stragglers rushing from the village to catch up, while they began to spread apart in a more orderly column as they converged on the flat land they’d crossed on their way into the village. One man in the forefront stopped and began pointing and directing those that followed.
“These reenactments,” Sean continued, “were the people alive?”
p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, a multi-award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than twenty books in five genres: contemporary suspense, historical suspense, romance, computer how-to and non-fiction.
Prior to writing full-time, she founded two computer companies in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. Among her clients were the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Secret Service, U.S. Information Agency, and Department of Defense. Her specialties were in white collar computer crimes and computer intelligence, themes that have carried forward to her suspense.
She is also the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation, an organization committed to raising public awareness of the correlation between high crime rates and high illiteracy rates. She is the organizer and chairperson of Book ‘Em North Carolina, an annual event held in the real town of Lumberton, North Carolina, to raise funds to increase literacy and reduce crime. For more information on this event and the literacy campaigns funded by it, visit www.bookemnc.org.
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Thanks for stopping by today p.m. terrell and the best of luck with A Thin Slice of Heaven.