Friday, October 23, 2015

The Long and Short of It


0715-9780373269532-bigwI’m delighted to welcome author M.E. May to Thoughts in Progress today to talk about her writing and her road to publishing using a small publishing company, self-publishing and now a large publishing company.

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to M.E. as she talks about ‘the long and short of it.’ Welcome, M.E.

After starting with a small press publishing my first novel, PERFIDY, in 2012, I thought I had it made. Unfortunately, many small presses have difficulties and to continue my series, I had to resort to publishing my own works. I made this decision in order to keep the fan base I had already established as it can take many years to find a publisher. 

Self-publishing is a tough road. Many people still consider independently published novels below standard. However, the changes in the publishing industry have forced many good, if not great, authors to publish on their own. Those of us, who look at our work as art as well as a creation for the enjoyment of others, do not stray from the processes which make our work as close to perfect as we can manage. 

The first and most important person to hire is the editor. A good editor can make or break your novel. They will not just watch for spelling and grammatical errors, but for the flow and content. As a reader, I become quite irritated if I have to flip back pages to try to understand what just happened. Or, if I’m told a character has dark hair and green eyes only to have them described in later chapters as blonde with blue eyes. Of course, one of my biggest pet peeves while reading is having a character completely disappear with no explanation. A good editor would never allow that to slip through the cracks.

A great graphic designer for your cover is also essential as well as having someone complete the formatting for all the versions. Unbelievably, it has to be formatted differently for the printed version, and for each of the different eBook versions. If you can learn to do these things yourself, that’s great. I prefer to hire someone so I can continue to write.

Keep in mind that just because you’re a self-published author doesn’t mean others won’t notice you. Sometimes it will happen when you least expect it. I attended a conference in Chicago in 2014 and an editor from Harlequin approached me. She asked if we could sit together at lunchtime. Apparently, she’d seen the ad I’d placed in the conference’s program and she told me the World Library Worldwide Mystery division was looking for new series. She gave me her card and told me to send the manuscript for PERFIDY if interested, because she’d love to consider it for their mass-market paperback distribution.

I was shocked and thrilled at the prospect. I sent the manuscript to her and six months later, she offered me a contract and asked to see the next two novels in the series. It wasn’t long before she’d sent contracts for INCONSPICUOUS and ENSCONCED. Once the fourth novel, PURGED, was released in November 2014, she accepted it as well. Having this version of the book gives me more flexibility in the distribution of my novels.

Into my fifth month of retirement, I’m finding more time to write and thus am thinking about venturing beyond the Circle City Mystery Series. I may even submit my new works to agents or publishers. Having the confidence of the Harlequin editor is a real boost to this venture. I have a young adult fantasy started and am working on a private detective series set in Chicago. There’s nothing but exciting times ahead.

If you’d like to try the Circle City Mystery Series, please visit my website: www.memay-mysteries.com and go to Books. You can click on any cover and transported to the site where these novels can be purchased.

Michele, thanks for joining us today and sharing this look at the publishing industry from an author’s viewpoint. Congrats on the Harlequin contracts.

For those not familiar with Michele, here’s a bit of background on her.

Author M.E. May - Thoughts in Progress
Author Michele (M.E.) May
Michele (M.E.) May attended Indiana University in Kokomo, Indiana, studying Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her interest in the psychology of humans sparked the curiosity to ask why they commit such heinous acts upon one another. 

Other interests in such areas as criminology and forensics have moved her to put her vast imagination to work writing crime fiction that is as accurate as possible. In doing so, she depicts societal struggles that pit those who understand humanity with those who are lost in a strange and dangerous world of their own making. 

In creating the Circle City Mystery Series, she brings to life fictional characters who work diligently to bring justice to victims of crime in the city of Indianapolis. Michele also hopes her readers will witness through her eyes, the wonderful city she calls her hometown. 

For more on Michele and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for dropping by today during Michele’s visit. What are your thoughts on the publishing industry?

60 comments:

  1. It is always interesting to read other's stories of their road to publication and this is an inspiring story to keep going and follow your dream.

    Hope you have a great day :)

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  2. This reader is always intrigued - and awed to read writers' tales of the road to publication.
    Thank you both so very much.

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  3. That's awesome you were offered a contract, Michele.
    And happy Blitz Day, Mason!

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  4. and a strict editor if I may ad!

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  5. Great story! It's funny how things happen when you least expect it.

    Oh, you're being blitzed. Happy Blitz Day!

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  6. I spent the last half of my 20s trying to get Harlequin to notice me, so that's an awesome story! It also answers a questions I've heard a lot of new authors ask--"If I self-publish, will I never be able to traditionally publish?" Some agents say you won't because potential editors look at your previous sales numbers and if they're low, as most self-pubs are, they'll dismiss you. But I think (and this proves) that if you're able to build a following, no matter what the size, on your own and you've proven you can deliver a book and put the work into promoting it, a smart editor will see you as an asset!

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  7. Michele, thanks again for joining us today. Learning about the publishing industry is always fun. Wishing you much success.

    Hi all, thanks for dropping by. I'm honored to be Blitz!

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  8. You've not big published, small published, and self-published. You know it all, Michele.

    Happy Blitz Day, Mason!

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  9. That's a wonderful story and one that should be a beacon for anyone struggling to find the right path to publication. Thank you for sharing it with us Michele...and thank you for giving her the opportunity Mason.

    BTW...it turns out...you're both being BLITZED today. Enjoy. :)

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  10. Very interesting journey!

    Happy Blitz Day!

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  11. It's really interesting to learn how other authors have made the publishing journey. Helpful, too! Thanks, both.

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  12. Mason, I love a good suspense story and when I'm looking for something new to read in that genre, I come here. Always a lot of good info shared by the authors. You rock my friend!

    Michele--you highlight well some of the difficulties that face authors when they embark on this crazy journey to write. I think you make a good point about building a readerbase. It takes time and one doesn't want to lose that base. I imagine having to strike out on your own or being prepared to do so, if problems develop with your publishing company, has to be a bit nerve racking.

    Recognizing the need for producing a high quality book to offer readers is #1. I agree that hiring professionals is the best way to go and leaves the imagination free to roam with new stories.

    Congratulations on the new publisher. That has to feel fabulous. Just goes to show that the hard work behind putting out high quality stories with a professional look does pay off!

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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  13. Congratulations to Michele! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. (Hello from Bloomington!)

    Happy Blitz Day, Mason! :)

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  14. Fantastic story. Persistence and obviously hard work certainly paid off in the end. You have both been BLITZED. Carolyn @ Pastimes-Passions-Parapjernalia.org

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  15. Fantastic story. Persistence and obviously hard work certainly paid off in the end. You have both been BLITZED. Carolyn @ Pastimes-Passions-Parapjernalia.org

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  16. Congratulations. That's a great story.
    -------------------
    BAZINGA!!

    You've been blitzed! Have a great day!
    Heather

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  17. I am not a writer but I always do enjoy reading about how people have succeeded in getting their books published, whether through doing it themselves or through a publisher. Great info shared by Michele here. Happy blitz to you Mason!

    betty

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  18. Hmm, I touch on some of these same issues in my post today. Congrats to Michelle for such good luck at the conference and for her series being picked up by a major publisher. Something we all dream of...

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  19. Like the Beatles sang, "It's a long and winding road..." To success as a writer, that is. Congratulations to Michele for having the talent and determination to make her way down all the roads she needed to travel to get her to where she is today.

    Oh, and Mason? How ya feeling? A little woozy, maybe? That's understandable, because you are getting BLITZED today! Enjoy. (Nice to meet you. )

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  20. Thanks for such an informative interview. The self publishing/indie industry has opened up doors for many books that might have ended up on the slush pile. Also, publishers can pull your books from the shelves with no recourse for the author. Now, the author can get back their publishing rights and self publish rather than have their books languishing in some basement.
    Ann

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  21. I feel like the current publishing industrial-complex, at least in the U.S., is severely broken and in need of major reforms. Traditional publishing was much different several decades ago, before agents existed in their current capacity and decided they had to be gatekeepers. Indie publishing gives more creative control and chance of getting out there, instead of having to gain several other people's approval and meet some kind of trend.

    Happy Blitz Day!

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  22. It is so important to have a good editor!

    Happy Blitz Day!

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  23. I think any author who goes the traditional publishing route needs to get a tee shirt along with their contract that says "Survivor: Literary Edition". :p

    I'm adoring that gif in your "Welcome" section, Mason.! Happy Blitz Day!

    BTW, diggin the premise for the Circle City Mysteries!

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  24. happy blitz! loved reading this journey!

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  25. Happy Blitz Day to Mason!

    What a great author story! Thanks for sharing your experience, Michele.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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  26. I'm imagining the wealth of knowledge acquired by an author who's travelled various pathways - first a small publishing company, then the self-publishing route and now using a large publishing company. Congrats to Michele!

    Happy Blog Blitz Day, Mason!!

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  27. Sounds like you've run the gamut of the publishing world! Happy Blitz Day.

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  28. I've gone the other direction, from self-published to a small publisher. My first book with the publisher comes out in January, so it will be interesting to see how different the process is. Happy Blitz!

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  29. Nice guest post, Michele. And happy blitz, Mason!

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  30. Wow, and I just want to get my foot in the door. I could learn a lot from you, M.E. This business is so tough. I agree that self-publishing is a rough road to walk down. But traditional is so hard that it forces people to rethink their priorities where self-publishing is concerned.

    Have a beautiful blitz day! And loved the post from M.E.

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  31. Really nice blog Mason. Happy Blitz Day!
    Marlene

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  32. That was an awesome journey Michele. Nice to have a publisher approach you. I think its a tough road for self pub and traditional pub for authors. Lots of small publishers require you to do your own marketing, which is the worst of book sales.

    Hi Mason :)

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  33. Bless you for doing reviews and interviews! And Happy, Happy, Happy Blitz Day!

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  35. Happy blitz day from http://Bookschatter.blogspot.co.uk !!!!

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  36. Happy blitz day from http://Bookschatter.blogspot.co.uk !!!!

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  37. Congrats to Michelle! And Happy Blitz Day to you~
    ATB

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  38. Congratulations, Michelle! What an encouraging story!!

    Happy Blog Blitz Day to Michelle and Mason!

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  39. Michelle's story highlights the growing options for authors -- but also the need to produce the best product possible, no matter how you publish. Great post!

    Happy Blitz Day, Mason!

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  40. Michelle, I enjoyed your story. I wish you all the success.
    Happy Blitz Day, Mason. Would love to have you review one of my books!
    Sylvie Grayson

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    1. Sylvie, drop me an email (mcbookshelf@gmail.com).

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  41. Great piece by Michelle. I like that she believed in her work and continued to publish after her small publisher did not continue with her series. Her story is inspirational and gives me hope. Thanks for sharing. BTW: Happy Blitz Day!

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  42. Congratulations, Michele.
    And Happy BlogBlitz!

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  43. Happy Blitz Day, Mason!

    And Congratulations, Michelle! Thanks for sharing your publication journey.

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  44. That's an amazing success story! Just think, if she'd been too scared to self publish, she might've never made the Harlequin contact. What an inspiration. Thanks for introducing M.E. Oh, and happy Blitz Day!!

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  45. Happy blitz day! :) Thanks for sharing the story.

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  46. Happy Blog Blitz Day! Congrats to M.E. May on her wonderful successes!

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  47. How wonderful! Thanks for sharing this post and introducing Michele, and Happy Blitz day!

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  48. Happy Blitz Day!

    Congratulations to M.E. May on her successes!

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  49. Achievement requires effort, but it's always heartening to hear those who have achieved say the effort is worth it. :)

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  50. Guys, I'm overwhelmed by the Blitz. Thanks so much!! ;-)

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  51. I love reading about the publishing journeys of others. They're all so unique and inspiring. Happy Blitz Day!

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  52. Michele has a great story to share about her path to publication.
    Happy Blitz day to Mason.

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  53. Congrats and great story. Thanks for sharing it for your blitz day :)

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  54. Happy Belated Blitz day - I wrote a note to remind myself about the blitz... and then still forgot! :)

    Chippy

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  55. Happy Blitz Day, a day late :-) Was happy to come by and find this post, though. It's always interesting to hear about another writer's journey to publishing.

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  56. Sorry I'm so late to the party....HAPPY BLITZ DAY!!!!

    Congratulations to Michele on her journey and story. :)

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  57. Thanks for sharing your story, Michele. Love the idea of self-publishing leading to recognition from the industry!

    Happy very belated blog blitz day, Mason!

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I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.