I’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 Michele (M.E.) May|
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?