Monday, April 9, 2012

Author Lisa April Smith Talks About Self-Publishing

As more and more writers turn to self-publishing, readers have an ever growing list of new books to enjoy and new authors to follow. 

I’m delighted to welcome self-publish author, Lisa April Smith, here today to talk about her latest release, EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS, and what made her decide to self-publish. She’s stopping by as part of her Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tour.
Thanks to Lisa and the good folks at Pump Up Your Book, I have a copy of EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS to giveaway to 1 lucky visitor who comments on this post by 8 p.m. (EST) on Monday, April 16. Now, here’s Lisa.

I often hear from fans who start by praising my writing before politely asking the hard question, “What made you decide to self-publish?” 

I am happy to explain. Some aspiring authors never find an agent willing to read their manuscripts, let alone represent them. I’ve had three. I won’t bore you with the sorry details of near-miss sales, including a full year spent doing rewrites for a senior editor at Putnam Penguin, who was fired in a downturn. 

Exceeding ExpectationsMy third and last agent belonged to one of the largest and most prestigious literary agencies in the world and represented a long list of famous authors. The day I received word that she loved EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS and my writing, and wanted to represent me, I literally danced around the room. Unfortunately, in 5 years under contract she sold nothing of mine. I don’t blame her for trying to stay afloat by concentrating all her time and energy on her A-list authors. The stories she shared, of desperate authors and long-negotiated contracts not signed at the last minute, are heartbreaking.  

As readers, you probably know that publishing isn’t the business it was 20 years ago. It isn’t the business it was 3 years ago. It’s changing so fast the principals don’t know how to react. At one time, recently demised Borders had 1,200 stores. Consider the impact of closing 1,200 major retail outlets on publishers. It’s been attacked on all sides, not only by the Great Recession but also by the continuing growth of its major competitor, Amazon. Perhaps the greatest blow came from eBooks, coupled with the unprecedented success of self-published eBooks. 

In March, 2011, almost 1 out of 3 of Amazon’s 50 top selling eBooks sold for less than $3.99 – the overwhelming percentage self-published. Apparently, price matters to buyers. With the ability to read the first 30 pages free before buying, and an easy return policy, readers no longer automatically dismiss self-published authors. 

That movement continues growing. I didn’t need a crystal ball. April 1, 2011 I severed my contract with my agent. July 1st, 2011, I joined the eBook revolution with DANGEROUS LIES. EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS officially launched Jan. 1, 2012. 

Lisa, thanks for guest blogging today and giving us an inside look at why authors self-publish. Being able to self-publish does have its advantages for both the author and the reader.

Here’s a little background on Lisa. She lives with her husband, He-who-wishes-to-remain-anonymous, in Eternal Playland, Florida, a delightful spot just off I-95. Lisa describes Eternal Playland as: “a little piece of level heaven with occasional dampness, where the bugs are plentiful but respectful, and even the smallest strip mall contains at least one pizza place and a nail salon.”

Before discovering a passion for writing, Lisa sold plumbing and heating, antiques, taught ballroom dancing, tutored, modeled, designed software and managed projects for IBM and returned to college multiple times to study anthropology, sociology and computer science, in which she holds degrees, as well as psychology, archeology, literature, history and art. Combine those widely diverse interests with a love of travel and a gift for writing page-turners and it’s easy to understand one reviewer’s unbridled praise for EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS, “She (Ms. Smith) has a brilliance for conveying characters, and the intellectual capacity to place them in historical settings that sparkle with glamorous detail. . . that make it fun to read . . .” 

But it takes much more than lush settings, an eye for detail and a love of history to write a page-turner. Here’s what another reviewer said about EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: “Lisa April Smith . . . has woven an intriguingly rich tapestry of delightful well-developed characters into a perfectly balanced plot bursting with riveting mystery, crimes of the petty and the horrible sort, suspenseful twists, and romantic tension complete with love scenes that sizzle and pop.”

For more about the author, her books, and upcoming projects visit her website at

Here’s a synopsis of EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: It’s 1961 and Palm Beach socialite, irresistible rascal and devoted father Jack Morgan encounters genuine danger while staging his suicide to shield his beloved daughters from disgrace. Next, meet his daughter Charlotte (Charlie), an over-indulged 23 year-old struggling to cope with the traumatizing loss of her beloved father, her sister’s resulting mental breakdown and the discovery that she’s suddenly penniless. Fortunately Raul, an admiring young attorney, appears to offer assistance. As terrified as she is about daily survival, Charlie soon realizes that she has to learn what drove her father to kill himself. With Raul’s much needed ego-bolstering, the drive of necessity and unforeseen determination, Charlie finds a practical use for her annoyingly lean 5’ 11” frame. In time, this career finances her hard-wrought independence, her sister’s costly treatment and an emotional eye-opening journey to Paris.

Jumping back in time to romantic pre-WWII Paris readers meet young Alan Fitzpatrick – aka Jack Morgan – lack-luster artist, expert lover, irresistible rascal, and the bewitching girl who will become the mother of his children. Not even Charlie’s relentless detective work will uncover all Jack’s secrets, but in a fireworks of surprise endings, she discovers all that she needs to know and more:  disturbing truths about her father, hew own unique talent, crimes great and small and a diabolical villain.

As a reader, do you read more books by self-published authors than you once did? As a writer, have you tried self-publishing or are you considering it? Be sure to leave your email address with your comment, if it’s not included in your profile for a chance to win a copy of EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS. Thanks so much for stopping by.



  1. Lisa, thanks again for guest blogging. I enjoyed your take on self-publishing. Wishing you continued success with your writing.

  2. That's quite an experience!
    I look forward to checking out your books.


  3. Oh, yes, the times are changing. Not sure where I, as a writer, fit in just yet but I'm excited. Congrats on your book, Lisa. Love the cover.

  4. Congratulations on this great book which sounds compelling. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. An interesting and special post today which I enjoyed. This author is multi-talented. What a unique story. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com


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