Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Rough Road to Publishing

Purged coverIt’s a pleasure to welcome author Michele (M.E.) May here today to talk about writing and her latest release, PURGED, the fourth installment in her Circle City Mystery series.

This new mystery is set in Indianapolis and written in the popular ensemble style of television favorites such as Law & Order. Here’s a brief description of it:
Purged by M.E. May
ISBN-13: 978-1500411121
M&B Literary Creations
Paperback: 247 pages
November 2014, $14.95

        Indianapolis Homicide Detective, Chennelle Kendall, faces the greatest challenge of her career when an avenging angel decides to force members of a Wiccan coven to confess their sins by torturing and murdering them. The killer believes them to be a group of devil worshippers and uses this belief to justify his acts of cruelty.
        Chennelle and her partner, Detective Erica Barnes, discover a church whose members have been opposing this group of Wiccans for several months. Soon the detectives have a large pool of suspects, but no evidence to back up their suspicions. Meanwhile, the avenging angel continues to claim more victims.
        Chennelle finds herself struggling to maintain her objectivity and respect for all parties involved and their rights to worship as they see fit. When she discovers the long help secrets of the angel’s origin, will it help Chennelle stop this killer before he strikes again, or will this recent revelation give him the opportunity to purge the sins of his past?

Other titles in the Circle City Mystery Series include:
PERFIDY (Circle City Mystery, Book 1) – winner of the 2013 Lovey award for Best First Novel.
INCONSPICUOUS (Circle City Mystery, Book 2) – nominee for the 2014 Lovey award for Best Suspense novel.
ENSCONCED (Circle City Mystery, Book 3).

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Michele, who joins us to talk about ‘The Rough Road to Publishing.’ Welcome, Michele.

I’ve always loved writing whether letters, poems, essays, journals, or stories. I wrote my first book of poems when I was in third grade, and believe it or not, it still sits in my remembrances box. Before email, I used to write letters to my sisters who lived out of town. These weren’t just one or two pages. No, I had to give every detail to make sure they got the picture, so my letters were at least eight pages long. The same is true of my journals. I could never keep a diary that only afforded me a couple of pages. If I was going to write it down for posterity, then people who read it years from now must know everything.

For many years, I toyed with the idea of writing fiction. However, I let life get in the way of attempting it. Besides, I had no idea where to start. Then the children grew up and started households of their own, so seven years ago, I told my husband about my desire to write. I wanted to create fiction that would excite readers and entice them to want more. He agreed I should take a year off and get started.
I chose to write mysteries. Solving puzzles is one of my favorite pastimes so why not create puzzles for others to solve? It took almost two years to complete the first book in what I call the Circle City Mystery Series and another year of submitting it to agents, because most of the big publishing houses will only take submissions from agents. Hiring an agent was more difficult than I expected. It seems that there are so many people writing novels these days, that it is extremely difficult to get an agent’s attention. 

That was discouraging, but I was determined. I attended a conference in Chicago in February 2010 and was fortunate to find a small press who was willing to publish my first novel, PERFIDY. It was in print by November 2012 and I won the Lovey Award for Best First Novel at that same conference in February 2013.

As exciting as it was to be an award-winning author, I discovered the publisher wasn’t able to continue publishing the series. This was a blow, but I love writing and was determined not to let this stop me. With a growing group of fans, I couldn’t let the series drop or I’d lose them. I knew it would take a long time to find another publisher and a couple of years once I signed a contract for it to be in print. That is when I decided to publish it myself through CreateSpace with the help of a good editor, cover designer, and formatter to make sure my series would be of highest quality.
This decision gave me the opportunity to move forward. The Circle City Mystery Series, which includes PERFIDY, INCONSPICUOUS, ENSCONCED and recently released PURGED, is doing well and in 2014 caught the attention of the mystery editor at Harlequin. I have received contracts from Harlequin to publish the mass-market paperbacks for the first three novels and they are now reviewing PURGED. I also have a company who wants to create the audio books of these novels. 

When I initially thought of writing so many years ago, things were different. There were a lot more publishers--not small presses, but large ones. Eventually, mergers cut down that number, which made it more difficult for authors to accomplish their dreams. 

Then along came Amazon, CreateSpace and other independent publishing companies and things changed drastically, especially when the eBook was introduced. These changes brought great opportunities for authors to publish their works. Unfortunately, it also opened the door for the market to be flooded with substandard works as well.

I won’t lie, the publishing business is a very tough game. It takes a lot of determination and perseverance. There have been many times I’ve thought of giving up, but I can’t. I have too many fans begging for the next installment. When I hear that someone dropped everything because he or she couldn’t put one of my novels down, an indescribable joy pours over me. Writing is in my soul. It keeps me young. Every time I finish a chapter, I have such a feeling of elation that I can’t wait to write the next one. 

The feeling of accomplishment and the knowledge that readers really love what I’ve created have been an integral part of what makes this very difficult, sometimes bumpy road to publishing worth every mile I have to tread. I’m sure most authors who really love creating the written word would agree. It’s the love of the creative process that makes us want to continue to produce works that we hope will bring enjoyment to readers long after we have departed this life.

Michele, thanks for joining us today and sharing this insight into the publishing side of writing. It is a long and sometimes difficult road, so glad you continued to pursue it.

Here’s a bit of background on Michele.

M. E. May lives in the Far Northwest Suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Paul, and their white Husky, Iris. Born in Indianapolis, she spent most of her years there or in a suburban town near there. Although she has physically moved away, her heart still lives in her hometown. She has a son, daughter, and four wonderful grandsons living in central Indiana. 

She 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 information on Michele and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during Michele’s visit. Do you still write actual letters or notes? If you are a writer, what has your road to publication been lately? 

*This post contains affiliate links.


  1. Shame your publisher didn't want the series. But you were still able to satisfy the fans. And hybrid author seems to be the best position these days.
    Congratulations, Michele!

  2. I'm going to look for the first in the series. Best to start at the beginning!

  3. Mason - Thanks for hosting Michele.
    Michele - Thanks for sharing your story of the road to publication. It's different for all of us, and I like learning from the way other people have done it.

  4. Great post. I agree the publishing business is a tough one, and although there are many badly written self published books there are also many that are wonderful. It's given authors with the tenacity to not take no for an answer and get their work published. Congrats on not giving up and getting your work out there. Amazing cover picture.

  5. I love that you believed in your series. This makes me happy, too, "the knowledge that readers really love what I’ve created". If someone likes what I've written, I'm mush in their hands.

  6. How I love hearing about the 'other side'. As a reader, I have always been grateful (so very grateful) to writers. As I learn more about their battles my gratitude has had awe (at their persistence and determination) added to the mix.

  7. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Michele, thanks again for visiting with us today. I agree with Elephant's Child that I am so very grateful to writers, such as yourself, for all the persistence and determination to get books published. Wishing you much success.

    Hi all. Thanks for dropping by.


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