Friday, June 7, 2013

Guest Blogger author Susan Lohrer

First: thank you, Bernadette, for inviting me to your blog—but most of all for believing in me as a writer.

As I’m writing this, Release Day is fast approaching (yeah, I know I didn’t need the capitals, but I’m humoring myself in honor of my Big Day—whoops, let’s stop me right here before I get myself all diva’d up), I’ve been thinking a lot about the publishing industry. What it was, what it is, what it will be. I’m not sure anyone truly knows what’s in store for this rapidly evolving behemoth (publishing, that is). There’ve been huge changes in the last few years, and Rocky Road is coming out right in the middle of it all.

Wheee! :-)

Some background on traditional publishing and self-publishing: A lo-o-o-o-ong time ago, there were some notable authors who published their own books. People like Emily Dickinson and Jane Austin. Then for quite a while, the only respectable way to get a book published was through a big New York publisher. Which was about as easy as building a ladder to Pluto (the astronomy one, not the canine one). Then in the last couple of years came an explosion of self-published books (some fabulous, many not). I’ve self-published a couple of short pieces, too, to get a feel for that aspect of publishing. I’m an editor by trade, so it felt like a logical next step.

Why, then, in this exciting era of self-publishing, would I choose not to self-publish my debut novel?

Because there’s more—much, much more—to the care and feeding of a book than just making sure it’s perfect inside and out and getting it onto Amazon and other retail sites.

I did think about it a lot before I queried 5 Prince Publishing. I actually really enjoy the more technical aspects of the process, like creating a sleek, clean HTML file as the starting point for EPUB and MOBI files. Or developing an elegant print layout in InDesign. All that stuff is better than a hot fudge sundae with brownies and pecans in it (or if that doesn’t blow your hair back, substitute your favorite vice).

But see, marketing/promoting myself gives me hives. And my own publishing interests lie in the speculative romance arena, whereas Rocky Road is on the romantic comedy end of contemporary romance. And I don’t know anyone who’s a more natural marketer than 5 Prince Publishing’s Bernadette Giambrocco-Soehner, who’s all about contemporary romance.

I’ll bet you can tell where this is going.

While I have your attention (and before I lose my nerve), how about a blurb for Rocky Road?

Sometimes the best road to love is a Rocky Road…

Physical therapist Nancy Anne Robertson has her sights set on her dream promotion. Problem #1: she’s engaged to one of her patients, and if her secret gets out, she’ll lose her job altogether. Problem #2: her ex-fiancé is back in town, shooting for the same promotion. Complicating matters are two mothers (and one fiancé) with alarming secrets, an autistic brother with a penchant for wandering off at the most inconvenient times, and four rings—the fake diamond kind, the stolen kind, the sticky wax kind that belongs under a toilet… and maybe, just maybe, the kind meant to make a girl say I do.

Which is why the brilliantly whimsical book cover (designed by Viola Estrella, if you’re wondering) sports engagement rings topped by big, honking diamonds.

A little more background: A few years ago, I was Bernadette’s editor. We developed a strong working relationship over the course of several of her novels, and we could really appreciate each other’s strengths. And we became tremendous friends, but that’s the cherry on top of our sundae rather than the basis of our professional relationship.

As the idea of entering a publishing relationship with Bernadette simmered for a while, I grew more and more convinced it was the right answer for Rocky Road. Fortunately, the manuscript struck a chord with my publisher—oh, how I love saying my publisher even amidst the tectonic shifts in the publishing industry—and she even got excited about my writing! I tell you, I’ve cried bucketsful of happy tears over that because I have so much respect for Bernadette as a romance author.

And as it turns out, 5 Prince will be publishing my second romantic comedy, Over the Edge, which you can get a sneak peek at after the last chapter of Rocky Road (self-promo, owwww, it burns…).

Almost as thrilling for me as being a published author is the amount of involvement I’ve had during the process; I actually requested that I be the one to do my own e-book formatting and print layout because for me those parts are almost as exciting as being present for the birth of my own child (OK, slightly weird simile, but you get how exhilarating I find that stuff). I’m not sure I could be happy with a “big” publisher after this, because what I have in 5 Prince is a partnership that works for me on every level.

I want to take a second to point out a couple of things: My situation isn’t the norm at all and shouldn’t be used as an example of how one should interact with a big traditional publisher. Seriously, do not send a chatty e-mail to the head editor at his/her personal address to say you have a novel he/she might be interested in (completely forgetting to mention what said novel is about), and definitely do not close the message with “Feel perfectly free to say nuh-uh. :-) I’ll love you either way!" (Told you it wasn’t normal, didn’t I?) And if you’re not an industry professional, don’t ask to do the technical stuff on your own. The second thing is a clarification about terminology; when I talk about a partnership, I mean a collaborative effort, not a situation in which the author must buy x number of books from the publisher. That wouldn’t have worked for me at all, and of course I know Bernadette has a distinctly pro-author attitude about the way a publisher should treat an author.

This is an exciting time for authors. Go forth, write your best book, educate yourself about how publishing works, and go after your publishing dreams with your whole heart.

About the Author:

Susan Lohrer grew up in more towns in western Canada than she has fingers to count them on. She currently lives in southern BC with her husband of more than two decades, their two teenagers who are still at home, three dogs, and far more aquariums than a reasonable household should contain. She believes life, on good days and the not-so-good days, is always better with a healthy dose of humor, and so she writes heartfelt romantic comedy.

You can find all the buy links to Susan's book here:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Bernadette. For believing in me, and for quotation marks. ;)