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The Book . . . The Book . . . The Book!

Silent Grace

Silent Grace

It’s been a while since I put on my blogging cap. I’m back, having packed and unpacked a gazillion boxes, taken a million trips to donate stuff, and having finally found everything we packed . . . somewhere.
Yet, with all the commotion, I was able to progress with self-publishing my next book in the Knoll Cottage Series, Silent Grace. It should pop up on Amazon shortly.
Suddenly, I have time to relax and get back to a normal schedule. Do writers have a normal schedule?
I wanted to get back to you on my And the Agent Said: blog. While I waited to hear from her, I was actually feeling two ways about having an agent. I’ve been to panels of authors, agents, publishers, and they all have good points. Some traditionally published authors (which an agent would lead to) felt pressured. A book a year. Deadlines. Alterations in the story. I once attended a debut book signing by a mystery writer. She was traditionally published after years of trying with the same book. Her contract included seven more mysteries as a series to follow the original book. She told us this with deer-in-the-headlight eyes.
In the time I’ve waited for a response from the agent I met with at the writer’s conference I attended, I gave some good thought to which manner of publishing I’d prefer. The answer for me was: Being able to work at my own pace; being able to write in different genres; receiving a greater portion of the book royalties; hiring my own peeps to work on the book, was self-publishing. The caveat: One Must Market! But one must market even with a traditional publisher.
In spite of the fact that I met with the agent at a conference, which in the past meant a reply of some sort, I never received an answer on the two queries she requested. The agency’s website clearly said if you don’t hear in thirty days, there is no interest in representing your work.
Querying agents is hard. A negative answer, or no answer, is rejection. But a rejection doesn’t mean the book isn’t great. The agent’s choice is a subjective one.
After much thought, I am happy being an indie publisher. My book bravely heads to Amazon with a zillion other new books. The difference will be Marketing!
I’ll start here. If you go onto my website: http://www.gerrileclerc.com and sign up for my email list, you’ll be notified when I do give-aways of either Missing Emily or Silent Grace. They are two women’s fiction novels that stand alone, but are part of a trilogy. In about three or four days, check them out on Amazon, and read the great reviews!

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Self-published? Not Me!

Is self-publishing a lonely road?

Is self-publishing a lonely road?

Is the road to self-publishing lonely to you? I’d love to hear from other writers who published their books by themselves. I actually know of one person who did all the work herself, so I realize there are others out there. I am not one of them. For me, self-publishing is a misnomer. Since I am not traditionally published, I must come up with a different word.

My critique partner and friend, Sandy, IS self-published. She fearlessly plows ahead through any dilemma that raises a roadblock, and finds the solution. She is an amazing person in so many respects. I was alone when I pressed the button on Create Space to submit my novel for review. (I am moving ever so closer to a published book!). However, the day before Sandy spent hours with me showing me the ropes.

But it started much earlier with another friend who is a beautiful artist, but an even more beautiful person. Donna Green, who spends her days working with children ill with cancer to realize their dreams, to work her Magical Moon Farm, to stay in her farmhouse of sacred wonders, offered to help me publish. Donna has millions of books in print, and I own a copy of many of them. Not only did Donna put me in touch with her own publishers and designers, she took precious time to do the illustration for my cover. You should buy my book just to have that cover! And because a portion of the proceeds of Missing Emily will go to Donna’s foundation.

My book designer, David, has been such a delight to work with that I don’t want to finish. He is the kind of person you meet and know in the same moment. First he read my women’s fiction novel, then he put together a lovely font and layout. He had made my book so beautiful you will want to read it just to see how pretty it is.

The Missing Emily file is off to another designer who will set it up for an eBook. Not there yet, but that’s next.

Besides those people to whom I am so indebted, I have had help from the folks at Create Space, GoDaddy (setting up my website), other writers, marketers, who spend time teaching us newbies how to get our books out there.
What shall I call my method of publishing? I’m going to work on that, but I’m happy for any suggestions!

Publishing a Novel: Author Bio

Me at Cape Cod

Me at Cape Cod

In an inch or so of space, your few words must accomplish about ten things in the author bio. That’s the paragraph which goes right under your author photo. You spend years with all the space you need to write your book. You carefully craft your character arcs, add brilliant description passages, type out pages of dialogue for days on end. You tell the whole story, or a good bite, of someone’s life. Then, with a little more than an inch, you tell your own story.

If you’ve published other books, your bio is a snap. You fill it up with a string of titles. You earned it. Let’s face it, writing is your life! But if you are a debut author, you have to be clever.

In your allotted area, you must be relatable; give some personal history; add something quirky about yourself; mention your education, and how it relates to your story. Humor is good if you’re not writing about some disaster. Say something about who you are. Do not mention your cat. And all through this condensed bio of you, let the reader hear your voice. (That’s technical writer-talk.).
Writers are the most generous people. Many have published blogs on details like these for new publishers. I have done my homework. I reduced my bio to 70 words, a little under an inch and a quarter. And I did mention my CAT.

A Writer’s Riff

Pasta Stickers

Pasta Stickers

Two characters are roaming around my brain: Julia is a widowed mom approaching forty and soon heading back into the work force. I think she would be pretty, but the last few years have taken a toll on her looks. Alice is a precocious six-year-old about to enter first grade. She’s small for her age, has brown hair, and wears glasses. She was born with serious heart defects and has undergone multiple surgeries, the last one two years ago.

I had a plot for them, but it kept putting Julia to sleep, so I pulled the rug from under them. Because they won’t leave me alone, I’m working on a new plot.

Did Julia, hungry for some romance, fall for a man who turned out to be an abusive control freak and now she needs to get away? No. She’s too smart for that. Did her best friend fix her up with her brother who secretly picks his nose? Yuck. Or after mourning her late husband and dealing with Alice’s surgeries alone, Julia needs a vacation extraordinaire. Should they have an adventure on some exotic island? Should I put them in an RV and send them to a National Park where Julia falls in love with a handsome ranger who adores Alice? What if I make her an investigative journalist whose subject puts her and Alice in danger and they have to go into hiding? Should I send them to Cape Cod where Julia falls for an oyster shucker in Wellfleet who turns out to be an undercover FBI agent? But I don’t write mysteries. I write women’s fiction.

Riffing is like throwing pasta against the wall and seeing if it sticks. A stream of thoughts quickly scratched out from the right side of the brain. I don’t think any of the noodles here will stick, but feel free to tell me if you like one of them! (I’m grinning.)