I'd like to welcome Peg Herring to my blog. She's a mystery writer and has successfully combined mystery with the paranormal, which is something I just love. So let me turn it over to Peg...
People other than published authors tend to see writing as a life of ease rewarded by huge paychecks, the adulation of millions, and one’s name on the NYT best-seller list every other year. Let’s talk about the life of ease part.
My April 1 release, THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY, took months to write and self-edit. (I have a system that is fairly complex, but it works for me:
reading for a single facet, like characterization, and then reading again for a different facet, like sensory detail). When I had done what I could for the time being, I had a couple of friends read the story. They loved the premise, the fun I had mixing life with afterlife. That was good, but they had suggestions, too, so I read it again, taking my friends’ comments into serious consideration. Then I had my son read the manuscript, because the setting is an investments firm and he is in that business. I wanted to make sure I didn’t say something dumb about a business I don’t have much experience with. That meant more changes, reading through the whole thing again and fixing areas he commented on.
Once the book was accepted by a publisher, it went through several more editions. The first editor and I haggled over terms (are they “slacks” or “pants” nowadays?) At her suggestion I expanded some characters and minimized others. She wanted more information on the setting, Grand Rapids, Michigan, so I had to do more research to make sure the details I added were correct. She helped me clarify my portrayal of the afterlife at the beginning of the book so the reader would not be confused later about what can and can’t happen there. All in all, that was three more edits, three more times through the story with a pen and a microscope.
Then the “big” editor took a turn through the book. She made suggestions to further clarify details. She asked questions about what my intentions were in certain spots. In short, she fine-tuned the book so that the humor comes through better and the reader never feels left behind.
Finally, the copy editor had me take a last look through to find the itsy-bitsy things that drive readers crazy: punctuation/spelling errors, extra spaces, etc.
Now the book is ready for release. My publisher is very supportive, and my editor arranged a Cyber-Launch on Author Island (authorisland.com: stop by and ask a question or make a comment!) for April 1. She also found a respected reviewer willing to read a book by a fairly unknown author, and the review is positive (YAY!). My part is to tell the world I have contact with about the book, hence this guest blog, a Blog Tour, a Facebook ad, and lots of trips/mailings to bookstores.
So where is this life of ease? Writing is work, real work, and promoting is work piled on top of the original work. Authors do not have it easy, although I don’t know a single one who doesn’t feel that it’s all worth it when just one person says, “I loved your book.”
People often ask me what it takes to get published. Unless you already have a platform (some sort of fame attached to your name), it takes
persistence: persistence to write the best book you are capable of, persistence to get it published professionally, and persistence in getting the word out that, among the million others out there, there’s this great little mystery called THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY.
Peg Herring is a Michigan author whose 2010 historical mystery, Her Highness’ First Murder, received very positive reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus, the Historical Novel Society, and BookList. Read more about Peg’s books at http://pegherring.com When not reading or writing, Peg loves travel and music. She and her husband also garden, mostly for the benefit of elk, deer, rabbits, and birds.
Peg’s April release, THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY, is available in print or e-book form at http://www.ll-publications.com/deaddetectiveagency.html and will soon be at most e-book retailers. Tori Van Camp awakens one morning on a cruise ship. She seems to be a welcome guest, and the ships offers anything she might require or request. But why does she have a clear memory of being murdered, and how can she find out why someone wanted her dead?
“The Dead Detective Agency combines belief in the afterlife with the paradoxical uncertainty of survival in the present, and is full of wickedly dark humor combined with regular laugh-out-loud moments.” —Sam Millar, New York Journal of Books
Thank you, Peg!