When I embarked on my publishing journey about four years ago, I thought it would go like this:
- Write book
- Sell book
- Enjoy everlasting success off of that book and all of the ones that follow
Imagine my surprise to learn there was so much more to the book industry than writing a book. In fact, every day, I continue to learn, stumble over uncertainties, and try to stay on top of all of the many things that are required when you decide, “I want to publish a book”.
How do you get to know the ins and outs of the industry? Like everything else in life…trial and error. And connecting with others to get the insider’s scoop. Who better to give you that scoop than someone who has worn many publishing hats?
Today, I am interviewing my pal, Kara Leigh Miller. Kara and I have written two books together and brainstormed many, many others. She’s a great source of information and when I find myself drowning in questions, I can often get the answers from her. On top of that, she’s a kick ass writer with the first book in her new series from Entangled coming out on the same day as my new release (December 5th). Here’s what Kara has to say about publishing, writing, and who she thinks is sexy!
- You’re more than an author…tell me about some of the other “hats” you’ve worn in the publishing industry.
I’m also an editor. I’ve worked for a couple of small presses doing primarily developmental and content edits. Most recently, I was the Editorial Director for Anaiah Press, LLC., which is a Christian fiction publisher. Additionally, I offer freelance editing services at very affordable prices. (Shameless plug) For about 4 months early in 2016, I was an Agent Apprentice with Corvisiero Literary Agency, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Sadly, family issues required me to leave the agency. Currently I’m focusing on my personal writing and getting published.
- How have the various glances into different aspects shaped your thoughts on publishing and on your own career?
Being able to see this industry from so many different perspectives has been invaluable. It’s allowed me to see the shining pros of this business, but it’s also given me a sharp reality check about the cons. Having worked “behind the scenes” with various publishers gives me an edge, I think, because I know the process from both sides—as an author and an editor/publisher—and that helps me keep my expectations in check. I’d like to think it also makes me an easy author to work with because I understand what it takes to move a book from acquisitions to release and beyond. I know it’s been wonderful for my sanity. Lol. I don’t spend so much time worrying about what’s happening because I sort of already know.
- As a reader, what’s a must have for a romance story? Do you feel the same about it being a must in your own writing?
Emotion! If a book doesn’t pull at my heartstrings, it falls flat for me. That doesn’t mean it has to be a tear jerker that leaves me rocking in a corner for days on end, but I have to feel something. Whether that’s joy or anger or sadness, it doesn’t matter. But an author has to make me feel. And yes, this is an absolute must in my own writing. If I can’t feel what my characters are feeling as I write their story, then I’ve failed as an author because I know readers won’t feel it, either.
- When did you publish your first book? What would you say to that Kara, based on what you now know?
October 2012. It was a novella and the first in a series. If I could go back, my advice would be: Don’t do it! Lol. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great first publishing experience: I liked my editor, my cover art was gorgeous, and I had okay sales. But, back then, I didn’t know the importance of an author’s debut book—I do now—and I would’ve held out longer, developed my craft more, and worked even harder to break into traditional publishing. I often wonder if I’d be further in my career if I’d done things differently.
- Authors are told repeatedly that they have to build a platform. What’s your favorite form of social media and why?
Ugh. The dreaded author platform. Seriously, marketing and promotion is so much harder than writing the actual book! My favorite social media? Facebook. I think because it’s the one I’ve been using the longest, it’s the one I’m most comfortable with. Although, Twitter is a close second. They’ve made some changes recently that make it more user friendly.
- What are you working on right now that you’re excited about?
I’m finishing up a young adult gothic romance that deals with a centuries old family feud (think Hatfields and McCoys), black magic, and a curse that prevents the hero’s family from keeping true love. Once they find it, it’s ripped away from them—usually in the form of the woman’s death—leaving the bloodline full of men. Until the heroine arrives and learns she has the power to end the feud and the curse.
- Where do you see your writer self in five years?
Hopefully still writing. I wouldn’t be upset if I made a bestsellers list or landed on the shelves of Barnes & Noble.
- Any behind the scenes secrets you’d offer writers from your “editor perspective”?
Find your patience and hold tightly to it. Publishing is a very long marathon that’s so slow—right up until it’s not. Once you start the editing process, things can move fast. Be prepared for that. And please, please remember: Your editor is there to help you. I promise they don’t want to ruin your vision. They want to help you make your book better and make it a story that can and will sell.
- You’ve been asked to plan a workshop: what would you teach/share?
Know Your Publisher: A Cautionary Tale. I’ve actually taught this exact workshop last year during the annual Florida Writers Association Conference. I’ve had some horrific experiences with small presses, and I think it’s so important for writers to do their research and make an informed decision before signing a contract. This workshop is very close to my heart, and I share my story in all its sordid details, and then I provide concrete actionable things an author can do, complete with online resources they can use. If I can prevent even one author from getting locked into a bad deal, then I’ve been successful.
- What book has made you laugh, cry, and swoon? (One book that did it all)
Tempting Tanner by Lexi Lawton. (Coming December 2016 from Entangled Embrace) Okay, so yeah, it’s my book, and Lexi is my alter-ego, but I’ve never written a book that put me through the range of emotions like this one has. Also, I’ve been so hyper-focused on this book for the past 4 months that I really haven’t had a time to read much lately. I cried like a baby when I wrote parts of this book. I laughed my ass off when writing Tanner’s brother, Xander. And I swooned hard over Tanner. I really hope readers feel the same.
A quick game of famous-man association….you write the first name that comes to mind when you read each of the adjectives. It can be an actor, sports star, whatever you choose.
- Sexy – Luke Bryan
- Funny – Jeff Dunham
- Charming – Ian Somerhalder
- Muscular – Chris Hemsworth
- Dashing – Tom Hiddleston
As I’ve had the great pleasure of reading Taming Tanner, I can tell you that Kara/Lexi isn’t wrong when she says it is a book that gives it all. She rights gorgeous, alpha males with humor and heart in an exceptional way.
If you’d like to follow Kara or Lexi online, here are the links. Thank you for reading and let us know, what other questions or curiosities do you have about behind the scenes of writing a book?