When I started this blog about writing my first novel, I had no idea of the complexities of the world of publishing and selling books. I didn’t know that the writing of the book would be the easy part.
There was a time when I read the daily blogs of many, many people, keeping up on details of their lives and projects. I enjoyed the interaction, the making of new friends. We talked about our dreams. We dreamed about telling stories that others would read and enjoy. Together–at our own pace–we put one foot in front of the other and started the Writer’s journey. We encouraged each other.
Man, I loved those times!
Then came knowledge–cover design, marketing strategies, book conferences, interacting with the media, and more. Intermingled with all of this is the grind of the re-write and editing, editing, editing.
Plus, I have work outside of writing. And family and friends who need nurturing. And it’s summer: the grass is growing; the garden needs weeding, the ants taking over my house need murdered; the animals need care and play time.
I have complicated my life–by choice–in so many ways. Even though I have given up commercial farming, there is no spare time in the schedule. In fact, I am busier than I ever was. And I am trying to get the #$%^# novel finished!
Okay. Now that I have bawled like a baby and thrown a tantrum, let me say this–I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, maybe one thing. Me. I’d change me to be better organized, less frazzled, less fearful of the unknown, more optimistic about the future. But I wouldn’t change a thing about the craziness of the book world I have embraced.
Ten Advantages to Having a Mystery Author for a Friend (in person or on Facebook).
If you’re ever locked out of your home, your mystery author friend will know best how to break in.
Who better to show you where best to conceal a weapon?
At Pampered Chef’s parties, they are very handy in detailing what kitchen utensils make the best weapons for use in self-defense … just in case your family launches a coup after serving them your world infamous tuna casserole once too often.
Mystery authors are less sappy at conferences than Romance authors. We don’t hug as much. That isn’t because we’re standoffish. It’s because we don’t want you to detect our concealed weapons. Since we don’t hug as much, this means we don’t spread as many germs and you’re less likely to catch a cold when you get home.
Mystery authors are more exciting. They are the only friends able to plot out your murder and list your friends and family as suspects in order of interest when you’re fifteen minutes late for lunch. (If your friend reveals that the babysitter did it, you may want to take a closer look at the sitter’s text messages.)
During those paranoid moments when you think your next door neighbor is a mob assassin because he has been acting suspicious, your mystery writing buddy is the one friend you can count on to not only support your belief, but break into his house to illegally search it for proof. Of course, you can depend on your friend to bring the lock pick kit and know how to use it. (Don’t ask her how she knows how to use it.)
If your spouse leaves you for another woman, your mystery author friend can advise you on how to fake your death and make it look like he killed you so that he will spend the rest of his life in jail for what he did.
Your mystery author friend is more than happy to run a background check on that new mate you met online.
On that first date, you can count on your mystery writing friend to tail you and your date all evening to make sure you don’t end up in a plot for their latest book … whether you want her to or not.
We know what countries don’t have extradition.
So make a Mystery Writing friend today! I’d love to make your acquaintances at any of my sites:
Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime. The first installment in the Joshua Thornton mysteries, A Small Case of Murder was a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award.
Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. It’s Murder, My Son, Old Loves Die Hard, and Shades of Murder, have all been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Blast from the Past is the fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.
Released September 2012, Dead on Ice introduces a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. The second book in this series, Real Murder will be released Spring 2013.
The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This spring, two books written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.
She lives with her husband, son, and two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
In Blast from the Past, Mac Faraday finds himself up to his eyeballs in mobsters and federal agents.
After an attempted hit ends badly with two of his men dead, mobster Tommy Cruze arrives in Spencer, Maryland, to personally supervise the execution of the witness responsible for putting him behind bars—Archie Monday!
Mac Faraday believes he has his work cut out for him in protecting his lady love from one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime; but when bodies start dropping in his lakeshore resort town of Spencer, Maryland, things may be hotter than even he can handle.
In this fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mysteries, readers learn more about Archie Monday’s past in a flash—as in a gun fight when the syndicate comes to town. “Readers love to be surprised,” mystery author Lauren Carr says. “In Blast from the Past, they are going to be surprised to discover the secret of Archie Monday’s past, which threatens her and Mac’s future.”
Blast from the Past also takes the Mac Faraday Mysteries to a new level as his relationship with Archie Monday moves onto a whole new level. “I do listen to readers,” Carr explains. “They have been clamoring for Mac and Archie to get together for three books.”
What about Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s canine inheritance—the only German shepherd to be dishonorably discharged from the United States Army? “It’s not a Mac Faraday Mystery without Gnarly,” Carr promises. “Let’s just say Gnarly kicks things up a notch in his own way.”
Available through: CreateSpace, Ingram, Baker & Taylor,
Barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, and Everywhere Fine Books are Sold
About the Author
Lauren Carr is the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. It’s Murder, My Son, Old Loves Die Hard, and Shades of Murder, have all been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Blast from the Past is the fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.
Also receiving rave reviews, Dead on Ice, released September 1012, introduced a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. The second book in this series, Real Murder will be released Spring 2013.
My friend Marcie and her husband David live aboard a sailboat and are traveling the globe. They have one last long passage to make to complete a circumnavigation of the earth, that last leg from Australia to the southern tip of Africa. They have sailed from Africa east past South America via the Panama Canal to Australia, where they are now–and a zillion points in between–over more than a decade.
I asked Marcie to write a guest blog, since she is a published author. She and her husband both have sold many magazine articles. Furthermore, Marcie is an accomplished (and published) photographer. She has LOTS to share for those aspiring to do the same. Read up and enjoy!!!
I must have at least four books in the works at the moment … all of them in various stages of “incomplete”. There’s a cookbook which needs a rewrite and an update; a novel based on fact; an anthology of sailing stories and another mystery novel which revolves around our life at sea. What keeps me actively writing though is our daily blog, our website and freelance writing for magazines.
My husband and I have lived aboard a sailboat for the last 13 years, very slowly traveling around the world. Writing has always been a passion for me, so it was only natural that I’d keep personal journals and continue writing as we sailed from place to place. Now I post our experiences daily and write articles for publication.
Want to take a stab at getting published in a magazine? Try this.
Determine an area of expertise or interest. Figure out what you’d like to write about. Do you have a hobby? Are you a parent? Do you sail? Do you like to travel? Do you have pets? Are you a farmer, a hairdresser, a welder, a 50+ retiree? Obviously, the more you know or care about your topic, the more it will show in your writing.
Research what journals or magazines cater to this interest. There are magazines out there for every interest imaginable. Don’t forget to research regional magazines for your area. They’re smaller and may be more interested in your articles than national journals. Think outside of the box. We tend to write for sailing magazines because we sail and live on a boat, but I’ve submitted articles to cat magazines because we used to have a cat aboard. I submit articles to travel magazines. I’ve even submitted funny anecdotes to Reader’s Digest.
Obtain the Writer’s Guidelines for those magazines of interest. This is key. Some magazines are very specific as to the length of the piece, the format in which it should be submitted, whether photos are required, their terms and amounts of their payment. The links below this post provide lists of magazines and their guidelines. These lists are not exhaustive by any means, but they’ll give you an idea of what’s out there.
Get a copy of the magazine(s) in which you’re interested. Read it. See what types of articles they publish. Get a feel for the mood of the pieces. Are they serious? Whimsical? First person anecdotes? Determine what “departments” they have that might prove suitable for the article you want to write.
Figure out your angle. Magazine articles usually do one or more of these things: inform, persuade, instruct or entertain. I tend to write informational/entertainment pieces on the places we visit. My husband, David, writes how-to pieces (instruction) on various topics relating to the boat. Write your article.
Proper grammar, spelling, punctuation required…need I say more?
Research your topic carefully. If you’re using facts and/or statistics to give some depth and color to your article, make sure you document them well and provide the source if necessary.
Many magazines will accept articles on “spec”. Others prefer you send a query. I call this a teaser. Tell them in a short, succinct paragraph what you intend to write about and why it will be of interest to their readers. They’ll review what you send them and get back to you if they’re interested. Send your best piece. Make the teaser irresistible. Then write the article. Make sure it’s ready to go. If you don’t hear from the publisher within a couple of weeks, send them a reminder, asking their level of interest. Caution: Do NOT send the same query to several magazines at once. Be patient and submit to one publisher at a time. If two or more magazines should happen to accept your article or idea and you have to tell one of them “no”, you probably won’t get another stab at that magazine. If you don’t hear in a month after a reminder, consider it dead and move on.
Don’t be discouraged if you get a “reject” notice. It’s common. Not every article received can be published. Find another magazine and send them the same teaser. We’ve had several articles rejected by one journal which were happily accepted by another.
If you get a bite and some interest in your teaser, respond immediately. Some will ask you to do a rewrite. Cut it down here…expound a little there. Get on it right away. We’ve had situations where the publisher delayed in responding and then we received an urgent email saying, “Oh, didn’t I tell you? We need your article for the next publication. Can you send it and all photos today?” Needless to say, having the article written and ready to go was key. We scurried, but got it done.
I doubt you’ll get rich from writing for magazines. We certainly don’t, although we usually succeed in having about six to eight articles published each year. We average ~$300-500 per article. You will, however, see your article in print, promote yourself, build confidence and polish your writing skills. Sometimes that’s enough!
Marcie & David Lynn have lived aboard “Nine of Cups” since 2000. They’ve sailed over 70,000 nautical miles across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and visited hundreds of anchorages and ports in their travels. They’re currently down under in Tasmania. Marcie writes a daily blog www.justalittlefurther.com and maintains a website www.nineofcups.com. Both David and Marcie contribute regularly to Ocean Navigator and Good Old Boat magazines.