Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Guest Post - Author Lois Lavrisa on her "Road to Indie Publishing"

"I asked my friend, Amazon Kindle Top 100 bestselling-author, Lois Lavrisa to guest post today about her path in publishing. I really loved this article and wanted to share it with you. Thank you, Lois" - P.R. Mason

Today I would like to I write about why I want to try independent publishing. If you would indulge me, and allow me to take huge liberties with a classic story, I will tell you my (abbreviated) story of my efforts to get traditionally published and why I Independent published LIQUID LIES last month.
Perhaps many of you have been through the same scenario as I, and because of this many of you may also feel disenchanted. Here is my tale:
Somewhere, over the rainbow in New York, publishing happened. Agents and editors in the shining city had power to grant writers their dream of being a published author. Of course, as a writer I wanted to achieve that dream too. And therefore, I worked diligently and tirelessly: I joined professional writing organizations, attended countless writing conferences and workshops along the road to publishing success.

Beta readers and critique partners read my work. I learned the craft, I networked, I wrote and rewrote. Then I did it all over again.

At last, with my manuscript polished and complete, I decided to pitch it at a conference. When it was my turn for my pitch session, I was led down a long golden carpeted hallway, to a large conference room which emitted an emerald glow under the fluorescent lights. Trying to act confident, I straightened my back, and marched my ruby shoed feet toward the table assigned me, and then I sat down.
My note cards trembling in my hand. And here’s how it (sort of) went. (Please note ‘editor’ can be substituted with ‘agent’ and vice versa):

“I am the great and powerful editor. Who are you?”

“I am the mmm..meek and mild writer, Lois.” I stumble over the words as if my brain cells had liquefied, as I nervously smoothed a pleat of my blue and white checkered dress. My heart pounded so loudly I could hear it in my ears. My fear was audible, I felt like a coward. Yet, I had been given a coveted audience with a big NY editor- I couldn’t blow it – or my dreams would come crashing down on me.

“Why are you here?”

“Um, I would like…” my courage faltered as the words stopped midsentence, caught in my throat. I nervously wiggled my feet under the table.

“Yes?” came a booming voice.

“I want to be published and I’ve heard that you have the power to do so.” I said, with my knees clanking together, rattling like tin.

“Silence.” A distant bored look was followed by a yawn. “I’m looking for a unique story. I must love the voice.”

“Voice? I think that I have a voice and….” I gave my prepared and practiced pitch.

“Send it to me.” With a wave of a hand, I was dismissed as another writer walked over to take my place.

“Oh thank you great and powerful one,” I replied timidly, as I cowered away. Surely my wish would be granted if I just did what was asked of me.

Walking out of the conference room, my head spinning, I muttered over and over to myself, “Synopsis, query and submission, oh my. Synopsis, query and submission, oh my.”

Back home, I wrote, and rewrote, perfecting every detail. All the while, taking care of my hubby and four children and teaching at a local university. The frenzied pace of all that had to be done, made me feel like I was in a twister, as flying monkeys (okay, maybe they were just very big dust bunnies) circled me.
Sleep deprivation caused me to have a wicked temperament. My diet went to hell as I ate all the wrong food, causing a greenish tint in my complexion. But I was determined to get the requested submission to the great and powerful New York editor who had the power to make my publishing dreams come true.
Then I sent my submission out.

I waited.

And waited some more.

Days turned into weeks.

And weeks turned into months.

I attended additional workshops. I went to more conferences where I pitched again and again. Time and time again, I sent out submissions.

Then I waited and waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Rejections came in (although many editors and agents never responded at all.)
Quite often, I received requests for fulls. And a couple of times, rewrites were suggested. But ultimately neither representation nor contracts were extended to me. Another year went by. Another manuscript was written. I was beginning to believe that I would never get published. That no one would ever read my stories. That my dream would die under the crush of the slush pile.
In sheer determination, and passion to be a published author, I chugged along. The yellow brick road to traditional publishing began to look grey and pot holed, and seemed to lead to nowhere.

At a recent conference, as I pitched to yet another great and powerful editor, I saw a light streaming from behind a crack in a door just beyond where I sat. Laughter spilled out with the splinter of light. I craned my neck to see a sign hung above which read, “Independent Publishing.”

“What’s over there?” I asked the editor for whom I was pitching.

“Do not pay attention to what is behind that door.” The great and powerful one said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I am the great and powerful.” The editor motioned toward the door. “There is nothing to see over there.”

Suddenly I felt smart and courageous. My heart told me to go. I got up and walked over to the door and opened it wide.
A beautiful author, who glowed as though in a huge pink bubble, welcomed me.
She said, “Lois you had the power all along to get published.”

“Really?” My heart leapt in song. “I do?”

“Yes, just click your keyboard keys and say, ‘Independent publishing.’”

And that, dear friends, is the long and short of my tale.
Not to say that NY agents and editors still don’t have their role and value, but we need to know that there is another way to make your publishing dreams come true. And somewhere over the rainbow, both traditional publishing and independent publishing can be found.
You have the power to decide.
And that, my friends, is what true power is all about- having choices.

LIQUID LIES reviews/praise

A Compelling Story of Lies and Deadly Consequences.” P. R. Mason, award-winning author.
“Liquid Lies is an imaginative story …if you like a good mystery, put this book on your “must read” list.” Nancy Remler, PHD, author.
“Liquid Lies is a mystery thriller that makes you feel anything but cozy. A story as tension charged and as fast moving as a waterslide. Once you're into Liquid Lies there's no stopping until you reach the end.” Patricia Mason, author.
“I absolutely loved this book! A dark secret held for years by two friends comes back to haunt them with murderous results. Tension builds throughout this taut mystery right up until the action packed climax. Lois Lavrisa will keep you guessing until the end. I highly recommend Liquid Lies.” The Edit Dude.


Lois Lavrisa writes Mystery with a Twist. Her first mystery, LIQUID LIES, and Amazon bestseller, is set in an affluent lake town in Wisconsin, and asks the question “Would you tell the truth, even if it meant losing everything?”  In LIQUID LIES, the main character Cecilia “CiCi” Coe has to answer that question, before anyone else is killed.
Her next book, a women's fiction HARMONY HILL releases in June 2012.  Her short story "Picture not Perfect" ins in  ETERNAL SPRING, a  young adult anthology released in April 2012, She’s working on a cozy mystery series, THE CHUBBY CHICKS CLUB about sassy southern sleuths, set in Savannah, Georgia.  THE CHUBBY CHICKS CLUB are a rag tag group of friends (not all chubby nor all chicks) who find themselves investigating a friend’s mysterious death, with time running out for them to find the killer before the killer finds them.  THE CHUBBY CHICKS CLUB, book one, should be completed by fall 2012.
She’s been married to her aerospace husband Tom for over 21 years and they have four children- two boys and two girls.  She’s a member of several writing organizations including: Mystery Writers of America (MWA), Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Sisters in Crime (SIC). Currently, she’s serving as vice president of the Low Country RWA. For the past six years she’s been a member of the Savannah Pen & Ink writers group. She’s written for a local newspaper, a magazine, several newsletters and posts weekly on a blog. Additionally, Lois has worked as an adjunct instructor at several universities.