Geraldine Evans-Guest Post on Joe Konrath’s Blog

Such a thrill to write a guest post for Joe Konrath. I’ve admired him from afar since before I decided to turn indie myself — a decision I doubt I’d have had the courage to make if not for Joe. So thank you, Joe, for your generosity in sharing so much with the rest of the writing community and for opening our eyes to the possibilities created by Amazon and the internet.

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This is a post that I was invited to write by the great Joe Konrath. I’ve rejigged things to bring it up to date, but it’s basically the same as the one that appeared on Joe’s blog, https://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-geraldine-evans.html/

 

Joe sez: If you’ve missed the previous guest blogs, they’ve been fascinating and informative. You’ll find them beneath Geraldine’s post.

Now here’s Geraldine Evans

Photo of mystery author Geraldine Evans
Mystery author, Geraldine Evans

 

Such a thrill to write a guest post for Joe Konrath. I’ve admired him from afar since before I decided to turn Indie myself—a decision I doubt I’d have had the courage to make if not for Joe.

So thank you, Joe. For your generosity in sharing so much with the rest of the writing community. And for opening our eyes to the possibilities created by Amazon and the internet.

You’ve raised the lid on so much to do with the publishing world. Not least author earnings, which most of us have probably been secretive about. Though more from mortification that our earnings were so small than from any James Bondian reason!

A lot of us are now earning a living from our writing and finding those readers that were so elusive during our traditional publishing days.

I’ve been writing for over half my life. But, like most writers, I took a while to get my act together and actually finish a novel. It took hitting one of those age milestones for me to stop prevaricating and actually type those blissful words: ‘The End’.

But, as we all know, and as Winston Churchill famously said in relation to World War Two, we weren’t at the beginning of the end. But we might be at the end of the beginning.

So, beginning made, we advanced proudly on to the next stage. You’ll be familiar with this one. It’s the standard rejection letter stage. This goes on for quite a while.

From there we move on, if we’re lucky, to the more personal rejection letter. Maybe even with a few encouraging words scribbled at the end by the editor. But it’s still a rejection. It doesn’t necessarily smell any sweeter with the addition of a few barely decipherable words.

Six years and six books later, in my case, I received my first letter from a publisher saying they wanted to publish my novel.

I’d been writing romances in the hope of getting signed up by Mills & Boon (Harlequin). I never managed to get taken on by them. Although I did get to the ‘few words’ stage. They advised me my books had too much plot and not enough romance…

So, I decided to try Robert Hale, who also published romance in a smaller way. They accepted my novel, Land of Dreams (set in the Canadian Arctic in an attempt to be ‘the same, but different’!–out of print in any format), for the fabulous sum of — wait for it — £100. Still, it was a start. And, of course, I’d go on to greater things…

Robert Hale rejected my next romance.

This latest rejection had made me good and mad. I simmered quietly during all the time it took before I managed to get published again.

It took me a while—a long six years. But I eventually listened to that quiet little voice inside. It had been telling me for over half a decade to try changing genres.

God knows I felt like murdering someone! So I did what that little voice had been saying, switched genres and turned to crime.

Ironically, I found a niche almost immediately with Macmillan. They sold that first crime novel, Dead Before Morning, (the first in my now 18-strong Rafferty & Llewellyn Mystery Series) to St Martin’s Press and Worldwide (pb). Heady stuff!

Or was it? Gradually, it dawned on me that I hadn’t advanced much, if at all. Although my advances did at least gather a nought on the end.

After Macmillan had published four of my Rafferty & Llewellyn novels (Dead Before Morning, Down Among the Dead Men, Death Line, The Hanging Tree), I still wasn’t earning a lot. I was still stranded on the midlist. With nowhere to go, but down and out.

And out I went, when Macmillan was taken over by a firm of German publishers, and they dropped about a third of their list, including yours truly.

It was another six years before I managed to get published again. What is it with me and the number six? Anyway Absolute Poison started my stop/start writing career off again. This time I’d go on to greater things, for sure.

Alas, the greater things never happened. I languished on the midlist through God knows how many years and another ten crime novels. With no marketing budget, no publisher-paid-for book tours, no nothing. It really was a dead-end job with no hopes of promotion.

Worse, it was a very poorly-paid dead end job which had to be fitted in around my real dead-end job.

Is this it? I thought. Is this what all my aspirations and hard work had been about?

By this stage, I was pretty disheartened and beginning to lose my love of words and the joy I’d previously found in putting them together. I was still working full-time at the day job and fitting in my writing during evenings, weekends and holidays. It wasn’t much fun for me or my long-suffering husband.

I’d always tried to educate myself about the publishing world. The same as I’d tried to educate myself after I left school at sixteen. It was this desire to learn that brought me to Joe’s blog.

Hardly able to believe my eyes, I read what he had to say about going it alone in a self-publishing world.

Could there really be a way to escape the publishing treadmill? Rekindle(!) my previous delight in the written word? And make a proper living, too? It seemed too good to be true.

There’s got to be a catch, I thought. But I continued to read Joe’s blog. From his posts I discovered other authors who’d taken the step into this Brave New publishing World before me. I started to think, ‘Mmm. Maybe it is possible’.

Joe was and is, such a great enthusiast, such an inspiration. He writes the things about publishers that most of us only think. In 2010, the year I turned Indie, it was like a succession of those ‘ping!’, light bulb moments.

Although I still hardly dared to believe I could succeed on my own, after a few months’ I became brave enough to turn down my publisher’s latest contract.

Not a difficult decision in the event. Especially as signing it would mean I agreed to give them the ebook rights to my entire backlist, the potential value of which they were starting to grasp.

Hey, I might be ill-educated, but I’m not stupid; certainly not after receiving a publishing education at the hands of the Master! No way was I signing that. So I said, ‘thanks, but no thanks’, and cut myself adrift to sink or swim on my own.

But I wasn’t alone. I had Joe always there with so much advice. And I had all the other intrepid authors who, like me, the publishing world assured us, would come to regret our foolhardy decision to leave their ‘nurturing’ nest.

Well, I’m happy to tell you we weren’t so foolhardy after all. I now earn more in a month than I used to earn in an entire year publishing the traditional route.

  • I was able to give up the hated day job.
  • I finally managed to get the rights back to the last of my books.
  • And since 2010, I’ve been a proud Indie author.

Altogether, with my eighteen traditionally-published novels, I now have twenty-eight books to my credit (21 mystery/suspense, 1 biographical historical novel (Reluctant Queen), 3 romances (written under a pen-name), and 3 non-fiction. And I’ve published short fiction as well.

The eighteenth Rafferty, Game of Bones– as well as all the rest of the series from Kith and Kill #15 – is one of my self-published works.

My Rafferty & Llewellyn Series is more cozyish procedural than noir, with my London-born and Essex-based DI Joseph Aloysius Rafferty hailing from a working-class Irish Catholic family who – with their little more than passing acquaintance with the letter of the law – are the bane of his life.

Being a policeman in the Rafferty family is not a happy experience. And while they might give me, as the author, and, hopefully, the readers, a lot of fun, they cause Rafferty plenty of angst. Angst compounded by me partnering him with DS Dafyd Llewellyn, a more moral than the Pope intellectual Welshman.

So, alongside the murder investigations, I’ve generally got family-caused mayhem going on in the sub-plots. Which gives Rafferty plenty of ‘how the hell do I get out of this?’, moments.

Now, I really must get on with my so-called work in progress (Untitled #19 Rafferty series), which seems to have been as stop/start as my writing career!

Okay, the catch is that I have to market them, and do all the hundred-and-one jobs entailed in running my own little publishing empire.

But I have a new lease of life, new readers and a new, much improved, source of income. All things the nay-sayers claimed I’d never get. It’s great! And, Joe—so are you!  :)xxxx

Joe sez: I remember thinking that it was my fault my books never made the bestseller lists. Even though my publishers made so many mistakes it was a comedy of errors. Even though I’d done more than any author, before or since, to self-promote. I felt the responsibility for being midlist.

Self-publishing for me was emancipation. With it came the realization that I’d done many things right, and that it was the archaic, greedy, dysfunctional, evil industry that had screwed up, not me.

But I won’t place all the blame on NY publishing. Because fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me for eight legacy published books, I became a willing participant in my own victimization.

Granted, it was the only game in town. To a starving man, a crust of bread is a banquet.

But I’ll never forget the feelings of failure, many of which stemmed from my own modest expectations.

I can imagine what young sports stars feel like, working their asses off in college sports, hoping to go pro. I can also imagine how they feel when they get a shot at going pro, and it doesn’t work out. The whole “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” sounds like it was written by someone trying to soothe himself after a horrible experience.

Honestly, I don’t know what hurts more. Spending years trying to break into legacy publishing but never getting a deal, or getting a deal and being treated like crap.

I still see authors going after legacy deals and I honestly can’t understand what the allure is. Aren’t there enough confessional stories of woe on the internet that show how legacy publishers treat authors? Aren’t there more and more indie authors speaking about their successes?

I’d like someone to explain to me why, if they read my blog, they’d still pursue a legacy deal. The hope of a NYT bestseller? It can happen self-publishing. A movie deal? It can happen self-publishing. Someone to guide them through the publishing process? That DOESN’T happen in legacy publishing. Publishers don’t take care of you. They exploit you.

I’m not the only one crowing about this. I’m seeing the same stories, over and over. I’m seeing publishers make the same mistakes. I’m seeing the old system fail, bit by bit. All the information is out there, easily accessible.

And yet there are still authors who want a book deal. The Big 5 and Harlequin are still seducing authors into taking unconscionable deals.

Why?

You can read Joe Flynn talking about his publishing history here: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-joe-flynn.html

You can read Richard Stooker talking about bestsellers here: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-richard-stooker.html

You can read Nikki M. Pill talking about fear here: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-nikki-pill.html

You can read Billie Hinton and Dawn Deanna Wilson talking about categorizing your book here: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-billie-hinton-and-dawn.html

You can read Helen Smith talking about her publishing journey here: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-helen-smith.html

You can read Jeff Carlson talking about his publishing journey here: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-jeff-carlson.html

You can read Zander Marks talking abut new genres tion from tiotradut: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/07/guest-post-by-zander-marks.html

 

https://geraldineevansbooks.com/rafferty-and-llewellyn-mystery-series/?frame-nonce=63dcf099c6/

https://geraldineevansbooks.com/creating-a-crime-series-how-i-did-it/

 

 

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Goodreads Giveaway! Reluctant Queen: The Story of Mary Rose Tudor, Little Sister to Henry VIII

Enter my Goodreads Giveaway and be in with a chance of winning one of  ten pb copies of mReluctantQueenPODCOVEERFINALCROPPED FRONT ONLYy historical novel, Reluctant Queen. Ends 30 April 2014.

‘A very readable account of a fascinating woman who dared to stand up to Henry VIII and survived. It is thoroughly researched, admirably written and the author’s love of the Tudor period shines through.’ HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIE

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY Got to be in it to win it!

Ten copies of the paperback edition of my Tudor Historical Novel, RELUCTANT QUEEN: The Story of Mary Rose Tudor, the Defiant Little Sister of Infamous English king, Henry VIII.

Mary Rose Tudor, Henry VIII’s lovely little sister, reluctantly marries the aged and sickly Louis XII of France, a May to December state marriage, after a relentless campaign by her loving brother to get her agreement.

But Mary, deeply in love, for the first time, with champion of the lists Charles Brandon, extracted Henry’s promise that she could please herself for her second marriage.

At the French court, Mary endured the hateful embrace of her ancient husband, the ardour of Francis, the debauched, womanising heir-to-the-throne, as well as the hatred of Louise of Savoy, mother to Francis, who feared her lusty son would succeed in fathering his own usurper.

With the death of Louis, and Francis’s elevation to the French throne and absolute power, her situation became desperate. Captive prey to Francis’s determined passion for her, fearful of rumours that her brother would break the promise he made to her, would Mary Rose ever be free to go to her lost love?

Paperback Publication date: 1 May 2014.

ENTER NOW! Entry open from 27 February to 30 April 2014. Here’s the link to the giveaway page: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/83791-reluctant-queen-the-story-of-henry-viii-s-defiant-little-sister

RECENT INTERVIEWS I’VE DONE

I’ve just recorded a podcast radio interview with the delightful Kghia Gherardi and Simeon Beresford for their book programme, Off the Shelf. It’s a fairly extensive interview and covers my embrace of epublishing as well as what I’m doing now and planning for the future. Why not click the link and tune in?

 
I also just recently did an interview with the thriller author Jack Everett for Acclaimed Books. Have a read and see what you think.
Here’s the link for the interview I just did with Jack Everett at Acclaimed Books

LAST DATES ON MY BLOG TOUR

Well, I’ve come to an end to my Blog Tour. It’s been a lot of work, but I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been exciting checking for new comments each day and I’ve had some lovely ones – people really can be very kind and generous. Anyway, here are the last few dates and hosts on my tour. Check them out!

My ‘Made it’ Moment with host Jenny Milchman
http://www.jennymilchman.com/blog/?p=1257

‘Sink or Swim’ Interview with host Stacy Juba
http://stacyjuba.com/blog/2011/02/25/sink-or-swim-6-meet-detective-inspector-joseph-aloysius-rafferty-from-deadly-reunion/

Interview with host Marilyn Meredith.
http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/2011/02/meet-geraldine-evans-and-learn-about.html

I want to thank all seventeen of my hosts. They’ve been absolutely amazing! And to think they have guest bloggers all the time. They must be awesome at organisation. I take my hat off to each and every one of you. Thank you ladies and gent. You’re all welcome on my blog at any time.

Oh. I nearly forgot. This is not part of my tour, but something I did separately and that just happens to have coincided with the last day of the tour. Anyway, here’s an interview I did for Sylvia Massara of The Lit Chick Show! This one’s the Real McCoy, with an introduction and everything, so you can ignore the previous interview I put up for this.

Marketing For Writers

Your book’s been accepted. How wonderful! Congratulations.
It’s a terrific, feeling, isn’t it, after all those rejections?

But now comes the real work. What? You thought you’d done
the work and that now came the pleasure? Ha! Think again.

Writing the book’s only half of it. And if you’re a techno-thickie,
like me, you’ll be amazed at what you can learn to do; I certainly
was.

Everyone knows about the signings and the crowds of people who come to each. But everyone would be wrong. Unless you’re very

well-known, you’ll be lucky to get more than a handful of signings, if that. Think about it. Why would a bookstore manager want to

 
put himself to the trouble for a writer that no one’s ever heard of? For a writer who’s unlikely to sell more than one or two books (and one of these purchases will probably be made by the writer’s partner)? What happens most often is that the writer sits behind a desk with a pile of his/her books and no one comes. That, believe it or not, is the harsh truth of most book signings. You don’t need to take my word for it. Watch this video made by writer Parnell Hall and have a laugh while the sober truth sinks in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZoJ5OKmEJY.

So what can you do? There are other things. Libraries are always welcoming to the idea of your giving a talk. Ring around a few libraries, ask to speak to the librarian and introduce yourself and your new book. You should get an invitation or two to speak. No good at speaking off the cuff? Don’t worry. It’s perfectly acceptable to use notes. I do myself as my short-term memory is shockingly bad and I’m hopeless at speaking without a crib. You may even sell a few books.

There are also other things you can do to draw attention to yourself. I’m in the middle of preparing for a seventeen-date Blog Tour in February. It’s a lot of work as you have to prepare posts to go on other people’s blogs and you won’t be too popular if you repeat the same blog on several people’s sites. You’re expected to be original and, as I said, originality brings a lot of work.

How did I organise this? I’m a member of a number of writing/book sites and I checked on the File listing of one of them: Yahoo Group’s MurderMustAdvertise, for those members who were prepared to host other writer members and contacted each one. You’ll need to be organised and create a Blog Tour folder on your computer where you can store the emails listing what you’re to do. You should also set up a folder in Documents with docs for each of the separate posts you’ve been asked to make and note in your diary the names, email addresses, dates, blog addresses and what your post is to consist of. If you don’t do all this you’ll get in a hopeless muddle. I could have arranged more Blog Tour dates if I’d contacted members on other book or writing sites, but I thought seventeen gigs was as much as I could cope with. This is my first Blog Tour, after all, and I didn’t want to over-reach myself.

I’ve written several question and answer sessions, prepared a few different excerpts of Deadly Reunion, my latest Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel which comes out on 24 February, with links to the other excerpts. Deadly Reunion is the reason I organised the blog tour.


What else have I written? Another blogger asked me to produce a post about my writing ‘Made it Moment’. LOL! Shows how deluded one can be! One asked me to supply my Top Ten Tips for writers. Another wanted me to write a post about my ebook experiences since I’ve published two of my Rafferty novels to kindle et al. They all wanted a short bio and brief synopses of both Deadly Reunion, my latest hardback, and Dead Before Morning, my latest ebook. Another blogger wanted me to tell her readers about how I set about making my various video book trailers. I did it The Hard Way, I thought! The first one was made from a basis of total ignorance. Boy, this marketing mallarkey is a very steep learning curve. I’ve also collected up the links to various reviews, to my youtube video book trailers, to amazon and, of course, my blog and website. I’m still working on some posts. But when I’ve finished, I’ll put up a list of all my Blog Tour gigs and you can follow me through the Tour if you wish. You’ll probably be asked to provide a few prizes. I think the most usual is that, at the end of the Blog Tour, a drawing is made of all of those people who have made a comment during your Tour. It’s up to you to check on each of the blog sites for the comments and to note down the details of each so you can make the draw.


What else have I done? I’ve made a video interview of myself, using the webcam on the computer, with my poor husband acting as the interviewer. Here’s the link if you want to take a look and have a laugh at our pretty inept efforts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoMLVcKxzBw This was about our fifth attempt, so you can imagine how poor the earlier efforts were. It was originally done for The Lit Chick Show, a video blog that hosts author interviews. But I’m going to do it again for the show and hope that both of us manage to project ourselves a bit better! Practise! Practise! Practise! The interview’s not due to air until the 25 February, so we’ve got time to apply a bit of polish. You could do something similar and put it up on youtube, then at least you’ll have something ready for your Blog Tour when you organise it. You can try to get radio interviews; local radio is generally pretty willing to host you and local newspapers might well feature you if you contact them.
I’ve explained before, in a previous post, that you’ll have to provide your own marketing materials, like bookmarks, flyers and postcards, as it’s unlikely that your publisher will do it. I’ve just altered the design of my bookmarks, but I’ve had a hell of a job lining up the two sides of the bookmarks. It’s been very wasteful of my white card and my computer inks, not to mention my time. But fingers crossed, they’re lined up now. My next printing will tell. Oh for the money to be able to pay someone else to make the blasted things! Hey, maybe next week, I’ll have time to do some actual book writing!
Now. To market! To market!

I was interviewed by Beth Hull of Nebula Contacts

Read the interview about my writing here. http://bethhull.com/2010/12/03/nifty-author.geraldine-evans

Interview

I was interviewed today by Gay Webster, Editor of Just Regional Magazines (North Norfolk, England). Lovely lady, we chatted about Death Dance, my latest book, how I got started, why I chose to write. I told her about my blog and how I’d just made my first video book trailer. She took a number of photos of my books and me and let me say which photos of me I liked (hate it when an interviewer takes your pictures and it turns out not to be one of the better ones that gets published. You know, double chin and all…! The interview should be in the next edition. I look forward to seeing it.