Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Writing Life by L. Diane Wolfe, Guest Blogger

My guest this week is L. Diane Wolfe, known as “Spunk On A Stick." A member of the National Speakers Association and the American Business Women’s Association, Diane also writes The Circle of Friends YA series which features morally grounded, positive stories that appeal to both teens and concerned parents. Her latest release is Circle of Friends, Book V: Heather.

Ten years associating with a motivation training system and experience as a foster parent gave her an in-depth knowledge of relationships, personality traits, and success principles. Wolfe travels extensively for media interviews and speaking engagements, maintains a dozen websites & blogs, manages an online writer’s group, and contributes to several other sites and newsletters.

It's my pleasure to introduce Diane and her personal story about the adventure of getting published.

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My Writing Life by L. Diane Wolfe

My road to publication had many bumps, most of which were self-induced. It was not a pretty sight! I want to help other writers avoid the pitfalls. Since there are so many wrong paths, let me describe how NOT to do it!

My author aspirations began at age thirteen but I didn’t actively pursue those goals beyond high school. They just sat there, waiting. Then a dream inspired me to begin anew. I wrote constantly and soon possessed four additional story outlines. Once the first book was complete and edited by a professional, I looked around for options. A well-meaning friend directed me to another author, and since I was new and naïve, I choose his suggested path with a subsidy publisher. Oh, the young and foolish!

I went through the process and soon my first novel was available. The book was returnable, so as instructed by my sales rep, I started setting up book signings. Fifty store appearances later, I’d moved over a thousand books. I was in the subsidy publisher’s top 1% and even invited to attend Book Expo. I thought I was doing great!

However, as I began studying the industry, I realized I was on the wrong path. As a subsidy author, I was the equivalent of dirt! Hindsight is always 20-20, isn’t it? Even my publishing rep told me to move on to bigger opportunities. I started querying agents. No luck!

I turned to small publishers next and finally scored. Dancing Lemur Press, LLC was willing to take on the series, even after my earlier efforts nearly sabotaged The Circle of Friends.

The situation was a big learning experience. I advise other writers to study the industry in depth before they set off down the wrong road. There are no short cuts to publishing! We work so hard for our dream. It deserves every chance to succeed!

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Thanks so much for sharing your story, Diane. The way publishing works today, it's no wonder authors are eager to avoid the waiting involved when searching for agents and publishers, then waiting even longer for a hardcover or paperback under contract to be released. Small and medium presses are among the many options worthy of exploration.

Find out more about Diane and her many activities and projects at the Spunk on a Stick website, The Circle of Friends website, and Diane's Spunk on a Stick blog.

For an excellent in-depth discussion of self-publishing and subsidy presses, read Diane's blog post of May 25, 2010.

19 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Most interesting, yes there must be many pitfalls before finding the right publisher.

Thanks Patricia for allowing Diane on your blog.

Yvonne.

Ann Best said...

Good to know. Thanks for hosting Diane. I've gone over to her blog and re-met her. Another author on my list to read!

Karen Walker said...

Wish I'd known all of you when I started on my path. I didn't choose subsidy, but I did choose to self-publish and now I'm not so sure that was the right thing to do. But it felt right at the time. Sigh!
Karen

Stephen Tremp said...

Its interesting to read the road to publishing from various blogging authors. Unfortunately, you're a pioneer who had ro experience these pitfalls. The upside is you can help us newbies so hopefully we can avoid these potholes in the road. Thanks for sharing.

Stephen Tremp

Sugar said...

Thanks for the post Patricia.. I love Diane!!
Love you too :)

*soaking up alll of the info you all share*

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm especially interested in all the different points of view on self-publishing. Things are changing so fast for authors. The more information we have, the better.

Past choices are simply that--choices. We make decisions and benefit from our experiences, then adjust to changing circumstances. Karen, have you blogged about your own path to publication and what you learned in the process? If yes, give me the links and I'll post them on one of my "blog posts of interest" days.

And to Diane, thanks again for sharing your thoughts on getting published. Every little bit helps.

Jemi Fraser said...

It's so nice of Diane to share her experiences. There's so much information out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Thanks Pat & Diane!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thanks Pat and everyone! I've stumbled around this business for almost eight years now, so hopefully I can impart some words of wisdom.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Trying not to be foolish, although I'd like to be young!

Clarissa Draper said...

THis is a great look into the publishing world. Thanks for sharing.
CD

Cricket McRae said...

Good information! Thanks for sharing your story, Diane!
Hearth Cricket

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thanks again, Pat!

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

Cool! I love Diane, but I'm always curious about the L? And a dream inspired her. I like that.

catwoods said...

Thanks Diane and Patricia.

I love the insight provided by experienced authors. There are so many hidden pitfalls in this industry that it's amazing so many writers actually get published!

Keep up the great work, Patricia. Your guests are a great resource.

Mason Canyon said...

Patricia, thanks for hosting Diane.

Diane, it's always interesting to learn more about the path authors have taken to get published. I'm understanding more each day the various problems authors sometimes run into when trying to get published.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks again, Diane. It was my pleasure to be your host today. We'd love to have you come back anytime.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Learning what not to do provides some of our most valuable lessons in life. Thanks for sharing your experience, Diane. I have a few author friends who believe self-publishing is the only way to go these days and think I’m wasting time by staying with a small publisher. It may take longer for my books to be released, and I may not make as much per book sale, but for me it still feels like the right way to go.

N. R. Williams said...

Much needed information. Thanks for sharing.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Simon, just keep on being curious about that L! LOL

Jane, you stay where it feels right!