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Book Publishing Secrets with Margaret Fenton, Author of 'Little Girl Gone'

This interview originally appeared on Book Publishing Secrets.


Book Title:  Little Girl Gone
Genre: amateur sleuth mystery
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Margaret:  This is the sequel to my first mystery, Little Lamb Lost, which was published by Oceanview Publishing in 2009. 
Is this your first book?
Margaret: No.  My first book is Little Lamb Lost.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Margaret:  My first novel was published by Oceanview Publishing in 2009.  They have since decided to publish exclusively thrillers.  They wanted Little Girl Gone to be more a thriller, but I just couldn’t make that happen.  So they passed.  After much deliberation, I decided to self-publish through CreateSpace and Amazon.  It was a difficult decision and I miss having a team.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Margaret:  I got my contract with Oceanview when I attended Killer Nashville.  in 2007.  I highly recommend that conference for yet to be published authors (YTBP authors).  For a bit of extra money, you could talk to either an agent or a publisher.  I chose the agent.  Went to my meeting, sat down and gave her my mostly rehearsed pitch for Little Lamb Lost.  She hated it.  I don’t mean a little.  She HATED it in capital letters, and essentially said she didn’t understand why anyone would want to publish that.    

    So I went to the bar and ordered myself a large, extra large really, gin and tonic.  I was halfway through with it and a bit buzzed when my friend Don Bruns approached me and asked if I’d talked to Oceanview Publishing.  I explained what happened with the agent, and he said he was going to get the rep from Oceanview.  She came over, and I pitched, pretty sloppily.  She wanted to see it and about two months later I had a contract with Oceanview.  So my secret to getting published?  Gin.  Lots of gin.  By the way, Little Lamb Lost is an Amazon bestseller.

What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Margaret:  I would encourage everyone to try to find a publisher for your first book. That really helps get your name out there so if you get dropped (which happens a lot) at least you have a book out there with a publisher behind it.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Margaret:  I’ve been told we are referred to as “hybrid authors”.  I kind of like that name.  Having a publisher is nice, but being self-pubbed is okay too.  If you go self-pubbed, I would definitely recommend a publicist. They are experts at getting your book out there.  They are expensive but worth it.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Margaret:  Write.  It’s fun to fantasize about having a book out there and being an author, but unless you have a finished, good product it will never happen.  Find a good writer’s group and have other people you trust read your stuff.  That’s terrifying but the most helpful.  Talk to published authors and go to conferences.  But write, that’s the most important thing.

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Comment by Zhana on April 19, 2017 at 7:03am

Great post.  Thanks for this.  My first book was published by a major publisher, but they had no clue about how to promote it.  This is why I now choose indie publishing. 

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