Monday, December 17, 2012

My Briar Patch Life

It's been quite a while since I've really set foot into cyberworld. Yes, I have posted a few things here and there on Facebook, but that's the extent of my online presence.


Because I am pregnant! 6 months. My baby is due March 10th and we've named him Weston Rei. Love the way it sounds. As it is, I am uninspired to pursue new books. It's been this way with my every pregnancy.

One of the most frustrating things about this is that I've been hit with SO many book ideas, but I am not interested in pursuing them. The odd thing is that I've had the drive to edit Eros. It's been a very adventurous time and I am enjoying revisiting my characters and plot.

I am still mulling over traditional versus personal publishing. I've been jaded by my traditional publisher and have heard so many heartbreaking things from traditional authors, that I've decided to move away from traditional. I've had to jump through several fiery hoops that have burnt me, injured me, even unraveled me to the point of tears. But, as I sought other ways, I became more and more hopeless because this is SO new to me, and there is SO much information regarding the alternative.

Boy, am I glad for my 9 month hiatus.

It has actually given me time away from my career and has lent me a different perspective. During this time, as with the insistence and persistence of my 16 year old princess, we wrote a trilogy. She's thrilled to get it published. I keep talking about "when" she's published (she's written several books already!). Funny, but in my heart, I feel that personally publishing her books as well as the ones we've written together, is the way to go.

It really scares me to do this by myself--because of so many unknown factors from formatting to setting up accounts to knowing how to protect myself. I am determined to teach myself all these things because, as it stands now, we can't afford hiring editors, formatters, marketers and so on. This is a big thing to take on, yes, it is.

I've embarked on a sacred journey to discovering my pathway in my career. I am hoping I will be ready for this quest after Weston is born. Heartache and all. (Yes, I am scared, because I don't have a mentor to guide me every step of the way--I've made so many ignorant mistakes on my own already that have cost me a lot as an indie author).

I've come across this most-ever helpful post (and it has been very difficult for me to glean, if at all, any advice from my friends who've chosen this pathway). I hope this gives you hope to setting your roots firmly into the ground if you do choose this!

How I would love a business manual on how to avoid sharks, present yourself to bookstores and how to protect yourself when you do, effective book signing, presentation secrets, as well as everything you need to know to start your own publishing company from A-Z. Yes, I've heard, if you have an idea of how a story should be written, write it! I am no expert in this area and still have TONS to learn, so I can't be the one to write this book! Maybe some day...

How has your journey into publishing treated you? What kind of mistakes took you by surprise and how did you cope with them? Do you have a mentor?

Thanks for listening. I hope you guys have a great Christmas!

Elizabeth Mueller


  1. Thanks for your post, Elizabeth! I have also had an unexpected four-month break from writing thanks to a teaching opportunity. It's over now, time to get back to writing, and I really appreciate the perspective it's given me. For one thing, I used to blame every mistake I made on writing, every appointment I forgot, every unfolded basket of laundry... guess what, that stuff happens even when I'm not writing.

    And yes, I think whoever were to write a book on how to publish as an indie author would have an instant best-seller on their hands. Sue and Emily, you two could get together and do it. I'll do the content editing.

    1. You're the, I don't know, maybe 10th person who has suggested that I do this, and I have given it serious thought. But here's where I'm at with it: 1) I want to write fiction, 2) I provide lots of FREE information on my blog, 3) I loath the idea of charging my fellow indies money for a non-fiction book on self-publishing, but I would have to in order to justify the time putting it together.

      Best of luck, Elizabeth! Hard lessons are where all the learning comes in, so hang in there. And congrats on the wee one!

    2. There are a ton of books written by bestselling indie authors about how they did it, and what I've gleaned from each and everyone is that you have to find out what'll work for you. To answer your questions, Elizabeth:

      I began novel publishing with a small LDS press, and wasn't all that shocked with the outcome. They were used to dealing with people who were all starry eyed about getting published and I didn't fit in that mold. Their contract was ridiculous - I've seen plenty of big six publishing contracts, both the pre and post agent negotiation versions, so really I know how this works. They were grabby with rights and petty. I finally severed ties with them after their business guy took several months to return a phone call - or they dumped me actually, when I gave up on calling them and just posted a blog post calling them out on their behavior. You have to be careful about doing things like this, but in this case, everything turned out as it should. They replied by dumping me, and I knew then for sure that they weren't worth working with. I haven't looked back. Oh, and I sold over twice as many books indie than I did with them - so :-) Someone Else's Fairytale would be a solid bestseller in the LDS market, given its numbers.

      As for mistakes, that's an interesting question. What counts as a mistake is a matter of perspective, IMO. Was it really a screw up or was it a learning experience? Because we all learn by doing. I don't consider my time with the publisher a "mistake", even though the returns were low and the irritation factor high. I still learned a lot about the publishing process, and along the way learned that I really am a professional, I know how to think in terms of time, money, and efficiency and am not over emotional about my *art*. I get that it's a business - I daresay I got it far better than the publisher did.

      As for mentors, did I ever have mentors! An email to Orson Scott Card when I was in law school turned into a dialogue. I still turn to him sometimes when I have questions. I went to Clarion West where I got taught by six professionals, five writers and one editor. I keep in regular contact with several of them. And then for ten years I was in Critical Mass, the writers group that included people like George RR Martin (my old carpool mate), S.M. Stirling, Walter Jon Williams and others who've sold waaay more books than I have. All of them have been friends and mentors, so I'm very blessed in that department. Besides that, I'm a lawyer and thus know my way around contracts and such. I've even drafted several.

      And I am ALWAYS looking for ways to pay it forward, so feel free to contact me anytime, Elizabeth ( I know the meaning of the words, "I don't know" and use them when appropriate, but what I do know, I'm more than happy to pass along.

    3. Emily's answer is SO much better than mine. LOL! I'm going to stick to fiction. :)

    4. Oh, whatever, Sue! Your blog is full of a ton of useful information. I'd recommend it to anyone.

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  3. Elizabeth, hang in there. It's just a tough market, and (as the successful say) the tough, dedicated writers are the ones who make it through. Oh, and believing in yourself helps. None of us are perfect, but we get better with time. The publishing journey is a real education. I've learned from some mistakes of my own (A small, local company published two books of mine in 2005 and went out of business soon after, but the five-year contract was still valid), but I'm with Emily, because seven years later, I realize it actually helped me along as a writer - wanting to get better before I sought publishing again. I started going to the right places for advice, like writing conferences, and seeking out dedicated writing buddies who are in the process of improving, too. I think in the long run, we'll see the lag-times as the best education of all, because it gives us time to think, grow, gain perspective, and chart a better course. Kudos for keeping the dream alive!

  4. Congrats on the new baby! And congrats on figuring out what you want to do with your career. Best of luck with both. :)


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