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