cb-clarkLike many authors, my path to publication has been a long and rocky one. When I finished writing my first story, I immediately sent the manuscript to several publishers, certain I’d written a best seller. I was devastated when the rejection letters arrived. Some were form letters addressed to ‘Dear Author’, and others were terse statements stating the manuscript was not what they were looking for. One editor even scrawled the word ‘No’ in red pen across my query letter.

One particularly dark moment occurred when I was at a conference attending a session where writers anonymously submitted the first page of their work. If selected, the moderator read the page as a panel of editors listened. If they didn’t like what they heard, they raised their hands. If two editors raised their hands, the reading stopped. This was the most-attended session at the conference. It was like watching a car accident as writer after writer was jeered and critiqued by the editors, and the audience nervously laughed.

I held my breath as my page was selected. Almost immediately, one of the editors raised his hand. After several more paragraphs, another editor’s hand went up, and the reading stopped. The editor who’d raised his hand first explained that while the writing was good, the story was pulp. As he said it, his mouth pursed as if he’d eaten something sour.

After I bandaged my bruised ego, I wrote another story. This time, aside from the form rejections, there were a few encouraging words. I attended conferences, joined the Romance Writers of America, participated in an on-line critique group, entered contests, and revised, revised, revised.

Then came the day I pitched the story to an editor. She loved it and requested I send the manuscript in as soon as possible. A month later, The Wild Rose Press offered me a contract for ‘My Brother’s Sins’. Now my second romantic suspense, ‘Cherished Secrets’ has been published, and I’ve signed a contract for my third.

I’m glad I didn’t quit. Writing is what I do and who I am. Never stop doing what you love. Believe in yourself. Writing is subjective, and what one person dislikes, ten others will love. Your dreams of being a published author can come true. Mine did

Blurb:

cherishedsecrets_w10633_750Twelve years ago, sixteen-year old Carrie Ann Hetherington, pregnant with the child of a murder suspect, fled the small town of Cooper’s Ridge for the anonymity of Seattle. Now, faced with a family dilemma, she must risk her carefully reinvented life and return to her childhood home.

Eighteen-year-old Declan McAllister’s prom date is found beaten and strangled to death, and he becomes the prime suspect accused of the grisly crime. Now this successful Dallas businessman returns to Cooper’s Ridge to find the true murderer and finally lift the cloak of suspicion he’s faced all these years. In his quest to prove his innocence, he must join forces with the woman who shattered his heart to find a devious killer who will stop at nothing to protect a shocking truth.

Caught up in a menacing web of secrets, deception and danger, they struggle to overcome past betrayals and present danger. Can they tear down the barriers they’ve erected around their hearts and rediscover true love.

Buy Links:

Amazon | Kobo | Book Strand | iTunes | Nook | The Wild Rose Press

Social Media Contacts:

Facebook: cbclarkauthor@facebook.com

Twitter: @cbclarkauthor

Blog: cbclarkauthor@wordpress.com

Rimrider Cover lakelley-72dpi-1500x2000Please welcome L.A.  Kelley to the blog today. She’s discussing her wonderful novel, Rimrider, which is a contender on Amazon’s Kindle Scout program. She’s going to tell you all about the book, Kindle Scout, and how it benefits you, the reader. (Click that gorgeous cover to see it in its full-size glory.)

What the heck is Kindle Scout?

A few short years ago, Amazon launched a venture for new, never-before-published books where readers help decide a contract. Selected novels are published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing. The marketing part is a huge appeal. It’s the curse of most authors’ existence (I spit on you, hateful marketing gods!) Having Amazon shoulder the burden is a major plus.

If a book is approved, the author receives a preview link to check the data submitted along with the Kindle Scout campaign launch date. All campaigns last 30 days. The more nominations a book receives the more likely it will get the attention of the Kindle Scout team and be selected for publication.

Will the requirements make my head hurt?

Nope. Submissions are taken all year long and eligibility standards are simple. The manuscript must be submitted in English and be 50,000 words or more. Authors must be 18 years of age or older, have a valid Amazon account, and reside in a Kindle Scout–eligible country. Five categories are available: Romance, Mystery & Thriller, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Teen & Young Adult, and general Literature & Fiction.

Any downside with Kindle Scout for the author?

Isn’t there always? The author is responsible for the book’s cover art. It must look professional, be ready to go when the manuscript is submitted, and satisfy Amazon’s specifications. Unless you’re a professional graphic designer, you’ll have to shell out money for an artist. The manuscript should also be professionally edited, free of typos and grammar errors. Paying for a good editor is a must. Kindle Scout doesn’t offer hardcovers or paperbacks, so if an author wants something to hold in his or her hot little hand, the printing cost are shouldered alone. For some, the lack of marketing decisions can be irksome. Amazon has total control. An author can’t run a 99 cent sale or post the first book in a series for free to drum up interest in the rest. Finally, the terms of the contract state that the book will only be available on Amazon, so bye-bye Barnes and Noble, any other site, and all ereaders who can’t open a MOBI file.

What’s the benefit to the reader?

You’re allowed to vote for three nominations. If your choice is a winner, Amazon will send a free copy of the ebook upon publication. No muss. No fuss. The only cost was a few minutes of your time to check out the book. You also get to proudly strut around the room and brag to others about supporting indy writers.

Who the heck are you?

I’m a fantasy/science fiction indy writer with five published books with a small press and a book now a Kindle Scout nominee. I live in Florida, slathered in sunscreen, and prefer air-conditioned comfort to heat and humidity. On the plus side, my skin will never look like badly laid roofing shingles. Here are my lurking spots if you care to lurk with me:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/l.a.kelley.author

Twitter: @AuthorLAKelley

http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com

Be honest. Do you think you really have a shot?

Let’s put it this way… Amazon labels the popular Kindle Scout nominations in the smoking hot category. Even as a teenager I was only found in the dorky and peculiar category. The odds aren’t great, but if you don’t try, you can’t succeed. That being said I would greatly appreciate a vote for Rimrider by L. A. Kelley. It’s a science fiction space opera about a teenage girl who becomes a space pirate. Imagine the American Revolution with Earth as the redcoats and the colony planets as Yankee rebels and you get the idea. Intrigued? Click on the link and heartfelt thanks for taking a peek.

Kindle Scout link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1135KKAY4C6QF