Monday’s Friend – Carolyn Arnold

Today I welcome writer Carolyn Arnold to my blog.

Carolyn Arnold is the author of several novels in various genres. The first mystery in her Detective Madison Knight novels, TIES THAT BIND, is available for purchase in e-book, and is coming soon to paperback. She lives with her husband and two beagles in Southwestern Ontario.

Why I Chose to Self-Publish
By Carolyn Arnold

Trust me when I say there was a lot of thought put into this decision. I considered, and weighed the options. It would involve a lot of time in self-promotion, and require a commitment. I wouldn’t have the name of a large publishing house behind me. I’d have to reach out and gain my readers. Here is where my brainstorming took me.

Traditional publishing, too, would be a long road. Finding and landing an agent takes time. Even after an author gets one, the manuscript makes the rounds to publishing houses. Often times, there’s more revisions. And if you’re fortunate enough to make it through this, it’s another eighteen months until print.

Key fact: Just because you land an agent doesn’t mean you’ll be published.

In fact, I’m friends with other writers who are at this stage, or have been. Well over a year has passed, and I still cannot buy their books.

I asked myself, how much time would I have invested without readers even gaining access to my book?

Here’s some circulated notions when it comes to traditional publishing. We’ll call them myths, and truths will refer to where my research and decision led me.

If you publish traditionally, you’ll be successful.

As with anything in life, there are no guarantees. An agent doesn’t guarantee a publishing contract no more than a contract guarantees you success.

Self-published authors are producing higher-quality work than ever before, and because of this their work is getting noticed. Some win contests, receive acknowledgements, and the lucky few are opted for motion picture. I have a friend right now who chose to self-publish, and she’s working through the process of having her series produced for a movie slated for Fall 2012. And think of The Shack by William P. Young.

You’ll be successful if keep your writing quality high, and retain a level of professionalism at all times.

Traditional publishing will make your work stand out in the marketplace.

Only your work, professionalism, commitment to your readers, and constant growth in the craft will guarantee that. Even if you are accepted by a large publishing house, it doesn’t mean they stand behind you. Yes, their name’s on your book, but first-time authors are given little attention when it comes to the marketing aspect. Publishing is a business, and because of this, these houses use their dollars on their proven authors.

Publishing traditionally brings with it a huge advance.

If you’re lucky. For first-time authors these would be few and far between. From what I’ve read these figures can be as low as four figures. And, yes that still sounds nice, but factor in the time it took to get there. I’d rather my work be available now so I can establish a loyal readership for the long term.

Self-publishing has been described as a marathon not a sprint, but really isn’t seeking traditional publishing much the same? Please know that in considering the above options I am in no way against traditional publishing. Authors must choose their own path.

With my considerations above, I do acknowledge that traditional publishing has been in existence for what is essentially forever. It’s been tried, tested, and proven. But it seems like self-publishing is the new thing that authors are doing. They’re taking control of their writing careers, and setting a new tone for the publishing industry. How I would love to say we’re “taking it by storm”, but the fact remains, the odds are stacked against us. Still this is the choice I made.

These are just some aspects I considered. It wasn’t a decision I rushed into by any means. It wasn’t a choice I made because I felt there were no other options. I wanted to take control of my writing career. Of course, I can’t speak on behalf of my readers who obviously have the foremost say on my level of success, but I do promise this: “I will continue to provide high quality writing, and strive to improve in the craft to ensure that my fiction has you flipping the pages as you become engaged with the characters and their stories. I am no longer approaching an agent, but I am pitching to my direct audience, to you the reader, and I wouldn’t want to disappoint anyone.”

TIES THAT BIND, police procedural mystery
75,900 words

Detective Madison Knight concluded the case of a strangled woman an isolated incident. But when another woman’s body is found in a park killed by the same line of neckties, she realizes they’re dealing with something more serious.

Despite mounting pressure from the Sergeant and Chief to close the case even if it means putting an innocent man behind bars, and a partner who is more interested in saving his marriage than stopping a potential serial killer, Madison may have to go it alone if there’s not going to be another victim.

E-book: $3.99 USD

Available on Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK, Apple I-Store, Smashwords in formats available for the Sony E-Reader, Palm devices, as well as files for viewing on your computer such as PDF, and HTML.

Will be coming soon to Barnes & Noble for the Nook, as well as to Sony, Kobo, and Diesel.

Paperback edition hopefully available mid-June 2011 through Amazon!

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter, or on her blog.


10 comments so far

  1. Carolyn Arnold on

    Thank you for having me, Sara.

  2. Kenneth Hoss on

    Great interview, Carolyn.

  3. Razib Ahmed on

    Surely a good interview and all the best for Carolyn Arnold. My own personal view is that if a writer is not that hopeful of selling many copies through self publishing then they surely should seriously consider the option of publishing the book online. After all, publishing a novel in a blog or website hardly costs anything and it is very easy to promote a website or a blog.
    We are translating a novel and we hope to publish it through our upcoming website.

  4. Marsha A. Moore on

    Thanks for the great comparison/contrast! Very useful.

  5. theaatkinson on

    well written post. loved “Key fact: Just because you land an agent doesn’t mean you’ll be published.”

    true. I have a really great agent and we came very close, but no cookie (er…contract)

    great reasons to selfpub. I’m all in.


  6. Carolyn Arnold on

    It’s wonderful that everyone has enjoyed the post, and I thank you for taking the time to comment. I wish all of you the best with your writing careers 🙂

  7. Kenneth Hoss on

    Sara, do you now want the “Not a Cookie Cutter Blog” award?

  8. Jettica on

    Great guest post. There are so many options for writers now. It’s not all that difficult to promote a self-pubbed book now either because of the wonders of the interwebs!

  9. Karen on

    Great interview! I love your insight on myth vs truth!

  10. Kris on

    Awesome guest post. I just made the decision to self-publish my first novel, turning down a couple of small presses to do so, and it’s nice to hear my own thoughts and rationale echoed by someone who has seen both sides of the fence. Best of luck with all!

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