Sunday, April 10, 2016

More Than One Road To Travel

My guest this week is fellow author and good friend, Marja McGraw. She has some very interesting things to say about her decision to self-publish the books in her two mystery series.

"When I started writing, my friends and family, of course, told me I had talent. What else were they supposed to say? After all, they were just that – friends and family. Someone sent me an article about a self-publishing company. I’d never heard of such a thing and jumped right on it. I knew nothing about finding a traditional publisher.

The first thing I discovered was that there was a stigma attached to being self-published. I wrote a third book and had learned a little about traditional publishing, so I started submitting the manuscript. I read somewhere that whether or not your book is accepted or rejected sometimes depends on the reader’s mood that day. Without going into a long story, I discovered the truth in that statement, and I moved on to other publishers.

Oh, joy, my book was accepted, and so were the next four. One of my Sandi Webster Mysteries led to a spinoff series, The Bogey Man Mysteries. I decided to go with a different publisher for the second series. The series was accepted and I was on my way.

Then things began to change. I learned more about the business and realized I wasn’t all that happy on my current path. The two publishers wanted to take one road, and I wanted to take another. We couldn’t seem to get past that fork in the road. At least, I couldn’t.

It was time to make a difficult decision. I was able to cancel all of the contracts with both publishers, do a slight rewrite on the books, create new book covers, and before I knew it I was back where I started, in a manner of speaking. I re released all of the books by self-publishing them. Self-publishing had changed and there were more opportunities for me.

One drawback was that now I had to do all of my own promotion and marketing. Honestly, even with traditional publishers I was doing most of it anyway, so I guess it’s actually a non-issue.

The books have been doing fairly well and by the time I left the traditional publishers I had a fan base in place. That helped a lot. I wasn’t coming out of the blue with readers wondering who I was.

One last point I’d like to make. I’ve discovered that if you had a traditional publisher in your past, the stigma seems to disappear to a great extent.

Would I recommend self-publishing to other writers? No. Each writer has to make up their own mind. I can’t offer any advice. I know that I’ve been happy since I became my own boss. I’m in control, or out of control as the case may be, and I made the right choice for me.

Take your time and don’t make a sudden decision. Research and decide what’s right for you. Follow the road that makes you happy with your choice of career."

To read more about Marja's books and/or to order them:

Marja McGraw was born and raised in Southern California. She worked in both civil and criminal law, state transportation, and most recently for a city building department.  She has lived and worked in California, Nevada, Oregon, Alaska and Arizona.
She wrote a weekly column for a small town newspaper in Northern Nevada, and conducted a Writers’ Support Group in Northern Arizona. A past member of Sisters in Crime (SinC), she was also the Editor for the SinC-Internet Newsletter for a year and a half.

Marja writes two mystery series: The Sandi Webster Mysteries and The Bogey Man Mysteries, which are light reading with a touch of humor. She also occasionally writes stories that aren’t part of a series.

Marja says that each of her mysteries contains a little humor, a little romance and A Little Murder!

She now lives in Washington, where life is good.