Today, I am excited to have Joylene Nowell Butler as a guest on my blog. I met Joylene through blogger, Carol Garvin. Joylene is a terrific writer.( I’ve been told I’m allowed to pay her as many compliments as I’d like.) The thing is, our reputation in life speaks for itself. If you have read any of Joylene’s work I don’t need to tell you what a great writer she is, you’ve already figured that out for yourself.
Joylene Nowell Butler wrote her first book after her father died 1983. Though the book wasn’t worthy of publishing, Joylene was hooked on the process. Today she lives with her husband and their cats on Cluculz Lake in central B.C and is working on her sixth book. She is the author of suspense thrillers Dead Witness and Broken but not Dead.
YOU’RE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR LAST NOVEL
By Joylene Nowell Butler
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words doesn’t fit with this photo taken in June 2011. Words are needed to explain who these women are and why they’re standing together in a grocery store with stacks of novels in front of them.
So why share the photo?
I’m the one in the middle with gratitude seeping from every pour. Lorna, on my right runs the Save-On bookstore in Kelowna, B.C.. Nancy, standing behind Dead Witness owns Sandhill Book Marketing, a company specializing in the distribution of independently published novels acrossCanada.
In 2008, after I self-published my first novel Dead Witness, these two women were instrumental in jump-kicking my career. Because of their initiative, Canada’s oldest Aboriginal publisher, Theytus Books published my second novel Broken but not Dead a few days before this photo was taken.
Thank goodness attitudes about self-publishing have changed. However, it doesn’t alter the fact that self-publishing is hard work. Though the community is learning to look at all published authors on the merits of their work, a lot of sweat and tears is still needed to make your dream come true.
I spent money I didn’t have publishing Dead Witness. I paid for the book to be printed, distributed and promoted. I made myself known online, started a blog, made contacts in every bookstore near me. I approached libraries, newspapers, radio stations, and anyone else willing to listen. I spent 18 hours a day marketing when all I really wanted to do was write.
After I signed with Theytus for Broken but not Dead, they took on the financial expensive of publishing my novel. I still had to pay for my travel expenses during my book tour, for bookmarks, long-distance calls where I arranged for book signings and readings. But Theytus paid for the line-editor, the copy-editor and the book cover illustrator. They created the oversize posters. They also placed my book in their brochure and distributed a copy to every bookstore in Canada. I can’t imagine how much that would have cost.
In the way Lorna and Nancy were my support system after the release of Dead Witness, Theytus believed in my work and did everything possible to bring Broken but not Dead to the reading public. How can you beat that?
So, yes, in my case, to become a published author, I had to first self-publish.
Every writer, at one time or another, decides whether to go the traditionally route or to self-publish. But it’s a decision you don’t have to make alone. Do your research. Read every self-published author bio you can find. Know what’s expected and what shortcuts you’re best not to take. More importantly, write the finest novel you can write. And that means hook up with experienced critique partners and a great editor. Because in the end, it’s all about numbers. Or as I like to sum it up: You’re only as good as your last novel.