Guest Blogger–Joylene Nowell Butler

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.

Joylene wanted me to mention that she will give away a free e-book version of her novel, Dead Witness, to anyone who leaves a comment below with their email address included.
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26 Comments

  1. Congratulations to Joylene for her hard work ,writing ,self publishing and for her sucess in having two books on the shelves. Again hats off to you Laura for being a dedicated blogger and supporter of fellow writers. You have much to teach us all about reaching out and applauding the work of others. Keep up your good work!

    Reply
  2. Great picture. I would never have thougt to set up in a grocery store. What a great idea. I’ll pack that idea away for when I self-publish my next book.

    This is a very inspirational blog, and it reminds me I need to get back to work and finish editing my current novel Shadows in the Stone.

    I’d like to put my name into the draw.My email address is tibert@ns.sympatico.ca

    Good luck with Broken but not Dead.

    Reply
    • Hi Diane. I’m thrilled to say you’ve been chosen as the winner of my free e-book. Unless I hear otherwise, I’m going to go ahead and email you a pdf of “Dead Witness.” Thanks for participating and leaving a comment.

      Reply
  3. Very intersesting post, Joylene and Laura! It’s a great story, Joylene, and your dedication of 18 hours a day to self-promote is astounding! We talk about luck and the right contacts, but your story shows how good old hard work can also do the trick!
    I’ll definitly look you up – I love discovering new authors.

    Reply
  4. Thank you, Laura, for this great opportunity. It’s so nice visiting with you. And thank you, Susan, Diane & Jennifer for the comments. Diane, my best sales are at Save-On Foods. People coming into the store seem genuinely fascinated that an author would actually be available to talk to. I hope you’ll let us know how your experience goes after you self-publish.

    Reply
    • Joylene, it’s been my pleasure to have you here today. Thank you for agreeing to doing this guest post. You certainly gave me something to think about. I agree with Diane, I wouldn’t have thought of going to a grocery store. Excellent! I wish you the best , not only with Broken but not Dead, but with Dead Witness which is newly out in eBook.

      Reply
      • Laura, it’s been great. I’m so glad we’re able to visit online. One of these days I’ll surprise you and drop by for tea. Thanks again for making me feel so special.

        Reply
  5. I love insightful posts like these. They’re so eye-opening. Best of luck with Dead Witness, Joylene! I know you’ll have tremendous success.

    P.S. Laura, I love your last name! I’d waltz around town, if I were you, telling everyone I’m the Best. :D

    soyoureawriter(at)gmail(dot)com

    Reply
  6. Another great post Laura. It is so good of you to support and promote other authors. Joylene’s books sound intriguing and I would love to win an e-copy of Dead Witness. darlene.foster@telus.net

    Reply
  7. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It’s a little bit scary to think about the work that goes into selling a book once it’s written and polished and published, especially after all the work that goes into writing the durn thing. It’s good to hear how others weathered the process though. :D

    Reply
    • Sonia, I think the secret is to not think too much. The hard part is to allow your instincts to take over and do what’s necessary. You write the book, you have it published, then you show it to the world. I see so many writers who don’t finish or procrastinate to the point that all inspiration dissolves. Fear of the unknown stagnants them, and that’s a crying shame. Because publishing is the natural conclusion to writing the book. It completes the cycle.

      Reply
  8. Hi Laura and Joylene,
    Now then, Joylene already knows what a wonderful writer and gosh darn nice lady she is. Joylene, is an inspiration to writers, aspiring and published.
    Take care, eh
    In kindness and happy writing,
    Gary

    Reply
    • Gary, you got me blushing again. Best to you, Gary. Lots of pats for Penny the Jack Russell and modest internet star!

      Reply
  9. You have a great virtual place. I’ll keep reading your blog every day.

    Reply
  10. Joylene, congratulations on accomplishing your goal. It doesn’t matter which route you take as long as you get there. Thank you for being the first person to post on my blog. While I don’t know you, it was truly kind for you to seek my beginning blog out.

    XOXO Diana Belchase
    Spy in the Mirror

    Reply
    • Diana, hi! Thank you for your kind words. And congratulations on winning the 2011 Gold Heart for your novel, “Spy in the Mirror.” That is so awesome.

      Reply
  11. Joylene, you’re such an inspiration to me. Laura, thanks for hosting Joylene on your blog! You two rock! :)

    Reply
  12. Hats off to Lorna and Nancy for being such wonderful support.
    And to YOU, for…well…for being you—your courage and determination in this field are inspiration to me. Always have been!

    Reply
  13. It was fun everyone. Thanks!

    Reply

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