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All my life, I've wanted to be a novelist. From the time I sat in the window seat of an Indiana farmhouse and wrote a blow by blow description of my cat chasing down and eating a mouse, other people have commented on my work and how they liked it.

In a few short months, I'll be a novelist. Not a newspaper reporter; that I did in the 1980s in south Florida. I interviewed governors, senators, drug dealers and won awards for my series a Day in the Life. In 1998, I had a book on divorce published called 101 Little Instructions for Surviving Your Divorce, a book with thought-provoking statements about mental health and wellness during the process. I didn't know very much about what an author was expected to do to promote a book in those days, though I sent out copies and did some radio interviews.

Since then, I've had many other pieces published, online and off, newspapers, magazines, even two stories in the Cup of Comfort Volumes for Divorced Women and Adoptive Families. Most of those stories promoted themselves for as far as they went. I didn't have to do much.

But I've come to the conclusion that after twenty years of really pushing at it, trying to score that agent and hit that big sale just isn't going to happen for me at this time. I want people to read my writing. I could just post it all here. But realistically, I'd like to make some money off it too.

In looking at small press, I've met several editors who deal right with the authors, no go-between needed, and even discouraged! Marketing support, suggestions for promotion are shared, and we get the chance to one-on-one with people who share our enthusiasm. It's wonderful. It's creative. It's....time consuming....

At the same time, consider, that at this moment I have five manuscripts IN THE HANDS of an editor.

Not lying around some agent's slush pile. Not waiting for some spring intern to find that I have no references to fashionable shoes in chapter three, so the entire book should be tossed. Not waiting for the interminable back and forth of mail exchanges. I am blessed and fortunate, and by using this, my best shot at contact with a live person, I have in fact been offered and signed a contract for my first novel. I have two unique promotion ideas that we'll be fleshing out as we're closer to the book release in September, in addition to all the items the publisher has already created.

It's happening. Along with her request for the rest of the series to be known as The Clan Elves of the Bitterroot. But I'm still trying to connect with other editors, find homes for my other "children." It's happening. I have no time to sleep any more. *L* But maybe I'll catch up on that later, between stops in the book tour, hmm?

“Do or do not... there is no try.”

Yoda's words don't only apply to the use of the Force.

Perennially, one of my writing groups, Pennwriters, debates between those who have been published traditionally and those who aren’t about which writers “should” do.

The old guard insists that if you want to write novels you must get them to one of the five big houses, get the publicity machine and promotion. Of course this means you have to get an agent.

If you’re a writer who has tried to do either, chances are 99 times out of a hundred, it’s just not happening.

The old guard then cites the urban legends of authors who just kept sending out until sure as heck, that 101st letter did it. And maybe they did. More power to them.

Over the last year, I’ve read a lot about the state of publishing, and indeed about the world of communication in general. Time Magazine did a whole series of articles about publication in the digital age, and their conclusion is that the traditional routes are no longer exclusive.
Lev Grossman’s article said “Publishers Weekly (PW) predicts that 2009 would be ‘the worst year for publishing in decades.’ A lot of headlines and blogs to the contrary, publishing isn’t dying. But it is evolving, and so radically that we may hardly recognize it when it’s done.”

At the same time, newspapers are closing their doors, magazine and book publishers alike laying off staff, and paying markets, in the way we have always thought about them, are drying up.

Also at the same time, the whole concept of access to the masses has changed. Once upon a time, you needed to be cherished by Harlequin or Doubleday to even have your book see the light of day, unless you wanted to type out versions on your old Royal typewriter, one at a time, to circulate them. The Internet has changed that game.

Now authors have options. They can self-publish through or iUniverse, or epublishers which pay a royalty for books available digitally, or in print books. As I pointed out recently on my writer’s blog:

If I were Stephen King, my books would be available online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, at the publisher's website, and all the other ordering sites.I'm not Stephen King. But when The Elf Queen comes out this fall, you, the reader, will be able to order it online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, at the publisher's website, and all the other ordering sites.You will be able to order it in hardback, paperback or for your favorite e-reader like the Kindle, Sony, Ipad and more. So what's the difference to the average reader?

Writers don’t need the fancy publicity tour, either. Authors like CJ Lyons and Christina Katz, aka Writer Mama, tour online, guest blogging in as many places as they can. Cost? Your time. The Internet has millions of outlets to reach the people who want your work.

Many professional artists are choosing non-traditional routes to promote work they want to do, and it’s starting to make headlines. Musician Jill Sobule found the traditional music business wasn’t working for her–and didn’t get money in her hands– so her latest album was funded entirely by donations from fans and giveaways. Screenwriters like Joss Whedon are thinking outside the box with projects like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog, which first appeared on the Internet for free, but afterward started collecting revenues.

Communication venues like Twitter bring the celebrity even closer to fans, and news you want to share with many more people. Email and forums bring artists directly to their public, for the kind of one-on-one connection that sells readers, just as it sold Barack Obama to the American people at election time.

So we can all dream about that blockbuster sale, movie rights and New York Times listing right out of the gate. We can even work at it around busy lives of work, parenting and other distractions for forty years. Maybe some of us will get it.

But in the meantime, don’t you have something to say? Don’t we write so others can read? What’s the sense of having fifteen polished manuscripts in a drawer collecting dust? Maybe instead we should be out there exploring the new digital publishing world, meeting our readers, and sharing what we have to offer.

Welcome to my fellow CoyoteCon attendees! It's my privilege to share this with you, and I hope you come back again soon. :)

One thing that impresses me about any celebrity is when they use their fame for good causes. Paul Newman sold salad dressing, George Clooney and Bono speak out against poor conditions in third world countries, and Bill and Melinda Gates pledge their money to help kids in Africa. This month, best-selling author Brenda Novak sponsors an online auction to help find a cure for juvenile diabetes.

Okay, so the gesture isn't entirely unselfish, because Brenda's youngest son has diabetes. But who better to be aware of what families go through when their children are ill with this disease? Brenda has enlisted other writers, artists, jewelry makers and web designers to present a virtual cornucopia of offerings, some sincerely one-of-a-kind, to entice writers, readers and anyone you know.

You don't have to be a famous author to bid on these items, which include gift baskets, book collections by many of your favorite authors, some autographed, vintage jewelry and collectible dolls. Writers can choose from a whole list of reviews of their material by editors and agents from across the country as well as promotional packets for their works. (You can bet I'm bidding on a video for the new Elf Queen site!)

You can win a prize--just for entering a bid! Here's Brenda's award scheme for this year:

Week 1: An iPad, an autographed advanced reading copy of my new novel, WHITE HEAT, which won’t be available at stores until July 27th, and a VIP invitation to me and MaryJanice Davidson’s cyber launch party on Thursday, August 5 at 8:00 p.m.
Week 2: A Nook and $50 Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate

Week 3: $100 Gift Certificate to Borders, $200 Gift Certificate to Macy's and $100 Gift Certificate to Olive Garden
Week 4: A FAN 2011 Convention Package. This includes the price of the convention, $200 in travel money and a two-night stay aboard the Delta King. What is FAN 2011? It's the annual reader celebration convention I throw with #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Christine Feehan. For more details about the one we just held, visit

There will also be DAILY DRAWING PRIZES. I’ll draw a name each day from those who have placed bids that particular day and send that person something wonderful. :)

How can you pass that up? The auction is simple. Go to and click on the auction link. Be prepared to register and to register a credit/debit card, and then start browsing!

We all need to look out for one another as we pass through this world. All people are our sisters and our brothers, and we should pitch in to help those who need help. Join the world village and help children in need of a cure.