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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Off the Path Guest Post by Monique Martin

Please join me in welcoming back Monique Martin, author of Out of Time!

First, thank you to Emily for being such a wonderful hostess and blogger. I’m thrilled to be part of the new feature: Off the Path. My journey certainly has been off the path, so it’s the perfect fit.

A little background. I started writing when I was very young. Such thrillers as the “Case of the Missing Underwear” and “The Mystery of the Knothole Tree” were big hits in second grade. I wrote painful one-act plays that I subjected my family to on a regular basis. That might explain why my older brother beat me up so often. I continued to write in high school and eventually went to the University of Southern California’s Film School with dreams of being a screenwriter.

I wrote a few documentaries and industrial films, but didn’t catch my big break. I worked in television production for several years on the series “Murder, She Wrote” and “In the Heat of the Night”. All of that ended when the family business beckoned. I went to work there and my dreams of being on The Tonight Show drifted away.

Fast forward several years and I was in a soul-sucking job and losing myself. So I started to write at night. It was the only time I was alive. It kept me going. And, eventually, I had a book -- Out of Time.

I didn’t know anything about the publishing world, so I stumbled ahead submitting to agents. I came close a few times, but never quite got there. Then I heard about Amazon’s self-publishing for Kindle. I figured, what the hell! My book was languishing in my desk drawer; the least I could do was put it out there and give it a chance at life. Little did I know it would give me a second chance at life too.

It was remarkably easy to do. It took me several months to realize that my work had really just begun. Writing the book was only half the job; now I had to sell it. I was blessedly na├»ve, which I think helped me in the end. I didn’t know how hard it would be at first, nor the stigma attached to being self-published.

I knew my book was good. It was incredibly frustrating for it to be rejected out of hand just because it was self-published. But I quickly came to understand that making it so easy to publish a book, meant that anyone could do it. And it seems just about everyone and their cousin has.

Unfortunately, a lot of writers have gotten so caught up in the excitement of publishing their books, they don’t put in the effort to edit, polish and re-polish them. It can be hard for a reader to separate the wheat from the chaff.

I know some people who have been burned by bad indie books and won’t ever try them again. I would hope that they’re the minority. There are thousands of talented indie authors out there who take their craft very seriously. For me, this isn’t a lark. This is my profession and I treat it as such. I have too much respect for my readers and pride in my work to do anything else.

For readers who are hesitant to try an indie, let me say, I understand. But you have the chance to discover something new and wonderful with actually very little risk. You can be there on the ground floor of a promising career and find some damn good books in the bargain.

What I suggest for all readers, not just those who might be indie-phobic, is to read reviews carefully, download a sample, and follow recommendations from bloggers you trust. Of course, none of that’s foolproof; a few stinkers will always slip through, but don’t give up. There are gems out there just waiting to be discovered. Mine just might be one of them. :D

There's some serious food for thought!  In all seriousness, though, the purpose of this feature is to call attention to authors and books that are off the path for most people and to encourage people to try something new, not to mention to support some authors who are out there writing fantastic books for people to enjoy.  If you see something that whets your whistle, please, support the authors you see here by buying the books!
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