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Monday, May 21, 2012

The Pub Panel: Part 1, Introduction

Last Friday I had the awesome opportunity to chat with four amazing ladies who all have experience in some of the many facets of publishing. Let me introduce you one more time:

Jennifer Griffith: Author of the upcoming novel, BIG IN JAPAN, published the independent small publishing company, Jolly Fish Press.

Jolene Perry: Author of THE NEXT DOOR BOYS, published in October 2011 by small, niche press Ceder Fort; NIGHT SKY and KNEE DEEP, published by YA ebook publisher Tribute Books; co-author of MY HEART FOR YOURS, self-published with Stephanie Campbell. Jolene is repped by agent Lauren Hammond.

Krista Lynne Jensen: Author of OF GRACE AND CHOCOLATE, and the upcoming release THE ORCHARD, published by niche press, Covenant.

Sherry Gammon: Self-published author of UNLOVABLE; Author of PETE & TINK, a short-story featured in the anthology IT'S A LOVE THING, published by indpended press Prose by Design. (Hmmm...that sounds familiar. :]) 

Anyway, I asked them all a bunch of questions, and first off, for them to introduce their (latest, in some cases) book, and how that book came into the world. So, without further adieu . . .

Ranee`: Well, hello, ladies. So glad you could be here.
Jennifer Griffith: Hello!
Jolene Perry: I'm HERE :-D
Ranee`: I'm so excited to learn a bit more about the publishing world and get to chat with you guys too. . . Okay, so are we all ready to answer some really tough questions?
Jennifer Griffith: Sure. Fire away.
Ranee`: Well, they're not that hard. Hopefully you all had a chance to look over the copies I sent last night.
Jolene Perry: yep
Sherry Gammon: yes
Jennifer Griffith: yes.
Krista: You bet.
Jennifer Griffith: And I typed up some answers. Is it okay if I cut and paste into this?
Ranee`: YES, absolutely alright, Jennifer.
Krista: That was brilliant.
Jolene Perry: Jennifer . . . you got really good grades, didn't you?? ;)
Jennifer Griffith: Yes, yes I did.
Ranee`: Okay, First off, can you briefly tell us how your book(s) came to be.
Jennifer Griffith: My first three novels were LDS novels. That’s a pretty specific niche. There are just a few publishing houses, and it’s not a system where you need to get an agent. I simply wrote the first one, edited like crazy for five years, and then started the query process. I started asking around to writing friends and came across someone who knew someone (isn’t that always how things work out) who was starting a new publishing house, Spring Creek Books. I sent to them before they opened their doors, and they took my first novel, and then my next two. They’re on a hiatus now until the economy picks up, so I decided to write mainstream fiction.
Incidentally, I ended up doing something similar with my first mainstream novel. I’d edited it like crazy, started the query process to agents (using Chuck Sambuchino’s fabulous Agent Guide as well as querytracker.net and agentquery.com) and then heard from a writing friend about a new publishing house opening up. I queried them before they opened their doors and they picked up my newest novel, BIG IN JAPAN, which will be their second selection to hit the shelves and comes out July 28th.
Jolene Perry: OK . . . I wrote women's fic first.
I didn't plan on even writing a whole book. We were broke, I wanted to read, had always loved to write, and Mike suggested that I write for fun. One hundred pages in, I realized I was going to write a whole book. That was fall of 2009
I queried The Next Door Boys (second book - after sort of querying the first book) to Deseret Book and got rejected. It was SO not ready. I met LisaAnn Turner on Mormon Mommy Writers. She helped me over the next couple months whip it into shape, and it was picked up by CFI a few weeks after I turned it in to them in Jan of 2011
NDB came out in October 2011 I started diligently searching for an agent the end of Feb 2011, and signed with Lauren in June.
She put THE HAPPINESS OF JOY on sub right away and we STILL have not heard back from all the publishers she sent it to. One interesting thing here is that you assume when an editor sends you an email saying they love your book, that you're in. Not so. JOY has been to boards at three of the big six and been turned down for being too dark or not commercial enough.
I have another book on sub that went out two months ago, and then a collaboration that we're negotiating a contract on now.
I have more LDS titles, but will probably self-publish them after my first LDS publishing experience being equal parts thrilling and frustrating.
Okay. being quiet now for the next unless y'all have questions on my rambling . . .
Jennifer Griffith: You're a writing machine, Jolene!
Jolene Perry: I don't sleep much. I have LOTS of projects . . .
Ranee`: She really is.
Ranee`: Krista?
Krista {Lynne Jensen}: Okay, my friend started a writing group the same year my youngest started school full time. I was so excited it was ridiculous. I had no idea what it would turn into.
After working on a personal history story, my group encouraged me to try fiction. So I did. They said Covenant would want it. So I learned how to edit and submit.
Jolene Perry: Learning how to submit is an art form in itself.
Ranee`: So true.
Krista: Nine months later they accepted THE ORCHARD {Due out in 2013}. But in the meantime I was hooked and wrote four more novels. So I had another ready to submit.
Jolene Perry: Krista - looks like I'm not the only writing machine . . .
Krista: They accepted THE INN, a sequel {To THE ORCHARD}. Then I wrote a stand-alone and when they accepted that, we all agreed it would be a good break-out novel, so Of Grace and Chocolate went out first, three years after I submitted the first one.
Jolene Perry: I don't think ANYONE realizes the amount of time involved in publishing.
Sherry Gammon: Too true
Jolene Perry: IF my book with my Simon Pulse friend goes out next month - it'll come out in 2014 or 2015 if it goes to SP because of their schedule.
Ranee`: I think I'm crying a little bit.
Jolene Perry: It's why so many people choose to self-publish. AND why ebook smaller presses do so well.
Krista: We all cry.
Jolene Perry: All of us.
Ranee`: hahaha
Ranee`: Sherry?
Sherry Gammon: My book first book Unlovable was a process. I was sick of all the foul YA fiction out there and wanted to write something me and my daughters could enjoy. I originally wrote it as a fantasy. One publisher looked at it and said they wanted it if I took out the fantasy. I did. When I wrote back to ask them if they wanted to see it in eformat or paperback, they said they’d changed their minds. So I self-pub. It is doing extremely well and just got picked up to be made into a movie! I am editing book two of the series now, titled Unbelievable. And, I just finished a short story called Pete & Tink, about a manga-loving geek and a fairy. {Coincidentally to be published with my short story, HAVEN in the IT’S A LOVE THING anthology, due out June 1, 2012.} I am also working on a book tentatively titled Soul in Peril about Max, the most popular boy at school, and JD the least popular. A car accident changes everything as both these young men’s lives collided.
Jolene Perry: Sherry - your book is high in my TBR pile. Did you do your cover?
Sherry Gammon: No. I designed it, but hired a guy to do it. It only cost me $35!!
Krista: It's nice to put names and books together here!
Jolene Perry: Awesome :)
Ranee`: It's a great cover.
Jolene Perry: yes it is!
Sherry Gammon: Thanks. My sales went from fifty with the old cover in six months to over 7000 in 11 months
Jolene Perry: Sherry - covers are HUGE
Jennifer Griffith: Wow! Sherry! Wow~ all of it. Wow.
Jolene Perry: My friend Nyrae Dawn has great covers and has sold LOADS of books in just a few weeks.
Sherry Gammon: People do judge a book by it's cover (and that is supposed to say 150 in 6months not 50 . . . typo!)
Jolene Perry: Still - 150 to thousands??? AWESOME.
Sherry Gammon: thanks

Part 2 coming on Wednesday. Up next: Jolene talks about finding her agent and the others discuss how they picked their publishers.


  1. Ranee - I love that you did this. Great idea, and I think we all learned a lot from each other as well :-D

  2. I know it changed my game plan. :) Seriously.

  3. Thanks for letting me be a part of this. It was great fun and informative.


About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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