Monday, November 13, 2006

Shameless self-promotion

Telling others about my writing life was easy for me, after awhile. In the beginning, I was hesitant to tell people what I was doing because of the old saw of people looking down on the romance genre. But the more I learned about the industry, the more I saw how hard romance writers worked, the more I realized there was nothing to be ashamed of. For me, finding the local RWA chapter and networking with other aspiring and published authors helped me to see that my attitude about my writing was much ado about nothing. These writers worked hard, and they made good money.

I originally planned to publish under a pseudonym. That was back when I was writing peer-reviewed journal articles in toxicology for the Army (check me out on Medline, either as MW Toussaint or Margaret W Toussaint) and my husband managed a staff of about a hundered or so people as he worked to keep the government's nuclear sites more environmentally compliant. Since then, I've written at least one romance (or mystery) a year and gone to a lot more writer conferences. People kept telling me I had a "good" name and that I shouldn't bother with a pen name. I've taken their advice, and we'll see where this journey takes me.

I carry my writer business cards with me everywhere. Every chance I can work it into the conversation, I mention I write books, and I encourage folks to visit my website. The lesson I've learned in all of this is that respect comes from the inside. You have to respect yourself first. As for earning the respect of others, I hope to do that through the quality of my writing.

I shamelessly promote myself every chance I get. Visit my website at See, I just did it again!

Until next Monday, Maggie Toussaint


J L said...

I guess I was thinking about even before this step.

I have no problem with the Romance aspect of this. I've never been ashamed of that. Heck, a good book is a good book.

But it's the whole, "when will it be in print?" and "is it a real publisher?" questions that I'm dreading.

Heck, maybe I'm over-reacting. Maybe it'll be a big Nothing.
We'll know soon.

Maggie Toussaint said...

When it comes to publisher vibes, I stick with what I know. There's nothing wrong with a small press or an e-pub. The thing about a big house is that you assume there's more prestige, that there's more focused and aggressive marketing. That's not necessarily the case. The big names get the lion's share of the marketing money.

You want to know something else? All my life I've walked to my own beat. Why should being non-traditional matter when it comes to publishers? In fact, now that I reflect on it, going nontraditional is more ME than New York.

Whichever press you chose (with the exception of vanity presses), your book is still a valid publishing credit. Don't dread the release date. This is a time to celebrate. Writers work hard to complete books. They don't just spring to life fully formed.

Publishing is a tough business, JL. You've written the stories, won contests, and attracted editors to your work. The next step to woo your readers, and I'm sure you can do that!