I’m welcoming self-published middle grade author Anita Laydon Miller to the blog today. She is the Colorado Springs GAZETTE book columnist, the mom of four and an author of kids' ebooks (EARTHLING HERO's a sci-fi and A SCARY GOOD BOOK's a mystery).
You can visit her at her at http://www.anitalaydonmiller.com/
K: Thanks, Anita, for being here today. You’ve recently e-published two MG novels, EARTHLING HERO and A SCARY GOOD BOOK. I’m fascinated about the decision that goes into self publishing. How did you come to that decision?
A: I had a well-respected agent and I liked her (still do), but I thought the whole publishing experience was so humiliating…jumping through the hoops of the agent querying process, and then listening to the subjective opinions of editors (some thought my books were too scary, some thought they weren’t scary enough). And the worst part about it, the thing that made me feel like dirt, was that I had no other viable option. If I couldn’t find a publisher, the stories—and I thought they were good stories—would end up under my bed forever. With only dust bunnies as readers.
And then epublishing came along, started to get big. I thought, “Heck. I’ll give that a shot.” And I did. Politely parted with my agent, figured out the formatting stuff and took those babies live. I’ve enjoyed myself. Had a lot of fun. Have sold several hundred books, and just keep selling them. It’s cool.
If I ever go the traditional route again, I don’t think it will feel humiliating to me, since I now have options. I’m currently revising a YA and am at the decision stage of whether to query agents or prepare the book for epubbing. I’m still on the fence…I’ll keep you posted.
K: Good luck as you make that decision--I love YA and can't wait to hear about that project. What made you start to write seriously?
A. About 20 years ago, I started writing greeting card and catalog copy for a greeting card company. Then I got freelance work writing for regional publications. I’d always been a big reader, so after I’d gotten some freelance writing under my belt, it was a natural progression to try writing fiction.
K: You mentioned your current work-in-progress, a YA? Can you tell us about it?
A. My YA is about hope, forgiveness, love. My main character, Olivia, is 15-years-old. She moves to Colorado with her mom. They move into the home of Olivia’s recently-deceased grandfather, which is located next to a cliff. Over the years, people have come to the cliff to commit suicide. Olivia’s grandfather talked many of the jumpers off the edge, but some of them jumped, including the brother of a guy Olivia falls in love with.
There are lots of twists and turns in the story. It’s heartfelt, but there’s humor there, too. It’s written in first person, present tense, which is interesting.
K: I love the sound of that--sounds so haunting and beautiful. Have you been surprised at all by anything that’s happened since you decided to self-publish?
A. I’m actually surprised by how many strangers have bought the book. I thought blog followers and friends would be the ones to purchase it, but, frankly, I’ve only recently gotten family members to get the books (that’s been like pulling teeth, and then they’ve called me afterward and told me how they love the books, like they’re surprised I can write J) and only a couple handful of blog followers have purchased the books. So, mostly, it’s been strangers who’ve purchased. I think they find the books on Amazon. Maybe they search by price, lowest to highest?
K: It must be such a lovely feeling to know that you're reaching your readers. I know I plan on buying both of your books as soon as I get my e-reader--in another week or two. Are you a full-time writer? What is your non-writing life like?
A. I’m the mom of four kids. I also volunteer a lot. And I write a weekly book column for the COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE. Readership is around 100,000. I should really tap that market better.
K: And lastly, just for fun, do you have a favorite “guilty pleasure” you want to share?
A. I love long hikes and bike rides. But I don’t feel guilty about them at all.
Thanks so much for being here today! Good luck as you finish your YA. Have a lovely holiday season! Buy Anita's books here.