Tuesday, June 12, 2012

GUEST POST: K. Victoria Smith, Author of "Dark Dealings"

In April 2011 we ran a critique series at Seeking the Write Life. Authors were offered the opportunity to post their first 500 words. I critiqued them, then opened the comments up for the readers. The series was a great success and introduced us to some promising stories.

One of those authors is K. Victoria Smith. KV has been hotting up the superhighway with her recent release Dark Dealings. I asked her to come back to STWL with her story. What happened between last year's very successful First 500 Critique, and now? Well... I'll let her tell you:

Over a year ago, I had the honor of posting the First 500 Words of Dark Dealings on this very site.  At that time I was, unbeknownst to me, less than two-thirds of the way through my journey.  Micaela O’Brien, my main character, was born one warm Fall evening in 2008, as a whisper in my head. She is the melding of my years on Wall Street and my Irish (read pagan) heritage.

She stayed there until I took what would be my first writing class since college. I was only taking this class to keep a friend company.  But, Micaela was unleashed and I had caught the writing bug----bad.  Dark Dealings was my project through several more writing classes and critique groups.

In  2010, I began testing the query market: pitching at conferences and sending letters out.  The eBook was in its infancy and the explosion still months away.  I had cut my teeth in the traditional model where you worked hard, got representation by an amazing agent who sold your book to a publisher who, in turn, helped your book fly off the shelf. 

But as I was learning the craft of writing and honing my skills, the world was morphing around me. The world became populated by Kindles, Nooks, Kobos, Sonys and iPads. Along with the ability to read books in electronic formats came the ability to easily publish in those formats.  Thousands of would-be authors have flooded the market, bypassing the traditional route, for better or worse.

I worked on Dark Dealings and outlined and sketched out ideas for future books and joined the social media world of authors on Facebook, Twitter and the Blogosphere.  I have met an amazing number of writers, readers, artists and musicians.  They are supportive beyond measure as only those who know what it is to walk through your days among people who think that writing is such a lovely hobby or constantly ask when you are going to publish that book. It was in this community that I met Aimee. I also began to learn about the world of self-publishing and the changes occurring in publishing, in general.  

Then, in July of 2011, my traditional dreams seemed about to come true.  The first of what was to be several small press houses offered a publishing contract. I happened to be sitting at a table in a restaurant with a group of fellow writers who had arranged to meet at ReaderCon. It was pandemonium as I shared my triumph with fellow writers.  In the days that followed, I tried to close loops with other agents and publishers I had contacted. I was excited when an agent I had been in discussion with for a long time agreed to represent me in this transaction.  Time passed and things did not progress and I was powerless to do anything about it. Other events occurred and my agent and I agreed to part ways.

The bright side to this story is that I spent my time not only writing but educating myself about self-publishing.  I had come to the conclusion that self-publishing was currently the option for me.  The world is changing quickly and requires a flexibility that the large publishers had not exhibited.  The small houses seemed no further ahead than any of us and some were already in financial difficulty and unlikely to survive the market shift.  Even more responsibility and expense of promotion was being transferred to the vast majority of debut authors, while the share of revenue was not shifting.  I could not feel comfortable, turning control and rights to my work for three to seven years to a model in turmoil.  The world changes constantly and I continue to reserve to right to revisit that decision.

This choice is very personal and some will choose differently.  I have had many fellow writers say that they want to turn over their work someone for all the rest so they can get to writing.  I respect that and hope that they have that kind of relationship with their agent and publisher.

In January, I incorporated Three Worlds Productions to house my own work, my work with other authors as either an editor or acting as a publisher for them. On May 23rd, Dark Dealings was published in all eBook forms and on June 7th the print edition went live on CreateSpace and then Amazon. It has been an interesting start to what promises to be an adventure. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The best part of self-publishing is the control it gives you over you work and your business—because being a successful published author is as much business as art.  The toughest parts are the various learning curves you have to go up. The first task is producing a quality work that people will read and recommend. To do that, you must read, study, find good critique partners and beta readers and then INVEST in your work by hiring a copy-editor, a story editor or both.

Then, when it is finally ready you must let go and send it out into the world in a professional format.  Unless, you are a graphic artist, find a cover artist. Look at the covers of books in your genre, especially the bestselling self-published. Find the ones that you like and ask them who did their cover.  If like, me you are fortunate to find a cover artist who also writes then barter services. Formatting is not as difficult as some make it sound although you first experience will take longer. Again, if time is at a premium, find someone who will format for you for all channels.

And don’t forget your social media platform. If you haven’t started building it yet…Start Now. The emphasis is on social: share, converse and when the time comes market your book as a part of that conversation.

So that’s it in a nutshell…..Any questions?

You can find KV and links to Dark Dealings, along with a sample chapter at The Storytellers Grove:  http://kvictoriasmith.blogspot.co.nz/ 

Also on twitter: @kvictoriasmith

Wall Street has fangs. When international power brokers, creatures hiding in plain sight, threaten  Micaela and those she loves, will this heiress of a Druid legacy deny her power again and let others die?  A thrill ride of money, magic and murder across the globe.


  1. Hey Karen, welcome to the club!! I am self-publishing book 2 and 3 this month, also using CreateSpace, which is a wonderful POD, especially since it's directly linked to Amazon. I am so happy you got your book out. For me, my goal in life was to publish a book and even if only one person other than my mother buys it, I consider myself a success who is living her dream. Congratulations on a wonderful journey ahead of you!!!

  2. How does Three World's Productions work, KV? Can anyone get in on that?

  3. In January, I formed an LLC,to house not only my own work but the work of other quality authors. I also can help writers with editing, formatting, cover art and other tasks through a team of people. Many writer organizations,treat solo-published authors differently than those who publish through a separate entity with works by more than one author. I am looking for serious writers who want to produce quality stories and support team members who can help raise the bar on indie-publishing.

    1. That sounds great - and I agree about the added credibility of having more than a one-man team. I'll point anyone to you I hear about who's looking to team up!

  4. Thanks for sharing your journey, KV. It gives hope to people who, like me, are about to embark on the self publishing journey themselves. I'm currently hunting for a good quality copy editor who doesn't charge the earth, and I'm hoping to release my book in October. Fingers crossed! :-)

  5. KV, where can I find out more about Three Worlds Productions? Do you publish all genres?

    1. Open to working with all serious fiction writers. Email me at threeworldsproductions at gmail dot com. But remember, whether we work together or not, a copy editor is an investment in your business as an author.

  6. Greetings. I have self-published 5 novels and #6 will be out next month. I also have about a dozen shorts out there as well which help pay the bills. Yes, I agree with everything you said- SP is hard at first, but when you learn the ropes, make all the contacts you need (editor, artist, betas) life is great. And it takes time to get your book(s) out there and to be noticed- I have been in print just over 2 years and am now finally getting a decent sized readership. Royalties suck in the beginning, and even now I average about $100/mo from all 3 places I publish. Thank God for a retirement check!

    Here's my blog, which is usually a comical blend of writing, publishing, and life on a 100 acre farm in se Kentucky.


    I don't offer myself as a publisher, but rather a consultant who will do formatting and covers for other Indie authors and also happily give out advice on how they can DIY their own books. After all, the goal is to be SELF-published.

    Good luck with your book and your publishing endeavors.


  7. K. Rowe, email me with contact info. Maybe we can partner in the future. The learning curve can be steep, especially if you work a full-time job and have family obligations. That is where the author can decide to invest the time or the money for certain tasks.

    Definitely a marathon, but as a SP we have that luxury without worrying whether we will earn out or get dropped.