Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Please Welcome My Guest, Julie Lomoe, Mystery author


Say hello to my guest, mystery author, Julie Lomoe. 

A little bit about Julie -

Julie Lomoe has been named 2009 Author of the Year by the Friends of the Albany Public Library. She was honored at a luncheon on November 14th, and she’s scheduled her first Blog Book Tour to help celebrate and spread the word about this achievement.

And she's a dog lover, too. Her dog has lots more hair than mine. (g)

Julie self-published her two mystery novels, Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders (2006) and Eldercide (2008). She tried the traditional route to publication for both books, but after a limited number of rejections, she found the process inordinately depressing and turned to print-on-demand technology instead, using the Texas publishing company Virtual Bookworm. She loves the control and involvement she’s had over the published product, including the fact that she was able to use her own cover illustrations for both books. Although she still hopes to land a traditional agent and publisher, she intends to do so on her own terms when the time and the match feel right.




The library’s selection committee for the Author of the Year award chose Julie especially for her novel Eldercide, because of its relevance to current issues surrounding health care reform and our nation’s treatment of the elderly and of end-of-life issues. The award has been given for decades, but this is the first time the committee has chosen a self-published rather than a traditionally published book.

In May, 2009, Julie joined the online Blog Book Tours group. Since then, much to her own amazement, her blog, Julie Lomoe’s Musings Mysterioso (http://julielomoe.wordpress.com) has generated over 14,000 visits. She thanks Dani Greer and the other writers at the BBT Café for encouraging her in this new challenge.
For more about Julie and her background, go to http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com/, where she is also featured today.

Both of Julie's books are available online from Virtual Bookworm, Amazon.Com, plus Barnes and Noble

And Now Let's Hear from Julie


IN PRAISE OF SELF-PUBLISHING by Julie Lomoe


True confession time: I’m a self-published author, I’m out and I’m proud! There’s still a certain stigma associated with self-publishing, but the publishing industry is undergoing seismic changes, and I believe those of us who’ve bypassed the traditional system are taking back our power and gaining greater credibility with every passing day.

When I began blogging seriously back in May, I posted about my bipolar diagnosis, saying I’m out and I’m proud. At that time I wrote that self-publishing with a print-on-demand publisher rather a traditional publisher had even more stigma attached than revealing that I’m bipolar. But in the six months since then, I’ve changed my mind. Here are some reasons why.

On Saturday, November 14th, I was honored as 2009 Author of the Year by the Friends of the Albany Public Library for my suspense novel Eldercide. They had a wonderful luncheon in my honor, and when their President Gene Damm introduced me, he pointed out that although they’ve been giving the award for decades, this is the first time they’ve ever chosen a self-published author. The fact that I was self-published didn’t weigh into their decision either positively or negatively; they simply thought my book was the best of the many they considered, and they liked the way I dealt with important social issues regarding aging and death.

In October, I moderated two panels for the Poisoned Pen Web Con, sponsored by Poisoned Pen Press and billed as the first-ever virtual worldwide mystery conference. When I volunteered to serve as moderator, the organizers didn’t ask who had published my books. Rather, they gave me free rein in organizing my panels on social issues and point-of-view. Most of the authors on the panels, which I put together by e-mailing back and forth, had far more impressive publishing track records than mine, but it didn’t matter. (By the way, you can visit the Web Con at the link above to read my panels and access the rest of the conference proceedings free of charge.)

Putting together those two panels made me even more grateful that I took the self-publishing route. Especially in the social issues panel, authors related stories of agents and editors who dictated what they should and shouldn’t write. Child abuse was taboo, for example. Appealing to the broadest possible audience without offending anyone seemed to be the dominant concern, and for the most part, the authors acceded to the restrictions. Those of us who self-publish have no such limitations – we’re free to write about whatever we want, however we want, and to build our own readership without having to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

I tried the traditional route to publication for both my mystery novels. While attempting unsuccessfully to find an agent for Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders, which deals with mysterious deaths at a social club for the mentally ill on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, I wrote Eldercide. Perhaps mental illness was too specialized a topic, I thought, and I hoped for more success with the novel that drew on my experience running a home health care agency. No such luck: the rejections continued. Approximately 15 rejections for each book – not many at all, but enough to throw me into a profound clinical depression. I nearly gave up, until some writer friends convinced me to try print-on-demand publishing. I did due-diligence online research on POD companies and settled on Virtual Bookworm, a company in Texas that received consistently good reviews. Within two months of my decision, I had a published book in my hands. I had a major say in the design and layout, and I did my own cover illustration. Lo and behold, my depression lifted, and it hasn’t come back since.

Do I still want a big-time agent and publisher? Yes, that would be great, but my life no longer depends on it. And I plan to acquire them on my terms, when and if I choose. In the meantime, the people buying my books don’t care who the publisher is. Bookstores and libraries carry them when I do the necessary outreach, and they’re available worldwide through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. At my high school reunion last June in Milwaukee, I learned the school had purchased both books for their collection of alumni writers. And a fellow alumna from Norway, an exchange student back in the day, had bought them online as well.

Do I recommend POD self-publishing to other aspiring authors? Absolutely, and even more so since I’ve met Morgan and so many other successfully self-published writers on line. I firmly believe we’re just beginning to come into our power. I’ve written more on this topic at my own blog, Julie Lomoe’s Musings Mysterioso. Just check the directory, where topics are archived by subject. Hope to see you there. And thanks, Morgan, for inviting me here today!

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso
http://julielomoe.wordpress.com/
For more about Julie, come on over to http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com/ today, but first -
Please welcome Julie by leaving a comment here.

12 comments:

  1. Welcome to Double M, Julie.\
    Have a great time here today.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

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  2. Thanks, Morgan. You've done a great job posting my blog. It's exciting to see my words in a whole different format, with a different graphic style than I use on my own blog. Like trying on various styles of boots! I love your topic yesterday - walking over there to check it out right now (although still in my fuzzy slippers).

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  3. As more and more excellent self-pubbed books come out, like yours and Morgan's, the perception of self-published books will change.

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

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  4. Thanks, Helen! And thanks for hosting me on your blog last Friday. I hope people will keep visiting there. As I recall, it was about how I earned my bipolar diagnosis.

    Morgan, you and I will have to trade books!

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  5. Enjoyed the article and the candid thoughts on self-publishing. I've done both, self pub and traditional contract. There are pros and cons to both, but with self-pub you can make more money per sale on royalties, for sure. You have to self-market the bejeebers out of your book of course.

    The Old Silly

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  6. Great post, Julie, and you make valid points about the future of self-publishing. However, the books such as yours and Morgan's sometimes get lost among the many others out there that have not been thoroughly edited.

    I am glad that you have had the success you have in getting your books to do well and to get the recognition you have.

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  7. Hi Diane, Marvin and Maryann - thanks for your comments here! This is starting to feel a little incestuous - all of you have hosted me on this Blog Book Tour, as has Helen. Doesn't anyone else have something to say?!?!

    Marvin, good to hear both the pros and cons from your experience. And wait till you read the post I just sent you for your Friday blog - I titled it "Scents of the Sixties."

    Maryann, you're right about editing issues with self-published books, but lots of traditionally published books have sloppy editing too - especially lately.

    One really finicky friend who likes to think of herself as an editor, although she isn't really one, gleefully found only one alleged error in Eldercide - I had a character say, "I could care less," and she insisted it should have been, "I couldn't care less." 4777777777777=----3gt

    My cat Lunesta just typed the above line. At the same time, the mouse suddenly went bad and I had to change the battery. Who says cats don't have telekinetic powers? I'm leaving her comment, though I'm not sure what she meant. Maybe she needs a good editor.

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  8. Congratulations on your success with POD. That is one way to pursue your dream!! Way to go, Julie and Morgan!

    Heidi

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  9. Hi Julie, good for you! I'm also self-pubbed, just putting out my fourth book now. And you're right, there are a lot of trad books badly edited, as well as badly written. I have an avid reader friend who has stopped buying because the books she picks up (traditional, big name publishers) are so disappointing. She's using the library instead. Lack of quality is everwhere. Readers will need to be more investigative of all authors, not only indies.

    Hope your tour is going well!

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  10. Thanks for your comments, Heidi and LK. Re: self, published POD books and "traditionally published" books, clearly the battle lines are being drawn - as evidenced in Morgan's latest blog about Harlequin. I'm going up there to comment now!

    Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso
    http://julielomoe.wordpress.com

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  11. It's interesting to think that bi-polar and self published have much the same stigma. But it is true. It is also true that it is changing.

    Good tour.

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