Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Gettin' Philosophical on Release Day (& Win Elysian Fields!)

Today's a Happy Dance day--the third book in my Sentinels of New Orleans series, Elysian Fields, is finally and officially OUT! I seriously love this book, so I'm at that nail-biting "what if they hate it" stage.

Elysian is my seventh novel to release in the last sixteen months, and I've spent some time this past couple of weeks reflecting on how my life has--and hasn't--changed in this roller coaster of a ride. Admittedly, much of this reflection was done under the influence of vicodin (more on that later), but a few stray observations on release day.

* I feel incredibly blessed to have found a new career at this point in my life, and one totally unexpected. I never planned to write novels. Had Hurricane Katrina not blown my life upside down in 2005 while I was living in New Orleans, I doubt I ever would have written a word that wasn't part of a news or feature article. I like to say it's a God thing, because I sure don't know how it happened. It's ironic, in a way. I've moved all over the country pursuing my career in educational publishing and three years after Katrina, I ended up back in my home state counting the days (approximately four years and seven days and...six hours) until I'm able to retire and write full-time. *Makes note to find calendar so I can start x'ing off days in red.*

* The publishing world has changed radically between November 2009, when I signed my first
publishing contract, and yesterday, when I reached terms on a new secret project (oh, I want to talk about it so badly but I can't). In 2009, self-publishing hadn't gotten big, and it still carried a stigma. I still don't think it's a particularly good idea for a new author to self-publish--it's too darn hard to get "discovered"--but now I think the career of the successful author is like a three-legged stool, with a leg in traditional publishing, a leg in small-press publishing, and--once a backlist and a following are in place--self-publishing. That's today. In four more years, who knows what it will look like?

* I laughed yesterday at what I imagined an author's life to be like as recently as five years ago. Travel! Money! Glamour! Of course, my laughter was fueled by painkillers after spending two hours being tortured by my dentist (the ironically named Dr. Bolt) that sent me home with two fewer teeth, three new temporary crowns, an abraded tongue, and a helluva toothache. Or would that be a toothless ache? Today, perhaps as you're reading this, glamour-puss author is sitting in a staff meeting, hearing about the way our annual operational plans should be formatted to put in binders for our upcoming board meeting. Tonight, I'm talking to a guy about repairing my rotten backyard fence. (To be fair, however, I'm getting to head out for New Orleans next month to do a panel and book-signing at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance annual trade show. Travel! Glamour!)

All in all, I love this new, unexpected twist in life and wouldn't trade it for anything. So as I bask in the glow of a new release, I wonder--will it ever get old, this feeling of excitement? I think probably not. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Have a publishing question or a question about the series? Leave it here and be entered for a signed copy of Elysian Fields (or an earlier book in the series), or if you've been a really cool cat and already have them, a $10 Amazon or Book Depo gift card (or your etailer of choice). I'll announce the winner as a comment on this blog on Sunday, August 18.


Roger said...

Yes, release day - finally. Hope today finds your tooth better. No fun - but today should be fun as you see more reviews and comments.

miki said...

arf first try blogger bugged^^ now i wanted to tell you that even if yesterday wasn't the best day it will only get better^^

i'm sure you still have a lot of adventure to live: translation in other langagues, book tour and signing in foreign country and so much more i can't even imagine because not in the edition business but you really deserve it

thank you for making us dreams and live such captivating stories and please^^ we want more

thank you also for your generosity and numerous giveaway

Elisian Fields was really a great reads!

i wish you all the best


Rebe said...

Congratulations on release day! It seemed so far away in the Spring! Hopefully the dentist gave you lots of painkillers.

Heather said...

I am dying to read this book. Amazon actually delivered yesterday, but I won't let myself read it until I finish several tasks at work. It is KILLING me.

Enjoy your release day!

Suzanne Johnson said...

Thanks, Roger and Miki! I am buzzed on vicodin at work...very strange! I was actually cracking jokes in our staff meeting, when I usually crouch in the corner and play with my phone.

@Rebe...Release day always seems so far away and then still ends up slipping up on me!

Heather! You have such willpower--LOL. Can't wait to see what you think!

Meda White said...

Congratulations! I've been looking forward to this book. Gotta see who DJ is gonna hook up with...

I think you've found your calling as a writer. Best wishes for much success!

Liz S. said...

Just finished reading the book and it blew me away! Congratulations!

Stephanie Fredrick said...

Happy Release Day!

Do you have any plans for novellas or books on any of the other characters in the series?

I've loved the flash fiction you've been doing. So much fun.

Suzanne Johnson said...

Thanks, Meda and Liz! (Man, you read FAST, Liz!)

Thank you, Stephanie. I have a collection of stories I'm putting together, but in the meantime I do have a free novelette about Jean Lafitte up on my website, so take a look when you have time! It's called "Jackson Square":


jmcgaugh said...

Congrats on the new release. I enjoyed reading about how you came to be writing fiction and on the current state of publishing.
jmcgaugh (at) semo (dot) edu

Eva Millien said...

Congrats on the new release. I love the Sentinels of NO and I am looking forward to reading Elysian Fields. I hope you feel better soon and are atleast enjoyng the painkillers a little.

Ren said...

Happy release day for Elysian Fields :D

Thanks for sharing your publishing experience with us. Any advice for new writer about choosing their agent or publisher? Also how your view about self-publish?

Thanks :)

Suzanne Johnson said...

Thanks @jmcgaugh and @Eva! The painkillers were killing my brain so I had to tough it out at work today. Tonight's a different story!

@Ren..Thank you! I think as far as agents and publishers both, try to find the ones who are actively publishing what you write. I highly recommend querytracker.net for finding agent websites. Sites such as savvyauthors.com have frequent pitch sessions with editors from a lot of small publishers (the founders of Entangled also own savvyauthors). You are most likely going to need an agent to sell to one of the big publishers; for a smaller publisher, look at what they're publishing and also how they're promoting their authors--it doesn't do you much good if your publisher just sticks a book up on Amazon and doesn't help you promote it. Self-publishing is a great option as long as you spend the extra time and money to have your book professionally edited and a cover designed. But, again, if you're a new author, be prepared to spend a LOT of time doing promotion. For every million-dollar indie out there, there are a million authors who are struggling to get their books in front of readers and make a few sales each month. Mostly, be persistent!

Louisa Cornell said...

I've been so enjoying this series and your publication journey! Like you I am hoping to break into publishing and retire from the DDJ! (Dreaded Day Job!)

Deepest sympathies on the dental work. OUCH !! Those pain pills can be helpful, but they can definitely put your brain out of whack for a while!

I am in awe of the number of books you get written each year. Any tips on how to step up my production?

VampedChik said...

I really cant wait to read this series. I've heard amazing things about it! I love anything with New Orleans too so its right up my alley. :) Thanks!

Linda said...

Congrats Suzanne on the release! 7 novels in 16 months is awesome. SEVEN?! Wait what did I miss....

All titillated by the hint of your new project. Let it not be a secret for much longer :p

Janhvi said...

Happy release Day!

I'm hoping to get the first book soon so I can get reading this series :)

justjanhvi at gmail dot com

Suzanne Johnson said...

@Louisa...I pretty much have no life! LOL. I'm a plotter (ask anybody), which helps me write faster. Otherwise, no way!

@Amber--thanks! I hope you have a chance to check it out!

@Linda--Ha! I also write paranormal romance under the name Susannah Sandlin. They're darker, sexier, also set in the South although not entirely in New Orleans.

@Janhvi--Thanks! I hope you get a chance to try out the series :-)

catslady said...

You're new for me but this sounds like something I would enjoy. Thanks for the chance!


bn100 said...

Interesting sounding series

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

joye said...

Thanks for the heads up about this book

Eli Yanti said...

I think I late to this contest but still want to say Happy Release Day :)