Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jean Henry Mead, Author of The Mystery Writers, Shares Her Views on a Once Dirty Word

“Self-Publishing is No Longer a Dirty Word”

By Jean Henry Mead

Not everyone agrees that independent publishing is the key to writing success, but a growing number of authors are proving the naysayers wrong. More and more writers are leaving their publishers to strike out on their own, some with unparelled success, such as Robert Walker, who has repeatedly said that the secret to success is to consistently turn out quality work on a regular basis.

But even Rob will admit that there’s more to it than that. We’ve all heard that writers need a platform and a fan base of readers who trust the author to turn out quality work. But how does one acquire a fan base? Not by hermitting him or herself at the computer without making contact with the outside world. Those days are over.

When I put together my second volume of mystery writer interview, I met some successful new writers, among them Canadian bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif, who publishes not only her own work but others with her Imajin Press from Alberta.

She says in The Mystery Writers: “In 2010 Amazon opened KDP to Canadian authors and I went back to my roots—to indie publishing. For me it's probably the best fit. I am by nature very independent and a strong marketer. Plus I'm ‘an idea person.’ Even my old publisher saw this in me and often called me a "guru" or "marketing genius." While I don't consider myself a ‘genius’ I do know that I'm a risk-taker.”

Independent publishing isn’t for everyone. It requires not only writing talent but good marketing skills and industry know-how to succeed. A number of other self- publishers are included in The Mystery Writers as well as bestselling traditionally published novelists such as Sue Grafton, Lawrence Block, J.A. Jance, Vicki Hinze and James Scott Bell (former Writer’s Digest fiction columnist).

Tim Hallinan, award-winning author of the traditionally published Poke Rafferty mystery/thriller series, decided to self-publish his Junior Bender series—humorous stories of a burglar with a “moral code who works as a private eye for crooks.” Tim’s earlier novels earned him critical acclaim but not enough money to retire from his day job. He now earns thousands of dollars a month with his self-published ebooks.

He said the reason he decided to leave his agent and publisher is because “the money we were offered by the publishers wasn’t very good. I looked at the offers and thought, ‘I’d rather own my books.”

Rebecca Dahlke once managed her father’s crop dusting service in Modesto, California, and decided that her protagonist—a beautiful former model—should also be a crop duster. She then decided to independently publish her novels, with successful results. Rebecca, like Cheryl, is a promoter and a humorous one at that. She says, “Self-publishing is no longer a dirty word. . . Eons ago, back in the dark ages (of publishing)—was it really only five years ago?—all we authors could hope for was a good agent, a decent publisher, a slowly growing fan base, and a list of book stores that might, or might not, keep our books on their shelves for three to six months before returning the unsold copies to the publisher. We could send in Advanced Reader Copies to prestigious reviewers or magazines and hope they would say nice things about our books, or pay a publicist to tout it, take our dog and pony show on the road, eat bad food, stay in crappy hotels, be at that next book store, book fair, conference, and smile till our cheeks ached. .

“The changes have been exciting, and for this author, validation that I too can write books that readers enjoy. So, for all the august veterans who see the Internet as an encroachment onto their hard-won personal turf, let me paraphrase one of my favorite movie lines: ‘Saddle up boys and girls, it’s going to be a bumpy ride’!” You can read how Rebecca accomplished her success in The Mystery Writers.

And, after ten publishers of my own over the years, I decided to independently publish The Mystery Writers with my own small press. The 406-page book is featured on Createspace: and is available on, Kindle and Nook.

Amazon Buy Link:

The 406-page book is a veritable bible for fledgling writers because the advice offered by 58 bestselling, award-winning and midlist writers is invaluable for any genre. Twelve subgenres are represented and the authors write from as far away as South Africa, Brazil, Thailand, the U.S. and England. Some of the traditionally published authors from the U.S. are Lawence Block, Sue Grafton, James Scott Bell, J.A. Jance, Vicki Hinze and Julie Garwood.

To promote the book, I’ll be blog tourng from April 16-28 with the Mystery We Write blog group and my schedule is up at:  I’ll be giving away a print copy of the 406-page book and an e-book copy in a drawing at the conclusion of the tour to visitors who leave comments with their email addresses.

About Our Guest:
Jean Henry Mead is a national award-winning photojournalist and former news reporter as well as a mystery/suspense and western historical novelist. She’s published 17 books, half of them novels and served as a news reporter; news, magazine and small press editor in California and Wyoming. She was also a correspondent for the Denver Post.

Please welcome our guest, Jean Henry Mead, by leaving a comment.


Morgan Mandel said...

Welcome to Acme Authors Link, Jean. Sounds like your book has a lot of great advice from outstanding authors!

Morgan Mandel

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you for the invitation, Morgan. Yes, the book is loaded with good writing advice from some pretty impressive novelists. I wish it had been available when I was learning to write fiction.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I'm pleased to be a part of this book.

Hi, Jean and Morgan.


Jean Henry Mead said...

Hi, Marilyn,

Your interview and article on settings are among my favorites in the book. Thanks for stopping by.

dissertation proposals said...

Thanks a lot for this post!

Susan Santangelo said...

I'm so proud to be part of this book. Sometimes we indie authors are still looked on as not "real' writers. So we just have to try even harder to do everything as well as we can. And that includes both writing the best book we can write, and marketing the heck out of it. That's what I talk about in the book -- creative ways to think outside the box of bookstores and libraries for marketing. It's a whole new world! And an exciting one!

Unknown said...

Thanks, I really needed a pep talk as I near publishing my first novel, a decisions that hasn't been easy. Still now so sure, but I'm gonna give it my best shot. Great post, thanks Jean!

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thanks, D.P., Susan and Madison for your comments.

Susan, you wrote a good article on independent publishing and you've certainly proved that hard work and persistence pays off.

And Madison, don't be afraid to publish. It can be the most exciting and rewarding thing you've ever done.

Joan Hall Hovey said...

Well done, Jean. I'm honored to be included in your book.


Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you, Joan. I'm pleased to havea you in the book.

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