It’s been WAY too long since the lovely and talented Jody Wallace has visited. She has a new book out, THE WHOLE TRUTH (fab cover, isn’t it????), as well as a bunch of other fantastic stories. Jody is one of the most creative, smart and funny people I know.
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Recently, we got into a little conversation about writing “The End” and self-publishing. TWT is one of her indie offerings. She also has books out with Carina Press and Samhain.
JODY: So, Cathy, tell me about your recent accomplishment of writing “THE
END” on a new novel?
CATHY: Wait, I thought this was a guest post about YOU? OK, fine, I’ll start. In a few simple words, it was a relief. I was months behind where I wanted to be. But in my defense (pathetic as it is) there was a lot of research required.
What about you? How do you feel when those two little words get added?
JODY: Relieved that I wasn’t fooling myself all along about this book idea, since I just made a book out of it. I plan to write THE END on a manuscript this week, in fact.
CATHY: Yay to that! But I get what you’re saying. Sometimes, the more I read through a work in progress the more I think, “Man, this is the dumbest thing ever!” then the manic writer in me wakes up and is all, “Holy cow! This rocks!” I’m very VERY glad you put out THE WHOLE TRUTH. It’s definitely in the “This rocks!” category.
JODY: Thanks! It’s a very cross-genre book — light urban fantasy mixed with chick lit snark mixed with Southern fiction mixed with romance subplots –so I opted to self-publish it. Publishing a manuscript is kind of the ultimate THE END, or it used to be. Once you contracted it, you were forced to quit tinkering with it, aside from official edits or the anniversary revised edition twenty years after the fact.
Self-publishing is mostly like that–although the temptation is there to continue revising a manuscript once it’s published, because you have good ideas and because you can. I’ve found a few typos in my self-published work so far and, of course, I’ve updated the “About Me” section on occasion, but I’ve never given into the urge to really tinker.
Do you think you could resist that urge if you self-published?
CATHY: If I found typos, I’d fix them, or other formatting/mechanics issues. But I’d like to think that would be about it. Sure, after a book is out, I sometimes think, “Oh! I should have____!” but having it in someone else’s hands has helped me let it go.
What’s been the best aspect of self publishing for you?
JODY: I’ll get back to you on that when I get rich quick. Or slow. I don’t care. I just want a tornado shelter.
Until then, I can tell you a few things I like, without them being “the best”, right? I enjoy working with the cover artists myself instead of hoping the publisher gets it right. I appreciate being able to change my book blurb, my key words, and so on, tweaking that information, if not the book itself, to increase visibility. I also like being able to give free copies away willy-nilly. If only more people wanted them!
CATHY: I’d take a get rich slow scheme too. Well, in my lifetime, anyway.
Those are great aspects of self publishing. What about the not so great? (Other than the get rich too slow times). What do you find to be more frustrating compared to “traditional” publishing?
JODY: When you’re self publishing, it all comes down to you and the decisions you’ve made. So if your book doesn’t move, it’s you who made the “bad” calls, so to speak. Granted, publishing, especially self publishing, is so erratic that the same author could do the exact same thing with two equally polished books, and one could bomb and one could fly off the cybershelves. That’s partly true with traditional publishing, although in those instances, there are even more factors out of an author’s control than in self publishing. So you can change things in self publishing…but all the stress and blame are yours, too.
Why don’t you tell us about your latest project and then I’ll tell you about THE WHOLE TRUTH?
CATHY: Wait, aren’t you the guest? Why are we talking about *my* project? I can do that any time.
Tell us about THE WHOLE TRUTH. I’ve read this a while ago and LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Without spoilers, give us a little insight in to the types of folks who populate TWT.
JODY: I asked you first.
CATHY: *rolls eyes at Jody* Fine. It’s a cozy murder mystery set in 1919 Alaska, the town I currently live in, specifically. The story is sort of based on the murder of a “sporting woman” and her baby that happened in the ’30s or ’40s, but for some reason I decided earlier in the century sounded more interesting. It’s not like any of my other stuff. No space travel, ghosts or anything like that.
JODY: THE WHOLE TRUTH is what happens when you love chick lit, paranormal, urban fantasy, superheroes, snarky heroines, unexpected settings, office politics, food, cats and espionage all at the same time. Our heroine, Cleo, can see lies — a shadow forms in front of a liar’s face and mouths the true words. She thinks she’s the only person in the world like herself, but eventually, her unusual web searches and pointed commentary on internet blogs gets her caught, NSA-style, by a group of suprasensors who want to hire her.
But the group who hired her aren’t the only suprasensors in the world. And somebody out there seems to want to put suprasensors in comas. Or worse. It’s up to Cleo to get to the bottom of the mystery, and it really, really shouldn’t be up to Cleo, because she’s only a superhero in her abilities. Or that’s what she thinks
CATHY: I love Cleo. She’s a great snarky, reluctant heroine. My favorite kind :). And I’m sure once someone reads THE WHOLE TRUTH they’ll want more more more!
Do you have plans for other suprasensors’ stories?
JODY: That’s one of the worst pitfalls of self publishing and writing “on spec”, so to speak. You have to decide how to invest your energies. THE WHOLE TRUTH is not a short book. A sequel would consume months of my work-time to finish. (And by the way, anybody who snarks that books shouldn’t take that long to write can jump in a lake, because we’re ALL DIFFERENT, from process to product, thank God.) So, just like with any business, you have to decide if there’s enough probable profit to merit the project. Pleasure, yes, there would be pleasure in revisiting Cleo and the gang, but is that how I should spend six months of my time? Do my sales merit it? Or would I be better off investing my time in something else?
To make a long answer short, I don’t know.
CATHY: I can understand the reasoning behind that not so short response.
So while you’re busy promoting TWT and your other fab works, what are you writing? Can you share?
JODY: Letters to my children’s teachers. The book I’m about to write “THE END” on is the sequel to Tangible, which is through Samhain Publishing.
It was written on spec, it’s very long, and it’s taken a lot of time. I have no guarantee of a contract, but I enjoy working with my Samhain editor and have high hopes! After that? I want to write something short. What’s next for you?
CATHY: Good luck with the spec book! It’s great to have an editor who “gets” you, isn’t it?
For me? Good question I have a short, probably freebie SFR in mind as well as a longer SFR and a paranormal historical I’ve been chipping at. And others. I’m in a sort of limbo state, so I need something to really grab my attention. Unfortunately, what grabs *my* attention isn’t necessarily something that will be sellable ; P
JODY: I know that feeling well! And on that note…
Thanks so much for chatting with me, Jody!