peeps: Laurie Kellogg
People will do anything to avoid doing housework. That’s why Laurie Kellogg started writing romances, she confesses. It’s a pretty safe bet, though, that not many housework avoiders have managed to wrangle seven nominations and win two of the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart award — among numerous other awards, contests and recognition — — in the process!
For over a decade, she’d submitted her contemporary romances to the New York publishing houses, and although she got her share of love from editors, none of them picked her up. “Unfortunately, large publishing houses like to pigeonhole books for marketing purposes, and they felt unable to do that with my novels,” she says. “My work fell a little outside NY’s prescribed box.”
So, in 2012, she started publishing them on her own. The result? Including her debut novel, The Memory of You, named one of The Kindle Book Reviews’ Top 5 Best Romances of 2012, she now has seven contemporary romance titles out in the market… and counting!
Makes you wonder if she ever gets around to doing any housework at all, hmm?
How Laurie Got Started Self-Publishing
Laurie noticed how a few of her fellow Golden Heart friends were getting established successfully as indie-published authors at the end of 2011. But probably more importantly, she couldn’t fail but take note of the small amounts of money that many of her traditionally published friends were actually making from their big name New York publishing house deals.
This got Laurie to thinking: “If I could win as many contests as I had, people obviously liked my voice and stories. After seeing the potential for indie authors, I realized I could build a career without the assistance of a publisher.”
But she’s no pie-in-the-sky dreamer. “I knew I might not sell the number of books I could with a traditional publisher, but I could earn a better living.”
So she went for it… with seven self-published books in the span of just one year. Did it work? “I’m happy to report that I’m now earning enough that I could quit my day job if I had one.”
Self-Publishing Tips and Observations
- “My advice to anyone who’s considering publishing as an independent author is don’t unless you have a decent backlog of well-polished manuscripts to publish (at least four novels). One book does not build a career, so in order to make any money as a writer, you need a backlist.”
- “Also, if your work has failed to win any notable contests, it’s probably not ready. Selling enough books to make a living is mostly about mass appeal. If you can’t convince three or four contest judges that your story is one they want to finish reading, you’ll never convince the book-buying public, either. Therefore, entering writing competitions is a great way to vet your work. It’s completely anonymous, so you’re more likely to get honest feedback from the judges than you will by asking anyone who has to look you in the eye and tell you your voice is lackluster, your story is boring, or you write with the skill of a third grader.”
- “Friends and family may be free, but they will almost always tell you your book is wonderful. Spend the time and money to enter some contests. Not only will you learn a lot about your writing, but when your work becomes a finalist or winner of contests you’ll gather writing credits and a platform from which to promote your books when you do finally publish them.”
- “Being an independent author is a lot of hard work and extremely time-consuming. It’s not for procrastinators and people who lack discipline and self-motivation.”
- “At the same time, if you’re successful as an author, it’s highly rewarding when you begin receiving fan mail from readers who love your stories, and writing can become a lucrative career.”