To complement my daily blog interviews I recently started a series of Author Spotlights and today’s, the sixth, is of Caroline Clemmons. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. You can read the others here.
As long as she can remember, Caroline Clemmons has made up adventures. She’s admits her early creative stories featured her riding the range with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and saving the West. Caroline started writing down adventures, but mostly she was a reader. Her career has included stay-at-home mom (her favorite job), newspaper reporter and featured columnist, assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, and bookkeeper. Not until she read Nora Roberts’ early novels did she decide to create her own manuscripts. She still reads Nora’s books—as well as those of countless other romance and mystery authors—but now she write full time. Unless life interferes, that is.
Finally, she is surrounded by cowboys! Caroline and her husband live on a small acreage in the ranching and horse country of North Central Texas. Their two daughters are grown. Living with Caroline and her husband now are Webster, a sweet black Shih Tzu, and two shorthaired cats: Sebastian, a large black and white tuxedo who thinks he’s a watchcat; and Bailey Erin, a shy apricot tabby. When she’s not writing, Caroline loves to spend time with family, read, travel, browse antique malls, and dig into family history and genealogy. Writing about strong heroes and heroines who overcome amazing obstacles to forge a meaningful life together is her passion. Add in a mystery with a few dead bodies, and her writing life is complete.
And now from the author herself:
I’ve written newspaper articles since I was in junior high journalism class. The pared down news style is very different from fiction, but is good training nonetheless. Working for a newspaper taught me to meet deadlines and produce a desired word count quickly. Although I read avidly, I had not actually believed I could write a book until my mother-in-law brought me a bag of romance novels and told me I could write one. One of the first I read was one by Nora Roberts, I think her first book, and I wanted to write like her. (Actually, I still want to write like her.)
The writing process was difficult. Reading is necessary to any writer, but we still need craft training. My first book was pretty sad. Not until I joined Romance Writers of America and a local chapter did I find the answers. My local chapter had speakers on craft each month, workshops, conferences. At lunch after the meeting, we discussed problems and publishing and generally networked. When several chapter members sold, they told me which publisher was buying and which editor to contact. I did, and Kensington bought my first novel. I was under the misapprehension that once I was published, I was home free. Wrong.
Publishing is a hard business. There are many thousands more writers than publishing slots available. I know many excellent writers who have not sold. (Of course, we all know mediocre writers who sell.) When the sale comes, promotion is up to the author, not the publisher. Are there authors whose books you buy automatically? Each writer must strive to become one of those automatic buys. She/He must be involved in social media, get her/his name established in the reader’s mind.
Due to the turmoil of the publishing industry, many authors are skipping the agent and publisher and going straight to Smashwords and Kindle. This results in a greater royalty per sale, but requires even more intense promotion and presents the conundrum: if I spend enough time promoting this book, how do I find time to write the next one? For myself, I blog, guest on other blogs, teach classes online, speak to groups, and take at least a small part in Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and LinkedIn.
My grandmother warned me not to put all my eggs in one basket. First, I publish with a small press, The Wild Rose Press, in print and e-book, and am in their online catalog. The people with whom I’ve worked at The Wild Rose Press are wonderful. Second, I also publish direct to Kindle and usually to Smashwords (Setting up a book for Smashwords is not as author-friendly as Kindle Direct Publishing). Third, I have a cozy mystery series manuscript with an editor at a major print house awaiting a decision.
Whatever your chosen publishing route, immerse yourself in marketing yourself, not just this book. YOU are the product, at least your writing style and voice are. Brand yourself on the reader’s mind. May you have a long and profitable career!
And to find more about Caroline and her writing…
Her latest contemporary and historical romance releases in print and e-book from The Wild Rose Press include THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, OUT OF THE BLUE,HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME, buy link www.thewildrosepess.com/caroline-clemmons-m-638.html. Her novella SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME is available as a download only. Her backlist of contemporary and historical romance is now at Smashwords and Kindle. Her first published mystery, ALMOST HOME, is also available at Kindle. Read about her at www.carolineclemmons.com or her blog at http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com. She loves to hear from readers at email@example.com
Caroline will return on the 17th of October for our in-depth interview (no.159).
Thank you Caroline.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with author of erotic fiction and urban fantasy Jess C Scott – the one hundred and twentieth since they started on 11th June 2011. Woo hoo! A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/blog-interviews. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read / download my eBooks here.