Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sleuthing Out the Mystery

Mystery readers live vicariously inside the pages of the fictional world an author spins for them. The reader is able to tag along as the sleuth tackles the bad guys, butts heads with clueless cops, ferrets out clues, and finally solves the case.

Whether it's a cozy like Elaine Viets' Mystery Shopper Series, or the hard-boiled Harry Bosch mysteries of Michael Connelly, the mystery has always fascinated readers. Even while I was writing my adventure/fantasy Windrusher series, I kept reading mysteries. In my second Windrusher adventure, Windrusher and the Cave of Tho-hoth, I introduced a private
detective named Quint Mitchell who helped the Trembles track down their stolen cat. As I was fleshing out Quint's character, I provided him with an interest in archaeology dating back to his college days. A "what if" idea popped up in which Quint unearthed a murder victim while volunteering on a dig in St. Augustine. As writers do, I made a few notes about the scenario before returning to complete Cave of Tho-hoth.

That little what if moment cascaded into a 4-year project in which I wrote and rewrote MATANZAS BAY multiple times, entered it into several competitions, and tried to find a publisher. The novel won the 2007 Josiah W. Bancroft Sr. Award and was named a Book of the Year in the 2009 Royal Palm Literary Competition. This win allowed me to hook up with an agent, but after a year of sleuthing, she wasn't any more successful than I was.

Now the time has come to take the step so many other authors are taking and self-publish MATANZAS BAY. If you've kept up with the rapidly changing publishing world, you know that ebooks have grown into a major force in the marketplace. Previously rejected and unpublished authors like Amanda Hocking are making huge waves, selling tens of thousands of books, and raking in big money on the strength of their ebook sales.

And it's been recently reported that bestselling thriller author Barry Eisler turned down a $500,000 advance to ePublish his next Rain novel. Eisler believes that traditional publishing will soon be a niche business dealing in paper books, while ePublishing is the wave of the future. Hocking, J. A. Konrath, Stephen Leather, L. J Sellers, John Locke, and Selena Kitt are only a few of the many independent authors who have struck gold in the digital mine fields.

As I wrote in my last post, MATANZAS BAY will be coming to Kindle and Nook platforms very soon under the pen name Parker Francis. I'll report on the progress of the book launch in future posts. Stay tuned and wish me luck.


Richard said...

I recently published a book of short stories on Amazon.com. I did it mostly as a learning experience, and I can assure you, it has been one. You already have a pretty good platform, although using a pseudonym could possible bypass that platform. But you're way ahead of where I was when I started. I began building my platform by starting a blog "Writing and Living by Richard P Hughes" quite a while before I decided to self-publish my short story collection. I've begun to play with Facebook more, and some other things. I'm a long, long way from where you already are, so you should be in good shape. Good luck. I'll be looking for your mystery.

Mary Ann de Stefano said...

Thanks for inviting us to your blog. I'll be sure to check into in from time to time. I'm interested in reading about your journey into e-books.

Anonymous said...

Love your books! They remind me a lot of the Warriors series. You should check it out, it's just like yours! I hope to publish a book some time. Writing is one of the greatest things imaginable.