A NEW FEATURE...
INKLINGS FOR EARTHLINGS
Welcome to my first Inklings column. Every month I'll be doing a feature on the business side of writing paranormal romance. This can include anything from research tips to the latest market news. I'd like the column to appeal to both readers and authors alike, so if any PNR lister has an idea they think would fit INKLINGs, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org . I'll also be looking for editors, agents, cover artists, etc. who might want to be featured in the future.
This month's feature is an interview with Cindy Miles, author of SPIRITED AWAY. I hope you enjoy the article!
All the best,
??? Your first book - SPIRITED AWAY - was released May 1. As a new author can you tell us a bit about what happened following 'the call'?
ANSWER: I actually didn't get "The Call"--me and my agent had been playing email-tag for two days while NAL considered my book. I was GLUED to my chair, not wanting to leave the computer for even a second. Then I got it--The Email. Lol! Huge excitement, tears, etc, along with an emotional call from my agent. She is fabulous and enjoyed every moment with me. Then she snapped into super-agent-mode, had my sale posted on Publisher's Lunch, and got moving on my contract. She set up my first phone meeting with my new editor, and ever since, everything's rolled like melted butter. :)
??? I know you have a second book coming out, INTO THIN AIR. Did you sign a contract for one book or for multiple books at the same time?
ANSWER: Another funny thing: when I recieved The Email, along with it came all the correspondence between my agent and NAL. I saw immediately that they'd offered a 2-book contract. I couldn't breathe! Eight years of writing, submitting, requests, rejections, had finally paid off in a huge way! So yes, we signed for 2 books. I couldn't have been more thrilled. Even now, I'll think about those first few days and the shock and excitement feels brand new.
??? Did your agent make suggestions on the manuscript before she tried to sell the book?
ANSWER: I keep having funny moments here! Actually, Spirited Away is the book that hooked my agent into offering me representation, but NOT the book we decided to submit. I'd been working on another paranormal at the time, and we'd submitted it first, thinking it more marketable. NAL read it and rejected it in 5 days. Luckily, though, they really liked my voice and asked my agent if I had any more finished projects. (NOTE TO ALL AUTHORS, WHETHER PUBLISHED OR NOT YET PUBLISHED: KEEP WRITING! FINISH ONE PROJECT AND START ANOTHER. THE MORE AMMO YOU HAVE READY AND AVAILABLE, THE BETTER!) Spirited Away--at the time titled One Ghostly Knight--was submitted asap, as is. My agent loved it and had asked for no revisions, no editing necessary. I'd written the origininal draft 5 years earlier, and it had gone through several small revisions and a major one before my agent took me on as a client. Of course, more edits occured after publication. :)
??? I know every author has a different experience with publishers, based on your experience, did advance money come before or after edits were turned in to the publisher?
ANSWER: I'm not positive how other publishing houses work, but with my contract and NAL, the advance was broken into sections. I was paid a portion for the initial signing of the contract. Another portion paid when I turned the book in. Another portion paid for accepting the idea of Book 2. And another portion paid when the edits/revisions for Book 1 was accepted. I'll recieve another portion for the publication of Spirited Away, another portion for when the editorial revisions are accepted for Book 2, and another portion on publication. NAL is fabulous--my editor is not only business smart, she's NICE and always explains everything to me, The Newbie. She answers questions right away in full detail, and made the absolute best editorial suggestions for Spirited Away-things I hadn't thought of. The book is so much better, cleaner, because of her.
??? How much publicity for you book did you do on your own? And can you give new writers any tips?
ANSWER: I've done a moderate amount of publicity, I think. First and foremost, I had a website designed (thanks GlassSlipper!!!!) A great, easy-to-navigate, catchy website that sums up You, the Author, and your novels is a huge selling tool. Loads and loads of people troll the Internet these days, and having a great website is an absolute must. I of course made bookmarks, fridge magnets, and postcards. I give those out at the grocery store, I leave them at restaurants (and that was prompted by my promo-minded best pals!), and I have the best promotional-headed mother on the face of Earth. Lol! Word of mouth really works. One tool that I've found to be a huge advantage is a promo banner box. I purchased one from Romance Designs, and the traffic on my website picked up four-fold, at least. I run contests on my website, and I've learned a lot from my best pal and critique partner, Jolie Mathis, who did all this promo stuff before me and shared all her info (thanks, Jolie!). NAL--I just can't say enough about them. Their publicity department has been fabulous. They sent out ARCs (advance reader copies) of Spirited Away to booksellers and reviewers, and I've had a huge response from chain stores as well as independent sellers, as well. Also, an ad in Romance Sells is highly benefitial. That magazine goes out to tons of book sellers and librarians from all over-a great way to get your book and info out there. One tip: it is never too early to start. :)
??? I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of SPIRITED AWAY and absolutely loved the book and highly recommend it to any lover of paranormal romance. Tristan, your 13th century knight in contemporary times is an awesome hero. Can you tell us a bit about the book and how you came to write Tristan's story?
ANSWER: Wow, thank you! I admit, Spirited Away is the true book of my heart. I couldn't have been more pleased that IT was the book that sold first. Definitely worth the wait! Tristan is a 13th century knight--big, boistrous, tough, afraid of NOTHING, thinks he can do ANYTHING. When he and his men are murdered, their souls are cursed for eternity, and the legend of Dragonhawk and his missing knights goes unsolved. For centuries, they roam Dreadmoor Castle as life-like spirits-but they've kept up with the times. :) With a stuffy yet loveable mortal steward who helps run the castle financially, the Dragonhawk knights joust, train with swords, and watch loads of rugby on the big-screen TV. Everything changes when a monstrous storm blows over an ancient oak, revealing a hoard of medieval weapons and a body of bones entwined within the massive root system of the tree. Enter: Dr. Andi Monroe, forensic archaeologist. She comes to Dreadmoor to excavate the hoard and bones-and hopefully study up-close the legend of Dragonhawk--only she doesn't expect to get first-hand info from the notorious knight himself. Lots of eerie goings-on, an unknown ghostly presence even the Dragonhawk isn't aware of, and a blooming, passionate romance between ghostly Tristan and mortal Andi make up Spirited Away. I've always been fascinated with ghost stories-THE GHOST OF DIBBLE HOLLOW is probably one of my all-time favorite child-hood books. Once I got it in my head that I wanted to write, I knew all along ghosts had to be involved. Medieval knights and warriors, in my world anyway, are the epitome of chivalry and manliness, heroism, and the Big Sigh Factor. :) What woman from this century couldn't tolerate a big, loud, loving warrior who would die for her in a second, protect her honor, battle with swords, all in the name of love? :) But I'm greedy, so I created 15 warriors, and Spirited Away was born.
To read more about Cindy's books, please visit: