Tracie Banister, like so many authors, found rejection in the hands of traditional publishing.
But, she persevered and has found a home as the independent author of fun, fresh Chick Lit, including her newest release In Need of Therapy.
After seeing her on one of my favorite blogs- Lauren Clark Books, I knew I had to invite her to Six Questions!
1. When did you decide you would try to have your writing published?
In my early twenties, I attempted to write a novel just to see if I could do it, but real life got in the way and I never finished it. About 15 years later, my job as a personal assistant ended and that's when I decided to follow my bliss and write a novel with an eye towards being published. I was very fortunate in that I got offers from two well-respected New York agents to represent me on that first novel, which was Mystery Lit (Light Mystery with a Chick Lit vibe.) The agent I chose to go with was very high on my book and was sure she'd have no trouble finding a home for it. This was about 7 years ago when publishers had a glut of Chick Lit and were declaring the genre "dead," so my agent had no luck with publishers. I went on to write two more books, both of which I queried agents and publishers about, and I got nothing but positive feedback, but nobody wanted anything to do with humorous fiction for women. I was actually told more than once that I was wasting my talent and should switch genres! Since I wasn't interested in writing novels about teenagers or vampires, I decided to go the indie route with my books and I'm so glad I did! Now I'm getting my stories into readers' hands and I love having control over all aspects of my work.
2. What is your editing process and have you hired a professional editor?
I am the type of writer who edits as she goes. I'm very meticulous about grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc., so there's really no such thing as a "rough draft" in my world. Of course, when I complete a novel, I spend several weeks rereading and tweaking small things and I have learned the value of a beta reader (usually a friend who's a fellow author), because there are always a couple of typos that my fatigued eyes will miss.
3. How do you feel about using Amazon KDP Select? Do you publish on Nook, iTunes or Kobo?
I know authors who swear by KDP Select because they like to do free promos and I fully support their decision to market/promote in any way they like. However, free promos are not for me. I put so much time and energy into my books that I feel I'm not out of line in asking people to pay $1.99 for them. I, also, feel strongly about making my books available to people who have e-readers other than the Kindle, so my new book, In Need of Therapy, is available on Barnes & Noble's site and I'm currently looking into iTunes and Kobo.
4. How do you stay in touch with your readers?
I love social media, so I am very active on both Twitter and Facebook. In fact, I am one of the co-moderators for a Twitter group called #chicklitchat, which meets every Thursday at 8PM E.S.T. I've met lots of wonderful Chick Lit readers, bloggers, and authors through that group. I, also, have a blog called "Books by Banister," which I update several times a month with news about my writing and books and features on other authors who write Chick Lit, Women's Fiction, and Romance.
5. Do you find that after you've edited your manuscript you are affected by it differently?
Writing and editing a manuscript is always an emotional roller coaster. My happiest moment is when I finish a book because I have such a great feeling of accomplishment. Going through the revising/proofreading process is difficult for me because I am my own worst critic. I nitpick everything to death and end up thinking what I've written is horrible! This is when I have to set my manuscript aside for a week or two so that I can come back to it with fresh eyes. By the time I've done a final polish on my manuscript and it's ready to be formatted, I'm usually back to loving it again!
6. What would you say to writers who have a dream of being publishing but don't think they really can?
I would say that with all the options available to writers these days (traditional publishing, indie publishing, small press publishing, etc), there's no reason why a talented writer can't find a home and an audience for his/her books. First and foremost, focus on being the best writer you can be and don't rush to publish the first thing you write. Take the time to learn and grow as a writer. You will know when you've written the book that's "the one," then you can educate yourself on the different publishing avenues and decide what's best for you.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Laura!