07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Monday, January 23, 2017

This Crazy Business of Publishing

By Courtney Pierce

When I wrote my first novel, Stitches, the thought of being published was the furthest thing from my mind. I wanted the challenge of plotting a compelling story, to learn the craft, and to dive into the story that burned in my imagination. I took a sabbatical from corporate life to write that story, a deeply personal story of immortality filled with humor and adventure. Now, two trilogies later, I’m finishing my sixth book, Indigo Legacy, and I’m back to balancing work, a new family, and my writing.
But there was no greater feeling than finishing that first book in 2012, a creation born from the pure joy of pushing through the process and challenging myself with questions. To turn over the manuscript to the first reader was a test of fortitude, self-confidence, and my openness to criticism. I developed that much-needed thick skin.
I came up for air in a swirl of adventure, humor, and magical realism, only to feel a bit lost atHow to get Published and critiquing queries for a hefty fee. They weren't selling many books. Publishers were only interested in celebrity memoirs and established authors with a proven track record, those who could make them money without a marketing budget. What to do next? The publishing industry was in chaos in 2012, and so were retail bookstores, both big chains and independent ones. Life for the average reader had shifted to be an E-book experience―at a rate of $.99 or free. Only a select few were making a decent living from being a writer, earning pennies on the dollar for the long hours invested. The book business was about volume...in the millions. The industry had been plunged into a perfect storm of capitalism: an antiquated, crumbling process in need of rebuilding, fueled by new technology. Amazon was living up to its name. Literary agents had shifted their focus to teaching workshops about
And then a funny thing did happen on the way to being published.
The lone writer―the little gal―suddenly could have her own voice.
I could do everything myself: Tweet, Facebook, set up a website, hire an editor and cover designer, format and produce a book at the push of a button. Not easy, mind you, but I would’ve had to do much of it anyway. If I was prolific and built my audience with a steady stream of books, then the publishing industry might chase me. Publishers aren’t in the business of making dreams come true. That’s my job.
I made the choice to be a pioneer. I decided to go it on my own, and the process was liberating if not amazing. As a first-time author during that tumultuous period, my chances of getting traditionally published were a long shot at best. Self-publishing allowed me to control my timeline, protect my content, and retain ownership of my copyrights. I taught myself the business, and I got better at it with every book. But most of all, I found my audience, without delusions of grandeur. If I didn’t sell millions of books, I wasn’t a failure. I’m thankful for those 73 Million baby boomers, just like me. Those boomers who bought my books and personally connected with me showed me the way forward.
My sense of purpose is to stay true to my audience…and to myself. Chasing trends doesn't work to be successful. That can't always be measured in dollars. I write for the pure joy of it. I’ve circled back to my roots of why I got into this crazy endeavor in the first place. 

Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her bossy cat. She writes for baby boomers. By day, Courtney is an executive in the entertainment industry and uses her time in a theater seat to create stories that are filled with heart, humor and mystery. She has studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, she is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and She Writes. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal. 

Check out all of Courtney's books at:
courtney-pierce.com and windtreepress.com. Both print and E-books are available through most major online retailers, including Amazon.com

The Dushane Sisters are back in Indigo LakeMore laughs, more tears...and more trouble. Protecting Mom's reputation might get the sisters killed―or give one of them the story she's been dying to live.

New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."

Colorful characters come alive in Courtney's trilogy about the Dushane sisters. Beginning with The Executrixthree middle-age sisters find a manuscript for a murder mystery in their mother's safe after her death. Mom’s book gives them a whole new view of their mother and their future. Is it fiction . . . or truth? 

Get out the popcorn as the Dushane Sisters Trilogy comes to a scrumptious conclusion with Indigo Legacy. Due out in 2017.


Judith Ashley said...

Courtney, finding our audience is truly the key to selling books...oh, you may get a gazillion downloads of a free book but if it's never read and other books are never bought, it really doesn't count for much in the long run. So glad you've found your voice and audience and your balance. The Dushane Sisters are compelling and fun characters who have real-life adventures and challenges. Thank you for introducing them to us.

Maggie Lynch said...

I love the way you framed the post with freedom, both creatively and being in charge of your own future. I like that you chose to take charge of your own career. You didn't mope about wishing for the past of publishing, nor did you fear the future of publishing. You a great example of what is called an "authorpreneur." Someone who combines the creative side of writing as an author, but also understands the entrepreneurial side and embraces both aspects equally.

Sarah Raplee said...

Loved your post, Courtney! You are an inspiration!