Killer Nashville Part II

While I met with Bente Gallagher for my manuscript critique, OL took notes on the Sherrilyn Kenyon panel. BTW, Bente is everything you’d expect from her website and more. Smart, honest, great wit, and total awesomeness.  She pointed out a few things in the first chapter that needed to be fixed. It was amazing to have another set of eyes catch the inconsistencies. She provided a written critique and made track changes comments in the actual chapter. Completely worth the extra money to have the manuscript critique. Again, the one-on-one face time is priceless. Not only do you get a critique but you can talk through things and ask questions. I also picked up her books and they are next on my to read list. 🙂

During the Sherrilyn Kenyon panel, she talked about her career with Clay Stafford (who is the founder of Killer Nashville).

  • She sold 24 million copies of books in 40+ countries
  • First started out, there was no recipe–each time is different–every time is like first time
  • Everything she did may not work for others or for her again. At that time, it worked
  • Sold first piece at 14–mostly wrote magazine articles and short stories. Took her several years to get first book published
  • In 1995, market changed and her career as vampire writer came to an end. Once top-selling authors stop selling, agents and editors nervous and marketplace looking for something new
  • At one point she was homeless with a child, but she didn’t give up. She went back and worked her way back up to the top again
  • Publishing industry very hard. Decisions not made by authors and publishers, but by MBAs–number crunchers–so bottom line is how am I going to shelve it and market it?
  • Her husband was very supportive in her coming back to market. She wrote another book–everyone of her beta readers loved it but publishers refused to publish it
  • Went through tremendous struggles–dad died of cancer, mom had cancer, and son severely sick. She promised her husband she would give up writing
  • Finally found agent again. Everything went slowly and she started writing historical romances, which sold
  • She tried to go back to paranormal mystery and time was right–people liked it again–it felt new again
  • Built website–early adapter and did website by herself and used it as marketing tool. She used character profiles online and message boards–very interactive and innovative at that time
  • She was very interested in learning about web and PCs
  • Promotion ideas–be true to self, know your weaknesses. Be careful about putting unique plot ideas on your website before a book is published/sold to a publisher. If hate Facebook, don’t use it. People will realize you hate it. If you are not a people person, don’t tour for your books
  • To market book, figure out what makes you buy stuff? Cool cover, great back cover, good review
  • Always be nice to people. If ask for autograph give it to them. Always be on best behavior–these are your readers who buy your books. If they tell you a story, try to remember it so you can talk about it in future
  • People will read your books if they know you or have a personal connection with you
  • At bookstores, get to know the staff, ask if you can leave bookmarks
  • Libraries buy your books so support them with readings there
  • Having a website is important–especially if you make it an extension of you
  • For first time authors, to get noticed participate in online readers sites–be a fan first
  • On Twitter or Facebook, don’t be in your face about your book–talk about other stuff most of the time
  • Every writer has their own road to an agent, but keep in mind an agent is a tool and you need to find the right one that works for you
  • Get to know agents before pick one–this is a marriage of sorts
  • Think long-term with your career
  • Make sure foreign rights are negotiated well–don’t leave them with the publisher
  • Try to keep every right that you can–if she hadn’t she wouldn’t be able to put out graphic novels
  • The book cover has to tell you what the book is about
  • Some people aren’t good at pitches, try your best and then use that time to get to know agent/editor
  • She works on more than one series at a time and produces up to 7 books a year as a solo writer
  • Some books take 4-5 months and others take 3-4 weeks
  • For her a book isn’t working if it is not entertaining to her
  • She uses beta readers and critique groups
  • Her website is database driven so it is dynamic and site updates itself when new book is coming out
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4 Responses to Killer Nashville Part II

  1. Emma says:

    Wow, you met Bente Gallagher? I am a huge fan of her Savannah Martin Mystery series. She has got a really good writing style and I’m sure she could give you some great advice.

    Also, thank you for sharing your notes on the Sherrilyn Kenyon panel. It is amazing how this woman fought her way back up to the top and I think she definitely deserves credit for that.

    • I picked up both series and am starting the Savannah Martin series while I’m on vacation next week. I’m going to blog about a panel she was on in tomorrow’s blog. After hearing her speak and meeting her, I had to read her books! It’s great to hear success stories that involve overcoming major obstacles. Sherrilyn impressed me greatly with her story and put in perspective how hard a journey it can be to publication.

  2. berry says:

    Lots of info. Too much to process for me. You mist have learned a lot.

Any thoughts or reactions or favorite foods you want to share?