by Alvin Ramirez February 14, 2013
In this post, we review Dr. Angela Lauria’s Book Journeys interview with author Michelle Colston, author of The Undiscovered Goddess.
As Michelle remarked, she had originally started to write a funny book on vampires, but she couldn’t make it work. She was doing a self-exercise one day when she came across the word “Goddess,” and this became her inspiration for writing out The Undiscovered Goddess, which was as much an exercise in creative self-expression as it was to make a difference in the world.
Michelle used test readers to determine how well her book was going, initially going to those close to her, such as her mother, who was also an editor, for feedback. Michelle got feedback from her test readers by giving them a chapter at a time, and as she got more and more confident with her book she began expanding her test readers to friends, and then friends of friends, until she took it to the New York Pitch to get her entire book reviewed.
Publishing the book became real for Michelle when, on a trip to New York with some friends, when asked what her profession was, Michelle said that she was a writer, and the reactions she got apparently inspired her to get serious about getting her book out.
Michelle initially spent four months looking for an agent to pitch her book, after which she then decided to self-publish. During the interview, she pointed out that getting an agent, and then getting a publishing house interested in the book, would take time, and Angela then mentioned that six months might be needed to get an agent, and about as long to find a publisher. Michelle noted that big publishing houses do not edit or do marketing for the book, that the author will need to do these themselves, and that, if the publishing houses were involved, a share of the profits would go to these. Where self-publishing was concerned, Michelle mentioned that her editor, Jennifer Ciotta, who was, herself, a published author with a book on self-publishing, was a big help to her where getting the resources for self-publishing, such as the cover designer and query letters, were concerned.
Michelle mentioned that her cover blurb came from Kirkus Reviews, which is a firm of critics who review and comment on books. Michelle noted that an author would need to pay Kirkus to review their book, and that Kirkus will give a frank review that the author can use if he or she wishes to do so.
Michelle mentioned that opportunities has opened up for her, with people wanting her to talk about her book or create workshops based on it. Her advice to authors is to keep writing, because good writing takes practice and authors need to be patient with themselves.