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Christian Writing: How Self-Publishing Allowed An Environmental Lawyer Became a Best-Selling Fiction Author Pt2

Self-publishing is upending the book industry. One woman's unlikely road to a hit novel.

When I saw this article, I could not escape how many correlaries it help for Christian Writing. Bottom line, do not give up as a Christian writer

Read Part 1 HERE – JMb (ed ) <><

How Self-Publishing Allowed An Environmental Lawyer Became a Best-Selling Fiction Author Pt2

By ALEXANDRA ALTER – Wall Street Journal Books

Christian Writing: Darcie Chan's Rise To Become A Best-Selling Self-Published Fiction Author


Self-published titles have been buoyed by an explosion in digital book sales. E-book sales totaled $878 million in 2010, compared to $287 million in 2009, according to the Association of American Publishers. Some analysts project that e-book sales will pass $2 billion in 2013.

The march of self-published authors has put publishers and literary agents on guard. Publishing houses like Penguin and Perseus have recently launched their own digital self-publishing programs in an effort to capture a slice of the mushrooming market. Some agents, including Scott Waxman, have started their own digital imprints.


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Digital self-publishing still has serious drawbacks. Though e-books are the fastest-growing segment of the book market, they still make up less than 10% of overall trade book sales, according to the Association of American Publishers. Book reviewers tend to ignore self-published works, and brick-and-mortar bookstores have long shunned them. And very few authors have a marketing and advertising budget equal to a publisher's.

Several successful self-published authors have gone on to cut deals with major publishers. After selling around 1.5 million digital copies of her books on her own, 27-year-old fantasy writer Amanda Hocking signed with St. Martin's Press. She won a $2 million advance for a new four-book fantasy series called "Watersong"; St. Martin's will also reprint her best-selling self-published "Trylle" trilogy about attractive teenage trolls.

Self-published thriller and Western writer John Locke, whose 13 books have sold more than 1.7 million digital copies, signed an unusual contract with Simon & Schuster in August. The publishing house will print and distribute his books—the first title comes out next month—while allowing Mr. Locke to remain as the publisher. Mr. Locke is paying for the printing, shipping and marketing costs himself, according to his agent. The print editions, which will sell as mass-market paperbacks for $4.99, won't be edited. "The opportunity to get into bookstores, Targets, Wal-Marts, Costcos, airports—I can't do that as an independent author," Mr. Locke says.

J.A. Konrath, a mystery writer who has sold 400,000 digital copies of his self-published books, earning some $500,000 a year, signed a contract with Amazon's new mystery imprint to publish his novel "Stirred," co-written with Blake Crouch, digitally and in print. It recently hit No. 1 on the Kindle top-100 list. Mr. Konrath says he was won over by Amazon's powerful marketing machinery. "They can really blow my books up," he says.



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Ms. Chan lives in a spacious, two-story house on a quiet street in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. She and her husband, Timothy Chan, met in high school, at a national science competition. They reunited in Maryland, where he attended medical school and she completed a law degree at the University of Baltimore.

For the past 15 years, she's worked for the federal government on the natural-resource team for the Senate's Office of the Legislative Counsel, where she drafts legislation concerning clean air and water, highway infrastructure and climate change. She works remotely, from her home, from 9 to 6, and takes care of her toddler son until her husband gets home. She squeezes in a couple of hours of writing each night.

She started writing fiction in 2002, when she suddenly had a lot of time on her hands. Her husband, an oncologist and cancer researcher at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, was spending long hours at the hospital at the beginning of his residency, so she spent her nights alone writing.

She came up with the story of a wealthy, agoraphobic Vermont widow who makes anonymous gifts to the townspeople who ignore and fear her. Ms. Chan says she was inspired by the true story of a resident of Paoli, the small Indiana town where she grew up. "The Mill River Recluse" takes place in a fictional Vermont town with a quirky cast of characters—a kleptomaniac priest with a spoon fetish, a dotty woman who tries to sell her neighbors love potions, a bad cop whose off-duty hobbies include stalking and arson.

The novel took her 2½ years to write. After seeking feedback from family and friends, she sent queries to more than 100 literary agents. Most rejected it as a tough sell. "It didn't really fit any genre," Ms. Chan says. "It has elements of romance, suspense, mystery, but it falls into the catch-all category of literary fiction, and of course that's the most difficult to sell."

She finally landed an agent, Laurie Liss at Sterling Lord Literistic in New York, who represents cable-news host Rachel Maddow. Ms. Liss submitted the manuscript to a dozen publishers, all of whom turned it down. Ms. Chan stashed the manuscript in a drawer, and buried herself in her legislative work.

Five years passed. Then, this past spring, she started reading about the rise of e-book sales and authors who had successfully self published, and decided to give it a shot. She fashioned a cover image out of a photograph her sister took of a mansion in Paoli, and she and her husband used Photoshop to add some gloomy ambience. Then she nervously uploaded her manuscript to Amazon's Kindle self-publishing program. She sold a trickle of copies. A few weeks later, she started selling it on Barnes & Noble's Nook and through SmashWords, a self-publishing program that distributes to major e-book retailers including Apple's iBookstore, Sony and Kobo. Her first royalty check from Amazon was for $39.

Look For Part 3 ON Tuesday Nov 15th 2011

Read Part 1 HERE


Christian Writing, self-publishing,best-selling, fiction author,Darcie Chan, The Mill River Recluse

1 thought on “Christian Writing: How Self-Publishing Allowed An Environmental Lawyer Became a Best-Selling Fiction Author Pt2”

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