Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Laura DiSilverio & the unexpected silver lining to her adventure in self-publishing
HALLIE EPHRON: Talk about reinventing yourself! The first book by Laura DiSilverio that I read was one from her Swift Justice series with a delightfully wacky pair of female detectives (I remember thinking: Cagney & Lucy!) A ton of books later, last year I was blown away by her RECKONING STONES, a riveting, thought-provoking standalone.
Laura, shapeshifter that she is, talks about her dystopian YA trilogy, INCUBATION, and her strange and wonderful (and frequently frustrating and demoralizing) journey through the world of writing and publishing
LAURA DiSILVERIO: Some of you probably know me as the author of 17 traditionally published crime fiction novels--18 if you count the forthcoming THAT LAST WEEKEND (Sep 2017). You may not know that I have also written a Young Adult (YA) dystopian trilogy.
Taking the Plunge
Yup. About this time last year, I decided to dip my toes in the self-pubbing waters to see if there was more money in that ocean. (Did I mention I'll have two kids in college come August? Money matters.) I self-pubbed the first book in my Incubation Trilogy. (More about the trilogy at the end--this post is about following dreams and perseverance and the serendipity that happens because you've put in the work and positioned yourself to succeed. Cue "La-La Land" soundtrack.)
My agent, who told me dystopia was dead, had shopped Incubation to about four editors who all told us dystopia was dead. I loved, loved, LOVED this series, so I swallowed hard and made the decision to self-pub. INCUBATION went on sale in April 2016 to rave reviews and disappointing sales.
You read about how hard it is to get a book discovered in the vast ocean of self-pubbed books, but until you put a book out there, you don't understand how hard it really is. I've had trad pubbing success--national bestseller status, awards, and all that hoo-hah--but it didn't matter. Relatively few people found INCUBATION.
The same held true when I pubbed INCINERATION and REGENERATION later in the year. Let's just say I wasn't paying for tuition out what I was making on the trilogy--I was maybe paying for textbooks.
Everything Will Be Okay in the End--If It's Not Okay, It's Not the End
You knew there was a "however," right? My agent gave Incubation to her foreign rights person to take to the Frankfurt Book Fair and, lo and behold, we sold the French language rights for the first two books to a French publisher for a five figure advance against royalties.
My self-pubbing experiment was now well in the black, potentially providing a profit equal to my traditionally published books, although it hadn't ended up there the way I expected.
Who knows? It may be a blockbuster in France, and then a producer will come looking for the movie rights . . . I'll keep you updated as this story unfolds.
What I've Learned (and It Wasn't All in Kindergarten)
- If you love something you've written, don't abandon it because an agent, editor or industry big-wig says it's out of favor or unpopular. A great story will find its audience.
- There are many routes to publication these days --and to financial success.
- Having industry connections--an agent, in my case--helps. There are things they can do for you that you almost certainly can't do for yourself, like foreign sales.
- Work your butt off, practice your craft obsessively, network and market, and be open to capitalizing on opportunities that arise, even if they're not the ones you expected.
- Celebrate all of it. It's a crazy, exhilarating, and mad, mad, mad, mad publishing world.
I'd love to hear about strange or unexpected twists in your professional journeys--in publishing or other endeavors--if you want to share them in the comments.
For any Jungle Red reader who is interested in reading and posting an Amazon review of Incubation, I will send you a Kindle copy if you email me at ldisilverio AT gmail DOT com.
INCUBATION by Laura DiSilverio
Bio-chemistry whiz Everly Jax wants one thing: to know who her parents are. Raised with other repo kids in InKubator 9, she has pinned her hopes on Reunion Day, the annual event where sixteen-year-olds can meet or reunite with their parents. When her Reunion Day goes horribly awry, she and her pregnant friend Halla escape the Kube, accompanied by their friend Wyck who has his own reasons for leaving.
In a world where rebuilding the population is critical to national survival, the Pragmatist government licenses all human reproduction, and decides who can--and must--have babies. The trio face feral dog packs, swamp threats, locust swarms, bounty hunters looking for "breeders," and more dangers as they race to Amerada's capital to find Halla's soldier boyfriend before the Prags can repo her baby and force the girls into surrogacy service.
An unexpected encounter with Bulrush, an Underground Railroad for women fleeing to Outposts with their unlicensed babies, puts them in greater peril than ever. Everly must decide what she is willing to sacrifice to learn her biological identity--and deal with the unanticipated consequences of her decisions.
A retired Air Force intelligence officer, Laura DiSilverio is the national bestselling and award-winning author of 20 mystery, suspense and young adult sci-fi novels. Library Journal named her most recent book, Close Call, one of the Top Five mysteries of 2016, and The Reckoning Stones (2015) won the Colorado Book Award for Mystery in 2016.