Monday, August 15, 2011

Top Five Publishing Lessons with Guest Blogger: Paula Wiseman

Meet author Paula Wiseman today at the Book Boost.

She's here to discuss the things she's learned about publishing and here's what she had to say...

Any new experience brings a fistful of lessons learned. In December 2010, Contingency, my first book released, followed closely by my second book, Precedent, in April 2011. Here are a few things I've discovered on this adventure.

1. Writing a book is just the first half of publishing a book. All that stuff I'd spent years learning, the how-to-write stuff... it was no help once I became a marketer. The learning curve is just as steep but with a huge time crunch added on. I learned to listen to the readers, and I noticed what they respond to. For example, we learned my readers are big Kindle fans, and they enjoyed seeing preview quotes and chapters before the book came out. Every book and audience is different, and figuring out what doesn't work is valuable information, too.

2. There is a ton of good advice out there. I couldn't possibly follow all of it. I also learned that occasionally that advice contradicts itself, and sometimes it just doesn't "fit". For example, if you write by the seat of your pants, then advice on a systemic, highly structured, note card-driven plot-mapping technique will make you nuts. I discovered a few industry professionals- writers, agents and editors- that I really like and I stick with them. I follow them on Twitter and subscribe to their blogs.

3. My second book was a lot like my second child. I knew more of what to expect, but it was still a unique experience. The release didn't garner as much hoopla from others, but I was just as excited. Of course, as with a second-born, it's tempting to bury all the excitement in a flurry of comparisons. The truth is, the two books work together bolstering each other.

4. ISBN numbers are much cooler when they are yours. I never knew I could be so proud of a 10 or 13 digit number. Also, the Library of Congress registration certificate comes in an envelope that looks a lot like junk mail. Be careful not to toss it!

5. Expect the unexpected. Even though I researched the process, and had a decent idea of what to expect once the books published, there was much more to it. Shipping, display ads, taxes, crashing websites, blog guests, reader emails, and more. Every day brings new surprises and challenges, and except for the occasional hiccup, I wouldn't trade any of it. With a new book releasing in the fall of 2011, it looks like the lessons won't stop any time soon.

A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for sharing your experiences with us today, Paula. Please tell us more about your latest release.


After years of believing Chuck’s affair is behind them, Bobbi’s marriage is tested again when Tracy Ravenna resurfaces. Tracy’s not alone, though. Jackson Charles Ravenna is the newest student in Bobbi’s first grade class and the spitting image of her husband. When Chuck decides to pursue joint custody, they discover Jack isn’t the only secret Tracy’s been hiding. As Tracy’s past begins to threaten their future with Jack, Bobbi is forced to face the unsettling truth about God’s grace. But this time, what will it cost to forgive the unforgivable?


Bobbi charged across the lobby, her jaw set, fire in her eyes. Before he could react, she banged his office door closed behind her. “So help me, God, if you knew about this, Chuck, I will divorce you right now!” She threw a packet of papers across the desk.

“What are you talking about? If I knew about what?”

“I asked you!” Bobbi leaned across his desk, pointing a finger at him. “I asked you specifically if she was pregnant!”

“Who? Tracy? She wasn’t.”

“Read that last name on my class list! It’s her son!”

Chuck picked up the papers without taking his eyes off his wife. He swallowed hard and adjusted his glasses, then skimmed the top sheet until he found “Jackson Charles Ravenna.”

A wave of squeezing pressure hit his chest. “How do you know—?”

“Next to last page,” she snapped.

He looked away from her icy glare and carefully turned pages. This had to be a misunderstanding, a mistake of some sort. His eyes ran down the sheet looking for “Jackson Charles Ravenna.” He immediately recognized Tracy’s handwriting. Before his mind blasted in a thousand directions, he looked back up at his wife, battling to maintain calm in his voice. “Now Bobbi—”

“Don’t patronize me!” She slammed her hand down on his desk. “You look me in the eyes and tell me the truth. Did you know about this boy?”

“No.” He locked eyes with her. “I’m as shocked as you are.”

“I doubt that,” Bobbi shot back. “She hasn’t tried to contact you?”


“Have you tried to contact her?”

He could feel heat rising under his shirt collar, and his pulse began to pound.

“Chuck, answer me,” Bobbi seethed with quiet fury.

Chuck wished she were still yelling. “When I split the firm and sent Pete to open the Kansas City office …” Her clenched jaw twitched ever so slightly. “I checked with the Missouri Bar to see if she was there.” Bobbi dropped her head and huffed. “That’s all, I swear. I’ve never, ever tried to find a phone number, an address, or anything.”

“Say it without blinking.”

“I haven’t had any contact with Tracy in seven years.”

“That’s about to change,” Bobbi smirked, and pointed at the class list. “He’s yours, isn’t he?”

“He couldn’t be. She told me she took care of everything.”

“And of course she wouldn’t lie.” Bobbi rolled her eyes at him, and jabbed a finger toward the packet. “Look at his birth date.”

“April eighteenth. So?”

“Do the math.”

Chuck’s blood ran cold as he counted backwards nine months. He looked up from the paper into his wife’s eyes, as her anger gave way to fear and uncertainty.

“Bobbi, I don’t know what to say …” He wanted to cry, yell, throw something, punch something, and then rip the papers up in little tiny pieces.

“Almost to the day, isn’t it?” she said quietly.

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