Guest Blogger: Chrysa Smith
Today, as promised, an indie author, Chrysa Smith, talks about her Road to Publication.
Here is what she has to say:
As far back as I can remember, I’ve loved to write. And in my adult years, this love has translated into a variety of writing jobs that have included advertising copywriting, corporate communications, feature magazine writing and most recently, an author of a Juvenile Fiction series.
Through the early years, when writing meant factual accounting, I felt the desire for more freedom; more expression. And lifestyle magazine writing was the perfect fit. I loved the ability to describe in my own terms, what I was seeing, feeling, hearing, tasting. And, in-between writing assignments, I spent my time focusing on my family, my home and my poodles.
Watching the poodles not only surprised me, but gave me a strong desire to try my hand at fiction. I never intended to write a children’s book; never mind three of them. But there were tales I wanted to tell, and it seemed that they would be perfect to tickle the funny bones of young readers. So, after some children’s writing classes, encouragement from them and a few teachers and friends, the first installment of The Adventures of the Poodle Posse was born. But it wasn’t all that simple.
Lots of research went into how the book should be published. Traditional publishing meant wading through a stream of rejection letters, much time and disappointment. I didn’t think that was for me. So when I talked with traditionally published authors, and found out that all of the marketing was on the author’s shoulders, I decided that I had all of the experience needed to write, edit and hire illustrator and printer. So the journey began.
I teamed up with Pat Achilles, an illustrator I already knew. Her humorous style matched that of these humorous tales, so she put pencil to paper and came up with about 20 b/w illustrations to go with each book. And as the books have journeyed through the classrooms of young readers (grades 1-4), it became apparent that these books have filled a niche: transitional books for those headed into chapter books.
It’s not been easy, but has been rewarding—most days. I discovered my joy to help young children laugh as they read and enjoy as they write. And I do believe most of the success has come with the fact that this series has filled a niche market and that I spend about 80% of my waking hours in marketing and following the tracks to each lead I receive.
My advice to would-be authors? Research your audience and market thoroughly and give yourself to it—-almost completely.
Chrysa Smith is a freelance feature writer who lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with her family and own posse of poodles.
Professionally, she has served as an editor for Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, and a communications manager/consultant for both Fortune 500 and smaller corporations. For the past two decades, she has written for both national and regional magazines, including Pool & Spa Living, Bucks County, Philly Style, Pennsylvania, The Cooperator, BUCKS, South Jersey. Most recently, she has ‘gone to the dogs’, spending some fun hours observing, writing and speaking about some of her favorite four-legged companions, and teaching Juvenile Fiction and publishing camps throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area.