Today, Hartford Books Examiner welcomes Lucy Carol.
Ms. Carol is the author of the Madison Cruz mystery series. The third entry, “Stiff Competition” (Fevered Publishing LLC) was published last December; “Hit That” is forthcoming in the fall of 2016. Her background is in the performing arts, having been an actress, voiceover artist, choreographer, and singing telegram. Ms. Carol names her top priority as “to entertain you, and keep you turning pages.” She makes her home in the Pacific Northwest, where she alternates writing with other pleasures that include martinis and cake.
“Stiff Competition” is currently averaging 5-stars on Amazon.com. Reader Steve, Brea noted: “I love authors that inject humor into their stories … this is the best of the three … Stiff Competition jumps right out of the starting block and captures your attention immediately … I would suggest an evening spent with a good glass of Red and this book will satisfy most Romance readers.” Further, reader L. SVAC praised: “I adore Lucy Carol’s Madison Cruz books. The stories are not your typical cozy mystery fare … I would recommend Stiff Competition to anyone who enjoys humorous mysteries with a little romance thrown in.”
From the publisher:
Are new man troubles rising for Madison? Or are they just happy to see her? With everything blowing up in her love life, her job life, and her confidence, Madison finds herself on the rebound and unable to sort out her feelings. Especially with a certain crime fighter whose kisses are so passionate she can’t think straight. A singing telegram turns dangerous, a speed dating event runs riot, and a missing chef with a wild past pits Madison against the odds, as she tries desperately to help her friends while avoiding the, uh, men of steel.
Now, Lucy Carol romances readers …
John Valeri: What inspired you to embrace indie publishing – and how has doing so changed your life?
Lucy Carol: For me, indie publishing was a no-brainer. I wanted to be at the helm of my own business, and I had a great mystery stuffed with romantic comedy, titled “Hot Scheming Mess.” I’d just lost my career as a dance teacher due to a spinal injury, and wrote that first comedy mystery while I recovered. I was hooked! I had to keep writing. I decided to turn “Hot Scheming Mess” into a series.
At about that time I received my first Kindle as a birthday present and was blown away at the convenience of holding an entire library of anything I wanted to read, all on this little device. All the ebooks had free samples I could read before deciding if I wanted to buy it. Then when I found out about Kindle Direct Publishing, I was intrigued. I read every blog and article I could find to see if self-publishing might be a good idea for me. When I learned the royalty was 70%, well, the seduction was complete! I uploaded my first book, hoping that I’d sell at least 30 ebooks that first month, and make some mad money. But the book passed 30 sales in a week, then 100 sales, then more. As I watched the sales go past 500, I lost some of the giddiness and became quite sober about it. I sold 1,154 ebooks that first month. I was an unknown, debut author, yet this was actually happening. I knew this was an opportunity for a new career. I seized it.
JV: There are both digital and physical platforms for publication. What do you see as being the benefits of each – and do you have a personal preference between eBooks and “real” books?
LC: The real benefit, of either ebooks or print, is having the satisfaction of reading in the form that brings you the most pleasure. I say let the people read the way they want to. Some readers (like me) love to carry entire libraries around on their ereader, while others prefer paper. No problem! I use CreateSpace for the print version of my books. Plus, there are readers who like to collect both the ebook and the print versions. I go through phases where I like to go old school, reading a paperback book. But I usually rush back to ebooks afterward. If I were forced to choose, I’d have to go with ebooks. It’s just too convenient not to.
JV: Self-publishing has made significant strides toward mainstream acceptance in recent years. To what do you credit this trend – and how would you advocate for self-publishing “done right” among burgeoning authors?
LC: Permission to publish may have slipped out of the hands of traditional publishers, but if the readers hadn’t responded so well it wouldn’t be the huge industry it is now. The readers are the ones who gave self-publishing their blessing. Indie publishing is a business, and the readers are the ones who determine if your business will succeed. Big publishing houses no longer have any say in the matter. If I wanted to open a bakery, I wouldn’t be required to serve my cakes and cookies to other more established bakers who would then decide if I made the cookies the way they prefer, and whether I get to open a bakery. As long as all the blood, sweat, and tears are my own, I’m the one who decides. In most businesses, we are free to ascertain if we want to give it a shot, and the consumers will vote with their money. Once they’ve found something they want, they come back for more. And if you give the consumers free samples, they are smart enough to know whether or not they want your cake, your cookies, or your ebooks.
So how will you keep that reader/consumer happy? Well, if you’re serious about a career in writing you’ll do everything in your power to offer a quality product, because when you’re running your own publishing business, your books are your product. That means don’t be lazy. Don’t skip the classes, workshops, and writers’ meetings. Those are the places where you will hone your skill.
JV: How can storytelling help us to understand the world around us – and in what ways has writing allowed you to positively channel your energies during times of struggle?
LC: As a creative person, I can tell you that using my talent is vital for me. Before it was writing, it was singing, dancing, acting, even fashion design. I had to be creative in some way, or I’d go nuts! And the world needs creatives just as much as they need accountants. People crave stories to get lost in, to sooth them, or to excite them. They want to feel something.
Every writer is different. I happen to be the type that is animated, gregarious, with an attention span so short it’s breath-taking! But when I’m lost in a story, I find myself in a home of my own making, and I’m more at peace. During tough times the writing can keep me sane. The hard part is all the administrative duties of publishing. But the reward is the writing. I’ve been published for 2 ½ years now. I’ve learned some of this the hard way.
JV: What advice would you give those looking to explore their own creative ambitions? How can they keep the work of writing fun?
· Don’t jump in without doing your homework. There’s tons of information about indie publishing out there. If you have the internet, then you have access.
· Don’t be lazy. If you don’t do the work of learning the craft of writing, your business will die.
· Don’t be cheap. Find good editors and cover designers, and pay them.
· Plus, if I could go back to talk to myself two years ago, I’d shake my shoulders and tell me to write faster! If you’re the type who agonizes over every word, you might want to give it some thought.
And do remember that this is still a job. Sometimes the fun comes naturally, while other times the fun can be elusive. But the more you love it, the harder you’ll want to work at it. Remember that you need to let go once in a while and step back. Take time for yourself and recharge. Your writing will be better if you do.
JV: Leave us with a teaser: What comes next?
LC: I’m adding to the Madison Cruz mystery series. If you’d like the first book, “Hot Scheming Mess,” you can get it for FREE by going to my website and signing up!
“Hot Scheming Mess,” Madison Cruz Mystery #1
“Kill the Crazy,” Madison Cruz Mystery #2
“Stiff Competition,” Madison Cruz Mystery #3
“Hit That,” Madison Cruz Mystery #4 is due out in the fall.
Currently, I’m also working on a romantic comedy series. Check out my website http://www.lucycarol.com to stay updated!
With thanks to Lucy Carol for her generosity of time and thought and to Gabrielle Torello of Grand Communications, Inc. for facilitating this interview.