Saturday, June 16, 2012

Becoming a Published Author with Liz Schulte

by Liz Schulte


 Hearts break. Loved ones are lost. Life keeps moving.

Olivia Martin’s afterlife was more dangerous and confusing than her life ever was. She thought she was ready to come back, to forget about Holden and to let go of the rage consuming her. Fulfilling her destiny as a guardian was all that mattered—the past could stay hidden in the crevices of her mind. However, when guardians are murdered and the evidence points towards jinn, she has to do something. To save anyone’s future, Olivia will have to confront the one person from her past she is terrified to see.

Holden waited for Olivia with the hope he would see her one more time. But when she didn’t return, he found salvation in darkness. The black and twisted road made it easier to forget what he lost than to live with the memory of what he had. An unexpected promotion shoves him into a world of intoxicating power and influence. Holden will have to choose between his new life and the woman he thought was gone forever.

From the ashes of Secrets, Choices are born that will change everything. This is Book 2 in the Guardian Trilogy. 

Secrets, is book one. About this Book One:
While Olivia Martin observed life through her camera, the abyss gazed back at her. She discovers mysterious men follow her around, people close to her are dying, and her dreams are no longer her own as she falls head over heels for a perfect stranger. A chance encounter leads to an obsession that could destroy everything she has ever known or loved. Olivia is about to find out there is a lot she doesn't know and sometimes what you don't know can kill you.


I wrote my first book about four or five years ago, but I published that book a mere year ago. Honestly, once I had written it, I had no idea what to do with the book. Self-publishing to me was something desperate people did—people who were vain and wanted to see their name in print and didn’t care about reaching an audience outside of their friends and family. I thought myself above it. I naively believed I could woo the publishing houses with my talent and make them fall at my feet proclaiming they had been waiting for me (hey, we all have day dreams). It was a harsh, imaginative world I lived in that was as fragile as a paper house in the thunder storm. 

I read a blog post by a quite famous author talking about how hard she worked to get signed with an agent and then a publisher. She talked about rejection after rejection she received but she stuck to her guns and integrity and eventually made it through. I mentally prepared myself for rejection, for a battle, ready to take the publishing industry by storm. I devoted countless hours into researching agents and writing query letters. I only sent out ten (the height of arrogance or perhaps it was fear that I could not handle more than ten rejections at a time). The first round went out and not one person even requested to read my book. I told myself I was prepared for it, and I was, but then I was much slower coming up with my second round of agents. I decided to take a step back and re-evaluate the story, maybe start on a second book that might me more appealing to agents. I thought of many ways I could write something that wasn’t me at all in order to reel in an agent then I could write the books I wanted. 

Despite my plans, however, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Because while I wanted to be published and make money, at this time I was writing solely for myself because I had no guarantee that anyone else would ever want to read it. So I started my next book, a book I wanted to write. A couple of years passed and I was stocking piling ideas, stories, and having a grand time entertaining myself and the very few allowed to read my stories. Publishing was always in the back of my mind, but I had hardened towards it and never did send out my second round of queries. Then something happened that changed my life. I got a Nook for Christmas. 

I stayed up late playing with it, basking in the affordable stories at my fingertips. I bought several books solely because they sounded like good books. I read one of them and very much enjoyed it. I noticed at the end of the book the author was self-published. Suddenly I was intrigued. She had her Facebook contact information so I got online and emailed her about how much I enjoyed her story and that I would like to talk to her about self-publishing if she had the time. It was a 2:00 a.m. whim, a lingering good book high, that lead me to do it. She was very nice and talked to me a lot about how much indie publishing had evolved and it wasn’t the vanity press I originally associated it with. Not only did indie publishing become a reasonable option for me, after I did research into the two separate worlds, I discovered it was the best option for me.  

Now three books later and with three more on the way I find myself writing blog posts about my journey that could potentially help new and aspiring authors, which humbles me. So without further ado, here’s my top five list of things you should know about becoming a published author.

1.       Write a good book. This might seem obvious, but I assure you it is easy to get so wrapped up in the thrill of publishing that you rush the book and the end product will suffer. Writing a good book is and will always be the most important part of publishing. It is what makes readers like you and earns you the respect of your peers. 

2.       Nothing is free. Self-publishing isn’t a vanity press, but it will still cost you money. You need a good editor, an eye-catching professional book cover, and crisp, clean formatting. These are all a must, so before you dive too deep in make sure you can afford the price that there is no guarantee you will ever make back. 

3.       You get what you pay for. This is rather in the same vein as the above rule. With any service you will have a ton of options. Editing can be found for very, very cheap to extremely, eye crossingly expensive. I am not saying you should pay $5000 for a book edit as an indie, but I am saying that you need to be aware that if you get a $200 editor you will most always get $200 worth of editing which means you as an author have to be extra vigilant about your content and mistakes because ultimately the finished product you put out into the world is your responsibility and no one else’s.

4.       Contact your favorite authors and read other new authors.  The writing community is large, overwhelming, and welcoming. Talk to people. It doesn’t matter if they are traditional or independent, most authors will talk to you. We live in an age of information. People are so much more accessible than they ever were. Twitter has a fantastic writing community and brings you a few key strokes from your favorite author. (I assure you I had a major squee moment the first time R.L. Stine tweeted back to me. I was a HUGE Fear Street fan as a kid). Learn what you can from the people who have done this before you. 

5.       Find a writers group. Whether it is in person or online having the support of other like-minded people will help you when you are low, celebrate with you on your successes that do not seem like much to the outside world, and help you not feel crazy on those days you are certain you are destined for the straitjacket.
Those are the most important things that come to my mind about publishing. I am always happy to talk to and help anyone who is interested in publishing. Feel free to email me anytime. 


Many authors claim to have known their calling from a young age. Liz Schulte, however, didn't always want to be an author. In fact, she had no clue. Liz wanted to be a veterinarian, then she wanted to be a lawyer, then she wanted to be a criminal profiler. In a valiant effort to keep from becoming Walter Mitty, Liz put pen to paper and began writing her first novel. It was at that moment she realized this is what she was meant to do. As a scribe she could be all of those things and so much more.

When Liz isn’t writing or on social networks she is inflicting movie quotes and trivia on people, reading, traveling, and hanging out with friends and family. Liz is a Midwest girl through and through, though she would be perfectly happy never having to shovel her driveway again. She has a love for all things spooky, supernatural, and snarky. Her favorite authors range from Edgar Allen Poe to Joseph Heller to Jane Austen to Jim Butcher and everything in between.

Excerpts From Choices :
I don't know what I expected—certainly not the pain that tore through me when I opened my eyes. Feeling Holden immediately saturate my mind nearly shattered me and made me want to scream—or go back. I struggled and finally managed to shove him into a closet deep in my subconscious, where hopefully he’d stay until he disappeared forever—forgotten which was still better than he deserved.
Why did I agree to this?
Better yet, why didn't my heart understand what my brain so clearly explained? Holden didn't want us. He ... No, I wouldn’t let myself do that. I would not think about Holden. He was dead to me. It was the only way it could be, the only way I could do this.
Quintus was waiting for me, all dimples and kindness—the traitorous bastard. Where was he when I needed him? Why didn’t he save me? The accusations running through my mind fell aside, as I noticed how weird things were. 
Everything looked different making me sad that my camera would never be able to capture what I now saw—not that I had a camera anymore. Lights and colors shimmered through the air and the trees, like I was inside a snow globe that someone was relentlessly shaking. How had I not seen all the things around me? It was incredible.
The more Quintus spoke, the more I realized I had a lot to learn and plenty to distract me from the person I wasn't thinking about. I was also not thinking about the fact that I’d been running around the forest stark naked giving Quintus quite a show until he made a crack about what we needed to do first.
I didn’t think it could get worse until Quintus made some god awful dress appear on me. 
"So what now? Do we walk?" I squished my bare toes into the soft leaves beneath my feet. All I wanted was to not think about the past. The past was where he was and where I was angry at Quintus.  I could only look forward now, because hindsight offered no solace, no future.
"Do you know where we are?"
"I assumed you knew. I mean you came here. I just appeared." I frowned at him.

"I was sent the same as you."
"So we're lost? Great! What kind of operation is this?"
"Guardians are never lost." Quintus flashed me his ridiculously deep dimples, but I felt no appreciation for them. There was only one smile I wanted to see—
Needing to keep moving, I trudged through the woods in the direction I was facing. I heard Quintus walking behind me. How could he come to get me without a better plan than this? How did I get stuck with the person who’d abandoned me to a demon? My afterlife sucked.
Philip Pemberton come on down, you’re the next contestant on Sorry I Destroyed Your Life.
Damn it all to hell, I felt bad for old Phil. He made his deal with the demon and was well on his way to avenging his family and becoming cursed to this cruel and Godforsaken existence. And because of yours truly. What did she ever see in me?
I walked away from the warehouse where I’d taken Phil to meet his destiny. All hope was gone for him now. I glanced at my watch, not even 11:00 pm—the night was just getting started. What else could I do this fine evening? Anything that could possibly squash this surge of humanity, I was up for trying.
It hit me like a tidal wave. One moment I was walking down the street, planning on having a little fun and the next moment I was nearly knocked over by a crushing light that washed over my mind and blinded me to anything in front of me. I staggered, fought to gain some sort of control, then I heard her voice. She said my name—I tried to reply, but she was gone as quickly as she came. It was like I’d been struck by lightning. Her voice rang in my ears.
I’d warred to forget the sound and timber of her voice. I’d battled to obliterate the memories of the smell of her skin and the taste of her lips. This one word from her and all that I tried to forget flooded back.
Could Olivia be alive? Was it a fluke, a coincidence? Did I finally reach her on the other side? Or had I lost all grip with reality? Instead of going out, I caught a cab home. I walked into my empty apartment and stripped the sheets from my bed before collapsing onto it. I searched my mind for any change, any clue that she was really there, and I wasn’t just losing my sanity.
Please don’t let this be a hallucination, I begged the universe.


Dawn said...

Your book looks fun..I think I shall have to read it!! Dawn Webb

Patti Hultstrand said...

Thank you for the comment Dawn.

Ok Peeps - you need to follow Dawn into the comment zone. Liz would love to hear from you, so don't be shy, come by and visit with us.

Bk Walker said...

Thank you for hosting Liz today :)

Liz Schulte's Blog said...

Thank you so much for having me on your blog! I would love to hear from all of you!