[Today’s guest blogger is fellow Murder Must Advertise member and mystery author, Kait Carson. Welcome, Kait!]
Writing in the Dark
My name is Kait Carson, and I am a writer. My name is Kait Carson, and I am an author. Same thing? Nope.
I’ve been a writer since I was old enough to hold a pencil. That was my chosen profession. It showed up on every “what do I want to be when I grow up” essay. Well, ok, thinking back, there was that period when I really wanted to be Jo March. And there was the time when I wanted to chuck it all and marry Paul. Even through those phases I wrote. What I didn’t understand was that I was writing in the dark. I was an author in waiting.
I wrote romances, mysteries, true stories, romantic suspense, thrillers, wrote like Joyce Carol Oates writing like other writers (remember those books?). When the day job ended, the writing job began. Pages turned into short stories and novels. I submitted to nearly every publisher in Writer’s Market. I was a one-woman word factory. I knew I could write – I didn’t know how to tell a story effectively. And in the way of some new authors, I didn’t know that I didn’t know that. Yet.
Over the years, I stopped writing for the golden apple, and started writing for myself. I created stories I wanted to read. When that happened, I stopped being a writer. I became an author. I learned my craft. The romantic vision of a writer no longer attracted me. Now I craved the indescribable feeling of the satisfaction of finding the right word and the perfect phrase. The editing process became an act of sheer joy. The result was a story that brought me pleasure. My words were good enough for me. I didn’t need validation from anyone else. I cherished the honest critiquer. Revised and recrafted based on their input, but always with an eye to what I knew the story needed. In short, I now trusted myself.
One day, I saw a callout for a Chicken Soup book, and I thought – what the heck. For the first time in a very long time, I crawled out of the dark and shared my work with a publisher. They bought it. What I had thought would be a means to an end, seeing my name in print, became a springboard. I began submitting and selling regularly to various magazines and anthologies. This moderate success took me full circle to my earlier dream of seeing my name on the spine of a book. As a novelist, I was still writing in the dark.
To achieve my goal I joined a number of listservs geared to both published and unpublished novelists. The information I received confused me. Get an agent, don’t get an agent, go the small press route, self-publish. So many choices! I took a long, hard, look at my writing, my goals, and myself. I revised and edited my novel ZONED FOR MURDER to within an inch of its life. It was ready for prime time. I decided not to go the agent, small press route. Based on my research on the various lists, that was time consuming, and I had already put in the time and had a product I believed in. So, taking a deep breath, I turned to the triumvirate of indie writers, Smashwords, Amazon and Createspace. In December of 2011, I made my debut on Amazon, in January of 2012, I held my first book in my hand and ran a finger down the spine that bore my name.
ZONED FOR MURDER had a modest success. I was satisfied enough that I recently released the second in the series, MURDER IN THE MULTIPLES. Indie publishing works for me, and for the Catherine Swope series. I have come out in the sun. What’s in the future? I’m working now to sign with a small press for my next series. That seems like the next step in my chosen career progression. I’ll be thrilled if it happens, but it won’t change what I do.
I am Kait Carson. I am an author.
Kait Carson lives in central Florida with her husband, eight cats, a cockatoo, and a macaw. All are rescues. ZONED FOR MURDER is her first full-length novel. MURDER IN THE MULTIPLES, the second in the series, has recently been released. The e-book is currently available on Amazon. The paperback follows in April. Visit her website.