Guest Blogger

I am thrilled to have Anne Gallagher from Piedmont Writer here today - as hard as it was to talk her into it. She's iffy on that whole self-promotion thing. I understand, really. But in this business, you gotta do it. We waffled about which way to go: guest post, interview, review. I knew what I wanted.

I've long admired Anne's honesty on her own blog. She's forthcoming about her life, her feelings, her writing, and The Biz. She's funny, too. So when I asked her to do a guest post about her decision to self publish, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. What she sent was exactly what I'd expected - no, not word for word, but the honesty inside of it. And the helpfulness.

Then, of course, I had to email her back to remind her she mentioned not one word about her actual book - for, yanno, the promotion part. I told you all she hated it.

Anne was my 2nd follower, and never failed to comment when nobody else was even reading my messes. I wish her all the best in her self-publishing endeavor!

Why I Chose to Self-Publish

Your book is written. It’s been revised and edited to within an inch of its life. Blood, sweat and tears have been dripped all over the manuscript. You write an outstanding query. You send the query out to every agent who reps your genre and then some. Your beta readers, critique partners, and your mother are waiting with their breath held.

But what happens if you can’t find an agent? If you get rejected time and again? What do you do when the agents say your writing is fantastic, but she just won’t be able to sell it because you’re writing for a niche market? What do you do when the agent says your book would be easier to sell as a category romance? What do you say when you’re told she’d wished you’d queried her two months ago, she just sold three books just like yours but now the editor is full up.

After 50+ rejections each on three different books, I’d had enough of feeling let down, sad, angry, confused. My beta readers LOVED my books. My critique partners RAVED over my books. My queries were killer. Now some of you may say, “I know people who had over 100 rejections.” Yeah, I do too. But you know what, there are only so many agents who represent historical romantic fiction. And only so many who will take it on without vampires or werewolves or zombies.

I write single-title Regency romances without sex. There are no heaving bosoms, no washboard abs, no trysts in moonlit gardens. I do not write category romance, nor do I want to. I do not write sex, not because I can’t, but because most of the time, the sex doesn’t need to be there. My books are about finding lasting love, not a roll in the hay. They are emotional, character-driven novels where love is the goal. People are people, whether in 1810 or 2010. Our basic human need for love and affection doesn’t change.

So I decided to take the bull by the horns and dip my toes into the waters of self-publishing. The most important reason being –


Yes, I knew it was going to be hard, but so what. What in life isn’t hard these days? I had a successful business as a professional chef and private caterer for over 25 years before I started writing full-time. Let me tell you how hard it is to clean up at 1am after doing a wedding for 300 people. Publishing to Kindle has been a cakewalk in comparison. And I got to do it while still wearing my pajamas.

Yes, I will admit, I had a lot of trepidation in setting out to do this. I knew nothing about formatting, html codes, dpi resolution, or how to go about any of it. But you know what – I made myself learn. The same way I made myself learn the correct form of ‘who’ and ‘whom’. The correct usage for a semicolon. The difference between using good and bad adverbs. With the help of some, very, very smart people I may add, I did learn how to format, and upload, and find the right html codes. I made mistakes, big and small. But that’s part of everything.

As a creative artist, I self-published because I wanted my voice to be heard. Yeah, I’ll admit, I’m vain. (Why do you think they used to call it vanity publishing?) I wanted to share my stories with the world. What is all that hard work for, if the book only sits on my hard drive waiting for an agent that may never bite? What was the point of writing book after book after book if no one is going to read them? What did I have to lose?


It didn’t cost me anything but time. I found all my covers in public domain. A very good friend put them together for me. I formatted the book myself (with again I might add, some very, very smart people). I had five (super smart) people go through the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb looking for obvious typo’s and punctuation problems because I couldn’t afford a professional editor. (Who really can these days?)

I didn’t self-publish for the money. There’s some, I won’t kid you, but not enough for me to make a living on it right now. I think, perhaps in time I might enjoy a nice week at Disney with The Monster, but that’s a long way off.
I write my books because I enjoy them. I write what I want to read. I write because I have a voice and want it to be heard.
I self-published because I write in a niche market and didn’t want to change my style to fit into another. I kind of sort of did it as well, to maybe, impress an agent enough to offer me representation one day. I self-published, because I wanted other people in the world to get as much enjoyment out of my books as I do.

I self-published because I could.


Lady Violet Flowers has only one Season to find a husband. Raised in the Queen’s household, Violet is elevated in rank, yet overlooked by society for having no dowry. Violet is petrified she’ll bring disgrace to her mother’s name in not making a good match, if any.
The widowed Marquess of Haverlane needs to find the perfect nanny for his beloved daughter, Jane. Fortunate for Haverlane, when the very plump, but very pretty Lady Violet rescues Jane from almost drowning, the solution to his problem stands before him. Ensconced at his country estate, Haverlane and Violet’s only means of communication is through correspondence, which leads to an amiable affection.
Unwilling to think of Violet as more than a nanny, a surprising Christmas kiss compels Haverlane to look at her in a whole new light, and she at him. However, Parliamentary demands made upon his time keep them both a safe distance from temptation.

As the Season begins, an old flame emerges from Haverlane’s past and attempts to rekindle that fire. Violet is bereft and knows things cannot remain as they are. She accepts an offer for her hand, even though Haverlane is the only one she wants. By the time Haverlane realizes Violet is the woman he has been waiting for, not only for himself, but for his daughter as well, it may be too late. Haverlane must now do what Violet has dreaded most – bring scandal to her mother’s house to try to win her back.

Review for THE LADY'S FATE

I felt like I was reading one of the classics. Gallagher has done her research and The Lady's fate reads just as if it were written back in Austen's day. But she gives us a new set of characters to examine, and even though they're playing by the same set of Regency rules, the plot takes fresh, unpredictable turns.

The relationship between Violet and Haverlane takes time to develop, but their electricity is immediate, even before things get physical. Patience is rewarded with some of the steamiest kisses I've ever read---you know, the kind where you go back to read them again...and again, just to make sure you didn't miss anything. I think the attraction's even more intriguing because up until the very end, it's unclear if/how it can progress.

The characters are all well-defined and interesting, even those who are infuriating. My favorite is Lady Olivia in all her obstinate, noble, cane-thumping glory. I finished this book knowing I'd like to spend more time with them, so I look forward to more from this author---particularly in the "Reluctant Grooms" series.

THE LADY'S FATE available on Amazon for $2.99. (links in green)


Anne Gallagher said...

Thanks so much for having me here today, even though you had to practically break my arm to do it.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Awesome post, Anne. Everyone has they're own reasons to self pub. I love yours. :)

Mac said...

Anne, I often wish I didn't have the patience you have. After 19 novels, which I queried the hell out of (around 300 agents each) I'm just now editing my Black Lake series for KDP, and seeing LADY's cover may have been what tipped me to self publishing.

(Wouldn't it be nice to earn a living writing? I'm not holding my breath. ;OP


Linda G. said...

Good for you, Anne! You knew what you wanted, and went after it.

I just bought THE LADY'S FATE at Amazon -- can't wait until I find the breathing space to read it. I know it'll be fantastic. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you didn't change your style just to fit in!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Excelllent post and most enjoyable to read.

I self published my first poetry book without a hitch so decided I had enough poems for another book.
This time however there have been snags, they sent me the proofs for correction that was fine but it was the cover they was awful my grandson said he could do better. I phoned them and was told they would do another cover which I would recieve by Wednesday, it didn't arrive so on the phone again and was told I would get it when they send the second proofs. I asked to describe this new cover, was told it was a picture of me with an owl. I told them to get back to the drawing board as that picture was on my first book. I am still excited about my new book despite the setbacks.


Anne Gallagher said...

Stina -- Thanks so much. Well, the one other reason is I'm totally into self-gratification, lol, so why not, right. It's kind of like chocolate that way.

Mac -- Well, I'm glad I could inspire you. And you've got to learn to start dreaming BIG otherwise you'll just be medium.

Linda -- I know it's not your usual genre, so thanks so much for the support. You'll have to let me know what you think of the "love scenes". lol

Alex -- If I didn't stay true to myself, then what was the point?

Jennifer Shirk said...

I am so buying this, Anne! It's so refreshing to have a sweet historical out in the market.
I'm so happy for you!

Anne Gallagher said...

Yvonne -- I had quite a few glitches getting mine out too, but I think it was worth it for all the work. Best to you and your new endeavor.

Jennifer -- Aww, thanks so much. I couldn't justify doing what everyone else was doing, (and sometimes not quite up to the "old" publishing standard) so I had to give it my best shot.

DL Hammons said...

I am HUGE fan of Anne's writing...and the person behind it! She is one-of-a-kind and Tara nailed it when she talked about her honesty. I also admire her commitment to the story by not slathering on the sex just to make it more marketable!

Anne Gallagher said...

Thanks Don. I'm a huge fan of YOURS. Yeah, I'm not into the slathering kind of sex. Although whipped cream and strawberries can be kind of fun. Oops, too much honesty there.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Anne, I don't see your book as a *vanity press*. I think memoirs, family recipes, and stuff like that as a vanity press. This is fiction and one you've spent time refining to make it as professionally produced as any traditionally published book. That's not an act of vanity, that's a professional decision from an author.

Congratulations on your new book and for staying true to yourself.

Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

Anne Gallagher said...

Sia -- Thanks so much for your words today. They mean a lot. I did try to put as much into this to make it as professional as possible and I'm glad you think so.

Old Kitty said...

Good luck Anne Gallagher with your book! You got your book out cos you wanted to share your stories - yay for you!! Hope this is the first of many many many more to come! Take care

Anne Gallagher said...

Thanks so much Kitty. It's nice to see you here.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks Anne and Tara.

I appreciate authors who are courageous enough to insist on doing things their own way and refusing to conform what professionals deem as the theme of the month.

Laurel Garver said...

Fabulous interview. What I love in all this is Anne's vision for what she wants to share and be in the world--an advocate for lasting love. That's powerful and worth making your own way for, Anne!

Shelley Sly said...

Anne, this was a delight to read. I am so happy that you are pursuing publication, and your book sounds wonderful. I've always known you were an excellent writer. You deserve all the happiness and success imaginable! (Can't wait to read Genna's story too... *cough*) :D

Tara, thank you for hosting. You described Anne perfectly. It's good to stop by and see you too! :)

Anne Gallagher said...

Slamdunk -- Thanks for your lovely words. I wouldn't say courageous, but I thank you.

Laurel -- Aww, that's so sweet. Lasting love, I think, is important to everyone.

Shelley -- It's so great to see you out and about. I hope you feel better. And thanks for your wonderful encouragement.

Lois D. Brown said...

Way to go Anne.

I'm finding myself in the same position with querying, etc., so I've decided to self-pub as well. I'm writing a series about it on my blog called Eating a Whale, because at times that's how it feels--so much to do.

As writers, it's like we're all holding our breath right now to see how this e-pub revolution settles.

Life of Lois

Meredith said...

So fascinating! It's crazy how subjective publishing can be--I'm glad you found another way to follow your dream, Anne!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

This is a great post, as usual.
Anne, i wonder, do you think you'll ever query an agent again, in the future?

Stephanie said...

Wishing you lots of luck!!!!! And yeah, especially with self-publishing, you really gotta get out there and promote!!

LTM said...

you know, these are all super great reasons, Anne. And I've seen your book around, so I can believe it's very good. Best of luck to you!!! :o) <3

Lydia Kang said...

Your book really is a perfect example of why self-publishing can be the absolutely right answer.

Go Anne! Good for you!

jbchicoine said...

Anne, I'm so proud of you! For all your hard work and determination, you deserve the best!

S.P. Bowers said...

Just bought it, can't wait to read it. Good luck and thanks!

Anne Gallagher said...

Lois -- Thanks so much for coming by. It does feel like eating a whale doesn't it. Just got to remember to take small bites. It's so overwhelming.

Meredith -- Thanks so much. I'm glad there was just another way to do it.

Sarah -- I'd like to have my series under my belt first, but I do have plans to query my next women's fiction. The dream has always been to have an agent, I SO want a movie deal, lol, but for now, I think I have to do it this way.

Stephanie -- Thanks so much for coming by. Yeah, that whole promotion thing... something I have to force myself to do.

LTM -- Thanks so much.

Lydia -- Well, it was the only answer I had. I just couldn't languish one more second. And Congratulations again on your big news.

Bridget -- Stop, you're going to make me cry. I couldn't have done it without you.

S.P. -- Thank you so much for your support. I'd love to hear what you think after you're done.

Chris Eboch said...

Congratulations, Anne. It sounds like you made a smart decision. I have 12 traditionally published books, and I'm still getting into self-publishing, for some of the same reasons. It's a different kind of challenge, but it's nice to have a little more control over our futures.

Anne Gallagher said...

Chris -- Thanks. I think the control issue is the main reason I did it. I worked so hard on the manuscript itself, it was easy to keep on going with all the rest of it. Best of luck with your own endeavors.

Bish Denham said...

I'm so proud of you Anne. And I promise, when I get my Kindle (coming soon) YOURS is the FIRST book I'm going to buy and download!

VR Barkowski said...

Absolutely Awesome post, Anne! But from you, I expected nothing less. I'm proof that even having a kick-ass agent doesn't guarantee publication if one doesn't fit squarely into the market niche. It takes courage to create something unique and stand by your original vision. Please, please, please don't ever let the cookie cutter get you.

Wishing you all the luck in your world. Now I'm off to secure my own copy of THE LADY'S FATE.

Anne Gallagher said...

Bish -- Thanks so much Bish. That means a lot to me and is very very sweet. Now you've got me all teary.

Anne Gallagher said...

VR -- Oh you don't have to worry about the cookie cutter from me. I was a chef, I know how to get around a recipe. Thanks so much for all your great support over the last months.

Christine said...

Wow, I'm beyond excited for you, Anne. I will look up the book on Amazon and order it. And I do expect you to visit the Veranda and share your debut with me!! We must break out the bubbly and dark chocolate.


Anne Gallagher said...

Christine -- Thanks so much. I'd love to visit on the veranda. Just let me know.

Talli Roland said...

Regencies are so popular and I think your novels will sell well - so congratulations on taking your fate into your own hands!

Anne Gallagher said...

Thanks so much Talli. We can only wait and see what happens.

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

Hey,Anne, I don't blame you one bit. You put many hours of blood, sweat and tears into writing the novel. Best to get it out there were others can see it. Congrats. I'll try to take a look at your novel over the holidays. Good luck.

Deniz Bevan said...

A great post, Anne! It's so nice to hear from authors who've taken the indie publishing route - you guys are paving the way for the rest of us!

Anne Gallagher said...

Andrea -- Thanks so much. I mean really, what else was I going to do with it? Might as well publish.

Deniz -- Thanks. If it weren't for others before me, I wouldn't be where I am.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Hi, Anne :
I've self-published for basically the same reasons you did. I know it is said there is a market for Regnecy Romances. But you have found out for yourself.

I have a backlist of my novels, hoping this Christmas of Kindle giving will spark a greater interest in my novels.

You may want to place a review on Amazon on my latest and get 5 chances to win your own Kindle Fire and other prizes. No hawking from me, honest. I am hardly setting the world on fire : only 6 sales this whole month. I better keep my day job, right? LOL.

I wish you the highest sales. I'm going off to buy THE LADY'S FATE. We self-published have to stick together.

Happy Halloween, Roland

Anne Gallagher said...

Thanks Roland. A kindle Fire sounds awesome! And don't despair on the sales. They'll grow.

Carol Kilgore said...

Anne, I loved this post. My work doesn't fit into any standard genre either. I'm 99% certain I'm going to self-publish next year. It's good to hear the straight truth. Thanks.

Hi, Tara!

Lola X said...

Such a great post! Love visiting your blog!

Lola x

L'Aussie said...

Anne is such a lovely lady she would have been a little shy about the self promo thing, but as you say, it has to be done! So thank you both!

50+ rejections and still going strong. I take my hat off to Anne and wish her all the best!

I'm touching base before our Romantic Suspense blogfest.