Please visit my new pages!

I’ve just added three new pages to this blog. You’re cordially invited to visit, and to learn more about me and my two published mysteries, Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders (2006) and Eldercide (2008). I’ll be tweaking the pages to improve the formatting, but at least the content is there, and I’m pleased to have learned how to insert pictures.

True confession time:  I published these with a print-on-demand publisher, Virtual Bookworm, and I’m very pleased with the results. I tried the traditional route with both books –  querying agents, having some of them request partials, then getting the “Sorry, it’s good but not quite right for us” rejections. I wasn’t nearly as persistent as most writers recommend, so the number of rejections wasn’t that great. Nonetheless, it was enough to send me into a serious depression, which lifted only after Mood Swing was published. 

Of course, I’d still love to get an agent and a “traditional” publisher, and that’s a large part of what this blogging is about. But I’ve heard dreadful stories about authors who’ve been dropped by their publishers; one author’s publisher was swallowed up by a conglomerate and dropped their whole mystery line.  I believe times are changing, and the old “query with a SASE” approach is no longer the only road to publication. And I really like the total control I’ve had over the finished product. I did both cover illustrations, for example, and after quite a few local panels and signings, I’ve decided to retitle Eldercide as Evening Falls Early, and to do a slightly less lurid cover illustration. Some people love it, but others hate the word “elder.” One local book dealer refuses to carry it because she finds the title and cover “ghastly,” but she’ll be pleased to carry it with the new title.  I’d love to know what you think after you visit the Eldercide page.

If you’d like to learn more about POD, visit my publisher, Virtual Bookworm, at They’re located in College Station, Texas, and it’s been a pleasure working with them. And let me know if you’d like more details about my POD experience.

19 thoughts on “Please visit my new pages!

  1. I see what you mean by the Eldercide cover, Julie, but I’ve seen covers a lot more bloody and creepy than that one, so I suspect it really is the title that caused the problem.

    Interesting setup for your blog with the extra pages. It’s a blog/website combination with lots of flexibility.

    One question about your POD publisher–did they provide an editor that worked with you, or did you have to do all that (or hire one) yourself?

    And finally, I didn’t find a Follow button. Did I overlook it?


    • Thanks for your comments, Patricia. About using an editor: Virtualbookworm does provide editing services for additional money, but I don’t know how good they are, and I didn’t use them, nor did I hire an editor.

      While working on both my novels, I belonged to three writing groups: an online group originating with Sisters in Crime, a mystery writers’ group in Saratoga Springs called Unusual Suspects, and a local group that spanned several genres. None of these groups exist any more, but they were all invaluable, especially on general questions of plotting, believability, etc. I highly recommend participating in such groups if you can find a compatible one. I like to think I knew how to write before I joined them, though.

      Re: a Follow button, I haven’t tried to add one yet. I’m on WordPress, which may have a different name for it, but I’ll check it out.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Dani. I’m planning to add some excerpts as soon as I can. In the meantime, you can read the first chapters of both my novels at my website,

      I’m really psyched with my progress yesterday. I may not be keeping up with all the assignments, but I’m doing what you recommended a couple of days ago, keeping up with my blog while reading and answering others.

  2. HI Julie,
    I really like what you’ve done with your website/blog. It really is a combination of the two. I agree with Dani, excerpts from the books would be a great addition. The book about bipolar/mood swings sounds very intriguing to me, just from the synopsis, though. So your books are print on demand? I self-published, but went with printed copies. I was also glad to make decisions about cover, layout, etc.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Karen. I’ve been meaning to update my website, but it may turn out that this wordpress site actually works better for me.

      Glad you’re intrigued with Mood Swing – you can read the first chapter on my website, My books come in printed copies too, so I can place them in bookstores and sell them myself. And you can get them on Amazon or from Virtual Bookworm.

  3. Good job on the additional pages. I too had to self-pub my first book. I kept all the rejection slips and still re-read them for motivation. I would show them – ALL of them! (smile)

    My last two books I got contracts for with small “traditional” pubs but you know what? My first book still outsells the other two – and I make the most money on that book because it was self-pub’d. 🙂

    • I’m delighted to hear about your experience with self-publishing as compared with small presses. In today’s blog (which I probably won’t get to for a few hours), I’ll write more about POD, and I’ll quote you – with your permission, of course.

  4. The times “they are definitely a changing. ” As the technology continues to evolve, POD and the whole self-pub route contine to expand.

    The old argument that self-pubbed books are inferior doesn’t hold up. I’ve seem some truly awful stuff in books that went the traditional route and some really good stuff in self-pubbed ones.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Karen. I agree that self-published books can be of really high quality and traditional ones can be abominable. Unfortunately, the reverse can also be true. I’ll blog more about this later.

      Glad to hear from you!

  5. The new pages look great!

    I kind of like the cover of Eldercide, but I guess I can see why a bookstore owner might possibly object. I certainly agree with others who’ve said they’ve seen more gory ones than that. I do like the new title. Eldercide sounds a bit clinical to me, and at first I thought maybe that page was an info page, or background information.

    Nice work on this blog/site!

    Elle Parker

    • Glad to get your feedback, Elle, especially about the title change. As for the cover, it stands up as a piece of art – and I’m planning to show it in a local exhibit soon. But the goriness is misleading. True, the book has a murderous villain, but he’s actually fairly gentle and compassionate.

      My original illustration was gentler, with the woman lying peacefully in bed and the villain lurking in the background. But my husband thought it wasn’t dramatic enough, and he actually posed for the villain. Last time I take his advice over my own intuition!

    • Thanks, Elizabeth, I definitely plan to do that. Right now I’m concentrating on building my online persona, and hopefully my sales, so that I can market my works more successfully to a publisher who’s in it for the long haul.

      Having my books actually published in a form I can be proud of has boosted my self-esteem enormously. I believe it’s true that I’ll be able to handle rejection better nowadays, because the publishers no longer have such total control! I’ll be blogging more about POD today.

  6. Well, my first “traditionaal” publisher went clean out of business with no warning to the majority of its authors. Additionally, they wrote me a $250 partial payment check…which bounced. To be fair, they wrote a replacement check that was good. However, the remainder of the money they owed me…probably less than 500 bucks–I hope. Was never paid. They cut off email, closed the website, and dropped OUT of sight.

    Traditional publishing is not always the best answer.

    Best Regards, Galen.

  7. I like the additional pages on your site, it makes it feel very professional and website-ish

    I think the publishing world is changing and it seems to be happening quickly. The POD places are jumping on it quickly, adding lots of marketing packages and helping authors. As it is a bit new for them as well you need to be careful because their package prices are all over the place – you want to shop for the POD that is going to give you a quality product with relatively fast turn around as well as helping with the marketing.

  8. Julie,

    I too have a new wordpress blog. I thought I would point out a couple of things:
    1. You can get rid of the “another wordpress blog” under your title, and replace it with your own line.
    2. Blogger includes author picture and profile automatically on the front page. But WordPress doesn’t. I was thinking that I needed to include them in the sidebar to make the blog more personal. What do you think?
    3. Did your theme come with the RSS widget? or did you get it yourself? Mine doesn’t have one and I needed to find out where to get one and possibly a followers widget.

    I like that your reply to a comment is posted under the comment. And that I can have you send an email when you reply.

    I’m also going to experiment on leaving a link to my blog.

    Linda Suzane

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