Friday, February 10, 2012

Interview with Leta Gail Doerr

Briefly describe your journey in writing your book. 
Journey? Perhaps adventure is a more suitable word! I began working on The Prince at the Corner Bakery in April 2008 when I entered the first ten pages in a writer’s contest for unpublished authors.  I didn’t win, but it was just the boost I needed to keep writing and finish the work.  The working title at the time was Happiness Is… and I had NO CLUE where I was going to take it at the time.

Nearly 300 pages later I completed the novel, had joined our local RWA Chapter and was ready for submission.  A writer friend of mine had great experience with a well known small press, so I submitted to them and at first, had a very favorable response.  I checked my email every day for several months waiting for a response.  (Lesson 1 – Email response time in the publishing world is like something out of a sci-fi novel.  I think there’s some sort of time continuum, we just haven’t figured it out yet).

Anyway, I was extremely fortunate to be assigned to a very talented and articulate editor.  She and I went back and forth for months, in the end I was not offered a contract.  But the knowledge and experience I gained during this process was enough to propel me forward through the rewrites.

Through a series of events I found Untreed Reads, and essentially, found a home for The Prince at the Corner Bakery.  It was a perfect fit.  I continue to learn about the industry every day, and if all goes well, I’ll keep learning for as long as I stay in this business.  

What genre are your books?  Do you write in more than one genre?
My main focus is writing within the contemporary romance and Women’s fiction genre.  I have written anywhere from the doors wide open to secured closed, locked and triple checked ;)

If you write in more than one genre, do you use a pen name?
My erotic romance titles are published under Kienna Riley.

Did you query agents and traditional publishers?  Did you receive an offer of representation or a book contract?
Early on in my writing endeavors I queried agents, but that was very brief, as at the time I was so new to the writing world and just didn’t know what I was really looking for.  I have queried traditional publishers, and have contracts with both Untreed Reads and Cobblestone Press.

What factors influenced your decision to sign with Untreed Reads?
I keep a listing of all of the publishers and agents I either queried or may intend to query.  While doing researching one day in 2010, I discovered that Jay at Untreed Reads was very active in a discussion board related to the launch of Untreed Reads Publishing.  I liked what he had to say, was encouraged by his forward thinking and vision, so I took and chance and queried.  Here I am a contract later and I couldn’t be happier.

How involved are you during the creative process for your book’s cover design?
For both Up on the Rooftop (Kienna Riley) and The Prince at the Corner Bakery (Leta Gail Doerr) I was provided with a cover art design form to submit.  The form housed typical questions like book setting, lead character traits, images, etc. which provided me with the opportunity to articulate how I envisioned the book cover.  In both cases, the cover artists were incredibly talented and well exceeded my expectations. Both covers truly depict the story and lead characters.

The print version of The Prince at the Corner Bakery will be released in February, 2012. I have a cover artist who also created my The Literary Blonde logo for branding.  She and I work very closely together, and again, she has created an image that is spot on with the message of the novel.

What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
I’m on Facebook, Twitter have my own webpage www.theliteraryblonde.com  It’s a daily struggle to keep up with all of the social media, but I’m out there as much as I can right now given my work and family schedule.  I’ve learned that to succeed in this business you have to be present every day, and keep at it, every day.  Self promotion is like exercise, it’s tough to get started, but I feel better about it now that it’s a routine.

How do you feel about the world of digital publishing?  Do you think it will replace traditional publishing one day?
I think there will always be a place for traditional publishing.  I love my eReader and enjoy the benefits of digital publishing as it’s greener, easy to access, cost effective, and selfishly, I can get my hot little hands on the next great read in a matter of seconds.  But some days, I long for a solid book, with pages I can thumb through and smell, feel and really enjoy.  I just don’t see society totally giving up on that notion.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned during your journey as an author?
I’ve learned to not beat myself up over rejection.  It happens.  It’s happened before, and it will happen again.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have really stellar editors who took the time to share with me what needed to be improved, so that the next time I went back at them with a fresh submission, I had a better chance because I listened, learned, refined and never gave up. 

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Writing is work.  Self promotion is work. You have to be your own biggest fan first, before you go looking for new ones.  The writing industry is full of many generous, kind, giving and caring professionals that I’ve had the privilege to meet over the past few years.  We’re all in this together, word for word.  So, reach out, make new friends, and join us on this fantastic journey.

What’s next for you?
I’m working on a series of novellas, all ranging in heat levels from sweet contemporary to sexy erotic romance.  Working titles are 52 Ways to Flirt, Year of the Rabbit and Love for Sail. 

I’ve got some book signing coming up this Spring to promo The Prince at the Corner Bakery in both ebook and print form.  I hope to meet some new readers there ;) 

Contact info:
Leta Gail Doerr
Twitter: @Literary Blonde
Facebook: The Literary Blonde