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An Interview with Sharon Lathan - Part 2

I am back again, at the gracious hospitality of Jeane, to talk more about my debut novel, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Two Shall Become One. In Part 1 I revealed how the Darcy Saga originated. That portion can be read here:
An Interview with Sharon Lathan - Part 1

Now let’s discuss the publishing ins and outs. Don’t forget to comment for the chance to win a signed copy of my novel!

Part 2 ~ Publishing Journey

1. When you first wrote and posted your novels as a series of stories on your website, did you ever think or imagine it would get so many devoted readers/fans/followers not too mention traffic on your old website and get them to be published?

Absolutely not! I was pleased with the chapters/short-stories I had written. I would never have posted something that I did not believe was properly done and entertaining. I assumed that if I desired a happy-ever-after life for Lizzy and Darcy then surely there must be others who wished for the same. Even so, I was amazed by the outpouring and constantly increasing readership. However, it would be months before I recognized the potential for publication.

2. How did it feel when these online book-stores: lulu.com and amazon.com began selling your self-published books?

It was very exciting to see my words in a bound format. Even though it lacked the gravitas of being accepted and produced by a publisher, I am very proud of my accomplishment. I believed it worthy of appearing as a novel for fans to hold in their hands rather than read off a computer. I worked incredibly hard to produce a product that was beautiful and as perfect as possible with my limited resources. I am satisfied to say that the vast majority of readers agreed, and the novel sold very well.

3. How did Sourcebooks (your book publisher) find out about your novels?

My research into the business had revealed that there were very few publishing houses willing to look at manuscripts from un-agented authors. After several months of attempting, and failing, to acquire a literary agent, I turned to the option of self-publishing. I decided to proceed with that process, see how sales went, and maybe at a later date approach the independent publishing houses. Or retry enticing an agent. At that point I was content to accept my limitations and be happy with what I was able to accomplish.

However, as I was finishing up the touches on my Lulu.com version, a dear friend of mine named Simone told me that Linda Berdoll had published through Sourcebooks and that they accepted queries without an agent! To be honest, I expected nothing. After so many rejections it seemed like a tremendous long shot. But, I sent a letter and the first few chapters to Deb Werksman, promptly pushing it to the back of my mind as a probable waste of my time!

4. What was your first reaction when Sourcebooks first contacted you?

Here is an interesting story! Nearly two months had passed since I sent my manuscript to Deb Werksman. My POD was selling very well, and I was learning to be content with what fate apparently had planned for me. On the day that Deb called me I was asleep, having worked the night before. My husband just happened to come home that day for lunch, something he rarely did, and he noticed a phone message flashing. It was from Deb! He immediately woke me up – so much for being rested that night – and thrust the already ringing phone into my sleepy hands. The first words out of Deb’s mouth were, “I read the first few chapters of Two Shall Become One and I had to call you right away. I loved it and I want to publish your book!”

I later had to apologize to Deb for being loopy and a bit hysterical (she completely understood). It was the most amazing moment in my life; one that I shall never forget. My reaction? Disbelief, shock, giddiness, vindication, pride, happiness, amazement…..

5. The cover of the first volume has also been changed. Which did you prefer?

My poor cover has gone through so many transitions! First there was my self-published version with the cover designed by me (left). When Sourcebooks took over that process they kept the same cover but did change the frame around the portrait of the patio couple. I still think it a nice cover and I love the painting I used.


However, I knew from the beginning that the cover for the edited, conventionally printed novel would be completely different, so losing the original look did not bother me at all. I loved how Sourcebooks designed the cover with the individual busts of Lizzy and Darcy against the canvas-like background. But, the first Darcy they came up with was horrid! No way around the fact! He looked, well frankly, gay! And, as anyone who has read my book knows, Darcy is manly with a capital M! There were some arguments about the Darcy choice, but finally the Sourcebooks design crew found the current one. I love him!! Don’t you think he resembles a certain British actor we are fond of? Hmmm?

Finally, it was the request of Target that prompted the last alteration: deleting the gold bar (right) for the soft, silvery lavender oval and swirls as seen in the image above. The Target powers-that-be wanted a more romantic tone. Small bits have been changed along the way, such as the font type and sizes and the back cover writing, but this version is final. I love it beyond belief. It couldn’t be more perfect!

6. When did you find out that your books would be published and released in Target (early) and books-store nationwide and what was your reaction to this fantastic news?

I have always known the Sourcebooks printed version would be in book stores; that is part of the contract. It is one reason why being accepted by a publishing house is an advantage over self-publishing. The Target news came in November in the form of an email from Deb where she used numerous exclamation points and ALL CAPS!! I knew right away, even before it assimilated in my brain, that this was huge as she stated because Deb is rarely that effusive! It was a marvelous early Christmas present and has made these early months of 2009 extra-exciting. Knowing my debut novel is being prominently displayed all over the country is beyond the words to describe.

That concludes Part 2. Comment as you wish, or leave a question that I will answer, and your name will be added to the list for my book giveaway. Please return on March 3 for the final installment of my interview with Jeane where I will discuss my love for the movie and Matthew Macfadyen. And remember, further information can be found at my website: The Darcy Saga, and Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy ~ Two Shall Become One is NOW available for purchase!

Comments

  1. Great interview! Sharon I love the obvious joy and excitment you express in the process of reaching your dream of having Sourcebooks publish your brilliant novel.
    What an amazing journey!
    Looking forward to so much more!
    TSBO devotee
    Vee

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  2. I have watched for about a year and half, and have enjoy watching your story unfold!!!Someone needs to get ahold of Mr. Wright and tell him we need him to make part 2!!!With Sharon as our, I mean his writer!!!Well done Sharon, very well done!!!

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  3. Thanks Vee and SueM! glad you popped over and read what I had to say. See you for the next installment. :)

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  4. Oh, my I just found this site and I am so excited!! I love the way the cover has evolved, it looks beautiful!! I am off to read this blog top to bottom...Hugs!!

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  5. Thanks (again) to all of you who visited, read, and commented on this blog esp. on Sharon's 3-parts interview.

    Good luck to all on the book giveaway contest! :)

    ReplyDelete

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