On this blog, author Leanne (Willetts) Dyck reviews books, shares her short stories, offers online author readings, and comments on her author journey. Leanne writes for adults and children. Her long-term goal (five years) is to be published by a large, established publishing house. Her short goal (one year) is to earn one million page views for this blog. Please help nurture this blog by visiting and sharing.
Legend has it (well, OK, family lore J ) that I was writing stories before I knew how to write. I dictated bedtime tales to my mom when I was two years old.
How did you become an author?
My short story “The Very Old Man”, which was published by a new e press, made me an author. I was paid $30 for it—the first ever money I earned as a writer. It didn’t matter that this was the price of dinner and a movie—and only my own dinner and movie at that. It was money for something I wrote. But selling my debut novel might count towards this transition even more. COVER OF SNOW is a literary thriller, coming out in Jan/Feb 2013, and finding just the right editor at just the right house was a dream maybe 37 years in the making.
What was your first published piece?
“The Very Old Man”, a story about a new mother who has a random encounter in the supermarket, and afterwards finds life beginning to spiral out of control.
Where was it published?
In an anthology called Lunch Reads 1 that pairs two short stories to read over a meal J
How long ago?
About a year.
What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?
Yes. Definitely. I always wanted to write, and I studied poetry and short fiction seriously throughout high school and college. But it wasn’t until I went to graduate school in clinical psychology, and was faced with the challenge of understanding and helping people who were different from anyone I’d ever known—as well as a few out and out dangerous situations—that I found my writer’s voice in suspense fiction. Writing was always my way to find respite and cope with whatever was happening in real life. Once real life took a threatening direction, so did my work.
What inspires you?
The thin line we all walk between before and after. How life can turn on a dime. The there-but-for-the-grace situations. A hope that my stories can provide places of respite for others.
Please share one of your successful marketing techniques
I don’t mean to be snarky.
But I really do feel that trying to keep your book in the forefront of everyone’s mind is a) a losing battle—people have plenty of other things in the forefronts of their minds and b) not the best way to draw attention to your work.
Instead figure out a way you can provide great content, value add, enrich each person’s life in a meaningful way. Maybe that’s because your book has a catchy title like Pam DuMond’s CUPCAKES, LIES & DEAD GUYS and people like cupcakes and you post updates about this national trend or recipes or gift certificates to bakeries. Or maybe you have become a huge success like MJ Rose and you know how to offer this as a service to others (AuthorBuzz). Perhaps you’re an expert on WWII and your book takes place in 1941 and history buffs love learning about life back then through your eyes. If you have something valuable—truly valuable—to offer, people are going to want it. And then they’re going to find out about your book.
Writing is a passion and publishing is a dream. Today there are more ways than ever to do it. Support the people who support you—bookstores and readers and other authors. And then keep at it and never give up. You book will be born, and there is little better (some, but not a whole lot J ) that is better than that.