Hi everyone! I am very excited to start this new adventure on my blog! I was contacted by CLNB Blog Tours to do a book review, guest post and author interview with Marian L. Thomas for her book, Strings of Color. After doing research on the book, I was ecstatic to do all of this! Marian is a Clean Fiction Author originally from Oak Park, Illinois, currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia. Marian has gotten her credit for being a great author by refusing to put sexual-explicit material, among other things in her books for the sake of book sales. She has written three books which include Color Me Jazzmyne, My Father’s Colors and Strings of Color. In this post you’re going to find my interview with Marian, as well as the guest post by her, talking about how she got her start in writing books!
Guest Post with Marian L. Thomas
How did you get your first book deal?
Finding a Publisher is Like Finding a New Pair of Jeans
by Marian L. Thomas
So there I was, walking into the clothing store with high hopes as I headed toward the jeans department of a major retail store. As I reached the department, it suddenly occurred to me that I wasn't exactly sure which type of jeans I was looking for. There were so many different types to choose from. Did I want a pair that sat below the waist, bootcut jeans, flare jeans or low-riders that are also bootcut? I almost wanted to turn around and go back home.
So it goes for many aspiring authors. There are so many publishers out there in the big world of all things literary, they simply aren't sure where or how to start the process. How did I resolve my jeans dilemma? I did some research. True story. Right there, in the department store. I read the various tags found on different pairs of jeans, until I found a description for a pair that sounded like me. Then I tried each of them on, until I was able to walk out of the store with a pair of jeans that felt as if they were meant for me — after I've lost a few pounds, of course.
Going back to the journey for aspiring authors and their quest to find the perfect publisher; I would tell you to do one very important thing — RESEARCH. It's a waste of your time to blindly send out query letters to every single publisher out there. Understand what genre your book falls into, and then research publishing companies who publish that genre. Once you've found your list, look to see who the editor is that handles that genre. This is important. You want to be sure that you address your query letter to the right editor.
Now, before you send out that query letter, I need you to do something else quite important. More research — on writing a "winning" query letter. I want you to try out a few that you find, the same way you would try on jeans. How? Find samples of two or three that fit your writing style and your book. Many well-known authors have published their winning query letters. I have always believed that you don't always have to re-invent the wheel. It's okay to use what is out there if it has proven to work.
Here is a website I used: http://www.charlottedillon.com/query.html
Now I know it's tempting to want to send your entire manuscript with your query letter. Fight the urge. Please. Keep in mind that most publishing companies only request the first three chapters of your work.
Here is the last thing you want to do before you submit your query letter and the first three chapters of your manuscript to that publishing company that is going to fit your book like a pair of perfectly-fitting jeans: Have everything edited. Not by your cousin, friend or Mother (unless they're professional editors in their current secular lives). Remember, just like you want your jeans to "make a flattering and modest impression," so goes your query letter.
Awesome, Marian! I, for one, have always wanted to write my own book. I've written lots of shorts stories, I just wasn't sure how to go about finding an editor and publisher and all of that. This helps tremendously!
The Interview with Marian L. Thomas
1.) Who are some of your favorite authors?
I like Christina Schwarz, but I am always looking for others.
I like Christina Schwarz, but I am always looking for others.
2.) How long have you been a writer?
I wrote my first book manuscript in high school. I also did some writing in the sports and news fields during college, but didn't really put "writer" on my resume. Then, 2009 hit and Color Me Jazzmyne was released. Things began to change. A thought I once had in high school became a dream. The dream became a reality and that reality turned me into a writer.
How exciting! This just goes to prove that following your dream and putting your heart into anything and everything really does pay off!!!
3.) Did you always know you wanted to write?
The concept of writing was always in the back of my head — lingering there patiently. The words "just get it done" were a phrase my old boss use to say to me whenever we discussed my finishing my book manuscript. It felt great to finally say, "It's done."
4.) What inspired you to write this specific storyline with Strings of Color?
Readers, and the fact that I didn't feel as if the main character had come full circle with her own inner feelings. Sometimes, when a relationship ends, people need and want a sense of "closure." I suspect book characters are no different.
I agree 100%! Closure is almost always needed when readers and characters come together.
5.) What books are you reading now?
I wish I were reading a book right now. I have a few waiting for me on Kindle to "click" open, but I'm not there yet. When you have a book getting ready to release, you don't find a lot of time for reading. Marketing starts and stops with the author. It's your book. Your life.
6.) I've always wanted to write my own Novel. For myself, and others with this dream, what is some advice you could give?
Publish yourself first! Build a solid platform. Get your name out there via social networks, blogs and published articles. Then write your book.
Isn't it great that we have these type of resources out there to establish our name?
7.) Just for fun, can you tell us at least one thing that's unique about you, or something you like to do?
Let's see… I love popcorn. I eat it every day. Seriously.
8.) Do you have any writing rituals or special things you do to get the creativity flowing?
I like to watch a movie. Something dramatic that gets the emotions stirring. If it gives me a good cry, then I might be able to write for hours.
9.) Are the character names in your books important to you? Without giving too much away, is there a reason you made the characters’ names so closely related?
They are extremely important and I love that question. When I read a character's name, I like to think that the name given simply couldn't be anything else. That it fits the character’s personality so well, that to change it—would be changing the character. My character names display the depth of the connection within the family. When it comes to family, I think we sometimes forget how connected we really are to each other.
Connecting to family is very important. And knowing that you do this for your characters, shows how good of a writer you are!!
10.) Tell us about your writing environment. Do you need it to be really quiet, or do you have to have background noise? Are there any specific foods or drinks you need available?
No background noise. At least that's what I keep reminding my hubby when I'm writing. It's hard for me to stay focused, and any little thing tends to throw me off my writing game. Did I mention that I like popcorn?
11.) When you're not writing, what are some other hobbies, or things you like to do?
I love to draw and paint. One day, I would like to open a gallery that combines art by me and books by me. Is that too much…me? Maybe. Then again, maybe not.
Definitely not too much you! I think it's a GREAT idea!!
Well, folks, there you have it!! An amazing guest post and author interview by Marian L. Thomas. Make sure you check out her website, author bio, Facebook, etc. below! And come back to my blog on April 30th to read my book review on her book, Strings of Color!
Thank you Marian for contributing and participating in this book blog tour!
About the author:
Marian L. Thomas is the best-selling author of two award-winning titles, Color Me Jazzmyne and My Father's Colors. Her newest title, Strings of Color, released on April 1, 2012. You can find more information about publishing and getting published on her blog: http://www.thewritersinkspot.blogspot.com