Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Small Press and Indie Publishing Tips

Five Things I Learned From Publishing “Smaller” Works
By Carrie Fancett Pagels
By the time October rolls around, my fourth publication in six months will be released--my short story, “Snowed In: A Northwoods Christmas,” with Guidepost Books. My debut fiction release, a novella, was published in late March: “Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance” with Helping Hands Press.  I also contributed a story to “God’s Provision in Tough Times” by Cynthia Howerter and LaTan Murphy with Lighthouse of the Carolinas and my nonfiction psychology article for the American Association of Christian Counselors was published last week in their beautiful print journal.  I published in nonfiction (co-author of a chapter in a book and in journal articles) in the past, also.

Here are my thoughts and experiences, for what they are worth, and I hope they may be helpful to the Inkies’ readers.

1)     Habits.  All that practice of blogging and writing articles for ezines (with no financial compensation) can pay off.  This is why having experienced deadlines, and meeting thos,e and getting in the habit of not shirking deadlines matters: when you get to the real, i.e., paying, deal, you will have less stress than someone who never has done so.

2)     Differences. All editors are not created equal. Nor are writers, etc. Having had the pleasure of working with a handful of wonderful freelance editors I was familiar with this fact (which goes back to point #1!)  But the differences can vary so wildly that it can be mind boggling. And if it is the first time working with that particular editor, you have to learn her/his ways. When I was a psychology intern writing psych reports, I though there was one way to do it “right.” I ended up working under every professor during my three year internship. Each one had a totally different way of editing my reports. And each was “right,” in other words—I better produce a report that was exactly his/her definition of what it “should” look like. Enough said.

3)     User-friendly. Setting up an Amazon account was nowhere near as difficult as I thought it might be.  Goodreads was a tad harder—worth it but not super easy.

4)     Marketing. Budgeting time for marketing is an important part of having one project out and working on the next one. Although I’d been in the habit of marketing for my two group blogs, Overcoming With God and Colonial Quills, it was a bit of a different game when it was for my own book. Now I had an additional layer of marketing I needed to do.  Also, some publishers have their own publicity and promotional teams that you end up on and these add another activity that you must add to an already packed calendar.

5)     Acceptance. This one is tricky. Although I had completed two full-length polished manuscripts (over 95K), two full manuscripts through the second draft, a polished novella (20K), had a half dozen incomplete manuscripts plus other writing credits and a thesis and dissertation, one new 20K novella gave me an entrée into the published fiction world.  It opened a lot of doors that had been closed before.  Not all of them. I still don’t have a published novel in the CBA market. But when I do, I hope I’ll be back on Inkwell Inspirations sharing some more of what I’ve discovered!

Giveaway: Leave a comment about something you’ve learned and how it compares with my experiences. Winner will receive a signed copy of “God’s Provision in Tough Times” and an ebook copy of “Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance” or the brand-new paperback copy of the novella!

 Carrie Fancett Pagels ( is author of Amazon top-rated Civil War novella Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance. Carrie also contributed to God’s Provision in Tough Times, Lighthouse of the Carolinas (July, 2013). Her short story, Snowed In: A Northwoods Christmas, will appear in Guidepost Books “A Cup of Christmas Cheer” (October, 2013). With a Ph.D. in School Psychology, Carrie served as a psychologist for twenty-five years. She has two popular group blogs: Overcoming With God ( and Colonial Quills ( Carrie is the former ACFW Zone Mid-Atlantic Zone Director and Virginia/West Virginia Area Coordinator and continues to serve as co-hostess of the Tidewater Area Christian Writers group. Married for over 25 years to the love of her life, she resides in Virginia’s historic triangle. She has an 11-year-old son and a 24-year-old daughter. 
Contact info
Carrie Fancett Pagels

Links to purchase Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance 

God’s Provision in Tough Times


  1. Thanks, Carrie, for guest-blogging today and sharing about your publishing experiences.

    Based on what you learned, would you recommend unpublished authors focus mainly on selling to a CBA publisher (big or small) or taking more of a hybrid approach, similar to yours?

    How much writing time would you say an author will need to give up in order to manage the marketing aspects of her indie books?

  2. I think unpublished authors should discuss all their options with their agents and pray about their decisions. And then they should obey God's direction.

  3. Thanks, DeAnna! I think that is probably info you already know, but it is kind of you to say that! Best wishes on your new release and on joining the Inkies!!! Have a blessed day!

  4. I think we are all running to catch up with the explosion...what we thought was the publishing world is so wildly open now with options. I'm glad to learn from what others are doing because it's all a bit crazy!

    Nice to have you here to visit Carrie!

  5. Deb, I am at the beach with an editor friend (she edits for 3 ABA houses.) She says the market is flooded and so newbies have to differentiate themselves somehow! I totally agree with you. Nice to be here, thanks, Deb!!!

  6. Think back just five years and to the publishing options for authors--published and unpublished.

    E-Readers have revolutionized the industry.

    Carrie, you are sooo right about praying and seeking wise counsel. The key is accepting that wise counsel generally isn't family members.

  7. Hi Carrie,

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences. I'm just so glad to see your writing out there!!! Congrats!

  8. Wonderful advice that I will tuck under my hat until the day I decide to write a story or a book. IF that day ever comes. :) Congrats, CARRIE! If ever there was a person with determination you are she and I'm expecting a full length published novel by you any time now!

  9. Hi Carrie thanks for all the great advice. Who knows I might decide to try my hand at writing one day. :)

  10. LOL Gina--family members may not generally know the industry. Things have changed so much. I agree--ereaders have changed things so much. It is a different market when it isn't totally relying on a print product. Thankfully all four of my recent small publications have print but the ebook that first came out made me realize how big the ebooks are now!

  11. Me, too, Dina--small or not, it is so gratifying to finally have some publications out there! Thanks!

  12. Bless you, Diana! You have been such a wonderful friend, amazing reviewer, and awesome encourager. I fully expect to see you as a published author one day and I hope my journey helps you!

  13. Teresa, you are a lovely poet and do such great reviews--I fully expect that you will be writing Christian fiction some day! Thanks for coming by and for all your support!

  14. Carrie, You're an amazing writer and friend. I always learn something when I read anything you have written! Thanks for being so generous in sharing your knowledge of the industry. Love ya!

  15. Anne, thanks so much for coming by! You are such a sweetheart! Loved our time working together down at Blue Ridge--esp. our research trip to a certain historic Asheville estate ;) Glad you learned something today! Yikes--3:45 a.m.! Love ya, too, Anne!

  16. Great advice, Carrie! I'm glad for the opportunity to learn this from you. Thank you.

  17. Hi, Susanne! Thank you! I love to share little things I learn. Blessings!

  18. We're a little late with the drawing but per, the winner is Teresa Mathews! Congrats, T!!!


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We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.