Walking a Different Beat by Kathy Bennett
Most police agencies have sections, grids, or areas where officers are assigned to work. It might be something as simple as being assigned to work ‘Beat A’, or assigned the ‘south’ beat. In the LAPD, patrol beats are broken up into Basic Car Areas. The last Basic Car area I worked was 17A67. The terminology isn’t the same – but the mission is.
I’ve been seriously writing novels for about thirteen years. When I was working patrol as a Los Angeles Police Officer, I didn’t have much time to write. I worked twelve-hour shifts from six at night until six-thirty in the morning. Often I’d have court after work. If I had any free time, it was spent sleeping and not writing.
I worked other assignments, but family responsibilities caring for my brother who was handicapped after a near-fatal stroke, and later, my mother who has Alzheimer’s disease, left me little time to write. In fact my retirement, in part, was to give me more time to care for my mother.
But over the years I’d managed to complete a couple of novels. One of them was, in my mind, good stuff and publishable. I’d sent the book to a couple of publishers and agents and received positive feedback. Several requested to see the whole book but ultimately decided the book wasn’t for them.
About nine months ago I began to hear a lot about writers doing well by self-publishing their books on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. Intrigued, I investigated – after all, I WAS a cop! However, I kept my investigation to myself. In all of my writing ‘career’ self-pubbed authors were not thought of as ‘real’ authors and were quietly ridiculed.
Making a long story short, what I discovered was that the idea of self-publishing my book held great appeal. The biggest factor for me was having complete control…and what cop doesn’t like having control? The more I learned, the more I was sold on the idea of self-publishing my book. I opted to publish A Dozen Deadly Roses as an e-book only. I knew if the book was a success, it was a testament to my hard work. If the book tanked – I had only myself to blame.
I published my book in June of 2011. As of this writing (in August 2011) I’m currently on the Barnes and Noble Top 100 Nookbooks list. I’m also currently #15 on Amazon’s Top Police Procedural Stories list. I’ve popped on and off of Amazon’s Top 100 Suspense books list…and I’m hoping with some extra promotion, I can get a good footing there too. But that’s been my experience. There are many other self-published authors doing better. There are many others not enjoying that level of success.
By the same token, there are traditionally published authors in both large and small publishing houses who have achieved a high level of success, and those who have not. My point being…
There are a number of ‘beats’ you can walk to achieve your mission of putting your stories in a stranger’s hand. You just have to find the shoes that fit your feet so you can walk that beat and be comfortable while doing so.
Many thanks to Marilyn for letting me visit and tell my story.
And I want to thank Kathy for coming on today. Do read her bio below:
Kathy Bennett is no stranger to murder and mayhem. After twenty-one years as a Los Angeles police officer, this recently retired cop’s authentic crime experience results in arresting stories.
As a police officer, most of Kathy’s career was spent working patrol in a black and white police car. Prior to retirement, Kathy was assigned as a Senior Lead Officer, with approximately five square miles in the San Fernando Valley her responsibility regarding crime and quality of life issues.
Kathy also served as a Firearms Instructor at the LAPD Police Academy, a crime analyst in the ‘War Room’, a Field Training Officer, and worked undercover in various assignments. She was named Officer of the Quarter twice, and Officer of the Year once.
She’s married to a Los Angeles Police Officer, Rick and they have one daughter and one granddaughter.
Kathy likes to go hiking with Rick and their three Labrador Retrievers, incorporating photography into many of their adventures. Attempting to recapture some of the excitement of working the streets, Kathy can periodically be found in Las Vegas risking a few bucks on a slot machine or at the blackjack tables.
Kathy is currently revising her second book – a suspense novel. That book, Deadly Blessing, is expected for release either late 2011 or early 2012.
A Dozen Deadly Roses - Top 50 Nookbook at Barnes and Noble!
A Dozen Deadly Roses - Top 25 in Police Procedurals at Amazon!
(Kathy attended the PSWA conference for one day and unfortunately, illness caused her to have to cut short her attendance. I was so sorry not to have the opportunity to really get to know her. Maybe next year?)