The Challenges of Publishing and Marketing the Second Novel by Sue McGinty

What about the publishing aspect of your second novel?

“Murder in Los Lobos” was first published by Fithian, a co-op publisher who understood my needs and insecurities and were wonderful to work with in every way. John and Susan Daniels, the publishers, gave me a leg up in the writing world that I’ll always be grateful for. The book sold very well and continued to do well after the Fithian publishing rights expired (after almost eight years) and I repubbed it with CreateSpace. 

This is a bit off-topic, but why did you decide to go with self-publishing on CreateSpace?

I like the creative control—I now even design my own covers—and I choose the font size and interior format I prefer. And I absolutely love the price Amazon charges me for author copies as I hand-sell many of my books at presentations, craft fairs, and other events.

I now have all four titles with CreateSpace and I’m planning to publish the fifth with them as well. Their services suit my marketing plan well. 

I understand that “Murder at Cuyamaca Beach,” was first published by a small traditional publisher. How was that experience?

Unfortunately, it was not a happy marriage for either of us. They are reputable, that was not the problem, but they had a different business model that didn’t fit with my marketing plan. I’d say if you choose a traditional publisher, take a good hard look at their business model and see if it fits with your own. Also, ask other authors from the same house about their publishing experiences before you sign on the dotted line. 

Finally, what about marketing the second book?

Marketing is always the hardest part for me and that was doubly true for “Murder at Cuyamaca Beach.” Besides the challenges of dealing with a publisher whose business plan didn’t match my own, I had to expand my selling horizons via social media (which is changing constantly), word of mouth, guest blogging, and personal appearances. A lot of the marketing was done for me for “Murder in Los Lobos.” Now I had to do my own.  

I’ve found that like all endeavors, some things pay off, or are not worth the time and effort, or just plain fizzle. Take events for instance. At some presentations, people crowd around the selling table and scoop up books. At others, they can’t head for the door fast enough. Go figure.

How would you sum up your experiences, not only with a second novel but with all subsequent ones?

Well, I know from talking to other writers that my experiences are pretty much the norm. You just have to keep plugging, chase away the bad monkey when he sits on your shoulder, compare experiences with other writers in your genre, and be flexible about changing your writing, publishing, and marketing agenda if things are working for you . 

Let me leave you with this. Writing a novel is a very empowering experience. I feel if I can write and publish a novel, I can do just about anything.

Links you may like:\\


With little more than an urge to hang out at the beach, write mystery novels and calm a cat experiencing his first car ride, Sue McGinty left Los Angeles June 17, 1994, the same day OJ Simpson took his infamous ride. Unlike OJ, Sue had a destination in mind: the Central Coast hamlet of Los Osos. Not the Cabot Cove of “Murder She Wrote,” but close.

Her California Central Coast mysteries include:
“Murder in Los Lobos,”
“Murder at Cuyamaca Beach,” and
“Murder in Mariposa Bay.”

Her new release, “Murder in a Safe Haven,” takes Bella back to Detroit, her hometown, for new

Sue’s short fiction has also been featured in four Sisters in Crime Central Coast chapter anthologies.


M.M. Gornell said…
Great hearing about your publishing adventures, Sue, and great picture of you. Love all your books, as you know, so keep 'em coming!
Anonymous said…
Thanks, Marilyn, for another great presentation, this time on the publishing and marketing of the second novel. And thanks Mad, and all my other Sisters for commenting on yesterday's post.
Jackie Houchin said…
I love your attitude, Sue! (If you can write a novel, you can do anything!) And I will have to get your latest book. Good luck on Number 5 as well.
Wish I were younger and I might consider self-publishing.
Good info, Sue. Encouraging. I've only published one book, but also like Create Space. And, Marilyn, my age (77) is just why I chose Create Space. When my book was ready, I was able to have it out there so fast, my head spun. I just don't want to take the time to wait on someone else's schedule.

Thanks for interviewing Sue, with her fun cozy mysteries.

mindprinter said…
Great interview, Sue. Good questions too, Marilyn. I'm so lucky as my second novel was really a novella. Most of what I write is short and I'm grateful I have a venue for publishing my work. I love my LGBT publisher, JMS Books. She gives me great flexibility and is always supportive whatever I propose to her, whether it be a romance series, a nonfiction anthology or a writing book. I thank my stars for literally falling into a good situation. Promo is something that's always difficult. I do what I can but I'm still not crazy about doing it. Maybe with my new book, Equality, out MLK Day, I'll have more get up and go as there are so many contributors depending on me. Also a new publisher, Vine Leaves Press, in Melbourne, AU. I just love working with them as well. Great post as always, you two. Paul

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