Thursday, June 18, 2020

Releasing Your Debut in the Middle of a Pandemic by Connie Queen

Thank you Terri Weldon and Seriously Write for inviting me today. 

I submitted my first story in 1999 to a Harlequin editor and was rejected. I kept writing and entering a ridiculous number of contests on and off for the next twenty years. I had my very own Wall of Fame with my framed contest finals. Okay, a lot of that time I was raising 8 kids and not getting much, if any, writing done.

That’s okay. When life began to slow down my writing picked up. Last year Love Inspired offered a writing contest and I entered a suspense. On August 19th I received an email from Tina James and as soon as I saw the name, my heart sunk. I thought, "Oh, no, another rejection. Or maybe it's a revision this time." I opened the one-line email and was temporarily confused as to why it was so short until I read she wanted to chat w/me on the phone. There's only one reason they want to talk on the phone! I was offered a contract.

Several months ago, my friend, Terri Weldon asked if I’d be willing to be a guest blogger for the release of debut. Of course, I would love to. As a new author it’s important to make those connections with readers because no one knows you exist.

I began to jot down ideas and realized I had a couple of book signings scheduled before the post was due. The thought of standing behind a table piled with my books and no one stopping by—yes, complete with crickets chirping in the background—scared me to death. Or worse, what if there were a lot of people—strangers—that expected me to be able to carry on a simple conversation? That’s it. I’ll write about My First Book Signing and let the readers know how it went.

I had no idea at the time of something called the Coronavirus.

Fast forward five months. All my books signings have been cancelled. People are told to stay at home unless necessary. (If they’re at home, how will they find my book at Walmart? They really shouldn’t be loitering in the book aisle…) Many have lost their jobs and are on strict budgets. The good news is many people are home with more time on their hands and are looking for a happy escape. I’ve learned to use Zoom for writing classes and to connect with writers, something I never would’ve done before.

Years from now, we’ll all look back at 2020 and talk about the crazy time we had during the pandemic. I’m certain I’ll recall the challenges and new things I learned about releasing a book. I don’t have another story under contract yet, but when I do you can be certain I’ll schedule more book signings and hopefully I’ll visit with you again and let you know how it goes. 

On August 19th I received an email from Tina James...I was offered a contract.

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Keeping her true identity a secret is the only way to stay alive.

Going undercover as a nanny brings presumed-dead ex—US Marshal Kylie Stone closer to catching the man who murdered the witness in her protection—and also killed Texas Ranger Luke Dryden’s sister. When someone tries to kidnap the twins in her care, Kylie must tell their uncle the truth…and convince Luke to help her. But will revealing her identity put all their lives at stake?

Connie Queen spent her life in Texas where she met and married her high-school sweetheart. Together they've raised eight children and are enjoying their grandchildren. As a child, Connie remembers her mom and sisters reading but she preferred to be outside. It wasn't until later, she found the joy of being whisked away into another world. Today she resides in Nebraska with her husband, and Nash, her Great Dane, where she's working on her next suspense novel.