How I Got Published: Thelma Mariano

 

Thelma Mariano began writing fiction in the confessions field, where she sold over 40 stories to women’s magazines (such as True Story, True Confessions and True Experience) put out by NYC publishers in the days of mass readership.

She also freelance edited at the corporate level of a major multinational and published dozens of articles in the self-development field, primarily on the Web. For ten years, she worked as a life coach and motivational speaker to help people overcome limiting beliefs and go after their dreams.

Fiction, though, is what makes her heart sing, both as editor and author.

She recently launched a website to offer her services as a Freelance Editor for writers of women’s contemporary fiction. She enjoys working with other writers to help them strengthen and improve their characterization, fix plot holes, and increase story tension. She values what wants to be expressed, whether working with another author or writing her own novels.

HOW I GOT PUBLISHED

For Night Cries, I was offered representation by First Books, Inc., a Chicago-based literary agency, in 1994. They said they could sell it as “women’s mainstream” in the mass market but asked me to cut out two of my subplots and reduce the point-of-view characters from 4 to 2. At the time, I balked at the changes and put the book on the back burner. Twenty-three years later, I looked at the novel with fresh eyes and saw they were right! By then, the publishing world had gone through a sea change and self-publishing was a viable option. So I made the necessary revisions and put my novel in the marketplace.

A poignant novel about teenage sexual abuse and broken family ties … told through two sisters finding their way back to wholeness and each other.

 

 

For my second novel, ConneXions, I was represented by reputable literary agents in London as well as NYC. They told me that publishers wanted a focus on “the hunt for the serial killer” but I preferred to tell the story from the viewpoint of the potential victims he targeted.

It hasn’t been out on Amazon that long but has been selected as a Reader’s Favorite and given an excellent editorial review.

A dating site where lonely women have become prey … for a serial killer

 

 

My third novel, SeaStruck, is a paranormal romance (mermaid story) that first came to me in a dream.

In a race against time, a mermaid finds the perfect mate but an ancient curse binds her to another man.

 

For many years, I sold my copyright to publishing companies who bought my stories and published them without a byline, because that was “the deal” in the confessions market. With self-publishing, I feel I am taking my power back by maintaining control over my own material.  I decide on the covers and the content and keep my work on the market as long as I wish.

You can visit Thelma here and here.

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Changed My Cover

In my last post I revealed a cover for my latest novel Not By Design. 

Many of you took the time to comment positively about the cover and with all my heart – THANK YOU!

In the midst of this ego boost I received an e-mail from Debby at  D.G.Kaye who offered a different opinion, pointing out that my cover, although appealing, did not “go with” my brand.

The photo doesn’t give me an immediate feel for what the book is about. And the title should be in stronger font and stand out more, like your other books. Maybe like your Finding Mr. Right book, so it stands out and follows the branding of the previous book?

I literary struggled with the decision to change the cover of my book. At first I tried to take the easy way out and just go ahead with the status quo.  Also because so many of you wrote such lovely comments about the cover I didn’t want to take the risk of offending you by changing it. Besides, I too liked the cover.

I admire Debby’s work and that she has read all my previous books in my Getting To Mr. Right Series added clout to her critique. Plus, there was this annoying tiny voice nudging me to pay attention.

As these things so often happen, Jenny Nash’s weekly post was on getting advice. An interesting article worth reading, as Jenny’s articles are, but what particularly stuck with me were these words:

Most important of all, don’t lose sight of your own heart. When you get advice, weigh it against what you think. Does it ring true to you? Does it strike a nerve? Can you see how incorporating it will make your work more clear, more logical, and more whole? If yes, then by all means, take the advice.

Debby’s advice did strike a nerve that I couldn’t ignore, especially what she said about branding.

What did I know about branding except nothing. Then, I came across a tutorial on branding which you can find here.

If I was to be honest with myself I had to admit that my current cover, as eye-catching as it was, was not the right fit for my Getting To Mr. Right series. It just didn’t go with the other covers.  Something I should have thought about beforehand. But honestly, I hadn’t at all considered branding.

 

gettingtomrright_kindle_small15                Missi's dating B              cafe paradise a

 

As hard as it was for me to let go of the “old” cover, I had to do it.

The cover I’ve ended up choosing is more faithful to the character’s spirit and, hopefully, more in tune with the other books in this series.

 

NOT BY DESIGN (1)

 

In a life turned upside down, Felicity finds joy is sometimes just around the corner.

Ever since she first appeared in Getting To Mr. Right, Felicity Starr has been struggling to find her own kind of contentment. Now, at thirty-five and living in Rome, Felicity is about to break into the world of fashion design, and caught in a flurry of plans for her wedding when calamity strikes.

Her father’s sudden death brings into question the whole meaning of success. Then Marco, the man she’s about to marry, leaves her when he learns of her Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis.

Forced to return to Montreal, Felicity finds her life thrust into unexpected turns. As she confronts the on-going challenges presented by her disease, she gains the strength to let go of old beliefs and face her inner truths.

Love, friendship and rewarding work come in different forms and Felicity finds it all in ways she never imagined – in a life that’s not by design.

 

Buy Not By Design – A Getting To Mr. Right Series

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