Guest Blogger: Kari Lee Townsend

09 Jan

Our guest blogger today is National Bestselling Author, Kari Lee Townsend.

Kari lives in Central New York with her very understanding husband, her three busy boys, and her oh-so-dramatic daughter, who keep her grounded and make everything she does worthwhile…not to mention provide her with loads of material for her books. Kari is a longtime lover of reading and writing, with a masters in English education, who spends her days trying to figure out whodunit. Funny how no one at home will confess any more than the characters in her mysteries!

Kari writes fun and exciting stories for any age, set in small towns, with mystical elements and quirky characters as Kari Lee Townsend. Kari also writes romantic comedies and women’s fiction with the same sense of humor and quirky characters as Kari Lee Harmon.

Welcome to the Gem State Writers, Kari!

Happy New & Exciting Year…Now go Make the Most of it!

Thank you so much for having me here today. These are exciting times we live in. So many new possibilities. With the publishing industry changing so rapidly, our goals and dreams have to change along with them in order to survive.

When I got serious about my writing sixteen years ago, my dream was to walk into a bookstore and see my books on the shelves. These days, with bookstores closing, there are fewer opportunities for that to happen. Not to mention the way it affects traditional publishers. They are pickier than ever on picking up anyone, let alone a new author. And even if you do get picked up, the print runs are much smaller and advances have gone way down.

Indie publishing and self-publishing have opened up a whole new world for most of us. I still want to be in the traditional world of publishing, but I also want to be in this new and exciting world of self-publishing. I think authors need to evolve and change and be in both worlds in order to survive and achieve longevity. Your dreams don’t have to die, they just need to evolve.

I have so many readers who ask when my next book is coming out. Traditional publishing involves a lot of steps before a book is ready to hit the shelves: deadline, cover art, edits (sometimes a couple of rounds), copy edits, page proofs, ARC’s, author copies, and then finally the release date. Publishers like around nine months for that to happen. That’s a long time for readers to wait for the next book in a series. That’s the beauty of being in both worlds.

I love that fact that I can put up my backlist or even books that never sold. Just because a book didn’t sell, does not mean it wasn’t any good. It sometimes means the publisher did not have a need for a book like that on their current list. They might have loved it, but if they didn’t have a hole that needed to be filled, then they weren’t allowed to pick up the manuscript. With self-publishing, we are the ones who decide what we want to put out, and we can leave our books out for years. There is no shelf life. 🙂

I write in several genres, which brings up another thing to consider when venturing into publishing of any kind. What name you will use. My middle grade books as well as my cozy mysteries were already published under Kari Lee Townsend. Those series don’t have swearing or violence or sex. The last thing I want is to shock my readers if they pick up one of my romantic comedies or women’s fiction. My sense of humor and quirky characters are still there, so if readers don’t mind the “romance” angle, then they will love those. But if certain readers don’t want anything to do with romance, then they need to be given all the facts up front. They will respect you for that, rather than choose never to read anything by you again. Now, mind you, all of my books are pretty tame, but still. You have to be clear with your readers exactly what they are getting from you. Yet I’ve spent a long time building my original name, so I don’t want to lose that, either. I decided to use Kari Lee Harmon for my romantic comedies and women’s fiction. That way my readers will know exactly what type of book they can expect, yet they will still know it’s me.

Whatever you decide to do in this new and exciting year of 2012, don’t hold back. Don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone and try something new. Published or unpublished, it doesn’t really matter. The point is there are so many exciting new opportunities in these changing times. Be an optimist, not a pessimist, and go for it! Yes, the industry is changing, but it’s not ending. The stigma that e-books, indie books and self-pubbed books had years ago is fading away. Everyone is doing it these days, and with the way the world is changing in general, I think you’re crazy not to jump on board and enjoy the ride.

Good luck to all of you, and I hope to see you on the shelves someday…cyber, traditional, and everywhere in between J

To find out more about me you can check out my website at , sign up for my newsletter at like me on Facebook at follow me on Twitter at and finally, check out my group blog

Best Amateur Sleuth of 2011 RT Nominee–Now available in all formats
CORPSE IN THE CRYSTAL BALL – June 2012 (preorder now)
DESTINY WEARS SPURS (by Kari Lee Harmon)–Now available on Kindle and Nook

18 responses to “Guest Blogger: Kari Lee Townsend

  1. Kari Lee Townsend

    January 9, 2012 at 6:31 AM

    Thanks again for having me, Clarissa. I hope all of you have a fabulous and successful new year in 2012!

  2. Janis McCurry

    January 9, 2012 at 7:16 AM

    I agree there are more opportunities for writers to explore the business end of writing. It’s not easier, just more to explore. Thanks for visiting Gem State Writers, Kari, and Happy New Year.

  3. Lynn Mapp

    January 9, 2012 at 8:48 AM

    Kari, thank you for blogging with us today. You have given me much to think about. I have dreamed of seeing my books on the shelves of a book store. I could imagine the thrilled I’d feel. But, you are right. The world is changing and so is the business. I need to invest more time into research. Thanks again for sharing.

    • Kari Lee Townsend

      January 9, 2012 at 8:51 AM

      Good luck to you, Lynn. And like I said, there’s no reason you can’t have that dream as well. I say go for it all 🙂 I’m sure I’ll see you on the shelves someday!

  4. Peggy Staggs

    January 9, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    I share your dream of walking into a bookstore and seeing my book. I’m still waiting, but I have hight hopes. Thanks for blogging with us.

    • Kari Lee Townsend

      January 9, 2012 at 9:08 AM

      Good luck to you, Peggy. It’s an amazing feeling walking into a bookstore and seeing your books on the shelves 🙂 Keep the dream, and in the meantime, expand the dream. I’m having a blast in both worlds.

  5. Clarissa Southwick

    January 9, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Thanks so much for the encouraging words, Kari. It’s inspiring to see an author succeed in more than one genre. I’m off to pre-order my copy of “Corpse” now. 🙂

  6. Meredith Conner

    January 9, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Thanks for blogging with us today Kari. I thoroughly enjoyed Tempest in the Tea Leaves – I read about it in another blog you did and went out and got it and I’m glad I did. Thanks for such an uplifting blog about writing and publishing!!!

    • Kari Lee Townsend

      January 9, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      You’re very welcome, Meredith! And thank you 🙂 So glad you liked Tempest. I had even more fun writing Corpse in the Crystal Ball and I am currently writing Trouble in the Tarot! Soooo much fun 🙂

  7. Liz Fredericks

    January 9, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    This is great information – thank you so much for blogging with us today. It’s nice to hear the positive, optimistic tone in your blog!!

    • Kari Lee Townsend

      January 9, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      Hi LIz. Thanks for stopping by. I think if you stay positive and are open to new possibilities, wonderful surprising things can happen 🙂 I hope you have a fabulous 2012 as well!

  8. ramblingsfromtheleft

    January 9, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Kari Lee, it is always great to hear from someone who has done both traditional and indie. It gives us the perspective of what to expect from each of them. Like your readers, it’s a relief to hear someone who talks about the things that are possible in our craft, puts a positive spin on the work and can still be encouraging to other writers. Thanks and great good things for 2012 🙂

  9. Mary Vine

    January 9, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Thanks for your input on indie publication and having it all. Thanks!

  10. Kari Lee Townsend

    January 9, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Right back at ya, Ramblingsfromtheleft 🙂

  11. Marsha R. West

    January 11, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Nice to see you here, Kari. GSW is one of my favorite blogs. I, too, bought Tempest after getting info from another blog. It’s a delightful read. I’m gonna give your Destiny a try, and pick up Corpse closer to June. I generally read fairly heavyduty RS, but I do thoroughly enjoy your writing.
    Loved the comments about indie publishing. If someone can do both/and, that’s probably the best of all worlds. Lots of sales of all kinds to you, Kari.


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