Guest Blogger: Florence Fois

24 Jan

 Our guest today is Florence Fois.She is Florence fOIS In The City … a full-time writer of mysteries in several sub-genres, with romantic comedies for the spice of life. Her stories are about NYC women on the edge of discovery, danger and fun. She blogs each Wednesday at: Friend her on Facebook at Florence Fois.

 The Writer’s Life … Revolution

Revolution … a rebellion, revolt, uprising, upheaval or insurgent insurrection. Otherwise defined as a transformation … one altercation becoming the critical focal point in the development of true change. Oh, Webster would be so proud!

I speak not of hand to hand combat or ballistic missiles flying through space, but of the recent revolution in publishing. I am a writer and all roads lead to the writerly life, to the conundrum, challenge and the daunting quest to tell a story.

In June of 2007, I joined a local writer’s group. After the first three weeks, and having read my first two snippets for their edification and enjoyment, I announced with glee that my “plan” was to self-publish my first amazing novel.

My first book was the “prequel” to my mystery trilogy and I was convinced a major New York agent would read it and jump at the chance to publish everything I wrote for the rest of my natural life.

I began flying through cyber space to discover other writers who might have made similar plans for fame and fortune.

What I found was a series of articles and blog posts that had nothing good to say about self-publishing. To the last all the experts agreed … self-publishing was a joke.

I was crestfallen and bewildered. Now what do I do?

Sometimes you know what the right thing is for you. You know those dreamy eyes are the ones you want to see long after they lose their luster. You know the minute you walk through a door that you have found home. No one has to tell you.

You don’t have to be told when that time presents itself. Don’t rush to get between the boards if your work is not ready. Don’t rush to listen to advice that seeks only to benefit another’s need to self-aggrandize or to profit from your inexperience.

Whether you think others have been luckier finding an agent and a publisher … don’t kid yourself into believing the hype that only self-published books can be poorly written. While I am a traditionalist, I do not believe anyone is above making mistakes. Random house has published some really awful stuff over the years. Conversely, many very good books have been self-published.

Had I acted on my first impulse I would have made one of the worst mistakes of my career. I would have self-published a book that I now see was not ready. Circumstances and nagging doubt forced me to be patient, to work harder, to never lose sight of what I want. Not merely to publish a book … but to publish a good book.

Somewhere in the vast configuration of the universe, the modern writer has been given an incredible gift, and with this comes a grave responsibility to cherish that gift.

The e-reader has revolutionized the way people will read for generations to come, and the explosion of indie authors and their ability to by-pass traditional publishers has given the power of what and who to read back to those who spend the bucks … the reader.

It has given the writer the ability to tear down the barriers between themselves and those readers. However, above the din of voices that threaten to deafen us, our greatest challenge is to write a good book.

Read, listen and learn. When the time is right you will arrive at your destination ready for what the new world offers.

On which side of the battle lines in this revolution do you see your future?

fOIS In The City


Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Idaho


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36 responses to “Guest Blogger: Florence Fois

  1. Laura Best

    January 24, 2012 at 6:11 AM

    My first book was traditionally published and I can’t see myself considering self-publishing at this point in time. That said, I’ve known several traditionally published authors who have gone on to self-publish and also authors who self-published their first book and then went on to find a traditional publisher. What I have discovered is that opinions change as our circumstances change, and thank goodness for that. Finding what works best for us as individuals sometimes takes much time and consideration.

    Great post, Florence. 🙂

    • ramblingsfromtheleft

      January 24, 2012 at 7:46 AM

      Hi Laura, good to see you here. The landscape is changing so fast that it would do all of us good to hold out our options. I’d love to see my work done traditionally, but I also know there are things I will want to do on my own. We shall see 🙂

  2. Johanna Harness

    January 24, 2012 at 7:00 AM

    Thanks for blogging with us today, Florence! You’re always so supportive of our group and it’s great to see you at the top of the page. 🙂

    Now to answer your question: I’m not seeing battle lines anymore. I think the trend is for authors to mix traditional and self-publishing, depending on what’s right for each book at that time. It’s more a matter of fit.

    • ramblingsfromtheleft

      January 24, 2012 at 7:49 AM

      I appreciate the comment Johanna. This is one of my favorite visits each day and it’s an honor to see my name up there 🙂 I also see a different mix of ways in which writers will get out there.

  3. Janis McCurry

    January 24, 2012 at 7:04 AM

    Florence, the “be patient” part is a good takeaway for everyone. No matters how anxious you are to send that baby off, make it the best you can. Thanks for guest blogging at Gem State Writers today.

    • ramblingsfromtheleft

      January 24, 2012 at 7:51 AM

      Yes Janis, the part about being patient is what I see as the biggest mistake aspiring writers can make. I am delighted to be here at Gem State and thank Clarissa for inviting me 🙂

  4. Gloria Richard Author

    January 24, 2012 at 7:31 AM

    Great post, Florence.

    I see myself as at traditionalist, but don’t slam any doors.

    Perhaps it’s the old saying that “you only get one chance…first impression.” With the traditional route, I have a sense that my work will be validated before publication. I won’t enter the world with a not-ready premier novel.

    I have two of those “not ready” mss gathering dust, and was (thankfully) stopped by literary agents in my quest to have them published. After taking several years to learn the craft and find my “voice”, I now know I was attempting to market first drafts. Those mss will come out of hiding and be rewritten once my WIP is done.

    Great post and KUDOS to authors taking either route to publication.

    • ramblingsfromtheleft

      January 24, 2012 at 7:53 AM

      Hey Gloria, you and I are in agreement about not wanting to slam any doors. I also have work that was not what I would want readers to have as a first impression. This is a long and difficult process, but one well worth the effort 🙂

  5. Brinda Berry

    January 24, 2012 at 7:31 AM

    There are definitely bad books published by major houses. There are also a lot of self-published books that should have seen an editor besides the author. I think we are still going to see many changes in the next five years in this ebook revolution. Personally, I don’t see myself self-publishing this year or next. I want help in doing all that needs to be done. Who knows what I will do in the future. I’m too new in my career to make that prediction.

  6. ramblingsfromtheleft

    January 24, 2012 at 7:55 AM

    If I have to come down on either side Brinda, it would be to give myself the time to make careful decisions. This work we do is not a sprint, but a marathon. Or as they say … slow and steady wins the race 🙂

  7. Peggy Staggs

    January 24, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    Florence, thank you for blogging with us today.
    I agree that editing is a writer’s best friend. You need to be sure you’re putting out the best you possibly can. But there’s always the danger of editing out your voice. Somewhere in there is a happy medium. It all takes time and patience.

    • ramblingsfromtheleft

      January 24, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      You are most welcome, Peggy. This is a regular stop on my daily tour of the blog world. I look forward to the varied posts from Gem State Writers and am thrilled to be invited to post here.

      I read a post on Tess Gerritsen’s blog I have shared a half dozen times in different venues. I paraphrase. When asked in an interview when she knew her book was ready shy answered:

      After the eleventh draft I feel like I am almost there 🙂

  8. christicorbett

    January 24, 2012 at 8:50 AM


    I really liked this post, especially the part about being patient :). I completely agree!

    Great post!

    Christi Corbett

    • ramblingsfromtheleft

      January 24, 2012 at 2:42 PM

      Hello my friend. I know how hard you have worked Christi, and the long hours you are devoting to your novel. I believe this is the only tried and true method of having a book we can be proud to publish 🙂

  9. Clarissa Southwick

    January 24, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Hi Florence, I agree, patience is a great virtue for writers. Thanks so much for blogging with us today. 🙂

    • ramblingsfromtheleft

      January 24, 2012 at 2:44 PM

      Clarissa, thanks for inviting me. After the posts, the second thing I enjoy here at Gem State Writers are the comments. Today is no exception.

  10. Patricia Yager Delagrange

    January 24, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    With your words: “The e-reader has revolutionized the way people will read for generations to come, and the explosion of indie authors and their ability to by-pass traditional publishers has given the power of what and who to read back to those who spend the bucks … the reader.”
    You said it all, Florence.

    • ramblingsfromtheleft

      January 24, 2012 at 2:45 PM

      We can both say that again, Patti. There is a point in every generation when history presents us with dynamic changes … the point of no return. Publishing has already entered that time and we are witness to great history. Thanks for the visit 🙂

  11. Meredith Conner

    January 24, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    I was so happy to see you here blogging with us today Florence! Thank you.
    As to the self-publishing question – I think it is a great opportunity if done right. As so many have mentioned here – there are a lot of bad books published by big publishers and a lot of great books self-published. I think we each have our own journeys and self-publishing is a good option.

    • ramblingsfromtheleft

      January 24, 2012 at 2:48 PM

      It’s a thrill to be here, Meredith. Good and not so good books come to us in many ways. With the added technology of instant gratification, I think we will all see more of both. How we separate those two is what makes the difference for us as readers. How we approach this, makes all the difference for us as writers.

  12. Liz Fredericks

    January 24, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Hi Florence – It’s fabulous to see you here on GSW. I’m with Christi on appreciating your emphasis upon patience. I think that’s where I am in the battle . . . it’s not a war against or between but rather, within. As writers, maintaining our focus, faith and intensity will carry us along the proper path. It really helps to connect with other writers as you’ve done for many of us today.

  13. ramblingsfromtheleft

    January 24, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Thanks, Liz. I used to be one of those who had to do something the minute I had the idea. Went off willy-nilly and crashed into many a brick wall before I learned. The test of who we are is not measured in how fast we do someting, but rather in how well 🙂

  14. Mary Vine

    January 24, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    You said something about self-publishing that you don’t hear much about during this new shuffle to get self-published, and that is to make sure your book is really ready to be out there. I thought my first manuscript was ready to be published and now looking back at it some years later, I can’t even fix what’s wrong with it. Thanks, I enjoyed your blog.

    • ramblingsfromtheleft

      January 24, 2012 at 6:25 PM

      Yes Mary, that is what I see happening to many naive writers. The craze of the NaNo challenge might give someone the impression that because you can write a book in one month, you can happily slap a cover on it and publish. I would be mortified if anyone read my first book 🙂

  15. Sherry Isaac

    January 24, 2012 at 3:32 PM


    One of the first writing workshops I went to was on how to get published. The facilitator, Brian Henry, opened by telling us we need 3 things to get published: Luck, Perseverance, and a Book. Next he pointed out that he did not say the book needed to be good.

    It is tempting to get published right away. A little like being anxious to date a boy, any boy. Timing: this post of yours echos a post of mine, which I just reposted last week., if your readers are interested. A friend quickly issued a rebuttal article, which I happily posted for her. There are always two sides.

  16. ramblingsfromtheleft

    January 24, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    Thanks so much, Sherry. The anology of the fist boyfriend, the first special time, if so perfect. My mother used to say … don’t rush to be grown up … you are only a little girl for a short time … then you spend the rest of your life grown …

    I especially enjoyed the goodreads post and I quote: “Savour the process. Cherish your ‘virginity’. Like we tell our teenagers daughters to wait for the right man, writers need to wait for the right time, the right agent, the right moment. Then, we will have no regrets.” Wave across the room to Gloria !!

  17. Sheila Seabrook

    January 24, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Hi Florence … Being able to tell whether or not our darlings are ready to be released into the world is one of the most difficult things to judge. Each book written is better than the last, so a writer needs writerly friends who can be honest without doing permanent damage to a fragile ego. I know that now, when I look back at earlier work I’ve completed, I see why they were never publish-ready. I think that is why we’re seeing work out there that’s not quite ready. When we write the first book, we think we’re great. But then we write the next one and we realize we’ve improved.

    Loved your thoughts, as usual! 🙂

    • ramblingsfromtheleft

      January 24, 2012 at 8:36 PM

      Good to see you here, Shiela. I think having the self-control to wait and learn is the hardest part of what we do. Tell a good story? Sure. Have engaging characters? Of course. Reader ready the first time around? I don’t think so. With your warmth and enthusiasm, all the hard work will result in something you can publish (however) with great pride 🙂

  18. Lynn Mapp

    January 24, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Hello Florence, or as I like to address you, Ramblings. I was so excited to see you as a guest blogger for GSW. Welcome. I enjoyed your post. I remember my first manuscript. It was…a work in progress. At the time I thought it sparkled. I don’t need to say more. Newbees often make that mistake. Writing is a process, and we do need to wait for the right time.

  19. ramblingsfromtheleft

    January 24, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    It is a real treat to be here at GSW and more so to read your lovely thoughts, Lynn. Thanks so much. Haven’t we all written one of those manuscripts we hope no one ever finds? I am reluctant to put the book I thought sparkled into the shreader or make a barn fire of it … but she begs me for one more chance and I can’t do it. Maybe when I’ve learned enough, I’ll go back and give her a new dress and she how she looks 🙂

  20. PK Hrezo

    January 25, 2012 at 7:33 AM

    Came over to see my friend Florence! This is the conundrum indeed. And while I havent officially decided, I haven’t ruled either out… and i love the opportunity self-pub gives to take charge of our own lives!

    • ramblingsfromtheleft

      January 25, 2012 at 7:35 AM

      Glad you made the visit. Yes PK, with so much going on why not do both? Once I have polished something until it shines, I have the options of “having my cake and eating it too” Good luck to all of us 🙂

  21. Marsha R. West

    January 25, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Good post, Florence. We had a speaker at my local RWA chapter late last year who had managed to combine being pubbed by a big NY publisher, a smaller e-publisher, and self-publishing. Her thought was, “Why not do it all?” I guess the trick is to find what works for you, both in publishing and in the craft of writing. Each of us goes at it a tad differently. There’s not a right or wrong, just what works. After five books (and oh, I loved my first one–you know the book of my heart, but goodness I don’t think fixable. So sad), I’ve learned, I’m not a fast writer and need 5 tons of revisions, rewrites and edits. And before I ever try to self-publish (which I really think will be in the not too distant future), I’ve got to get my husband to red pen it. He’s the best editor. LOL.
    I like seeing your comments here, too, Florence. When you follow a blog, you get to know the posters as well as the family. It’s a great blog. Good luck to all of us in finding our way in the mad world of publishing.

  22. DM

    January 26, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    I am still in favor of self-publishing. I’ve read many wonderful books rejected by agents. However, the problem is just as you stated. Way too many ebooks out there written poorly or not edited. Excellent post.

  23. stephanieberget

    February 1, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Florence, your mention of having the patience to wait and make the book. The more I learn, the more I find I don’t know. Thanks for a great blog.


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