Today I am joined by Lisette Brodey on my blog. Welcome, Lisette!
Lisette was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. She spent ten years in New York City, and now resides in Los Angeles.
She’s a multi-genre author of nine novels and one short story collection: Crooked Moon (General/Literary Fiction); Squalor, New Mexico (Coming-of-Age/Literary Fiction); Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! (Women’s Fiction/romantic comedy), The Desert Series: Mystical High; Desert Star; and Drawn Apart (YA paranormal/magical realism), Barrie Hill Reunion (Literary Fiction); Hotel Obscure: A Collection of Short Stories (Literary Fiction), Love, Look Away (Women’s Fiction/romantic comedy), and The Sum of our Sorrows (Contemporary Fiction.)
In addition to her nine novels and one short story collection, two more of Lisette’s short stories are published in an anthology: Triptychs (Book 3, The Mind’s Eye Series.)
Hi Lisette, What made you decide to publish your books independently?
I wrote my first two novels twenty-five years ago, before it was possible to be a true indie author/publisher. I tried for ten years to get an agent, but it was a grueling process, a slow and expensive one. This was all done through the mail, before the advent of the Internet. It often resulted in only two people a year even seeing my manuscripts. I was told by several agents that they suspected another would pick up my book, to keep trying, but the process truly drained me. One former client of mine, who went on to work for a major literary agency, told me, “They’ll never want this book, Lisette; it’s too well written.” Nice compliment, but I just wanted to bang my head against a wall of nails. Another agent loved one novel and wanted to take me on, but she said fiction was too hard a sell for her.
In 2008, when it became possible to publish paperbacks, I put out my second-written book, Crooked Moon. (As I recall, it wasn’t for another year that e-books became popular.)
So, after ten years, I’m now an indie author because I was exhausted from traveling the long and winding roads. And, so, when a new highway was built, I decided to take it.
I hope there won’t be too much traffic or any roadblocks on that highway and that your decision has meant things are less frustrating now!
What are the benefits of being an indie author?
The biggest benefit for me, as I would guess is the same for many, is complete control. I like the ability to put out as many books as I wish (or can put out). For many, especially those who sell well, one can make far bigger royalties. I’ve been very lucky to have some great people helping me with beta reading, editing, cover design, and e-book and paperback formatting. I couldn’t be an indie author if I had to do everything myself. But good or bad, the decisions I make are my own. And once you get used to the freedom of choice, it’s tough to think otherwise.
What challenges do indie authors face?
Well, there’s always been the stigma to contend with … the idea that if you were good enough, you’d be with a mainstream publisher. For many of the reasons I mentioned above, it’s not only false in many cases, but also, it is simply not what a lot of authors want.
For years there has been a great appreciation of indie films. I never hear of people going up to indie filmmakers and saying, “Oh, you’re self-filmed.” Or saying to a musician, “Oh, you’re self-recorded.” But, talking to an indie author, with a very different attitude, saying, “Oh, you’re self-published,” yeah … that’s a thing.
One last challenge: how to respond when people say, “What have you written that I would know?” To this, I infer that if this person hasn’t heard of my work, they think it’s not worth talking about. It is a great challenge to remain polite at times. Please, don’t ask any author that question. “Tell me about your books” is a far nicer thing to say.
I’ll try and remember that piece of advice!
What advice would you give to aspiring indie author?
Nowadays, unlike when I began, there is a lot of information out there and a lot of authors who are willing to help. First, before you publish, establish yourself on social media, and get to know other people in the business. I hear a lot of aspiring authors say that they’ll wait until they have a book out and then they’ll go on social media. Not a good idea. For one, if you’re brand new when your book comes out, there won’t be people who know you and want to offer support. You’ll likely have a great tendency to over-tweet or over-post your book. And, for all your efforts, you’ll turn off potential readers. I can’t stress enough how important it is to build and maintain relationships on social media. In one way, we’re all in this together, so when you post content, think of what might be interesting, useful, or helpful to others. Never ever make it all about you all the time.
There is a lot of help out there, be it in the form of other authors, blogs, books, etc. Read as much as you can. Remember, every author and every book are unique. There is no one-size-fits-all way to do things. No one author has all the answers. Different things work for different people – for reasons explainable and not-so-explainable. Find what is a comfortable fit for you. Aside from the actual things to know about publishing a book, I would recommend learning all you can about social media and promotion. Expect to make mistakes and to learn along the way. And remember, the landscape is changing all the time, so even for those who know it well, there’s always something new to learn.
What have you learned from being an indie author?
That it’s a lot of work, but I do it because I really like doing it my way and on my own schedule.
I really hope all of the hard work pays off for you!
What can we look forward to seeing from you in 2021?
The book I’m working on now, in a way, is a follow-up to my book Hotel Obscure, which is a collection of short stories, all set in the same place, with some recurring characters and unexpected links between stories.
Because I like to torture myself (and trust me, I’m doing a great job of it), I’m working on something similar. Like Hotel Obscure, all stories will be set in the same location, but unlike HO, it will be a “novel in stories.” The stories, for the most part, stand alone, but yet, are all part of a larger story arc. They’ve also got a Black Mirror / Twilight Zone vibe to them. With maybe a dash of David Lynch. (See above where I said I like to torture myself.) As of this writing, I’m a third into it.
Sue, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog! It’s been a pleasure, and I so appreciate your support.
You are very welcome, Lisette, and thank you very much for joining me today! I like the sound of the Black Mirror/Twilight Zone type stories – I will definitely keep my eye open for that collection!
Now “tell me about your books…”
The Sum of our Sorrows
In an idyllic suburb in Northern California, tragedy strikes the Sheppard family when Abby, the mother of three daughters and wife to Dalton, is killed in a car accident. Charlotte, the middle daughter, is in the car with her mother and survives without physical injury but remains deeply scarred on the inside.
Dalton tells Lily, his eldest daughter, that she must sacrifice long-awaited college plans and put her life on hold to take care of her sisters. Lily is torn between her devotion to family and an increasing need to find her place in the world — but how can she leave, knowing her family may crumble? Will her presence eventually cause more problems than it resolves?
The Sum of our Sorrows reveals how the aftermath of a family tragedy can precipitate sorrows never imagined. It is a tale of grief, hope, healing, coming-of-age, friendship, and survival. It is also a love story of two broken souls living through pain in search of better days and the renewal of one’s spirit.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I write characters as I hear them speak to me. Some of these stories contain non-gratuitous expletives and sexual references. This book also contains some situations that may be triggering to some readers. If this is not to your liking, please don’t read this book. Thank you.
Add The Sum of our Sorrows to your To Be Read list here:
Buy The Sum of our Sorrows Here:
In a run-down neighborhood in an unnamed city, people live and die in “the Obscure.”
Whether anyone remembers the real name of the derelict establishment is a mystery. In this six-story building, most who occupy the rooms are long-term residents, though some stay for as little as an hour.
The patronage is an eclectic group: musicians, writers, addicts, hookers, lonely people, poor people, rich people, once-well-off people, and those who have reason to hide from their former lives or to escape the demands of a disapproving and punishing society.
As shabby as the Obscure is, as long as its walls keep out the wind and the rain, it remains a shelter, a hideaway, and a home for the many bewildered souls.
Hotel Obscure is a collection of seventeen short stories that all take place in or around the “the Obscure.” While the stories stand alone, they are to be read in order. Some characters appear in multiple stories, and sometimes, a story will continue in an unexpected way.
The Obscure is life. It is death. In the blink of an eye, it may appear supernatural. It is a place we all visit … whether metaphorically or physically, at least once in our time on Earth.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I write characters as I hear them speak to me. Some of these stories contain non-gratuitous expletives and sexual references. If this is not to your liking, please don’t read this book. Thank you.
Add Hotel Obscure to your To Be Read list here:
Buy Hotel Obscure Here:
Barrie Hill Reunion
Eight people. One weekend. Eight lives forever changed.
In the mid-1960s, at an elite college in the quaint town of Barrie Hill, Connecticut, a group of literary-minded students met regularly off-campus at the Vanessa Grand Hotel. Often late into the night, they would discuss the day’s news, analyze literature, philosophize, trade barbs, and socialize.
Twenty years after graduation, in 1986, the group’s founder, Clare Dreyser, organizes a weekend reunion. Seven former Barrie Hillers and one guest get together, eager to re-create an extraordinary time in their lives and reunite with old friends.
From the outset, and baffling the group, Leah Brent displays a brash, condescending attitude for nearly everyone and everything. To the chagrin of actor Bart Younger, Leah immediately lays out the unwelcome mat for his wife, Aimee. No one, not even Leah’s husband, Colin, is immune to her wrath, but Leah is relentless in her bizarre and cruel quest to bring down her primary target: Clare.
As the reunion progresses, the Barrie Hillers strive to enjoy their time together as they become enmeshed in personal dramas, struggle with matters of ethics, and weather escalating uncertainties that threaten to destroy their lives. By Saturday night, the second day of the reunion, karma makes a surprising and shocking visit. As the Barrie Hillers’ time together draws to an end, each is changed forever.
Add Barrie Hill Reunion to your To Be Read List here:
Buy Barrie Hill Reunion here:
Molly Hacker is Too Picky
At thirty-two, newspaper reporter Molly Hacker vows to never attend another wedding until she has had her own. And that’s a problem because Molly’s younger sister, Hannah, is going to be married in one year. Armed with snark, wit, and fabulous good looks, “Picky Molly” embarks on a quest to find Mr. Right in her hometown, Swansea, an elegant bedroom community of NYC.
Things get complicated fast. In no time at all, Molly has four “men of interest” and the memories of a lost love to send her overanalytic, befuddled mind into serious overdrive. Determined not to let her “helpful” girlfriends help her right out of another relationship, Molly tries to keep mum on the state of her love life. Her BFF male coworker, Randy, becomes her closest confidant as he stumbles over romantic issues with his new Mr. Right, Kyle.
Meanwhile, Molly’s BFF gal pals aren’t too happy about being left out of the loop. Tweaking Molly’s last nerve is the town’s most visible socialite, Naomi Hall-Benchley. For self-serving reasons, Naomi is hell-bent on setting up “Picky Molly Hacker” and she doesn’t care who she has to manipulate or hurt to do it. Just how far will she go? Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! takes the reader on a yearlong romp through Molly’s mind and a joyride through her life. Her dating life, town secrets, a group of quirky, crazy characters, and Naomi’s machinations collide head-on at a holiday gala that will change the social landscape of Swansea forever.
As the New Year rolls in, Molly gets earth-shattering news. Can she go on? Will life ever return to abnormal again?
AUTHOR’S NOTE: have recently published a second romantic comedy, LOVE, LOOK AWAY, set in the town of Swansea, New York. While not a sequel to this book, Molly Hacker and a few other prominent characters from this novel are supporting characters in the new book.
Add Molly Hacker is Too Picky to your To Be Read List here:
Buy Molly Hacker is Too Picky here:
Love Look Away
Twenty-nine-year-old Sage Gordon has had it with love. When she’s not busy running her metaphysical gift shop in the old-money town of Swansea, New York, she’s content with the company of her dog and two cats.
Years ago, the boy she thought she’d marry some day disappeared in the middle of the night and was never heard from again. Haunted by the loss of Jimmy, she remains wary about love, until she is set up with a gorgeous NYC marketing executive. Love moves quickly, and she finds herself engaged — but if only he had betrayed her before she sent out the save-the-date cards.
Sage reverts to her former mindset: love, look away. Forever. Despite her best efforts, though, two completely different yet wonderful men enter her life. Still haunted by the past, can she let romance back into her life?
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Love, Look Away is set in the same fictional town (Swansea, NY) as my first romantic comedy, Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! This book is not, however, a sequel or a series. Love, Look Away is a stand-alone novel. Some readers will recognize several characters from Molly, including Molly herself, playing supporting roles.
And to readers who have never read Molly, but who may wish to do so, rest assured this novel does not give away the ending.
Add Love Look Away to your To Be Read list here:
Buy Love Look Away Here:
Who is next on Indie Spotlight?
Brenda Guiton is well travelled and has led a colourful life, providing her with a rich source of material for her writing. Her characters are drawn from the many interesting people she has met over the years. Her novels are in the suspense genre – her latest, Beneath the Poison Tree is set within her home town of Doncaster. Suspicion a cold-case mystery set in the nearby Yorkshire Dales.