Posted On October 5, 2012 by Print This Post

Rocky Road – great ice cream, but a bumpy ride to publication! by Nancy Naigle

Hello, RU Crew! I can’t tell you how happy I am to welcome back the lovely, talented, smart as a whip Nancy Naigle. She’s also pretty darn fun to be around–just ask Bret Michaels! Nancy is here to talk about her publishing journey and she has five great tips to help you along your own path.

Welcome, Nancy!!

 How do I get there from here?
I think this picture pretty much sums it up. 

Which road will you take?

When I first started pursuing my dream of being a published author, I had a checklist with each step carefully outlined with a time-oriented goal. I was ready to go!

Quit laughing! Okay, okay – so I was pretty quickly disappointed how nothing seemed to go according to plan. Who knew there was not a well-defined process to getting published?

You see, in my day job I’m a process gal. I’m a Six Sigma Black Belt and for me … a good process with check points and measurements = success.


This tried and true methodology is rock-solid, usually, but not in the wacky world of publishing. Publishing breaks all the rules, and now that there is so much change in the industry as the number of bookstores shifts, online options changes, and we see more and more in the way of digital and even Indy books, all the rules we thought we knew are going flying out the window, too!

My journey was full of hiccups, so for all y’all who are feeling like it’s taking too long, getting frustrated or worried that it will never happen for you…join me for this little lesson in tenacity. Hopefully, when all is said and done, Rocky Road will be your new favorite flavor.

Keep on writing, because being published is a matter of WHEN not IF you’ll be published.

My first contract was with a small publisher and there wasn’t one doggone thing wrong with that, except that I jumped in with all the excitement of a puppy on a piece of bacon and didn’t ask the right questions.

What I wanted was not in line with what the small publisher had to offer. I got my rights back and self-published. Sweet Tea and Secrets took off. I accomplished a lot on my own, but I couldn’t do everything that I considered my parameters. So, I made another move. This time under contract with a big publisher, Montlake Romance. This release has the sparkly touches of a professional editor, new twists, and a sassy sweet cover. Sweet Tea and Secrets is being embraced by new readers with as much enthusiasm as the first, but it’s been a rocky road!

It’s okay to take a step back or make a lateral move. Just keep your eye on the goal, and assess those goals along the way. They’ll change. The one thing you can count on is change. What worked yesterday, may not work tomorrow.

#1 Know what you want from this journey. Set those parameters now, before you get anxious or so excited you can’t make a good decision.

  • Is having your book in print important to you? Audio? Digital?
  • Marketing – ARCs – Reviews
  • How prolific will you be? At what pace do you write? You’ll need to know this to be able to make good delivery date commitments.
  • Share other parameters to consider in the comments below!

#2 Know that it’s hard work and prepare now for the future.

  • Purchase your domain name and build that website now while you have the time.
  • Know who your platform consists of now (church, school, groups etc). Grow it!
  • Marketing materials are less of a burden when purchased along the way. My husband still teases me about the amount of stuff I’d accumulated for the “big day”. Well, when it came…I was ready. I had all kinds of promo materials to help get the word out. There was no stress, because I already had it hand.
  • Write your press release. You’ll have to tweak it later, but you’ll have a start.
  • There’s no end to this list. Share your prep tips in the comments. What helped you?

#3 Be your own biggest fan. Okay, don’t go all super diva, but it’s true that if you love your story it will show when you pitch it. If you aren’t absolutely in love with the book, why the heck would you expect a complete stranger to be?

#4 Have faith that you will be published. Embrace that knowledge and don’t let it go.

#5 Don’t give up. I think the secret ingredient to the best darn Rocky Road you’ll ever experience is tenacity. Have a double-dip!


Thanks, Nancy!

RU Crew, what questions do you have for Nancy? Has your road to success included a few ups and down, twists and turns (doesn’t have to be writing!)?

Debut author Barbara DeLeo joins us on Monday to talk about writing craft.


Nancy’s Bio:
Virginia author, Nancy Naigle, writes love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense in hopes that readers will find an escape from their hectic day-to-day in the make believe worlds she creates. Get to know Nancy on facebook, twitter @NancyNaigle or visit her website at



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23 Responses to “Rocky Road – great ice cream, but a bumpy ride to publication! by Nancy Naigle”

  1. Nan –

    Can I just say I’m so glad to have you on my team??

    Just wondering if I can snag some consulting time from you soon? 😀

    I’m curious what types of promo items you’d stocked up on pre-publication.


    Posted by Kelsey Browning | October 5, 2012, 6:03 am
  2. Thanks for having me, RU!

    That was quite a lead-in…I’m sure that’ll generate some questions if Rocky Road doesn’t 🙂

    Happy Friday, everyone.

    Posted by Nancy Naigle | October 5, 2012, 6:22 am
  3. Good morning, Kelsey!

    It’s absolutely true that some marketing materials are going to have to wait until you have a book cover, but others … not so much.

    I created my website four years before I ever became published. When you google Nancy Naigle…I pop right to the top and that’s thanks to some good meta-data, but also the length of time my website has been up and running. In my mind, you can’t secure that domain name and get your brand out there early enough.

    I also had my brand in mind.
    I created the logo and “Love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense” as my brand. I stocked up on ink pens, notepads, adorable moo cards that I could also tie a ribbon to for bookmarks.

    Since you’re not in a hurry, you can keep your eyes peeled for deals. Closeouts, or bulk products on ebay. You’d be surprised what you can find. I got 1000 little sewing kits with my logo on them for $75 through ebay a couple years back. They were so much fun to hand out and since they were so economical…I handed them out everywhere.

    Keep your brand in mind – the bottom line is you want things people will keep, and that will imprint your brand in their memories.

    Posted by Nancy Naigle | October 5, 2012, 6:31 am
  4. Hi Nancy,

    Welcome back! Love your tips. What has been your absolute favorite part of this process?


    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | October 5, 2012, 6:31 am
  5. I knew I should have studied for this test! I thought it was going to be multiple-choice or true/false. Haha.

    That’s a hard question, Tracey. As rocky as the road is…it’s a beautiful path with lots of stop and enjoy the scenery moments along the way. The friends I’ve made are so special to me.

    Bottom line though…I set out to be published because I wanted to give the gift that I received through the books I read. I juggle a lot of stuff…and so many of us do. Books are a wonderful escape, a way to balance life, and sometimes a way to help you cope through some of the darkest times you have to face.

    I wanted to share a light moment with someone during one of those times. That being said…my very favorite part of this process is being read and getting the feedback that my story made a positive impact on someone’s day. That absolutely makes my heart sing.

    Posted by Nancy Naigle | October 5, 2012, 7:06 am
  6. Hi Nancy,

    I’ve heard a few horror stories about people grabbing any contract offer. After waiting so long, it was impossible to turn down. Now they self-publish and seem much happier. If you could go back, what would you do differently?

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | October 5, 2012, 7:19 am
  7. You know, some of this is about learning what you want or don’t want. It would be easy to think you could ask better questions and avoid some of the mis-steps, but the truth is it’s the journey that makes it work.

    Does that make sense?

    Even though my small publishing deal ended up not being the right thing, I don’t regret it. Not one bit. I learned a lot about myself and the business in that process. I have no bitter feelings and promote the heck out of my friends that are writing for that house.

    In fact, you could say that the confidence I gained in that small pub deal is what helped me land my 4-book Amazon deal. If I hadn’t already had a book deal when I stopped by the Amazon Publishing booth at Book Expo in 2011 – I’m so sure it would have been a totally different conversation. Instead, it was a very relaxed and friendly inquisitive chat. I was just plain curious about their model and plans. They earned my respect that day.

    How cliche is it for me to say — Everything happens for a reason. Well…I think it does, and I take some comfort knowing that 🙂

    Trust your heart and your instincts. Their seldom wrong.

    Posted by Nancy Naigle | October 5, 2012, 7:45 am
  8. What a lovely book cover, Nancy! It’s great that you found the path that works best for you. Sometimes it takes some experimenting to do that.

    Posted by Roxanne | October 5, 2012, 7:48 am
  9. Good morning, Roxanne. Thanks. I love the cover, too! I was particularly pleased that “Clyde” – the Bernese Mountain Dog who hasn’t earned his guardian stripes, but drools on them pretty well – ended up on the cover.

    Love that dog!
    It’s a sweet southern read and I think the colors and images convey that.
    Hugs and happy reading~

    Posted by Nancy Naigle | October 5, 2012, 8:00 am
  10. Hi, Nancy – It’s so true that everything happens for a reason – and it all happens in its own time (but we should always be ready to hop on the train!). When I think back and remember my goal of a big fancy pub house contract, I realize now that I was unprepared and it probably would’ve been a total mashup. I’ve learned so much through my experience of the past two years – I almost cringe at how naive I was. But it’s all a part of the process and we have to be sure we’re moving the process along and being dragged along behind it 🙂


    Posted by Grace Greene | October 5, 2012, 9:33 am
  11. You’re so right, Grace!! It’s amazing how much you learn on this journey. It’s also an ever-changing landscape. Just in the past few years so much has changed.

    Best wishes on your next release. I know you have a new one coming out soon 🙂

    Posted by Nancy Naigle | October 5, 2012, 9:40 am
    • Thanks, Nancy. Yep, A Stranger in Wynnedower. But I’m looking forward to reading the new Sweet Tea and Secrets now that I’m seeing some daylight. I loved the first edition and can hardly wait to enjoy the new edition.


      Posted by Grace Greene | October 5, 2012, 9:45 am
  12. Hello, Nancy Naigle! How wonderful to have you back on RU.

    I’m always so inspired by your journey. When someone throws a wall in front of you, you find a way around it. This business is all about perseverance and I think you might just be the queen of that land!

    It just goes to show there’s more than one way for a writer to reach their goal.

    I’m honored to call you my friend. 🙂

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | October 5, 2012, 10:55 am
  13. Thanks, A! It’s easy to scale those walls when you have such a great support group.

    You definitely have to remain agile and have backup plans (B C D and E) just in case!

    Posted by Nancy Naigle | October 5, 2012, 1:03 pm
  14. Afternoon Nancy!

    Great to have you here! I have to say I struggle with #4….it’s hard to have faith when the publishing world is changing so dramatically! I do appreciate your efforts, as A said, going around, going through, but by golly getting there! but did you ever lose the faith?

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | October 5, 2012, 1:32 pm
  15. Hi Nancy,

    Congratulations on your contract with Montlake. I always like reading about an author’s journey to publication because everyone’s experience is unique.

    Did you have other books completed when you signed with Montlake? Also, has your writing process changed now that you’re contracted with a publisher.

    Thanks for being with us today!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | October 5, 2012, 3:27 pm
  16. Hi, Carrie,
    I never did lose faith, but my friends all tease me that I live in NanLand where everything is happy and positive…and as silly as it might sound it really is how I live my life.

    I’m an all-in kind of girl. If one path doesn’t work, try something else. I think surrounding yourself with people that will talk you up instead of commiserate is pretty important too.

    Next time you lose faith–you shoot me a note! I’ll talk you back up.

    Posted by Nancy Naigle | October 5, 2012, 4:14 pm
  17. Hi Jennifer
    Thanks for the question…that’s a good one.

    I do have other books besides what’s contracted with Montlake. I have a suspense that I co-wrote with another author. It’s a great little book called inkBLOT. It’s YA friendly and adult approved and is set around an internet inkblot game.

    My process hasn’t really changed, but having Montlake doing the heavy lifting on things I’d have done as a self-published author has freed me up to concentrate more time on my writing and that’s giving me a bit more balance since I also juggle a full-time career by day.

    Posted by Nancy Naigle | October 5, 2012, 4:22 pm
  18. Nancy and everyone–

    Thanks so much for the great conversation today! We’re so proud of our friend Nancy and all that she’s accomplished. And she truly is one of the most positive people I’ve ever been around. I feed off that kind of energy. She’s just great.

    Enjoy the relaunch of SWEET TEA, Nancy, and I hope you come back and see us again next year!

    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | October 5, 2012, 6:47 pm
  19. Thanks, Tracey and RU, for having me.
    Hugs and happy reading~

    Posted by Nancy Naigle | October 5, 2012, 8:15 pm
  20. Nancy – So sorry I’m late commenting! (What a hardship – I spent the day with my grandbaby!) I’m so excited for your success – here’s to a long career! Hope to see you next summer!

    Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | October 5, 2012, 9:36 pm
  21. It’s never too late, Becke!
    Welcome and thanks so much for stopping by. What a wonderful way to spend the day. I bet your cheeks hurt from smiling all day with that little angel.


    Posted by Nancy Naigle | October 5, 2012, 11:01 pm

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