Thursday, September 29, 2011

Exciting Book News: Gargoyle Girl Productions is Born & ARTIFACT Comes Out in August 2012

by Gigi Pandian

I've got some exciting news to share: I've formed Gargoyle Girl Productions and I’m going to publish my first mystery novel myself!

Publishing is a crazy journey. I've been having fun with it, so at first I was content to keep writing while my agent pitched my books and I waited for forces to align and result in a sale. My breast cancer diagnosis changed my thinking. When I thought about what I wanted to do to live my life to the fullest during these uncertain times, along with what I've learned about publishing in the last few years, everything clicked into place. Here's the story:

The 10 Reasons Why I Formed Gargoyle Girl Productions and am Publishing My Novel Myself

1. I didn’t rush into this.
I’ve written mystery stories and scripts since I was a kid, and wrote my first [awful] novel in college. It wasn’t until I wrote a draft of the mystery novel Artifact for NaNoWriMo six years ago that I felt I really had something.

2. The novel has already received several distinctions. I was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant for unpublished traditional mystery writers while Artifact was a work in progress (2007). After getting involved in writers groups and learning how to edit a novel (2008), the manuscript was a finalist in the St. Martin’s Best First Traditional Mystery Competition (2009). It also received an Editor’s Choice award at the SDSU Writers Conference (2009).

3. I kept writing and had a work of fiction published. After Attifact, I wrote a YA mystery novel, another book in my mystery series, outlines of several more books in the series, and two short stories with series characters. My first short story is out in Fish Tales, a Sisters in Crime Guppies Chapter anthology, and the second one was accepted into the next anthology.

4. I got myself an agent.
After going through the process of learning how to boil down my novel into a query letter, a synopsis, and a one-line pitch, I signed with an agent who shared my vision for the book and series.

5. Through two years of pitching to big publishers, my agent and I heard a lot about how good Artifact was, but that it didn’t fit established genre lines. I have a very lighthearted voice but write international treasure hunt adventure plots. It’s a cross-genre combo I happen to adore (think Elizabeth Peters and her Vicky Bliss mystery series) but not one that big publishers seemed keen on right now. I tried to write a "dark" mystery last year, but my natural voice came through and it turned out even more lighthearted than Artifact! At first I was content to wait out the market, since I’m having a blast writing more mysteries. But then:

6. I was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, at age 36, which is the kind of thing that helps you clarify your priorities.
I’ve always loved crafting mystery stories. I’d like to share them. Yup, it was the health shock that pushed me over the edge to make the decision to publish my mystery series myself. The diagnosis gave me a newfound clarity to see things I already knew. I love my day job at a non-profit, so I’m not looking for a new career. I want to make sure I’m releasing quality books, but I don’t want to rely on a publishing house to determine the fate of my books. And not to be too much of a downer, but with my uncertain health, I want to embrace life with my own deadlines.

7. My agent suggested it was time to think outside the box.
She had this idea right before my diagnosis, suggesting we consider different publishers than the main NYC presses, but I didn’t have time to consider my publishing plans until I was recovering from surgery. I thought about what “thinking outside the box” meant to me at this juncture in my life. I would have decided to move forward with my self-publishing plan regardless, but I’m glad she supports my decision to put my book out myself so it can find its audience.

8. I have the design and production skills to produce my books myself.
My title at my day job is Graphic Designer and Publications Manager. I do design, layout, and distribution of public education materials. With my skills, I can put in my own labor to create book covers, eBooks, and printed books. I’m working with a professional editor because I believe it’s such an important part of the process that signing with a publisher would have given me. The rest of the production process I can do myself.

9. I know what I’m getting myself into.
My network of writers – Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers or America, my critique partners across the country, and my local brainstorm partners – have taught me so much about the business of writing and publishing. Even though those were sometimes hard lessons to learn, I’m forever grateful to them. I know this isn’t an easy path I’m taking. But I also know what I need to do to make it a good one for me.

10. Life itself is a risk, and I want to have fun living it.
Toward that end, I formed Gargoyle Girl Productions. Named after my mystery-themed photography site, it’s an umbrella creative boutique to encompass all of my creative work: writing, design, and photography. I’m launching the first book of my Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series as both a printed book and an ebook next year to coincide with the end of my main cancer treatments. I’m going to throw a big party. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating.

ARTIFACT comes out in August 2012: When historian Jaya Jones receives a mysterious package containing a jewel-encrusted artifact from India, sent by her ex-lover the same day he died in a supposed accident in the Highlands of Scotland, she discovers that the secrets of a lost Indian treasure may be hidden in a Scottish legend from the days of the British Raj. But she's not the only one on the trail...

41 comments:

toni in florida said...

Good for you for taking control like this, Gigi! I will be buying your book and I hope tens of thousands of others do, too.

Brett Battles said...

Excellent, Gigi! Being an independent author has never been so appealing, especially given Amazon's dropping Kindle prices yesterday. You are doing the right thing. I know you have a lot of sources for info, so probably don't need more, but you are always more than welcome to contact me. I've been doing the independent thing for about six months now, so I can share what I've learned if you want.

Missed you a Bcon, but hear that things are going in the right direction! I hope things continue in the positive.

Nancy Adams said...

Woo-hoo, Gigi! I'm so psyched for you! I love Elizabeth Peters, too, and can't wait to read your first Jaya Jones mystery. Your Gargoyle Girl blog is so beautifully designed; I know your book covers will be gorgeous. You're one incredibly talented individual.

Sending healing thoughts your way and excited to hear of your latest venture.

Lisa Hughey said...

I got to read Artifact last year. I **LOVED** this book, people!!! It's awesome. :) Can't wait it in print! xo

Amy said...

That is so cool. Congratulations!

Heidi Noroozy said...

Very cool news, Gigi! This sounds like absolutely the right move for you. I can't wait to read Artifact, and I'm looking forward to your big launch party. I'll be there, for sure!

HSS said...

Way to go Gigi!! Can't wait to read Artifact.

Terri Thayer said...

Congrats, Gigi! I'm pulling for you!

Gigi Pandian said...

Toni -- Thank you so much!

Brett -- Thanks for the encouragement and I hope we get to catch up at LCC in a few months.

Nancy and Lisa -- Both of your comments on my writing have been so helpful in getting me this far.

Amy, Heidi, Helen, Terri -- Thanks so much for your good wishes!

Anne Spencer said...

Yeah, I can post comments again-
I'm so looking forward to reading about Artifact and to see you accomplish what you set out to do; and talked about in the Hamer Drive house all those years ago. You're an inspiration and encouragement. I echo all the sentiments above--and your pictures on Gargoyle. I definitely want a signed copy :)Congrats and cheering from Texas.
Shannon

L.J. Sellers said...

I'm convinced that self-publishing is the best short- and long-term option for novelists. Congratulations and best wishes!

Jane George said...

Congratulations!

Love the name of your publishing company.

Will we see a future blog on agent-author relations as authors choose to self-publish?

Virna DePaul said...

Congratulations on this new journey, Gigi!! Very happy for you and looking forward to reading Artifact!

Rachael Herron said...

Can't wait to read this!!!

Gigi Pandian said...

Shannon, LJ, Virna, Rachael -- Thanks for the congratulations!

Jane -- My agent is still my agent through this process. I know that in case my books take off there will be things like foreign sales that I have no idea how to deal with on my own. So I definitely see a value to good agents.

Juliet Blackwell said...

I'd love to host the release party for you!!! As always, Gigi, your spirit shines through your words. Love it.

L.G.C. Smith said...

Go, Gigi! I love your writing, your photos, and your vision. All the best to you in all ways. :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Gigi.
A good goal!
Best wishes,
Theresa de Valence
www.ReviewsByTdeV.com

Leslie Budewitz said...

So the name Gigi actually stands for Gargoyle Girls? Who knew! Congratulations on taking a big step forward -- and gosh, don't you look cute with short hair!!

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Brava, Gigi! Sounds like you're taking charge in just the right spirit. Looking forward to the book!

Kaye George said...

I wish you much, much success, Gigi! I'm sure you'll be a big hit. A good decision.

Supriya said...

Huge news, and so proud of you! Can't wait to read this book and watch your star continue to rise! Big hugs and congratulations!

Gigi Pandian said...

Juliet and LGC -- you are so sweet!

Theresa, Leslie, Liz, Kaye, and Supriya -- I'm so wowed by all the congratulations flooding in. Thank you all so much. I'm excited to move forward with this :)

Jess said...

Tried to post on your new blog but couldn't so I came back here. Just want you to kmow: I don't have a 2012 calendar yet but as soon as I get it, I'm marking August release-ARTIFACT. It sounds great.

Prayers, good thoughts and thumbs up to you.

Alli Sinclair said...

This is wonderful news and I know you'll do well. I can't wait to read Artifact and your other work. I hope you're feeling well and remember, there are a lot of people in the world sending you their best wishes and lots of positive energy. Go you!

Avery Aames said...

Gigi, brilliant! You rock. And I love your new hair! If I can be there when you launch, I will be. I'm very excited for the power I feel in your words.

~Avery aka Daryl

Sophie Littlefield said...

so proud of you gigi - everything you do, you do with the sparkly imprint of *you* :)

Lisa Alber said...

I love this! I've been thinking about self-publishing too...Will follow your adventures!

Diana Chambers said...

All I can say is WOW. To you and your spirit and Artifact itself. This is exactly my kind of book and I can't wait to read it! You go, girl:-)

Catrina said...

OMG. I CAN'T WAIT!!!! <3 <3 <3

Susan Shea said...

Fantastic news! Bold Gigi - taking on a new enterprise while beating back any cancer cells foolish enough to think they have a chance in hell with you. I can't wait to buy my copy of your first book. I already know it's going to be great, - Susan

Gigi Pandian said...

Jess -- Thanks so much, and sorry Blogger was being finicky!

Lisa -- It's a little daunting learning the process at first, but it's definitely doable, so I'm going to share the process on my personal blog and hopefully it'll help others thinking of doing the same thing figure out if it's right for them.

Diana -- I remember talking with you about our India books last year, so I hope I get to read yours soon, too!

Alli, Avery, Sophie, Catrina, Susan -- I'm so overwhelmed by all the good wishes. Thank you!

Margaret Lucke said...

Congratulations on your new venture, Gigi. With all of your skills and clear reasoning behind it, Gargoyle Girl is sure to be a success. Best of luck with all of the adventures ahead of you.

Ashley Ream said...

Are we lining up for copies yet? Where do I stand?

Camille Minichino said...

How did you get so wise and so talented so young!

I'm reserving many copies of Artifact, please, and a seat for the launch party at Julie's, and please let me provide the Gargoyle cake!

Patricia Gligor said...

I can tell, after reading this post, that you can and will overcome any and all obstacles - including your current health problems. You're a determined young lady with a vision and a zest for life and you will succeed. I just know it.

Gigi Pandian said...

Margaret, Ashley, Patricia -- Thank you!

Camille -- Friends baked me gargoyle cupcakes before ( http://twitpic.com/4pmn8p ) so a gargoyle cake sounds awesome.

Sharon Owen said...

I'm so glad your prognosis is good. And I'm very interested in following your progress as you go ahead with your plans to publish your books as ebooks and POD. Many of us are going through soul searching now about making a similar choice. As the years pile up, we never know how many more we have, even when we haven't been through a major health scare. You're an inspiration and I wish you the best.

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