The Stories Behind Our Books
What Is Your Back Story?
Guest post by Lois W. Stern
Lois. you have been a guest blogger here several times before, but as a quick intro, I’ll just say that you are an author, editor, presenter, marketer and innovator. Your title for this blog post really grabbed my attention. You are inviting our readers to tell their back stories. So please explain. What exactly do you mean by back stories?
Bette, as authors we work so hard to polish our stories to perfection, often working for years before our manuscripts go to press. Hopefully, our readers enjoy the fruits of our labors; but as a presenter, I find that my audiences often find my back stories particularly compelling. So I share little back stories about what propelled me to begin my Tales2Inspire project. Why it was important to me to do this. How I went about the process. What challenges I faced along the way. If I had any cheering squad of supporters or any naysayers of non-support, and how they affected me as I pursued my dreams.
So now it seems you are inviting other authors to share the back stories to their books?
Yes, that’s right Bette. And I’m hoping that we can select a number of their stories to appear right here on this blog. Does that work for you?
Love that idea, Lois. Let’s go for it! For those of you who don’t know Lois yet, she is the creator of Tales2Inspire, an ‘Authors Helping Authors’ project/contest. Suppose you tell us a bit about the back story to your Tales2Inspire books. For openers, what propelled you to begin this project?
Actually, my first full length book had nothing to do with inspiring stories, Bette. Its title, Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery, was a ground-breaker in many ways. (It even merited a few paragraphs on a front page of the Sunday Style section of the NY Times.) I secured a contract with a NYC agent, but despite a lot of publisher interest, ultimately they all turned it down. Why? Word was that I didn’t have a strong enough platform, and I didn’t even know the meaning of that word at the time!) That’s just the first part of my back story, the wake-up call to the state of traditional publishing today and my search for alternate paths to publication.
Wow, Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery sounds about as far from inspirational stories as you can get! How did that transition happen?
Actually, it wasn’t a transition at all, Bette, just another side to my personality. I always loved inspiring stories, was drawn to them with an almost magnetic force. I even started a column for a New York webzine that I titled Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives several years before writing Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery. I have a passion for sharing uplifting stories about good people and wonderful happenings because we rarely read about them. It seems that stories of heinous crimes and violence dominate the news.
We sure could use more uplifting stories in today’s world, so I understand your passion for writing inspiring stories. But why did you open up Tales2Inspire to other authors and turn it into a contest?
Good question, Bette, and the one I’m asked most often. After my letdown experience with traditional publishing, I began to think, this must be happening to many other authors, talented authors who are never given a chance because they lack that elusive author platform. That’s when I began to envision creating an alternate path for all of us, seeking ways to help strengthen our opportunities for discovery and name recognition.
It sounds like initiating this Tales2Inspire contest was just a seed of an idea in 2012. My guess is that you never dreamed it would grow in such strength and numbers as it has.
You are absolutely right, Bette. Tales2Inspire is like a dream come true for me. I have self-published five Tales2Inspire books filled with amazing stories from an incredibly talented group of authors.
I bet readers would be interested in the back story to how you spread the word? Did you meet any naysayers along the way?
I sure did! I first introduced Tales2Inspire on some of the LinkedIn writers’ groups, and ran into a few skeptics who challenged me every step of the way. I can think of one person whose comments were so nasty that I felt like bopping him over the head. But when that happens, you really have to take a deep breath and step back. It would be the kiss-of-death to become confrontational and feed into that negativity. So I would say something like, “I’m so sorry about the misunderstanding. Let me give you a little more information to help allay some of your concerns.”
It takes a lot of diplomacy when your back is pushed to the wall. What about supporters? Can you name anyone in particular?
Yes, Dan Poynter, an extremely successful self-published author and author advocate, whose newsletter had a subscription base of many hundreds of thousands. I had met Dan at several writer conferences. When I spoke to him about my project, he encouraged me to write up a blurb for his newsletter. What a difference that made! The spread was enormous. I have received winning stories from South Africa, Australia, England, Canada and from across the United States, all because of Dan. And having information about Tales2Inspire appear in his newsletters certainly gave my project an air of legitimacy.
Sounds like Dan is the guardian angel every author hopes for!
You’re right, Bette, but unfortunately now we have to use the past tense. Dan passed on several months ago, but his legacy lives on.
Beautifully put, Lois. I think readers might like the back story to why you call Tales2Inspire a project as well as a contest.
I work feverishly to find new and innovative ways to strengthen my winning authors’ platforms, to give them many diverse opportunities for discovery. And I involve them in the judging phase of this contest. It’s all explained on my website at www.tales2inspire.com.
Finally, I think our readers would be interested in your answer to this one front story question. What is the theme of your next contest and what are the entry criteria.
This theme of this next contest is ‘inspiring animal stories’, subtitled Stories in Feathers and Fur. It’s underway right now and for any of your readers who are interested, or simply faintly curious, all the guidelines and submission details appear on my website at www.tales2inspire.com. And I guess I should mention that it is FREE. There are no submission fees to enter this contest.
Thank you, Lois, for a fascinating interview.
And now, readers, we’d love to hear from you. How about sending us the back stories to your books.
My pleasure, Bette.
Before I say goodbye, I would like to offer your readers a gift —a FREE sampler of Tales2Inspire published stories. Just click on http://tales2inspire.com/?page_id=804 and it will be yours!
My Author Links:
- Watch videos of Tales2Inspire winning stories on this YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/WinningTales
- FRIEND Lois on her Facebook personal page: https://www.facebook.com/LoisWSter
- LIKE Lois on her Facebook author page: https:// www.facebook.com/tales2inspire/beauty
- TWEET Lois on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MyFabBeautyBlog
- FOLLOW Lois’s Pinterest boards: https://www.pinterest.com/loiswstern/
- BUY BOOKS: http://amzn.to/1Yb0hLO
- CONNECT with Lois on LinkedIn: http://tiny.cc/qgm96x
- VISIT Lois’s Amazon Author Central page: https://www.amazon.com/Lois-W.-Stern/e/B005HOO640/
- CONNECT with Lois on Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109993642348040092672/posts