Monday, April 15, 2013

Guest Post: Viola Ryan- My Road to Publication: Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer.

Thank you for having me. My road to publication was interesting. I "finished" The Mark of Abel, then called The Fallen in 2008. It's a paranormal about Lucifer's redemption. My hook is Lucifer is the first vampire. Everyone said the same thing, "What a great idea, but turning Lucifer into a hero will be controversial."

 That year, I attended The Muse Online Writers Conference, a free weeklong online conference. I pitched my manuscript to an agent who asked for the partial. She later rejected me. I used that rejection to qualify for Romance Writers of America's PRO status. I saw her again two years later and told her this. We both had a good laugh.

 The next year, I volunteered to help moderate at the conference. I had learned a lot through the workshops at the conference and wanted to give back. I was taught by Lea Schizas, the founder of the conference, how to moderate pitch chats. I was doing serious revisions on the book, so many it warranted a name change to The Mark of Abel. Lucifer was still the hero and still a vampire, but the story around the heroine was completely different and it had new villains. I didn't pitch that year.

Months after the conference, I started sending out queries. I took several workshops on writing the query and synopsis. Since I started the book in 2007, I had done tons of research on the various agents, through blogs, mailing loops and Publishers Marketplace. I did everything you are taught--personalize the query, write a killer blurb, proofread, keep it simple, have a dynamite hook. I received some very nice personal rejections, but they were still that, rejections.

 I pitched my book again at Muse Con 2010. Another agent requested it and later rejected it. I became head of the pitching teams and trained others how to moderate pitch chats. My other goal was to help the people pitching relax. I even told corny jokes in the waiting room. Afterward the conference, I moderated online pitch chats for several writers groups I belonged to. I have heard over 100 pitches. That taught me a lot. My pitching got better, and I helped others refine their pitches.

Muse Con 2011 rolls around. I am head of the pitching teams again. I pitched to another agent who requested the book, but warned me the paranormal market was hard to break into at this point. I had another agent not request anything because no one was buying vampire novels and she already had authors on her list who wrote about fallen angels.

 I realized my dream of getting a contract with one of the big 5 would take steps. I needed to think smaller. I wasn't giving up on my dream or my book, just rethinking my strategy. I needed to build-up a following and prove I could market books. I didn't want to self-publish. I wanted someone who would nurture my career. If I couldn't get an agent, I needed someone else to do this.

 I approached Lea about submitting to an epublisher. She knew the market better than I did. I was just starting to learn about the various epubs out there. I asked her who did she recommended I submit to. She said she'd been dying for me to ask this. She's loved my concept since she first heard it back in 2008 and would love for me to submit to her company, MuseItUp Publishing.

 I submitted and it went before the acquiring editors who decided to acquire it. I was thrilled. I was going to be published! The Mark of Abel came out Dec 21, 2012. Fortunately, the world didn't end that day. I got my cover in November. I adore it. I even had it made into a fleece blanket at (if you want a referral, let me know in the comments and you get a coffee mug for $1). In February, Lea told me she was taking my book to print. It will be out before the fall.

 Muse Con 2012 I gave my first workshop. I loved it. At another group, I gave a workshop on how to pitch. Now I am focused on writing the sequel and marketing.

 For Muse Con 2013, I'm co-head moderator, so I don't have time to give another workshop. Doing this helps free Lea to focus on her publishing company. I have learned a lot from my editors (even if my content editor is evil) and through the authors mailing loop. On Mondays, we get together with Lea in our chat room to talk about marketing ideas. We really are a big family. Lea has created an author-centric company that truly nurtures us.

 For more information on The Muse Online Writers Conference and to sign up, check out

For more information on Viola Ryan, check out her website at

To submit to MuseItUp Publishing, check out the guidelines at

  The Mark of Abel chronicles Lucifer's struggle to determine what's more important--redemption or his heart.

Lucifer is fed up with humanity. He created hell to deter evil, but man’s inhumanity is only escalating. He just wants to return home to heaven, but ever since that little problem in the Garden of Eden, the Pearly Gates remain firmly shut to him. It doesn’t help that he’s the first vampire, an abomination in God’s sight.

 Fortunately, two thousand years ago Lucifer’s estranged brother, Jesus, gave him a prophecy. To fulfill it, all Lucifer has to do is find the right artist, study her artwork and the path back to heaven will be revealed. The artist even bears a symbol so he knows who she is. Too bad she is murdered every time he finds her.

 Janie’s a frustrated artist and college art teacher who wants two things—a guy she can show her paintings to and a night without nightmares. Each nightmare plagues her until she paints it. She doesn’t realize these paintings are key to unlocking her destiny, one that could redeem the original fallen angel.

buy links:
MuseItUp Publishing:
Barnes and Noble:



Leona~Author said...

Hi Viola, I enjoyed your post very much. A writer's life isn't an easy one, is it? Before I wrote my novel, I had no idea what authors went through on the road to publication.

I can hardly wait to see a book cover for my romance novel Hemphill Towers. To see it on a fleece blanket, mugs or pens would be a dream come true for me.

Lea has given me an opportunity to be published also, probably late summer 2013.

I admire your courage in doing chat pitches and workshops. I'll look up your book and hope to get to know you better as a fellow Muse author.


Viola Ryan said...


Welcome to the Muse Family. We really are a family and the support we give each other is great. I have my cover on mugs and pens as well. I even had it made into a calendar. I love it. Marion Sipe did an amazing job.

Thanks for stopping by.