A Writer's Journey: Launching Without an Agent with Lora L. Hyler

Here, Lora L. Hyler, author of the forthcoming book The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes, discusses her journey and offers insights for launching a book without an agent.
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By Lora L. Hyler

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A few short months ago, I shared a bit of my writer’s journey detailing my search for the perfect agent and how artist and writer residencies provide me with space to breathe, reflect and accelerate my productivity. Well, I have an update. I’m excited to share that I have a publishing deal and my middle grade novel, The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes debuts in March 2018!

My successful journey toward publication, finally, was due to a shift in focus. My corporate background consisted of communications, public relations and marketing. And since I founded my marketing company, Hyler Communications in 2001, I’ve had many successes for clients ranging from retail, education, corporate, non-profit organizations, and authors. As I lamented taking another year or two to find an agent, I had an aha moment. I decided to play to my strengths. My past business success was due to knowing when to take detours to make forward progress. What I knew for certain was that with a published novel, I would do the necessary work to get my multi-cultural cast featuring superheroes, science and spy gadgets in the hands of children everywhere.

I signed this fall with HenschelHAUS Publishing, Inc. Since 2002, this Wisconsin publisher has ushered more than 550 books into the world. A non-fiction book co-written by former Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry is one of their latest offerings. When owner Kira Henschel lauded my marketing background, I knew I had made the right choice. We form a formidable team.

A Leap of Faith: Launching without an Agent

Once I took the leap of faith to launch the book agent-less, I’ve been thrilled and humbled by the reception, and all this, pre-publication! Some highlights:

  • Working directly with a talented illustrator from Barbados to bring my four main characters to life for the front book cover. Dracanima Art is based in Barbados.
  • Speaking slots at two fall 2017 conferences: Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and Wisconsin Writer’s Association.
  • Invitation from the U.S. Department of Education’s 2017 National Assessment Education Panel to participate in a 22-person panel of writers and educators to assist with setting the 4th grade writing assessment. Side benefit to the Atlanta, Ga. meeting: making in-person connections with fellow writers and 4th grade teachers, who are now excited to read my novel. I've already received three unsolicited school visit invitations!
  • Invitation to help launch my book on a fellow SCBWI author’s blog.
  • Invitations I issued, that were accepted by prominent reviewers to receive Advance Readers Copies.
  • Booked an NPR radio interview just before book launch day.
  • Made in-person contacts with bookstore owners, leading to invitations for appearances and in-store signings.
  • Showcasing my novel at the Bologna, Italy March 2018 conference! My goal is to go global with my three-part middle grade series.
  • Selected for my latest booked writer’s residency in the south of France, in Cassis. If you missed it, my August 2017 article reveals why residencies are vital to my writing process. Consider applying to a residency to boost your writing career.
  • Approached to market a fellow author’s books.

I’m truly just getting started. Here’s what I have not lost sight of … supporting my fellow authors. When I started my journey toward publication, I attended many conferences and workshops. I admired, learned from, and purchased countless books of many authors. Many are SCBWI members. I vowed to stand in their shoes someday soon. And that day has arrived.

What will I do differently? I will continue to serve SCBWI and other writer’s organizations, purchase countless books, and provide bits of hard-earned wisdom to pre-publication authors. No matter the path, we share the same goal: to get good books into the hands of readers.

Lora Hyler’s debut middle grade novel, The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes, will be published in March 2018. She founded her Wisconsin-based public relations and marketing company in 2001. She is a member of SCBWI and the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. She holds a 2016 Jade Ring award from the Wisconsin Writers Association for an adult short story, several screenwriting and news awards, and has published hundreds of corporate articles. She was the recipient of a 2017 artist residency at Marnay sur Seine, France and two previous residencies at Noepe Center for the Literary Arts on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. Her next planned residency is in the South of France in February 2019. More about Lora at www.hylercommunications.com.

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