3 S.R. Johannes: IndieView: Tracy Marchini

Thursday, February 02, 2012

IndieView: Tracy Marchini

Today, Tracy Marchini stops by to talk to us about her indie journey....

Tracy, tell us about yourself

I worked for four years at a Manhattan literary agency before leaving to start my own editorial business and focus on my own writing.  

I'm currently agented by Michelle Humphrey of Martha Kaplan Literary, and am working on a picture book starring one of my favorite animals - ducks.  (I would say cats are my other favorite animal, but I've discovered that really, my own cat was my favorite animal and everybody else's cats were usually just alright.)  I've been accepted for publication into Highlights Magazine, published a few of my own works and managed to slip a duck story into Adams Media's anthology, BAD AUSTEN: The Worst Stories Jane Never Wrote.

I feel the same way about my dogs and kids :) Tell us about your writing and your latest book.

My latest full-length book is, alas, duck-free.  

HOT TICKET is a contemporary middle-grade mystery that stars Juliet Robinson, the only sixth grader in John Jay Jr. High who hasn't received a "hot ticket" from the mysterious ticket dispenser. When one of the dorkiest kids in school - Crammit Gibson - receives a ticket before she does, Juliet decides that the ticketing system has to stop. With the help of her best friend Lucy, a Daria-esque Madeline and her almost-crush Crammit, Juliet is determined to climb a few rungs on the middle school social ladder and catch the ticket dispenser once and for all!

Sounds adorable. Can you tell us more about the publishing journey behind this?

Paul McCartney might describe my publishing journey as a "long and winding road."  (Or he might just say, "Tracy who?"  One of the two.)  

Anyway, I started writing young, and received my first picture book rejection when I was about fourteen.  Luckily, my mother had started her journey about a year before, so I had someone to explain that a first rejection is more like a right of passage, than it is physical proof that you suck.  I started going to writers' conferences, and that's how I eventually ended up with an internship at a literary agency, which led to my full-time job at an agency a little later.  I continued to write while working at the agency, and was lucky enough to get feedback on my work from some wonderfully talented authors while I was there.  

HOT TICKET was actually inspired by one of my colleagues, who had explained that the same way I had used the term "cool points" and "negative points" in high school was the way that kids in Chicago would say "hot ticket" or "shame ticket."  On lunch break I started writing the first chapter of Hot Ticket - where these terms became physical entities - and within six weeks had the first rough draft.

Then it was revised.  And revised.  And revised.  And revised.

I worked on it with a few agents, and received lots of positive feedback from editors.

I went to France for a month on a writer's retreat, and worked on other projects.  A few months later, I published PUB SPEAK: A WRITER'S DICTIONARY OF PUBLISHING TERMS.  And a few months after that, I thought - I could do it with a small, non-fiction book... why not put HOT TICKET out there?

And so I did. 

::Whoosh:: Long and winding, right?

Better than what mine was for a while - Another One Bites the Dust :) What made you make a move from agenting to self publishing?

I enjoyed learning everything I could about contracts, but eventually I realized that I didn't want to be an agent.  

In terms of traditional publishing versus self-publishing, I aim to be a hybrid!  I enjoy the nimbleness of indie publishing, but I would also enjoy the visibility of traditional publishing.  My agent and I are working on several projects, with most right now aimed towards the traditional market.  But for things such as my Effie Stories, which are funny, contemporary YA short stories, I think indie is still the way to go.

Who knows though - Amazon has changed what it means to be indie, and they could do it again.  Or somebody else could.  And then it makes sense to reevaluate which projects are better where.

Sometimes it can be scary or exciting, depending on the day and Amazon's mood. What would you say are your top three pros and cons about self/indie pubbing?

- Can quickly change covers, prices, etc. to take advantage of current marketplace
- Can publish a variety of work that may not fit into the traditional marketplace
- More readers are looking for inexpensive reads
- Everything is up to you

- Visibility is largely out of your control
- Larger companies make decisions based on their long-tail, and your terms are always subject to change
- Assumption of poor quality
- Everything is up to you 

Those are so true! Especially that last one. Where can we stalk you online?

I'm at www.tracymarchini.com, on Twitter as @TracyMarchini and on Facebook.  Also, you can check out my Hot Ticket (Middle Grade Mystery)  page to download printable hot tickets to give to your friends!  My books are also available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, iTunes, and various other retailers.

Thanks for stopping by?

Feel free to leave any comments of questions for Tracy!


Laura Pauling said...

I like the idea of a writing retreat in Paris! Sounds like a hybrid is a great way to go! Best of luck.

Susan Oloier said...

I like this interview and your comment re: Another One Bites the Dust. I seriously doubt that's your story, though.
Tracy's book sounds fun!I'll have to put it on my TBR list.

Christina Farley said...

Yes, a writer's retreat in Paris would be lovely. I did one in Greece on Knossos and it really was inspirational! It's what got me started in writing!

Great interview. I love ducks.

Janet Johnson said...

So interesting to read about Tracy's journey. There's definitely more than one way to accomplish your goals. :)