Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Interview with the Author

Janet Elaine Smith

Janet Elaine Smith is the most experienced POD author I have ever encountered in my vast exploration of the Internet wasteland over the past eight years. You can visit her blog or see her personal marketing plan or even read another interview with Janet before you continue reading this one. I cannot even remember on which message board I first discovered Ms. Smith. What I do remember is that among all the disparagement of each other as real or unreal authors, she was out there meeting booksellers, readers, and even POD company founders through her marketing quest. When the going gets tough, many people want to just stand around and argue about whom to blame for their problems, but Janet is one of those tough-get-going people. Including the reissues with different publishers, Janet’s eighteen books have been published forty-three times! Her entire published catalog is listed at the end of this interview.

PODBRAM: I understand that your first four books were self-published in the ‘90’s, before POD was even invented. Tell us how your long writing career began.

Janet: My husband and I were missionaries in Venezuela for nine years. When we came back to the US, I wanted to write down the experiences we had had there. By the time I finished that, I was "hooked" on writing, and I began my first novel, which started out to be a "simple little regency romance," but which grew into my first published novel, Dunnottar. It only took about twenty years for it to get published. Meanwhile, I kept writing more books and I stumbled into some pretty good magazine gigs. I knew that as long as I could keep writing, I hoped that one day I would succeed. I have never run away from a challenge.

PODBRAM: When you stated self-published for certain early books, did you mean the stacks of thousands in your garage type of deal? Do you still have them available for purchase?

Janet: The first book I "published" was The Hallett Family History. My dad asked me to put all the data and stories I had found on The Halletts for him for Christmas. I managed to get the book finished, and one day I was talking to the editor of Heritage Quest Magazine (now merged with Genealogical Helper) where I was a contributing editor and had a regular column as well as many feature articles. Now I never planned for this book to go anywhere except to my dad, but the editor wanted to feature it in the magazine. I took the original manuscript over to Kinko's and had a copy printed and put a black plastic spiral binding on it. He liked it and did a book review of it, and the next thing I knew I was getting orders from Halletts all across the country, as well as from quite a few libraries that wanted to add it to their genealogy section. I sold over a hundred copies that way, running them off one at a time when somebody ordered one. About six months ago the Hallett History showed up as a listing on Amazon. I have no idea how they found it. It never even had an ISBN!

A little publisher in Michigan, Kinseeker Publishing, sent me a contract for two genealogy books I had done and was using in my genealogy classes, which I had taught for sixteen years. I was ecstatic! There was no advance, and I never got any royalties, and they soon went out of business. I did get a few copies of the books, and I have one of them left. There are a couple of copies here at our public library. When I got the books, they looked exactly the same as my Hallett History that I had done at Kinko's. I think that's probably all they were doing, too. They are listed on Amazon (I have no idea where they found them, either) and once in awhile there is a used copy available. I think right now there is a copy of Tickling Your Ancestral Funnybone that was in some library and it is listed at almost $60! I wrote these books (as well as the Hallett History) before I had a computer, and I can't even find a copy of Digging in the Dirt: A Guide to Digging Up Your Family Roots to retype it onto a disk. Maybe one day...

The next one was The Flood of the Millennium. When we had our horrible flood in 1997 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, everybody heard about it. My husband and I had run a charitable organization here for about twenty-five years when the flood hit, and we were evacuated to the Grand Forks Air Force Base. When we went into the office to find out where to go or what to do, the colonel in charge asked us what we did in Grand Forks. I told him we had already been heavily involved in dealing with people from the moment the possibility of a flood was announced. The colonel told me to record the medical history of the nearly one-thousand evacuees! As I recorded their medical histories, I also heard how each one of them had gotten out of Grand Forks. I kept detailed notes of their stories during the nearly six weeks that we were all refugees on the base twenty miles from home, and then I compiled the book from these notes. My editor of the regional magazine Memories & Mysteries, where I'm the associate editor, heard about it, and he put a big write-up in the magazine about my flood book. I started getting orders from all over the country, as people were watching our experiences on Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Schuler's Hour of Power, etc., and many newspapers picked up on the fact that the book was available. I got a call from The Weather Channel in Atlanta and they asked me to send a copy of it to them. They announced it on the air whenever they ran footage on our flood. Again, I made one copy at a time at Kinko's when I got an order for a book. It got to the point where they just kept the manuscript there and called me in the morning to see how many books I needed. I would tell them, and by noon I would take the addressed manila envelopes over there, stuff them, then head to the post office to mail them. I sold books to people in every one of the states, as well as to Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the UK. That book sold over 3,000 copies, all printed and bound at Kinko's, in probably about six months. And then it pretty much died.

PODBRAM: I know you must be having a hissy fit to tell us about your Promo Paks, so go ahead and tell us about your latest release, the one so obviously published to aid other POD authors in their marketing efforts.

Janet: When my first book came out, I had no idea that an author had to market her own book. I had no background or training in marketing or sales. Maybe that was an advantage. By that time I had a computer, so I tried finding ways to let people know about my book. The things I did were very simple. I think that was a big key as to why they worked. I was too stupid to know they shouldn't work, and amazingly, they did. In fact, it worked well enough that in just a couple of months, Dunnottar was the No. 1 best-selling Scottish book on Amazon, out of over 8000 competitors. It stayed there for almost three months, and it got up to a sales ranking of 90 on the overall Amazon list. As these things were successful, including my being able to eventually get my POD books into the bookstores (another thing people said you can't do, but I have always loved a challenge!), people began to ask me how I had done it. That's when I decided to do my Promo Paks: Nearly Free Marketing for Authors. It was available for quite awhile just as an e-book, but I am thrilled that it is now out in print as well. They are very simple, mostly free things that authors can do, even if they are physically handicapped or relatively "financially challenged."

PODBRAM: Few authors have had the varied experience with several different POD companies that you have had. Which companies have you had experience with?

Janet: As I mentioned before, my first books were completely self-published. Then I had the genealogy books from Kinseeker Publishing. After that, I had five books that were published by FirstPublish, a POD publisher. Even though they went bankrupt in less than a year and I have my own suppositions (sheer guesses) as to why, they gave me my first real break, and for that I owe them a lot. Dunnottar was not only accepted for publication, but it was the book that they used to launch their entire company. I even ended up with some full back cover ads on magazines like Writers' Digest and The Writer. By the time they fell apart, I had five books out with them. The last one ended up with somebody else's name on the promo materials they sent me! Then I went with PageFree Publishing. Again, they were very good to me, and vice versa. It was great at the start, but I began to hear from other authors who were with them that they were having problems getting in touch with them, as well as some other problems. I was never an employee at PageFree. I got royalties the same as all their other authors. One day an employee that I had never heard of publicly attacked me on one of the writers' groups (one we both belong to, I think). I have no idea where that came from. I had considered the owner of PageFree much more than a business relationship. We were very good friends, or at least so I thought. I have no idea what happened. I hate losing a good publisher, but I hate losing a good friend even more.

Kristie Leigh Maguire and I had been friends for several years. She had asked me numerous times to work with her in marketing the books published by Star Publish LLC. I had been completely loyal to PageFree, sending many authors to them. But the time was right, and I have been delighted to work with Star. In my book, they are at the top of the heap. For one thing, I really appreciate the fact that they don't publish everything that comes along just because an author has some money. They choose their books very carefully. It is a joy, as their Marketing Director, to call bookstores every week to tell them about their many fine books. I now have seventeen books out with Star.

PODBRAM: Have you created any or all of your own cover designs?

Janet: I don't do my own covers. My artistic talent is non-existent. I realized that when our oldest son, now forty, was about three years old. I drew a cute little bunny with big ears sticking up. He turned it every which way but loose and finally put it upside down and said, "Mommy, that is the dumbest looking cow I've ever seen." I haven't drawn anything since. I have had a wonderful local friend who did the original cover art for some of my books. My youngest son did two of them. The others were created by Kristie at Star Publish. She does a fantastic job and has just started a subsidiary business of doing covers and video trailers. You can find the information at Kristie Leigh Maguire. I think a cover is one of the most important components of a book. I had one book that was out for a short time by a small traditional publisher. I had no idea what the cover was like until it was up on their website for sale. I hated that cover! I want some input into what my covers look like.

PODBRAM: Have you attended any writers’ classes or workshops? Have you taught any?

Janet: Unfortunately, living in North Dakota makes the availability of such things almost impossible. My husband recently passed away, but he was in a wheelchair and that made it impossible for us to do any traveling. I have been involved in the Muse Online Conference (both as an instructor and a participant), and it is a wonderful opportunity for people to attend a conference who have similar problems or who have jobs they can't leave, family responsibilities, lack of income, etc. I have taught Creative Writing classes at our local Adult Education Center. Some of them have been for fiction writing and others for magazine writing. Also, I cannot stress the importance of belonging to a local writers' group. If nothing else, it keeps you writing. If you don't have one where you live, start one yourself. There are writer wannabes everywhere these days.

PODBRAM: Which POD publishers have you considered for one or more of your books, but not selected?

Janet: Before I decided on PageFree, after being burned by First Publish, I did a lot of research on many POD publishers. I don't know that I seriously considered any others. I did learn one thing: the best place to find out the true story of what a POD publisher is like is to talk to their authors. That's where you'll find the truth.

PODBRAM: What was your experience as an editor for iUniverse like?

Janet: As I mentioned earlier, the biggest problem I had was with the content of some of the books. I found a few real gems that I would highly recommend to anyone. One of my favorites was The Mozart Forgeries, by Daniel N. Leeson, which is a brilliant book! (Editor’s Note: we have a review of The Mozart Forgeries coming soon at iUBR.) Some of the others, however, were so violent that I had nightmares for weeks after I finished editing them. Others were just plain smut! No, I don't mean because they were erotic; they were just filthy language with no rhyme nor reason to their existence. I think that is the one biggest problem we, as POD authors, have to overcome. That is one of the reasons I am so proud of being affiliated with Star Publish. They are very careful about what they publish. Of course that is not exclusive to POD publishing. I have seen some books from big traditional publishers that I don't think belong in the public domain either.

PODBRAM: How satisfying has your experience with iUniverse been?

Janet: The people I worked with at iUniverse were wonderful to work with. I not only have my flood book published by them (at their request), but I also edited for them for some time. The final quality of the books is fine. The people I worked with (most of them are no longer there, especially since their merger with AuthorHouse) were great. The problems I had was that as I mentioned before, they publish anything that comes in, as long as there is an exchange of money. I argued with the powers that be about some of the books I edited, but I always lost. I have no idea how many times I had the amendment rights a person has quoted to me. The other problem I have with my one iU title is that their discounts to stores are so low and their books are not returnable, which makes it nearly impossible to get them into the brick and mortar bookstores.

PODBRAM: What is the most significant thing you have learned as a POD author? Do you have any advice to offer to new or prospective POD authors?

Janet: The most important thing I have learned applies to all authors. Writing the book is the easy part. Getting it noticed and selling is the hard work. I think it is also important to note that POD publishing is beginning to come into its own. It doesn't have quite as much of a stigma of being "a loser's way out" that it used to have. My advice is to believe in your book and in yourself. If you want to try the traditional route first, go for it, but don't spend years chasing a dream when people could be reading your words. Also, there are a lot of advantages to POD publishing over traditional publishing. You can write the book the way you think it should be done instead of bowing to somebody else's ideas; the royalties are usually higher with POD publishers; you have input into your covers; it is released much faster than with a traditional publisher; and finally (and most important to me), the book stays "in print" as long as you want it to. The thought of a book having a shelf life of less than three months scares the bejabbers out of me. I want my books to be around at least as long as Gone With the Wind has been out there. I used to have my sights set on the Bible, but I realized that was pretty unrealistic, even for me!

PODBRAM: What has been your single most successful marketing tool or tactic?

Janet: Oh, my. I have tried so many things, and many of them have worked quite well, but I think without a doubt it has been my actually getting phone numbers of bookstores nationwide and calling the managers to let them know about my books. Now that I am the Marketing Director for Star Publish, I do that for their other books at the same time. I call the big chain stores as well as the independent stores. I am very seldom met with a negative attitude. There were something like 300,000 new titles published last year, and the poor managers have no idea which books are good and which ones will work in their stores. I always ask them what type of books sell best in their area so I know which ones to "pitch" to them. I also have a lot of the managers who ask me if we have any authors in their area for book signings. Our in-store sales are, except for a few titles where the authors themselves do heavy online marketing, much higher than our online sales, as far as we can tell. Still, you know that such actual figures are about as secret as the combination to get inside the front doors at Fort Knox.

PODBRAM: What has been your least successful marketing method? What do you think most POD authors try that is rarely successful?

Janet: The biggest complaint I hear from authors (both POD and traditional) is how disappointed they are in the actual sales when they do a book signing, especially in bookstores. They go in expecting to sell dozens of books, and they might sell one or two, but sometimes none. I guess I look at it differently. I see it as not so much an opportunity to sell books as a way to let people know who you are and what you write so when they see your book on the shelf the next time they are in, something clicks and they pick it up and buy it. Also, a lot of the success of a book signing depends on the store, and the authors themselves. It's like anything else in this business; you have to let people know about the event before it happens. Walk-in traffic is not always that good on any certain day, but if your friends and relatives come to support you, other people will see them talking to you and their curiosity is aroused.

When you have a book signing coming up, contact the newspaper and radio stations in the area to help you spread the word. Make up a nice poster and take it to the bookstore at least a week ahead of time so they can put it up in the window. (VistaPrint does awesome brochures, posters, etc.) Make sure you have a good supply of promotional materials to take with you so people can remember your name. Not everybody has a name as simple as Janet Smith!

PODBRAM: Let’s take a little trip down memory lane. I discovered your exceptional self-publishing success by reading several writers’ message boards. I began communicating via the POD boards in early 2001, and yours was one of the first voices that caught my attention with your positive attitude and common-sense approach to marketing. There are a few other significant names you may remember from that era: Sarah Mankowski, Susan James, Robin Westmiller, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, and, of course, Kristie Leigh Maguire. Would you like to comment on the efforts of these other POD marketing pioneers?

Janet: Networking on the Internet is one of the biggest advantages to the writing world. Gone are the days when a writer was shut in a little office, completely isolated from the rest of the world. I have many fellow writers who have become very dear friends who are all over the world. I think the support that authors give to each other is amazing. For the most part, they are willing to share what they have learned with other writers. It is rare that jealousy shows its ugly head when one has a success. Instead, it provides encouragement for others to strive to reach higher goals themselves. Every author, even if you don't agree with everything they have to say, has something we can all learn from them.

PODBRAM: I understand you have published many articles in well-known magazines. Can you list some of those articles and publications for us?

Janet: I guess the biggest magazine I have been published in was Ladies' Home Journal several years ago; it was a short piece on our flood, probably in mid-1997. I don't remember what month it would have been. I also had one later that year in Woman's World, but I didn't get a by-line for that one. I have a regular column on marketing in every issue of Writers Journal. I had a column in Heritage Quest Magazine for about fifteen or sixteen years. A lot of libraries carry it, so it is fairly easy to track them down. I have had a couple of articles in Genealogical Helper since they merged with Heritage Quest. The editor wants me to do more, but I need more hours in my days! I think there is an article online on The Writer, too. It is about the proper use of names in historical writing. I am listed with both Genealogical Helper and Writers Journal as a contributing editor, too. I was a contributing editor for BBW: Big Beautiful Woman for several years, but they are gone now. I have had hundreds of articles in various religious magazines. I am the Associate Editor for a regional magazine called Memories & Mysteries. I have also done columns for our local newspaper on genealogy, as well as a column called "Folksy Folks" in some of those freebie little papers they give out at restaurants, etc. Altogether, I have had over 3000 articles published in the 30+ years I've been writing. It isn't always the "fun" stuff of fiction, but it pays better!

PODBRAM: In what timeframe were your magazine articles published? Can you give us some idea how they might have facilitated your POD or self-publishing success? Are there tie-ins between the subject matter of your books and these articles?

Janet: Oh, yes, my flood book is a perfect example. If it hadn't been for that, I doubt that I would have been contacted by either Ladies' Home Journal or Woman's World. BBW and Writers' Journal both came looking for me. In the case of BBW, it was because of a little letter to the editor I sent to them. And my genealogy articles, which include several hundred articles over the years just in Heritage Quest Magazine alone, are for the most part what I call my "recycle bin." Several of my books are outgrowths of fun things I find in my genealogical searches, and the things that I had to know about certain families or eras don't quite "fit" in the book, so I use that information for the genealogy articles. In addition, it gives you a built-in readership once your book is published, as you have already established a fan base.

PODBRAM: Have you expended much effort seeking out an agent, and have you had much success in that regard?

Janet: Before I went the POD route I had contracts with eight separate agents, each one with different agencies, all reputable. They say seeing is believing, and I never saw any results (i.e. publishing contracts) from any of them. I hear there is such a thing as a good agent, and I know some writers who swear by their agents, but I never stumbled across them. Playing the agent vs. publisher game is like a game of Ring-Around-the-Rosie. The agent says "Show me your publishing history and I'll consider it," and the publisher says "Get an agent and I'll consider it." Thankfully, POD publishing cuts out the middleman.

PODBRAM: I understand that you have been featured on NPR’s Hear It Now more than once. Could you tell us how you managed to get on nationally broadcast radio?

Janet: I called them up and asked them. A good website is critical for you to try this. They went to my website and were impressed and they have asked me back several times. The same is true with Brain Brew, which is a very popular NPR program run by two brothers from Ohio who are a delight. I sent them an e-mail through the "contact" spot on their website, and they replied, "What do you hope to gain for your business by being on Brain Brew?" I wrote back to them and said, "I am already a little bit famous, and I want you guys to help me get a little bit rich." The whole idea behind that program is for them to give entrepreneurs ideas on how to make their business expand and succeed. I had a call back from them in about five minutes. They said they loved my answer to that question. They also told me they had never had a novelist on before, although they had had many guests who had written non-fiction. And they did have some great ideas that have worked quite well.

PODBRAM: Have you ever considered starting your own small publishing house, as so many other POD and self-published authors have done?

Janet: Absolutely not! I don't know how to do all that formatting or book covers, etc., and I have no desire to learn it. I am very happy leaving all of that to somebody else. Besides, the only bookkeeping/accounting I want to do is for my own royalties. I used to be a secretary/bookkeeper and it's just not my cup of tea!

PODBRAM: Did you submit your manuscripts to traditional publishers in the beginning, before deciding to join the ranks of self-publishers?

Janet: Oh, yes. I'm old enough that I was trying to get my books published for over twenty years before POD publishing even existed. I have some of the best rejection letters you have ever seen, including an eight-page one from an editor of Leisure, which praised the details of Dunnottar, but which ended with, "Unfortunately, historicals aren't selling well these days."

PODBRAM: Have you submitted any of your more recent books to traditional publishers, either before or after they were released as POD books? Have you ever landed a contract with a traditional publisher for one of your books? Could you tell us how you accomplished this highly prized milestone in your career as a writer?

Janet: I have been offered a contract from two major NY publishers for two of my POD books. As to how it came about, in one case an editor at a major NY publisher that had heard about A Christmas Dream offered me a contract for that book. In the other case, it was by winning a contest by a writer from a certain publisher. I wrote the winning paragraph for how to open a book where a fellow was watching a football game and his wife was supposed to figure out a way to distract him. I know a lot of people will think I have a few screws loose because I turned them both down. Why? It goes back to the main issue of the shelf life of the books. They wouldn't be around long enough for them to even make it to the stores in North Dakota! (Things are so slow here that even our river runs backward and ends up in Winnipeg!) There would be no way I could do anything to put them out as a POD book until the rights were returned to me: with one of them it was a seven-year contract and with the other one a ten-year contract. The royalties were also a whole lot lower. The only advantage that I could find was the offer of a modest advance, and to me, that wasn't enough to outweigh the advantages of doing it "my way." Still, there was a certain sense of accomplishment in knowing that I had finally been "accepted" by the big boys, even if I turned them down.

PODBRAM: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What genres do you like to read?

Janet: I like to read a lot of different genres. I guess that's why I write in so many of them. To me, writing the same thing all the time would be as boring as reading the same thing over and over again. The only ones I don't like are horror/thriller books, police procedural, and (strict) science fiction. There are so many authors I enjoy reading. John Grisham, both Mary and Carol Higgins Clark, Debbie Macomber, Deb Stover, Julie Kenner, LaVyrle Spencer (I hated it when she quit writing), and there are so many great new ones coming on the scene because of POD publishing: Billie Williams, Kristie Leigh Maguire, S.K. Hamilton, and Joyce Anthony, etc. Every time I turn around I am discovering some great new author, and thank goodness for the fact that they have found a way to get those books "out there" for all of us to enjoy.

PODBRAM: What have you been reading lately?

Janet: Actually, I am reading a book called Neither World: Book One, Akiiwan by Scott Baker. I learned about the book when Scott contacted Internet Voices Radio, looking for an interview on my radio program, "Marketing for Fun and Profit”. I called to discuss the book with him, and it completely blew me away. I grew up in a very tiny town (Spring Lake, MN, population 50, if you count the dogs and cats). That was the place where Scott had set the book. He described the places I knew like the back of my hand, yet he had never been there. He is a psychologist in New York City. It is really eerie, because it is like reading about my own back yard. His details are extremely accurate, and he says many of them were things his wife dreamed about. I love it when things like that happen.

PODBRAM: What sort of educational experience do you have, and is it relevant to your writing or the subject matter you have chosen?

Janet: Actually, that is kind of funny. I have a dual major in music and social work. I have used a lot of the things I have seen as a social worker and missionary in my books. I also was very good in English, which led me to a job as an editor for Bethany House Publishing (I graduated from Bethany Bible College, the parent of Bethany House Publishing) while I was a student. I have been writing and editing ever since, in one form or another. I think no matter what your education or your experience, the best "teacher" for a writer is to carefully observe daily life around you. Everything you see and hear is open fodder for some book one day.

PODBRAM: What about your work career? Has your choice of profession influenced your writing?

Janet: I have worked as a missionary/social worker ever since I graduated from college. The best thing I have learned about that is that every single person has a story to tell. It is up to us, as writers, to convey those stories to our readers. I love it when people tell me "I can so relate to…." I want my characters to be so real that people think they are them!

PODBRAM: Do you have any further books in the pipeline?

Janet: Oh, goodness, yes! I have about a hundred of them in my brain. Every time I think that's it, I see something else that sparks a new story. I also hear from a lot of readers who want to know when I am going to tell the story of some minor character in one of my books. I am working on Tuesday Nolan now, the 2nd book in the Women of the Week Series. (Monday Knight is the first book.) I would like to have four new books out this year, but I need more hours in my days, and more stamina to stay awake!

PODBRAM: What’s next for Janet Elaine Smith?

Janet: As I said, Tuesday Nolan is the next book. As for me, the author, I will be moving to Wisconsin shortly and will be living next door to one of my best friends, fellow writer Billie Williams. We have a lot of fun things planned. It is basically the same as it was when I started writing: to entertain people. If I can make somebody laugh a little, I've succeeded. So far, what I've been doing seems to be working, so I will just keep on doing what I'm doing. I'm having the time of my life. I fully believe that life begins at 50!

PODBRAM: Do you have any final remarks to address to your readers or our audience?

Janet: If you think you can write, just do it! Once you start, believe in yourself. If you don't believe you can succeed, nobody else will either. And don't get so bogged down in the whole writing process that you forget to have fun. Life is short. As for to the readers, if you find an author you really enjoy, make sure to watch for future books. Most writers today are multi-titled authors, and if you enjoy their books, make sure you let them know. There is nothing more meaningful to a writer than to hear from readers that the words she has put on paper have in some way reached down into their hearts and changed their lives, even a little bit.

Janet Elaine Smith Bibliography
(Organized by Publisher for iUBR)

Kinko’s (1994-1997)

The Hallett History: Being a Genealogical Compilation of Facts, Fables & History of the Halletts from 1635-1994 (Self-published 1994)
Digging in the Dirt: A Simple Guide on Getting Your Hands Into Genealogy (Kinseeker Publishing, October 1996)
Tickling Your Ancestral Funnybone (Kinseeker Publishing, November 1996)
The Flood of the Millennium: The Real Story: The Survivors (Self-published 1997)

First Publish Group (2000-2001)

Dunnottar (June 2000)
In St. Patrick's Custody (September 2000)
A Christmas Dream (November 2000)
House Call to the Past (2001)
Recipe for Murder (2001)
Marylebone (September 2001)

PageFree Publishing Group (2001-2006)

My Dear Phebe (October 2001)
Recipe for Murder (December 2001 Reissue)
In St. Patrick's Custody (February 2002 Reissue)
Monday Knight (February 2002)
Marylebone (May 2002 Reissue)
Dunnottar (June 2002 Reissue)
House Call to the Past (September 2002 Reissue)
Par for the Course (March 2003)
A Christmas Dream (November 2003 Reissue)
Dakota Printer (June 2004)
A Lumberjack Christmas (October 2004 Reissue)
Pampas (March 2005)
Old Habits Die Hard (April 2006)
And We'll Call Her General Leigh (June 2006 Reissue)

Echelon Publishing (2003)

A Lumberjack Christmas (September 2003 Reissue)

iUniverse (2003-2004)

And We'll Call Her General Leigh (July 2003 Reissue)
The Flood of the Millennium: The Real Story: The Survivors (January 2004 Reissue)

Star Publish Group (2006-2007)

In St. Patrick's Custody (August 2006 Version 3)
Recipe for Murder (August 2006 Version 3)
Old Habits Die Hard (August 2006 Reissue)
Dunnottar (August 2006 Version 3)
Marylebone (September 2006 Version 3)
Par for the Course (September 2006 Reissue)
A Christmas Dream (October 2006 Version 3)
A Lumberjack Christmas (October 2006 Version 3)
Pampas (November 2006 Reissue)
Monday Knight (January 2007 Reissue)
My Dear Phebe (January 2007 Reissue)
And They'll Call Her General Leigh (February 2007 Version 3)
Dakota Printer (February 2007 Reissue)
Bank Roll: A Max Stryker Mystery (April 2007)
A Christmas Dream: A 3-Act Play Scripted by Billie A. Williams (June 2007)
Promo Paks: Nearly Free Marketing Tips for Authors (December 2007)


Kristie Leigh Maguire - Indie Author said...

What a wonderful interview! I thought I knew everything there was to know about Janet Elaine Smith but even I learned new things about her in this interview. You go, girl!

To the interviewer: thanks for your kind references to me. :)

Kristie Leigh Maguire

Unknown said...

You do have a couple of books out. Actually I have to admit, I've read them all and taking a page out of Janet's book, you can see reviews for all of them at:


Pee Wee said...

Love every word of this interview.
Wonderful questions, inspirational answers. And thank you, Janet, for mentioning me.

There's no end to your momentum. But that's "Par for the Course." Incidently, the title of one of your greatest books.

Pee Wee
S.K. Hamilton

Joyce Anthony said...

Wow--what a fabulous interview!!! Thanks for the mention, Janet. Shane said to tell you he's proud of you!!

Brenda Jenkins Kleager said...

Oh, Janet, there's always soemthing new to learn about your life and your writing! This is quite a thorough interview. It's great to have all of your books listed in one place, although I've read a good many of them - all wonderful. I hope this interview leads others to experience some of your marvelous books.

Anonymous said...

What a great interview Janet!!! I think I also learned new things about Janet Elaine Smith!!!

Keep up the good work girlfriend!

Bill Lewis said...

Great interview. Keep up the good work.

Malcolm R. Campbell said...

Very nice interview. I looked through it closely to see what ideas and inspiration I might, well, borrow.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Floyd, I am so pleased that you remember that early group. I think I started casting about for wisdom on publishing about 2000. Many of those you mention were, indeed, instrumental in my success. Including Janet. So thank you for this.
You may aso be interested in my blog for reviews. It isn't for new reviews but rather ways for authors to recycle old, favorite review. You'll find it at The guidelines for submissions are in the left column.

Thank you for this. Thanks for so much good information to both you and Janet.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Award-winning author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers