Guest Author: Rick Homan

      I'd like to welcome fellow mystery writer, Rick Homan to my blog. Rick has pulled off the impressive juggling act of publishing books One and Two in his academic mystery series in the same month. Read on to follow his logic and then I hope you'll check out his books on Amazon. -Liz Boeger


How and Why to Publish Two Books at the Same Time

By Rick Homan

     Several friends have wondered how I could publish my debut novel, Dark Mural, and Dark Exhibit,  the second Nicole Tang Noonan mystery, at the same time. There’s some slight of hand involved.

     When I finished the second draft of Dark Mural, I began reworking it with the help of fellow writers. I’m in a writers’ critique group that meets weekly, and I arranged manuscript swaps through the Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime. One of my swap partners was Liz Boeger.

     This stage is called developmental editing. It could also be called product testing or “trying it out on your friends.” It is not to be rushed. In fact, the writer should set the book aside for a couple of months before beginning it. All told, it takes six to nine months.

     While working through this process, I started my second book, Dark Exhibit and got into a good rhythm: pounding out my 1500 words in the morning;  editing Dark Mural and reading swapped manuscripts in the afternoon.

     Thus, when Dark Mural was finished with developmental editing, I had a first draft of Dark Exhibit. As the second book in the series entered the developmental editing phase, I started the third, Dark Picasso.

     Here’s where the slight of hand comes in. I did not rush to publish Dark Mural. I shelved it while Dark Exhibit was being edited. Less than a year later, I had two books ready to go, and a third in the pipeline.

     There are advantages to this system. While working on the second and third books, I could go back and change things in the first. This is a handy option when writing a series. You can make sure things are consistent from book to book, and go back to set up things that will come in handy later.

     Also, I am told, it’s difficult to market a single book. First-time authors must persuade  readers to give them a try. Readers of mysteries are more likely to do that if they can see a series is taking shape. In the words of an agent I know, “Nothing sells a book like another book.”

     Of course this assumes one can choose when to publish, and that assumes self-publishing. The traditional publishing industry seems to be based on one book per year per author.

     My two books became available on Amazon at the end of September. It’s too early to know how brisk sales will be, but I’m optimistic.

     And, Dark Picasso is due to be published in January.

Dark Mural Book Description:

     Art . . . it’s a matter of life and death.

     Nicole Tang Noonan, an art historian from San Francisco, starts her first teaching job at a small college in rural Ohio. Her class meets in the chapel to study a mural that documents the college’s origins in the religious communes of the early 1800s.

     When one of her students is murdered, and another is accused of the crime, she tangles with the local sheriff in her quest for justice.

     As her investigation brings her closer to identifying the murderer, and her study of the mural brings her closer to discovering a dark secret in the college’s past, local folks threaten her, colleagues shun her, and she wonders if she’ll live long enough to give a midterm exam.

     Dark Mural is the first book in a series of traditional mysteries.

Author’s Bio:
     Rick Homan grew up in Ohio and wound up in San Francisco, where he is a member of the writing community at The Mechanics’ Institute Library.  He also belongs to the Northern California and Guppy chapters of Sisters in Crime.
     Prior to taking up the craft of crime fiction, he performed as an actor and guitarist in San Francisco and in Philadelphia. He was a professor of theater arts for thirty years.



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