Author? Who Me? By Kay Fellows

The last thing I ever expected to hear over an intercom at Barnes and Noble was the surreal announcement, “local author Kay Fellows is signing her travel book “Upper Mississippi Valley by Motorcycle” at a table near the mall entrance.”

I started my freelance career about ten years ago with a story about a horse that was accepted by a now defunct horse magazine. I had always had the desire to write and felt here was an opportunity to supplement my income as I neared retirement age.

I enrolled in a home study writing course, hoping to make back at least as much as I spent on the tuition. As luck would have it, while I was still working on the lessons I got a job as a stringer for the local weekly newspaper. I also managed to get several magazine articles accepted and published.

I found that one asset that can’t be overstressed was my ability to provide photos to illustrate my articles.

By the end of the course, I had made back twice my investment.

While reading the job market listing in WritersWeekly I found a posting for a publishing company that was looking for travel guides or how-to books aimed at motorcyclists. The how-to books were out of the question for me but the travel guide fit right into my interest in promoting the beauty of my area.

I put together a rather simple book proposal and was thrilled when the publisher asked to see a couple of sample chapters. I submitted the chapters along with an introduction and was stunned when the book contract arrived.

The following year was an exciting non-stop round of travel, research, writing and photography.

Finally, at a month short of two years from my first contact with the publisher, my book came out in March of 2006.

The new challenge has been marketing. Never overlook any new venues for promoting your book. I have now had several signings and last week had the great thrill of having a table at the entrance to Barnes and Noble.

Kay Fellows is a freelance writer/photographer who lives in Erie, IL. She is the author of the book Upper Mississippi Valley by Motorcycle, which covers the area from Illinois/Iowa Quad Cities north to just below Minneapolis and St. Paul was published in March by the Motorcycle Publishing Company in Rockledge, FL. Her work has also appeared in Western Horse, Rural Heritage, Equus, Young Rider, Kitplanes, Aero Sport Connection, and Reminisce Extra. She also writes and photographs feature articles for three weekly newspapers.