Glenn Skinner is one of the terrific #pubwrite people I have met through Twitter. And
although we haven’t met personally (yet), he has always been a kind soul ready
to pour me a virtual drink and give encouragement.
Welcome to Writing to Save My Soul. What is your book
My current novel, The Keya Quests: The Battle for Shivenridge is the second book
in my Keya Quests series. Let me quickly step back for background. Centuries
ago on a small island off the coast of Maine, elven priests from a parallel
world forged a sword of great power. Twenty years ago a warlord in their world
found the sword and waged a war not only to control their world, but ours as
well. In a last stand, both elf & man led by a young fairy queen waged a
final battle. During the battle, the queen was struck down and killed. In that moment the warlord let down his guard. A young soldier defeated him and gained possession of the sword. He left their world returning to ours ordering the portal sealed behind him. He vowed to find a way to destroy the sword.
Flash forward to modern day. A new warlord has risen to power in the land of the elves. He has learned of a young elven woman with a way to not only open the portal, but find the warrior who possesses the sword. He orders his armies to descend upon the shire of Shivenridge to find this girl, but unknown to him, she has been raised since birth to be a great warrior. She devises a plan of her own, to open the portal, find the great warrior, and convince him to return to free the people of Shivenridge. That woman is Keya Taylos.
Without introducing too many spoilers, the second book picks up where the first book ended with Keya, our heroine, returning with the great warrior to free the people of Shivenridge. Only Keya returns with a new reality, for destiny has revealed that all that
she knew, and held dear to be true were but illusions, three lost souls have been re-united and their lives changed forever. With this new knowledge, Keya struggles to overcome her fears and doubts while trying to free the people of Shivenridge. There is a curse that must be broken and a book that holds the key. Betrayal and fear abound, will she be able to complete her task or will the price of freedom prove to be too high? These are the tales of her journeys, her quests…
What was your biggest challenge in getting your book written and out for the world to see? How did you overcome that?
Writing was the easy part, the endless hours of editing, re-editing and when I was sure it was right, to re-edit again was brutal. I wanted to cut my wrists and end my misery. I knew I was unable to find and fix everything in my writing so I used as many options as I could find. I used online auto critiquing software, beta readers, and finally a proof editor. Each step brought me closer to where I needed to be. The editing phase actually took longer than the writing.The publishing part was easy, this being my second book, I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to know about publishing. Right from the beginning I knew I would self-publish. My hectic life leads little time for a traditional approach. I made that decision early on and do not regret it. I knew what I wanted done, where, and who was
going to do it, months before the manuscript was ready. I used the same publisher as my first book, and working closely together, we published 4 weeks ahead of my target date, this included the creation of two maps and an illustration designed for me by the publisher. This included the paperback, hardback, kindle and nook versions as well as a pdf ebook edition.
It was the knowledge I learned from the first book and the pre-planning, not to mention the understanding and great cooperation of my publisher (Thank you, Outskirts Press)
who bent their normal process and rules to accommodate my needs.
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever come across?
Honesty, the best advice and I can’t tout it enough is to just write. If it’s inside of you then write it, don’t think about it, over think it, reason it, just write. When it’s no longer fun then stop, you’re only cheating yourself and your work. If afterwards, you don’t like it then edit or delete, but let it out, writing is one of the few remaining pure and simple acts of enjoyment in this world. Don’t hold it in, embrace it.
Who, or what, inspires you?
Fireflies and things that bump in the night are my inspiration. A quick twinkle of light against a dark sky, or that faint noise that you just can’t identify releases the imagination.
It stirs the emotion or maybe brings out the fear that reminds one, they are alive. It takes you to a world of fantasy and mystery momentarily freeing you from the grey of everyday life. It’s that feeling that drives my writing, to bring color to the grey.
Have you ever read a book that made you think ‘wow’? If so, what book was it and why did it have such an effect on you?
Asking this question to a fantasy writer, I would be surprised if you have not guessed my response: The Lord of the Rings. It is an amazing piece of fiction. Tolkien not only created
this great middle world, he created an array of believable characters and settings right down to creating actual languages for the races. I was blown away by the attention to detail and a story so well written, that it is brought everything to life.
If you were going to mentor a new writer through the publishing process, what pitfalls would you warn them against?
Being a self published author, I can only speak from that perspective but first and foremost, I would recommend a new writer sit down and think about what they really want and why they are writing. Is it career driven or just for love. They need to decide on how they want to publish and then do their homework. If traditional is their desire, then research agents, and publishers, target those who are in your genre. Take the time to learn how to draft a query and take any rejections with stride. There is something positive to take back from everything no matter how negative they appear.
If self publishing, take your time and decide where you want to market your book. Are you publishing for just family and friends, or potentially to see your work in book store? Once
you’ve decided, explore all your options and read the fine print! If you are going to do it all yourself, don’t be afraid to seek out second opinions and assistance where needed. Copy edit, no matter how good you think it is, get a second, third and fourth set of eyes to look at it. Your public will crucify you if you don’t. It is not the place to cut corners or breeze over. Spend time with the cover, it will be the make or break purchase decision of many readers.
It has to catch them and draw them in. It should grab and hold them, yet not mislead.
Lastly I say it again, read the fine print!! Before you sign an agreement, purchase a service, commit to an agent or publisher, make sure you read and understand every detail. Know
what you are gaining and giving up. Make sure it is in line with your goals.
What kind of promotion have you tried? What do you find to be the most effective?
I’ve tried many things: press releases, website, blog (http://lostbowyer.wordpress.com),
interviews, Twitter (@keyaquests), Facebook, Goodreads, giveaways, contests,
word of mouth advertising and plain old groveling. I honestly have to say the
two most effective to date have been word of mouth and giveaways. The word of
mouth is a slow continuous process and is ever ongoing. The giveaways bring an
immediate attention, but proportionately a small yield for the instant attention, but worthwhile never the less.
Surprisingly, Twitter while it is my best networking source, is the least effective for sales or
I don’t believe any one source of promotion is the answer, you need an entire package. it is a combination of all available resources that makes your promotion effective.
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I used to carve English-style longbows at the local renfair.