I love your book covers, especially on ‘Blindsight’, did you design them? Where did you get them done?
Oh heavens, no. I don’t have that kind of skill with graphic design. My cover artist is the fabulous Robin Ludwig of Robin Ludwig Designs. She’s incredibly talented and manages to take the often incoherent description from the authors and turn it into awesomeness. She’s very reasonably priced and absolutely worth every penny. Professional cover art is the one area that I absolutely DO NOT believe in skimping on to try and to DIY. A good, professional cover is worth its weight in gold.
Can you tell us what your new book, Red, is about?
Red is a paranormal YA novel outside my Mirus series.
Elodie Rose has a secret. Any day, she’s going to turn into a wolf and succumb to the violence that’s cursed her family for centuries. Living on borrowed time, she can’t deal with brooding bad boy Sawyer, who’s named himself her protector. But she doesn’t just have the curse and an unwanted bodyguard to contend with. Someone knows what she is and is determined to exterminate her family line. Will she survive this madman? And if she does, will she be the first to survive the curse?
I see that you have ‘Forsaken in Shadow’ available as an audio book. Could you please tell us where you can get this done or describe the process. Do they sell well?
I went through Perfect Voices, which is a fantastic company geared toward affordable audio book production. They have several tiers of pricing available, depending on your budget and the ability to get your audiobook into several distribution channels that you, on your own, simply can’t. My experience with them was fabulous and positive, and I was thrilled with the final product.
Have you done or are you involved in legacy/traditional publishing? If not, can you tell us why you choose the indie way?
I have not been traditionally published as yet. I had always expected to go that route, as for years it was the only alternative. When I wrote Forsaken By Shadow, I intended it use it to start building a following for myself and the series I intended to pitch to New York. Then self publishing exploded and suddenly it was a realistic means to make a living. That’s all I ever wanted to do. To be able to make a living and quit my two evil day jobs. So I threw myself into building my platform (it’s never too early) and writing more. The great irony was that right when I’d absolutely contented myself with the indie track, I was offered representation by the awesome Laurie McLean, an agent with Larsen-Pomada in San Francisco. She’s very supportive of my self publishing efforts, and we’re going to be pioneering a new frontier…making a living via a combination of traditional and indie publishing.
A Round Of Words in 80 Days looks inspiring. How did all that come about?
I have an addiction to writing challenges, but most of them out there are impractical. They expect you to check out of your life for two weeks or a month or whatever. You’re supposed to spew words willy nilly at an incredible rate and put the book first. That last part is the only thing they get right. The problem with this scenario is that the point should not be to write a book. The point is to BE A WRITER. You need to establish good writing habits to put the writing first all year. So instead of taking on a challenge to check out of life for a month, I wanted a writing challenge that recognizes that we all HAVE a life, and in order to be professional writers, we must find a way to make the writing a perpetual PART of that life. Establish HABITS, make it NORMAL. And if Life Happens (as it is wont to do), you simply adjust your goals. No beating yourself up, no feeling like a failure, just steady progress. That’s what ROW80 is all about.
Many writers have a difficult time in the beginning trying to decide what their genre is, do you think that it’s necessary to concentrate on just one or is it ok to have a few?
In the traditional world, genre is a huge part of branding. Stephen King is synonymous with horror. Nora Roberts with romance. And while in the long run, it is great to be able to be counted on for a particular kind of read, I think one of the great things about the indie track is that it gives you more freedom to explore your options. If you’re interested in several genres, go ahead and explore them. You never know what’s going to click with readers. I think the really important thing is to KNOW the rules and conventions of all your genres and deliver a good, solid, well-edited, well-written read. Readers are more intelligent than they are often given credit for. As long as you’re not crossing between two serious extremes like erotica and children’s fiction, I think you’re fine doing it all under one name.
Any advice you can give for people just starting out?
· Read as many books on craft as you can get your hands on. I highly recommend Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering and Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation, and Conflict.
· Read as many books, period, as you can. From the good ones, analyze them to figure out what makes them work. For the bad ones, figure out why they suck.
· Never underestimate the power of editing. Get as many eyes on your work as possible to find the errors and fix them before you put your work out.
· It’s never too early to start building your platform. Check out Kristen Lamb’s We Are Not Alone: A Writers Guide To Social Media.
· Serve the work. Put it first, take constructive criticism in the spirit in which it’s intended and figure out what will truly improve the story and make it sing.
· Make friends. Find a good, supportive crit partner who will tell you the truth, not just stroke your ego. Check out Crit Partner Match.
· Remember that, traditional or indie, publishing is a long haul game. Overnight success is a myth (no matter what rumors you may have heard). A platform and reputation take time to build, so just keep putting one foot in front of the other and do something toward your dream every day.
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
"Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else." Gloria Steinem
Thanks so much Kait. Best of luck to you in your career!