Welcome to this week’s The Quick Six – an ongoing series of posts, where I interview independent authors on their self-publishing stories, using six quick questions to gain insight into their processes, thoughts and works.
This week, I’m interviewing CP Patrick, a fiction and fantasy author hailing from Washington DC, with qualifications in African Studies and Law, and debut author of The Truth About Awiti (to be released 27 March 2015) – a historical fantasy novel covering the rich tapestry of tropical storms and hurricanes, restless spirits and the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
1. What has been the most rewarding thing about self-publishing?
I would say becoming a part of the writing community. There are so many writers, editors, and artists invested in each other’s successes. It’s very encouraging. For example, my book cover art was developed in South Africa by Damonza and my author sketch was drawn by a very talented student artist, Guillermo Meraz, in Mexico City. The indie publishing community is focused and driven on charting their own course in the publishing world. And I would also say publication. Looking at your finished work product, holding your novel in your hands, is perhaps the most rewarding experience.
2. What has been the most challenging thing about self-publishing?
Learning! There is so much to learn! But the information is out there and again, there’s a community of indie writers who are willing to help us newbies navigate the process. The first book is definitely the hardest. I suspect subsequent works are not as tedious (I hope!)
3. What have you learned during the process that you wish you had known from the start?
Everything! 🙂 Seriously, I wish I had known from the start that I would need to hire a professional copyeditor. Sounds crazy right? But I honestly feel like most indie writers don’t think they will need to hire a professional (or beg a dear friend who is a professional copyeditor). I spent many unnecessary hours editing until my eyes bled. Towards the end of the writing process I read an article on the importance of indie authors hiring a professional editor (often we hear the cover is the most important thing). Hands down, hiring a professional copy editor was the best decision I ever made. I wish I had known about my copyeditor, Emma Simmons (www.emcopyedits.com), from the start!
4. Who or what has been your biggest source of help or inspiration?
Many authors and writers have served as help and inspiration, but I would have to say, more than anyone else, poet Sonia Sanchez. I met her at the 2013 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards, which celebrates writers in the African diaspora. I grew up reading her works so it was wonderful to meet her in person. When I told Ms. Sanchez that I wanted to be a writer, she blessed my writing and blessed my writing journey. It was a life-changing moment for me. I look forward to sending her a copy of my novel.
5. What do you think the future holds for indie authors and self-publishing?
I think the future looks pretty darn bright for indie authors thank-you-very-much! 🙂 Self-publishing affords writers control of their destinies. There are really great manuscripts that are easily overlooked, lost in a slush pile, etc. Rather than waiting (with hope and confidence diminishing with each passing hour), writers can say, “If I don’t hear from agent/publisher by X, I’m going to self-publish.” And even for writers who hope to enter the traditional publishing market, self-publishing can be used as a vehicle to get their work into the hands of readers and gain a following. That being said, I believe there will always be a market for both traditional and self-publishing.
6. What is your published work about and why are people going to love it?
My debut novel, The Truth About Awiti, is a historical fantasy that focuses on a common theory in the African diaspora – the spirits of restless slaves are not at peace. They seek restitution and revenge in the wind and rain of hurricanes. Through the story of the protagonist, Awiti, and the voices of those who have encountered her love and wrath, readers will experience a non-traditional approach to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It’s a tragic tale but Awiti is a relatable character – she desires love, makes poor choices at times, and struggles with reconciling her past. The novel begins in 15th century Africa and ends with the onset of Hurricane Katrina. I hope readers love it as much as I enjoyed writing it!