The Denouement – what to do when the writing part is done

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

Last week I finished the final round of line edits for Divided Elements (Book 1): Resistance. With only the proofreading to go and the cover artwork all but finalised, I found myself at my own creative denouement point. In terms of story structure, the denouement is the part of the book where all the plot threads come together and outstanding matters or conflicts are resolved. In terms of creating a book, I like to think of the denouement as the point at which the substantive work has been completed (writing and editing) and the support work begins its process of finalisation.

As an indie author going down the self-publishing route, the denouement stage is BIG. Self-publishing authors need to be consummate multi-taskers and jacks of all trades. Kind of like parents are…

parenting

Some of the key roles you need to assume when self-publishing:

  • Business Manager: Yep, if you want this lucky gig called writing to be sustainable you have to think of the triple bottom line – Financial (bringing in the dollars), Social (maintaining your own creative sanity and the relationships with the people you love), and Ecological (supporting and giving back to the creative network around you). PS I love the concept of a creative ecology – might have to explore that further in a future blog post…

  • Marketing Guru: Writing (and polishing) a great book is only half the battle – people need to know about it before they can read it and see how great it is. Getting your story out in front of the crowd and into the hands of the adoring masses is HARD. Luckily in this age of the internet, there are some great resources around to help with this. My favourites:
  • Artistic Director: If you are one of those triple-threats who can write an amazing book, market the hell out of it, AND pull together a kick-ass cover – don’t tell anyone, they will lynch you. If you’re more like me, you’ll need to find a creative genius to help with book covers and promotional material. Providing them with clear, direct and useful advice on what you would like to see is crucial. Find your creative co-genius at:
  • Tech Genius: In this digital age you’ll need to be across a range of IT solutions, innovations and tools – from social media, to html, to mail list management, to website creation. Don’t stress – there is lots of help out there! Just figure out what is most important to your brand right now (for me, its the website), and start there.

 

Hope that helps! Good luck!! And don’t forget to share your own self-publishing journey in the comments. 

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The Denouement – what to do when the writing part is done

The Quick Six – With CP Patrick

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!

 

 

The Quick Six – With CP Patrick

The Quick Six – with Sara Whitford

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 Sara Whitford – a stay-at-home, work-at-home, homeschooling mom living on the North Carolina coast, who also juggles work as a web designer and part-time magazine editor.

Sara Whitford - The Smuggler's Gambit

I first met Sara through the monthly writing challenge and was impressed with her support and encouragement of writers and self-publishers. Sara has recently published her first novel –  The Smuggler’s Gambit – the story of 17-year-old Adam Fletcher, who upon being bound into an apprenticeship finds himself a pawn in the middle of a smuggling war.

 

1. What has been the most rewarding thing about self-publishing?

​My first novel, The Smuggler’s Gambit, is only up for pre-order now. It won’t debut until March 20, so my answer may change once my book is in public circulation, but for now, I’d have to say the most rewarding thing about self-publishing is tied directly into the reason I did it in the first place. I wanted total control over my own creative work.

Let me put it this way: As much work, as much research, as much heart, as much everything that goes into creating something like a novel—I just can’t see doing all of that and then signing the rights over to a publishing house so that they can pay me a fraction of what the book is bringing in. Not to mention, the only deadlines I had were those I imposed upon myself. I designed the cover art for my book. I did the layout for the interior. I hired my copy editor. I developed the website for the book series—all on my own. It’s a labor of love for me. There was no one else standing over me telling me what to do and when, and I think that was​ the most rewarding aspect. Total control, which also means whether my book really takes off, or whether it tanks, I will know that, by God’s grace, I was able to bring it all together and make it happen. I was able to create something that’s never been in the world before—this unique story, with these unique characters, and the circumstances they live through.

2. What has been the most challenging thing about self-publishing?

​The most challenging thing about self-publishing is ​the same thing that makes it rewarding. Total control. That also means the pressure is on. You have to not only make sure you turn out a great story that’s clean, well-edited and with a nice layout and cover, you also have to do the work of marketing the thing. Then again, I’ve heard from some traditionally published friends that even authors who have books with the big publishing houses—unless they’re already bestsellers—have to do a lot of the marketing for the books on their own… so maybe that’s not unique to self-publishing.

I do know that once my book launches in a few weeks, I’m going to have to do some public events—things like mini-lectures with question and answer sessions at the end, along with a book signing. I have to confess, I don’t mind promoting my stuff online all day long, but when it comes to getting out in public, it’s a struggle. I’m pretty introverted, as writers can often be, and so it takes a lot out of me to do public speaking—at least I’ve found that to be the case in the past when I’ve done local history lectures.

3. What have you learned during the process that you wish you had known from the start?

​I wish I had realized that writing the first draft really is just getting the basic story down. It’s not meant to be anywhere near perfect, and it will go through so many revisions, and then hopefully a good copy edit. The final product will be quite different from that initial draft.​ I am glad that I learned a great technique very early on in producing my first draft. I call it “writing as if.” I won’t elaborate on that here, but if anyone is interested, I have a post about it on my website.

4. Who or what has been your biggest source of help or inspiration?

​I have a son who’s nearly twelve. He’s a huge inspiration to me—in fact, I dedicated my book to him. I hope that it will show him that if you set a goal and you are willing to work hard to achieve it, then Lord willing, you can make it happen.​

I’ve also had some great motivation along the way from the WritingChallenge.org community, in fact, that’s how we met, Mikhaeyla.

As far as help, I have had two very good author friends who have both been a tremendous help to me: Terrance Zepke and Kevin Duffus. Terrance has had lots of advice for me relating to the publishing industry and the business of actually producing my novel. Kevin is a very knowledgeable historian when it comes to North Carolina coastal history. He has been there answering any of my questions along the way about historical details in the novel.

5. What do you think the future holds for indie authors and self-publishing?

​I am so excited about the future for indie authors and self-publishing. And along with that, I’m even excited about what this will mean for traditional publishers and their relationships with authors. As time goes on, traditional publishers are going to have to work a lot harder to convince authors to sign on the dotted line.

Things are so much easier now—especially with the print-on-demand services by CreateSpace and IngramSpark—that there’s really nothing holding anyone back these days from being a published author.

Some say that ends up creating far too much inferior work for readers to wade through, but I am a big believer in the idea of the cream rising to the top. I think good books will be enjoyed by readers. And readers will see to it that those books are successful. Of course it’s also on the indie author to make sure folks know about their book. With the ease of creating websites these days, and all of the social media outfits where you can enjoy all kinds of free publicity and interaction with potential readers—there is no excuse for people to not know about your self-published books.​

6. What is your published work about and why are people going to love it? 

​The Smuggler’s Gambit is the first book of the Adam Fletcher series. The back of the book blurb describes it like this:

Port Beaufort, North Carolina — May 1765When 17-year-old Adam Fletcher is forced into an apprenticeship, he unwittingly becomes a pawn in a smuggling war.Soon, he’s forced to make a tough decision. Will he agree to become a spy performing a civic duty to the Crown? Or will he risk everything — possibly even putting his own family in danger — to protect his new master?Secrets will be revealed, loyalties will be questioned, betrayals will be uncovered, and a young man’s character will be put to the test in The Smuggler’s Gambit.

Why are people going to love it? Well, it remains to be seen whether or not they will, but I can tell you that I love this story and these characters. It is a mild adventure—at least compared to the wild circumstances Adam will find himself in in book 2, Captured in the Caribbean. ​In The Smuggler’s Gambit, the action builds slowly as the full cast of characters is introduced, but once the ball starts rolling, readers aren’t going to believe how things turn out!

The Quick Six – with Sara Whitford

The Quick Six – Interviewing Indie Authors on their Self-Publishing Journey

by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

As you all know, I am keen to self-publish my debut novel, Divided Elements: Resistance. I get a lot of inspiration from other authors who are going down the same path and I thought it would be great if I could tap into (and share) their unique and fascinating forays into the self-publishing world.

And so, The Quick Six was born. Over the next couple of months (and hopefully well into the future), I will be interviewing independent authors on their self-publishing stories, using six quick questions to gain insight into their processes, thoughts and works.

Keep an eye out for the first quick six hitting the Indie Authors page in the next couple of weeks.

Screenshot 2015-02-22 10.30.44

(Featured Image courtesy of Holly Gramazio via Flickr Creative Commons)

The Quick Six – Interviewing Indie Authors on their Self-Publishing Journey

5 Reasons why Community is critical for indie authors and self-publishers

Being independent doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Check out my latest post on Publishing Insider on how a strong and supportive community is critical for indie authors and self-publishers.

http://publishinginsider.net/5-reasons-why-community-is-critical-for-indie-authors-and-self-publishers/

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