In honor of Cyber Monday, I am putting Happily Never After on Amazon for FREE Kindle download (its your very last FREE opportunity!
1) How did you find a publisher?
Amazon makes it REALLY easy to self-publish your book. Initially, I wanted to find a traditional publisher, and I did get quite a lot of attention from literary agents regarding the project, but then, Kent got engaged, I learned that 50 Shades of Grey was once a self-published book on Amazon, and I just kind of woke up one day, and decided I was over that part of my life.
Of course, self-publishing means you have to do all of the leg work yourself. There certainly are services you can use (that come at a pretty penny), but you have to contract out the editor, make the cover design and blurb, do all of the marketing and legal work yourself. I am fortunate enough to know enough English-y to help me with the writing, and enough creative business people to give me marketing ideas.
I’ve actually really enjoyed doing all of the work myself, because I have learned so much about business, and how social media works, and people’s reactions. I’m kind of anti-technology and don’t particularly enjoy blasting everything on the internet, but its the way the world is working right now, so if I want to make my way, I have to kowtow to the modern world. Especially to be a personality, there are SO many things you must up keep: your InstaGram, Facebook page, #Twitter, SnapChat, YouTube, on top of the actual book and blog itself, your other writing profiles (OnMogul, Thought Catalog, The Haute Mess, URFab), and your own life. Its certainly a full time job within itself, so I try to take on one venue at a time. Right now, I’m filling up my InstaGram profile 🙂 I’m currently collecting pictures of people reading my book, so if you send me yours, I’ll upload it to my profile!
2)What advice would you give about writing a book?
First of all, there is a huge difference between writing a book, and publishing a book. When I first embarked upon my 24th year, I made a goal to write a book, and as the process began, I realized I needed to change that goal from not just merely writing a book, but publishing a book. I’ve met many people along the way who have written a book ten years ago, and its currently stored somewhere on a floppy disk. Don’t get me wrong; after doing it myself, I have an immense amount of respect for anyone who has ever written a book. Writing a book takes discipline, sacrifice, and practice.
Publishing a book, on the other hand, is a completely different animal that takes patience, tremendous blows to the self-ego, and confidence in your mission. Especially with the topic of this book, I have to be aware that I just put my entire self out there, and that there is a strong possibility people will retaliate and not like what they read. But, that’s their prerogative, and if they don’t like what I have to say, they are more than welcome to publish their own attack against me.
So, to anyone who wants to publish a book, I would say to remember it takes time. I’m not necessarily the most patient person in the world, and I was really eager to just submit the project. When the first set of paperbacks came in, I didn’t really like them, and it took me a good 3 weeks to fix; I didn’t like the interior layout, so I had to wait for that to be fixed. I didn’t like how the cover art came out, so I had to wait for that to be fixed. I realized that I could actually add a blurb on the back, so I had to wait for that to be fixed. Then, once you submit all of those things and approve your proof, you have to wait 3-5 days for Amazon to link it to your account. But, it’s a much better product now than it was before, so being patient and waiting was worth it.
3)Do your students know about it?
I try really hard to keep my writing life separate from my teacher life (unless, of course, I need to use my writing life for ammunition in a lesson), so I tried really hard not to bring it up in front of my students (also because they probably don’t really want to read about my dating life either). Then my good blogger friend, Wade, dropped a hint one day he visited my class, so now the cat is out of the bag. It’s fine; I think, in some ways, it reaffirms my credibility. If I am going to teach kids how to write, I better be able to write myself. But, I still try to keep my book progress on the DL, unless they bring it up.
4)Does Kent know you wrote a book about him?
That’s a great question; I don’t really know, because I have not spoken to him since he showed up at my house that fateful day. To be quite honest, I don’t really want to speak to him either. Anytime I am at the airport and pass by a terminal going to his place of residence, I always prepare myself to scream, run, and hide. This is a small world, and my LinkedIn account said he viewed my profile a few months ago, so I am sure he has heard about it through word of mouth, but he hasn’t said anything to me about it. Oh well. And those of your who have read it know that it’s not so much about him as it is about me, so if I were to hear from him, I would probably tell him NOT to read it.
5) What are you planning on spending your proceeds on?
A new yoga mat? (Mine is a few years ago and could used replaced but I am too Dutch to let it go).
6)How long did it take you to write?
I started writing the book in July of 2014, and finished the first draft in October of 2014. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the process, that is an incredibly speedy pace to write a book; some people spend years or decades. I will also say that the first draft was HORRIBLE, and I sincerely apologize to my first editors who had to endure that. I spent October-July editing, revising, re-writing. The manuscript itself probably went through about six different revisions.
If I were to re-write the book today, it would probably be very different. Much like putting together a dance, writing a book is about the journey; while you are in the midst of the creation process, you struggle, and by the time you reach the end of the final product, you have mastered all of those skills. Reading back through it, knowing what I know now, there certainly are some parts I would re-construct or ideas I would elaborate on, but it is what it is; I wanted to keep the product authentic to the state in which I was in at that particular time.
7) How did you learn to write?They say the best writers are avid readers, so the first thing I did was pick up a bunch of books and start reading. As I read, I not only paid attention to the plot line and the character development, but also at the writing structure itself: how did this particular sentence evoke angst? how did the organization of this chapter influence the surprise ending? how did this string of sentences induce humor? And, then I would go onto my blog, and try to write in those same techniques. Sometimes, those techniques went really, really wrong, and sometimes, they worked brilliantly. But, much like any creative work, it takes experimentation.
8) What are your next steps?
I would really like to write a book about coaching girls. The book will cover a variety of topics, such as body image issues, where those come from, how they present themselves, and what, we as coaches, should do to reverse those effects; the competitive and jealous nature of girls, and how understanding those behaviors will help to alleviate tension, the positive and detrimental effects of sports on girls, and how we, as coaches, should be aware of those issues. I’ve had a lot of experience with girls–being from a family of girls, living with girls, dancing on teams with girls, working with girls, coaching and teaching girls–and I feel understanding these behaviors would eliminate a lot of our emotional turmoil.
9) So, have you found your “Prince Charming” yet?
No, and that is just fine. I’m really not worried about it. All the signs told me THIS was supposed to happen first, and “Prince Charming” would be on his way after it was all done. Apparently its just not done yet.
10) How can I get my own copy ?
…or, contact me, and I will send you an autographed copy 🙂
Make sure you write an Amazon review after you finish reading!