Author Interview Part 1
1. I understand that you run a website, Infinite Pathways, to help new and emerging authors. Can you tell us about the website?
See a need, fill a need – that’s what my small business advisor said to me when I mentioned I didn’t want to return to teaching. Indie Authors and other emerging writers are desperate for high quality advice and editing for low cost. The number of self-published books I’ve read that are riddled with grammar and sentence structure errors or whose character and plot simply don’t resonate as well as they should left me a frustrated reader. I realized that these authors needed a way to better themselves and get a leg up in the industry. I started with the idea that I’d offer my services as an editor – but there are a ton of editors out there for hire, so what would set me apart? Well, I developed a sliding price scale. One of the biggest beefs other editors have is that the competition is undercutting their pricing and devaluing the service we provide. I didn’t want to do that but I also didn’t want to maintain the status-quo. So the sliding thing works like this: All first time clients get the special discount that is a manageable fee for working with a tight budget; then, when the client returns with a different manuscript my prices go up by 25 cents a page (or so). This fee will slide up three times until I am at par with the low-end professional publishers. The idea is that as your work grows and you earn money for your writing, you will also be able to start paying more professional rates. It’s a gradual increase and by the fourth book a client should be able to handle the standard rates. Meanwhile, I’ve been able to help them through one of the toughest aspects of gaining respect from potential readers and publishers.
2. What services does Infinite Pathways offer?
I knew that offering editing at a discounted rate would not be enough to bring people to my door. So every Monday on the site I give an editing tip and every Thursday a publicity tip. I don’t charge for this service, I don’t think I should… I’m just imparting advice for anyone interested in learning from my experience. It’s hard starting out on your own and figuring out how to make and market the best book possible, and you shouldn’t have to spend your life’s savings to do it right the first time.
3. Tell us about the writing contests hosted by Infinite Pathways.
What better way to celebrate and let the publishing professionals know how good your writing is than by winning a contest or being honourably mentioned in one? So I looked to having one short fiction contest in the early winter, a one-act play contest in the spring and a poetry contest in the fall. My goal is not to make my entrant’s rich, but give them exposure; so my entry fee is the smallest I can make it ($10) . I split the winnings 60/40 – 40% is divided among the three winners of each contest and 60% goes toward the running of the contest and the production of a literary anthology. My goal is to have enough winners and honorable mentions from each contest to produce one novella-sized anthology each year… yet another publication credit for contest entrants.
4. Infinite Pathways is open to submission opportunities. Can you tell us more about these opportunities?
Many authors are in need of viable ways to build their author platform and the best way to do that is by getting your writing out there and recognized. So, on Tuesdays on my website I have Writerly Rants (where writers can pen an opinion piece using persuasive writing techniques on almost any topic), Wednesdays are for Poetry, and Fridays for Fiction: flash, short excerpts from stories or books and Notables (what I like to call quotes that have an author’s note attached to personalize the idea or topic). Then, on the weekends I post my Book Reviews (or reviews written by a third party) and have Author Interviews and Spotlights. It’s pretty easy to submit and if nothing comes in, I’ll ask for permission to use a post on a follower’s site to showcase their work in these areas.
5. What can you tell us about JUZDIZRTS?
JUZDIZRTS is a local Author Event that I run twice a year to celebrate authors who are trying to reach out and connect with their community or neighboring communities. In the fall there seems to be a lot of these kinds of events run by libraries or colleges and in Toronto we have a giant festival called Word on the Street but you have to pay around $200 just for a booth. My goal is to bring exposure to authors during the other half of the year. I arrange with a local coffee shop to use their space and charge participating authors a small fee of $10 (to cover equipment fees, posters, and other publicity). The events are free to the public and any money left over from one event gets put toward the next – in effect it is the non-profit division of Infinite Pathways.
6. Tell us about your ‘Lost Chapters’ series.
Selling your book is all about publicity – getting the word out about what you’ve created to your target market. One of the best ideas I’ve learned in the past two years in preparation for the launch of my debut novel is to gain followers even before your book is available for purchase. So I developed chapters from the main characters lives that take place before the main book – prequels. Each lost chapter is a glimpse into an event mentioned in passing in Time’s Tempest that I have just flushed out and turned into what might have been a chapter from an earlier story. It’s not necessary to read them in order to enjoy the main book – instead they are there to compliment the book and add a bit more background to the world and the reader’s understanding of the characters. I offered four of these lost chapters for free on various e-reading platforms to allow for potential readers to get a glimpse of what’s to come. I released one chapter a month leading up to the launch of Time’s Tempest. They were a lot of fun to write and gave me something to talk about on facebook, twitter, and my website in anticipation of the main release.
7. You also have a couple of Nonfiction ‘How To’ books published. What can you tell us about these books?
Well, if you haven’t noticed already, I have a soft spot for new and emerging writers. If I’ve gone through some of the tough stuff why do they have to too? My e-book Publicizing Yourself: A Beginner’s Guide to Author Marketing came about as I looked into what I could do to help further my own chances of getting noticed when my book came out. I pulled everything I learned together and now offer for free if you follow me on Infinite Pathways or for $2.99 via Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. I am also a regular contributor to the online writer’s magazine Authors Publish who release free helpful e-books to their subscribers; and as a starving artist if I can make some money by helping others with my experiences, Hazzah! All is good in the world. So I put in a proposal to the magazine, they accepted How to Publish Your Book: A Practical Guide to the Publishing World and all my research into what options are available to first time authors let me help an even wider range of writers while making some grocery money on the side. I’m currently working on a guide to navigating Goodreads as an author publicity tool… it should be released by Authors Publish in the new year.
8. Where did you get the idea for Time’s Tempest – The Chronicles of Xannia, Part One?
To make a long story short, way back in 1999 on New Year’s Eve the world was in a panic over Y2K… or at least half of it. The other half either didn’t know about the computer calendar glitch or didn’t care. But some people truly thought bad things were going to happen if all the electronic calendars re-set to 1900 instead of turning over to 2000. My husband, then boyfriend, was one of the worried ones… I was not. As you’re well aware, everything turned out fine and the governments and financial institutions around the world kept the lights on and everyone’s money safe and sound. But on Jan. 1st, 2000 I started to wonder what might have happened if the other half had been right? So the concept of the possible end of the world – or not – began to evolve into so much more in the back of my mind.
9. Do you know how many parts there will be for The Chronicles of Xannia?
The story needs at least two parts to be complete. While the plot for book one is basically tied up for readers, the issues surrounding the characters are not. These issues will be addressed fully in book two. However, I always imagined backtracking to a couple years before my protagonist, Taya, was born and telling the story of the Nine Seas Massacre (referred to throughout book one). That being said, if my readers push for another book in the series, I could realistically do a fourth book. That would cover both Taya’s story and the people sentenced to death on the Nine Seas of Darius – it would take place just after the conclusion of book two. I wouldn’t go beyond a fourth book… I have too many other stories to write and share. :)
10. How hard was it to get into the head of your protagonist in Time’s Tempest?
It wasn’t; not really. So much of Taya is me or who I always wanted to be or imagined and daydreamed I could be, that the hardest part of writing her was remembering that she wasn’t me. Her experiences were ten-times worse than mine and her destiny was not my own. She had her own set of problems and learning curves to overcome but it was fascinating watching her grow from the girl in my head to the tortured woman you meet.