Monday, October 10, 2011

Getting to know you: Kelly Smith

In week seven of Getting to know you, I've hooked up with Kelly Smith from Writtled. She is the first self-published author I've interviewed and gave some insight into the process of going from aspiring to Indie author. As ever Kelly and I were put together through Rach Harrie's 3rd Writer's Platform-Building Campaign. 

Your book GLITTERING ASHES is available at Amazon, Smashwords, Apple iBooks and a few other places. Why should we add it to our to be read lists?
I think Glittering Ashes should be added to your TBR piles because I really wrote something that I wanted to read. I wanted to read a YA paranormal romance that wasn't the stereotypical vampires, werewolves, angels, or demon story (though I have read good ones of all of those). You're supposed to write about what you're passionate about, and YA romance is that for me. I had fun writing it; so hopefully readers will have fun reading it!

Your book is an e book. How did you reach the decision to be an indie writer? 
It took me a long time to come to that decision. I thought about going the traditional route because of the support writers receive, but I wanted to be able to have control of my book so ultimately I decided to go alone, at least with this series.

Can you explain a little about he steps you took e publish your book?
I don't have an agent currently. There hasn't been a need as of one as of yet, but I am not opposed to having one at all. Any help is good help, right? I'm not currently a part of a writer's group, but I have wonderful people surrounding me, through my blog, Twitter friends, and the vibrant YA writer community all over the internet, let alone my own family and friends.

As far as what steps I chose to self-publish Glittering Ashes, I want to say it took a lot of research. I highly suggest Smashword's Style Guide for formatting your actual manuscript. Also, there are many, many resources (including awesome blog advice) about how to make your own cover. It may all seem overwhelming at first, but if you're willing to learn, all of the information is available, and it may even turn out to be fun. My experience so far has been very fun :)

What was your revision process to ensure that your book was ready for publishing?
Every person's revision process is different, and the stakes are higher when you decide to self-publish because you don't have an official team of editors behind you (unless you hire them). I let friends and family read the book and give me their feedback, and I did a lot of editing of my own. After much deliberation, I decided I wanted to release Glittering Ashes into the wild internet and see what people thought of it.

What did you need to learn in order to get the book ready for e publishing?
 Getting the book published is a complicated process, even though it might not seem that way at first. I had to first format the manuscript (the font, title page, dedication (optional), paragraph indention decisions, contact page and author bio, table of contents, chapter bookmarks--all of which are outlined fairly succinctly in the Smashwords Style Guide.).

After formatting the actual manuscript, I had to decide on a cover. For me, I chose to make my own cover for Glittering Ashes, but one could hire a cover creator for several hundred dollars or more, depending on who you chose to design it.

After you format the book and create the cover, it's only a matter of uploading to Amazon, Smashwords, and the like, but those two steps may take a while, and I wouldn't suggest trying to rush them.

Once you finish everything and have uploaded your book, it's all about getting the word out about it (one of the hardest parts).

There is a lot of talk about platforms nowadays, and this challenge is all about building a platform; why is it so important for an indie author?
Building a platform is SO important for an indie/self-published author. The hardest part of being an indie or self-published author is getting the word out about your book. You have to have contacts, followers, and friends to tell about your book, and then you hope you've written something good enough for word to spread. Without a platform, success is still possible, but you should have all the friends you can get to help you be even more successful. I suggest doing blog interviews (like this one here, THANK YOU! :) ), having interesting content on your own blog, and being active in promoting your book in all avenues.

Now onto writing. Are you a plotter or pantster?
Good question. I am a loosey-goosey plotter, who sometimes moonlights as a pantser. All of that means that I have to have a rough outline before I start any WIP, but I don't want to know everything that could possibly happen before I start writing. You have to keep yourself focused enough to move forward but excited enough to not be bored, I say. 

What's your top writing tip?
My top writing tip is definitely to write down everything that remotely sounds like a good idea. I have a brain book of sorts (at least that's what I call refer to it as on my blog) where I write down any and everything that seems inspiring to me. Song titles, dreams, snippets of ideas--you never know what you could read over later to inspire your next WIP!

What's your most valuable writing resource?
My most valuable writing resource is other people's writing blogs. I love reading about how other writers do what they do, and their blogs are goldmines for that. I highly suggest meeting other writers through blogs and getting familiar with other people's processes. It's inspiring to learn that other people have been successful and you can be successful too!

If you would like to know more about Kelly, you can find her at her blog Writtled. And if you've been convinced to buy her book, you can click on the link below. 

Also remember that voting for the 2nd Campaign Challenge goes on until Friday. You can find my entry here and I'm #153 over at Rach's site. 

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