I’m pleased to introduce our guest author: Emma Woods! She has recently self-published her debut YA fiction novel: Beasts and Savages.
Tell us a little about yourself. What got you into writing?
I’m a small town, Midwestern girl with no big story. I’ve always loved reading and writing, and was sure I’d grow up to be a teacher. So did everyone else. I have the teaching degree, but not the job. In a way, I’m glad it worked out like that. If I were a teacher, I don’t know if I would have gone back to writing as an adult. As a child, I read anything I could get my hands on and couldn’t wait every year for Young Author events. I got back into writing as an adult when I began to make a children’s book series called Sun and Moon for my daughter to illustrate. Something just for fun.
How did you come up with your story?
Tumblr. Someone had a post about not wanting another YA story about a girl who changes her entire life for a boy she falls for at the moment they meet. Someone else made a comment about a girl seeing a boy for the first time “and there he was, the first boy I’m going to kill…” People commented about how they’d love to read a story like that, so I wrote one. I even messaged the original blogger to thank him for the idea. I got no response, so I guess he isn’t interested.
Tell me about your experience, what were the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
My experience was probably much different than most. I told a friend about my writing after she asked me what I was doing while our kids were at swim practice, and she encouraged me to write the novel and post it on Smashwords. I had been emailing my sister each chapter, she whole heartedly agreed, and has been a huge supporter ever since. My sister, Wendy, has been my partner in crime when it comes to help with social media, marketing, scene suggestions, and she even formatted my eBooks for me.
My biggest challenge, by far, has been how little I knew about becoming, and being, an indie author. I started writing in March, joined an editing group in July, and thought I’d have a book ready by August, September at the latest. I was wrong, and even after my book launched, I wasn’t ready. Not really ready, and every day I learn about something else that I could be doing.
What is the result? Are you doing well? What would you have done differently if you could do it all again?
For a “newbie”, I feel like I’m doing okay in some aspects, and not in others. I have lots of local support and I can’t keep my cash and carry paperbacks in stock. Am I a best seller? Not even close. What I’m lacking is reviews. I didn’t even realize how important reviews were until a week after I published. If I had it to do over again, I’d delay announcing a publishing date until I was sure the book was finished and I had some advanced reviews under my belt.
What are you working on now? What are your future plans?
I’m working on the second book in The Beastly Series, which I don’t have a full title for just yet. I plan to finish it during Nanowrimo and release it on April 1, 2016. I want to finish the three book series by the end of 2016, and after that I have some companion books in mind. Beyond that, who knows? I have so many ideas in the back of my mind.
What advice would you give unpublished writers?
Write for you. I know this has been said before, but it bears repeating. Write a story because you love it. If you miss typos in your own story because you got sucked in, then you’re doing everything right. Also, never self-edit, and don’t be afraid to throw out sentences, scenes, or entire chapters. Nine times out of ten, if someone tells me to chuck something out, it’s gone, or at least shortened.
Just for fun, do you have any writing quirks you’d care to share?
I talk aloud to myself while I write. I’ll say things like, “What if Lea told Miller she didn’t want to hear his sob story? Nah, Lea’s not like that.” I think my dog finds it amusing, or a little disturbing, I’m not sure which. 😉
Let’s hear about your Self-Publishing endeavor. Did you hire an Editor to revise your work?
I did not, but I joined an editing group and had a few beta readers. I don’t regret not hiring an editor, I never could have afforded one, and my work would still be just sitting on my computer, an unedited mess. I have, however, updated my original work since it has been out due to a couple of missed typos. I have a better, more edit-focused plan for my next book.
Was it difficult finding the right cover and blurb?
Cover, no. I found it on a pre-made site and got it relatively cheap, all things considered. All it took was some shopping online. Blurb? I’ve rewritten it a few times, and I still don’t really know if it’s good enough.
What made you decide to go the self-publishing route?
I went to an author meet and greet last year and met some great writers. It was a book festival for traditionally published authors and had forums where they would answer questions. One author said that it took them ten years to get published, and they were almost proud of that fact. My only thought was, “This mama doesn’t have time to jump through hoops for ten years.”
In another forum, a self-published author asked a publisher on the board why he should consider submitting a different work to the traditional route when his first work was fairly successful. The representative hemmed for a while and finally said, “Publishers are more accepting of previous self-published authors than they were five to ten years ago, and libraries rarely buy self-published books.” I didn’t know much about writing or being an author, but I didn’t look at libraries as my target audience. After a friend urging me to give Smashwords a go, this experience was my final push into the Indie world.
We hoped you enjoyed this interview, and be sure to watch out for Beasts and Savages 99₵ sale November 9-13th on Amazon.
Amazon 5-star Reviews:
Awesome read! Good story. Can’t wait for the next book!
A real page turner, hard to put down. Can’t wait for second book in the series. Awesome read.
Keep up with Emma Woods: