After years of querying, when I finally got my first book contract, I heard something shocking: books are more work after you sign the contract than before.
I assumed they meant editing. Turns out, they meant promotion.
Wait, what did I even need a publisher for if not to take care of all the business and marketing? I wrote the next great American novel, so shouldn’t they earn their share of the royalties by doing all the sales?
The book market has changed dramatically. The days of passive authors showing up for the odd signing while the checks roll in are over… if they ever existed. Amazon and the Internet have forever changed publishing. Whether it’s better or worse now is entirely another matter. More authors get their books out, but fewer authors can live off their book sales. Whatever your opinion, the reality now is that readers are inundated with the constant white noise of book ads. The only way for a new author to make any sales is by doing it one book at a time.
That sounds harsh, but it’s just the nature of the modern publishing game. It’s not much different than if you were at a bookstore with a pile of paperbacks sitting in the middle of shelves full of books. Few if any of the patrons came in to buy your book. But some of them may have come in willing to discover a new world. And if you reach out and connect with them, it will probably be yours. E-book sales are no different. If you make a connection, readers will be willing to give your novel a try. If you just blast cover graphics and blurbs all over social media, few if any of those who actually see it will even give it a second thought.
How many random authors’ books you saw ads for online do you seek out and buy?
Here at Writing Through Brambles, we believe that parent writers are basically superheros. Often times being a writer means that you're juggling raising a family, perhaps a full time job, and a passion project. Holli Anderson is a model example of this. She has a degree in nursing, is the Chief Editor at Immortal Works, an amazing mama, and writes paranormal and urban fantasy. Her newest novel, Myrikal, is being released on February 12, and I was excited to sit down with her to discuss it's release!
Rachel Huffmire: In your dystopian world, Myrikal is born during a time when pregnancies are rare. Not only is Myri's existence improbable, but her life is granted unique powers. What inspired you to give Myrikal the powers she has?
Holli Anderson: The inspiration for the whole story came from a video I watched on Facebook, believe it or not. It was a young woman testifying before Congress about being an abortion survivor. She survived a saline abortion attempt and was born 2 months early with chemical burns all over her skin. She was placed in foster care and ended up growing up to be this amazing woman. Her name is Gianna Jesson, I believe. This is also what inspired me to make her most obvious power invulnerability, her skin is impenetrable. The other powers sort of showed themselves as she grew and as the right opportunities presented themselves.
Rachel: From the moment the book starts, we are plunged into a pretty harsh reality. Not only the world Myrikal lives in, but her very parents are shockingly severe. It definitely sets the naturally compassionate Myrikal apart from the world around her once she arrives. Was this inspired by anything?
Holli: I think it stems from my belief that we can choose who we want to be no matter our circumstances. We can choose good even when surrounded by bad.
Rachel: Is there a quality in the real world that you think brings hope to any circumstance?
Holli: Yes – our innate desire to help others. Whenever there’s a disaster anywhere in the world you see normal, everyday people clambering to help in anyway they can. From donations to actually jumping into the disaster area with both feet. I love Mr. Rogers’ quote about helpers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” No matter your political, religious, cultural beliefs—there are always people who will help in dire circumstances.
Rachel: What was your favorite part about developing Myrikal's character?
Holli: My favorite part was her friendship with Branch. That’s when she really started to believe that her dad was wrong about there not being any “good” people in the world. She saw the good in Branch and was then able to see the good in others, too.
I love reading. Unfortunately, I’m an embarrassingly slow reader and I don’t have as much dedicated downtime as I used to. As a result, my to be read pile is dauntingly high. When I do read, though, I come across some beautiful books, and the books I read with my children have really captured my heart the last couple of years.
I love reading with them as part of our bedtime routine, to wind down after a long outing, or simply as a good way to connect with those sweet little hearts. I cannot express my gratitude for the authors that have created such heartfelt stories that allow my kids and me to learn and grow together. Surprisingly, the things I learned while reading with my children also applied to my writing!
It is no secret that self publishing is the go to route for Authors who have a creative vision not worth compromising and an unwavering determination. It requires the most hands on involvement as you are in charge of finding and paying for everything from your copy editor to your cover artist. You make the words on the page look as good as they read, and you make sure it gets into the hands of the right audience. The Greek Titan Atlas has nothing on the weight a Self Publisher carries on their shoulders.
In 2016 self published titles and Amazon published titles were responsible for bringing in %25 of the gross income for the book industry. That same year 786,935 books were published by authors who knew that their visions could be best accomplished themselves, and %27 of the titles on Amazon's Best Sellers List belong to those authors.
Our very own Bree Moore joined their ranks in 2017 when she published her novel Woven. Inspired by Arthurian legend and Lord Alfred Tennyson's ballad, "The Lady of Shalott", Woven is an intricately told story of two women who find themselves faced with two very different curses. Elaina fights a curse that traps her forever weaving a beautiful tapestry high in a tower. Guinevere must keep from succumbing to her splintered personalities in order to circumvent the plan to kill her love, King Arthur.
Now, Woven is out for your listening pleasure on Audible, and I had the chance to chat with Bree Moore about her book, her life, and the publishing process itself.
READ THE BOOK:
I'm excited to spotlight this sci-fi book that's coming out February 6th, 2018! I was lucky enough to be a beta reader for Colonial Prime and I loved it. Then, I read it again as an advance reader and loved it even more! Pre-orders for the Kindle are going on right now, so check it out!
Here is the pitch from Kevin's website:
“Captain Amara Corrin, hero of the late Solar Wars, commands the first colonial fleet. Full of hopeful dreamers looking for a new home, world-weary ex-soldiers, and those just seeking escape, five ships set out from Earth with the hopes of humanity behind them. But Amara soon finds herself with more trouble than she can handle. The Council, Earth’s new governing body, has saddled her with their political rivals, exiling them to a place where they could do them no harm.
Struggling to find balance, Amara appoints a fresh-faced first officer with a hidden past, Nathan Esquina, and tries to figure out a way to keep her son, Jaelyn, free of the political machinations of those aboard the ship trying to destroy the rocky peace upon which they stand. When a message from Earth lets them know that the Council has fallen, Amara, Nathan, and Jaelyn land themselves in a pitched battle where a single mistake could end not only their own lives, but those of every person aboard their colonial mission.
MEET THE CHARACTERS:
Though Amara has been hardened by war, she’s never ruthless or antagonizing. She’s exactly the kind of person I would want in charge of colonizing a new planet. Her competence in her professional life however, doesn’t always transfer to her personal relationships. As tensions on board the ship climb, those very relationships she struggles with could become the only thing that will help her survive.
13 year old Jaelyn doesn't like attention. Unfortunately, as son of the ship's captain it's hard to lay low. He spends his time hiding away in the gardens, but this ship is too small to truly escape getting sucked into the forefront of the adult's problems.
Nathan volunteered to join the colonial fleet to get away from his father. He needs a fresh start, where no one has heard of his reputation so he can figure out who he is, and what why he has such a mysterious gift for mechanics. As the distance between Earth grows, his father's problems haunt him, infecting his new haven with the exact same problems he wanted to escape from.
We're all writers, we're all moms, writing our way through the "brambles" of life and our stories.