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.
Amanda: How did you know you wanted to self publish?
Bree: I went to conferences and listened to other authors talk about their experiences. I knew I wanted lots of control over the whole process, so that was the main factor for me.
A: Was there a time you thought Woven wasn't going to be finished? What made you pick it back up? How did you know it was"publish worthy?"
B: So. Many. Times. Thank goodness for Writing Through Brambles! Without my writing group I might not have finished. I had three babies during the time it took to write Woven. I wondered so many times if this story was worth it. I think the realization that it was publishable was very gradual. It actually took getting rejected by an agent for me to take myself seriously. That's honestly the first thing every writer needs to get published - confidence in themselves.
A: Finally sending your baby out into the world takes a lot of courage. What are some of the things you did to fight the doubt and the fear that comes during the writing and publication process?
B: Vented at Writing Group. 😉 Also, I attended conferences, re-read my favorite passages, and kept visualizing what it would feel like to be published!
A: What would you say is the thing worth splurging on when it comes to self publishing?
B: COVER ART. And a FANTASTIC editor. Honestly if you get those things right you'll be miles ahead in self publishing. Though neither can make up for not marketing.
A: How did publishing your first book change your writing process?
B: I got WAY faster. I realized writer's block is an excuse I give myself for not prioritizing my writing. My first book took seven years. Woven took four. The sequel to Woven took five months and will be published less than a year from when I started writing it. I plan to release an entire trilogy next year. Outlines and character profiles are EXTREMELY helpful.
A: You are also a Mom and a Doula; I imagine scheduling writing time is very important for you. What do you have to do to protect your writing time? What helps you be productive?
B: Scheduling is important when I have a deadline. Otherwise, I write or edit every moment I can, pretty much. With Netflix for my older kids, a nap for the baby, and the Google documents app on my phone, I can pound out 1000 words per hour, give or take. Sometimes I'll schedule entire days for writing when my husband is off work, and I've proven to myself I can do quite a lot in just a day.
Being a doula is nice because I don't have regular hours, but I do have to keep up on marketing for that business too. I go through seasons and accept that sometimes things won't get done. I also have an EXTREMELY supportive husband. I couldn't do this without him!
A: Empathy is such a valuable character strength to have as a Mom, a Doula and an Author. What other ways do you find these jobs are similar? In what ways do you feel they are different?
B: They all require support and creativity. Emotional intelligence and vulnerability. They require other people to have meaning. They are more alike than not. Doula work can be more draining physically and emotionally. It's a marathon to attend a birth sometimes, especially in the middle of the night. Writing is more solitary. Most of the time it's just me and my words. Motherhood is the greatest return on my investment of time. Teaching and playing and caring for my kids brings the greatest long-term rewards for me.
A: There are some dark elements to Woven, including mental health, betrayal, and sexual assault. Can you tell me a little bit about how you protected yourself while still writing about those things truthfully and realistically? How did you overcome any fear that might have come from writing darker subject matter than your friends and family might have expected? Did you ever feel like you reached a place that was too dark?
B: That's a good question. I didn't realize until halfway through the book that one of my characters had a very dark past. I'm a good Christian, have been my whole life, but I find myself drawn to darkness in fiction. I like seeing it overcome, and I appreciate what it teaches me. That helped me write the dark scenes in Woven. I prayed a lot while writing, editing, and then publishing Woven. I've been confronted by people who are shocked by what I wrote, and even if they don't understand why I wrote the story that way, it's really opened up opportunities for me to learn and grow. The fear of what others might think still affects me sometimes, but I'm confident I told the story I needed to.
A: In the ballad "Lady of Shallot", the character of the fairy in the tower is quite vague, yet you've built the very strong and unique Elaina out of her. Where did you draw those deeper characteristics from? How did Elaina come to you?
B: Elaina is one character that is a lot like myself in many ways. She came about gradually and reflects my own journey through the beginning of motherhood. I couldn't figure out how she got out of the tower until I confronted my own fears and isolation in motherhood. Elaina and I are very connected that way.
A: Some of your characters are based on well-known characters from Aurthurian Legend. How did you decide which part of their stories and characteristics were important to keep, and what could be left up to creative liberty?
B: It's so hard, as there are so many versions of the story! I honestly just chose my favorites, then any others that helped strengthen the story. I know some die-hard Camelot fans will hate how much liberty I took, but I also know I've inspired others to pick up Arthurian legend for the first time and want to read more, so that tells me I did something right!
A: Can you tell us a little bit about what the next couple of years hold for you and your readers?
B: Absolutely. I'm publishing the sequel to Woven this fall, and I have short stories in three different anthologies. I came up with ideas for two trilogies, a fantasy and a paranormal romance, which will be released in 2019 and 2020. I'll be diving deeper into my career as an author and writing as much as possible. This is only the beginning!
Woven is an incredible book, and it is available for purchase on Amazon, and now on Audible for those of you who love listening to your books while folding laundry and doing dishes, like this busy mom.
You can follow Bree Moore to hear more about her upcoming works on Facebook or on her Author Page.
If you have any questions about the self publishing process or about Bree Moore's writing journey please comment bellow!
- Amanda Hakes
We're all writers, we're all moms, writing our way through the "brambles" of life and our stories.