You recently wrote a fabulous article for Pen Dragon entitled Becoming a professional Juggler, which pertained to the art of balancing writing and living a normal life. I’d love it if you could share with us a bit of wisdom and one or two tips you would have for authors who also live a double life?
It all comes down to passion and compromise. I honestly do not think I could juggle as much as I do on a daily basis if I didn’t love it. The day job pays the bills so that my free time can be consumed with words, friends and running. I have come to realize you can’t always get everything done everyday and you know what? That’s perfectly okay. Set reasonable goals and remember to have fun. The moment you become too serious is the moment it becomes work. And work is never fun, is it?
Thank you so much for those great tips! I’m sure more than one person will agree with you in many ways! Going from writing to publishing, today’s hot topic in the writing industry is Traditionally published versus Self published. Which way did you decide to go, and why?
Indie, but I didn’t always know I was going to go that route. It was after reading “Forsaken by Shadow” by Kait Nolan that I began to explore this new world. I had been so impressed with her book, that I visited her website, joined her on Twitter and began to learn more about this very talented author. From there, I met and read Susan Bischoff. These ladies are just two examples of writers that are just as good (if not better in my opinion) than many on the NYT Best-Sellers List. For me, this sealed the deal. I wanted to be a part of this world and prove to all the readers out there that you don’t need to be traditionally published to be a good writer.
There were some other advantages as well. I am somewhat of a control freak, so the idea of putting my book into the hands of another never really appealed to me. I want to have ultimate say over my final product. After all, they are my words. In addition, I am also very impatient, so the whole querying and waiting game would probably kill me. No, seriously, I would perish.
Fascinating! What did you find where the most challenging and rewarding aspects of going that route?
Indie publishing is still new and there are a lot of folks who aren’t sold on the idea of buying a book that isn’t put out by a publisher. So, attention to detail and making sure to build a strong platform is crucial.
The reward is the being part of a growing community of writers that is filled with support, warmth and talent.
From what I can gather, you are very well versed in the world and the use of technology and social media. In your opinion, what platform has been the most beneficial to your writing career and why?
I would have to say first and foremost Twitter. I have literally met thousands of writers and readers. Some have even become life-long friends. They have shared with me their own journeys and together we have grown. Twitter gives you the ability to connect with people whose paths you otherwise would have never crossed.
Second in line would have to be Goodreads. I know it isn’t the easiest site to navigate and a lot of people still aren’t on there, but I have met a lot of writers and readers on there I had yet to meet on Twitter. So if you are reading this post and don’t have a Goodreads account, I highly recommend that you sign up.
If you were going to give a single piece of advice to a brand new author today, what would it be?
Be everywhere and be yourself. I see far too many writers who rely solely on Twitter for marketing and branding. While Twitter is a fantastic tool, there are, believe it or not, still millions of people who aren’t on Twitter. Become affiliated with as many writerly sites as you can. Do guest blogs, interviews, etc. The more your name is out there, the bigger your platform will be. With this being said, don’t get so lost in marketing that you forget to be yourself. Readers like to get to know who the “real” person is behind the words.
Speaking of advice, every author has a mentor, friend or even boss (editor/publisher) with great knowledge and input when it comes to writing. Please tell us about the person whom you think has had the most influence on your writing, and why? (It can even be a fictional character or story)
My initial inspiration, mentor and teacher was my grandfather. I always had a voracious appetite for books and he made me take it to another level. When I was 7, I started writing little short stories and poetry. By 11, I had three poems published and had won a small local writing competition. My grandfather passed away when I was 16 and the words stopped flowing. I took a long break from writing and only jumped back into it again last year. Oddly, I still, to this day, have not been able to write poetry since his passing.
You recently launched a new initiative called Between the Lines Book Club. Please tell us more about it, its mission, target audience and target participants. How can authors, new or seasoned, participate and help in this wonderful project?
I am VERY excited about Between the Lines. Our mission is to help indie and small press authors gain the exposure they deserve. We currently feature one author a month. However, an exciting new feature we will be unveiling soon will be our Double Feature months. Authors can query BTL to become a featured author (details here). They can also become members, by joining our forum site. Here, they can chat with other writers and readers, sharing their works and advice.
Now to the meat of the subject! Please tell us more about your upcoming books and projects? I can see three titles lined up through 2011 and 2012. Anything you can leave us to look forward to?
I am currently on the final round of rewrites for my debut “Memoirs of a Monkey” a paranormal romance filled with lots of action and comedy. I have a tentative launch of the end of June and so far it looks like I am on track for this new release date. In the next month the first few chapters of MOAM in their entirety will be released on my site. Check the MOAM page on my site for updates and updated snippets coming soonly!
My next slated release will be the horror novella I wrote during NaNo last year, “Running from Myself,” a dark tale of a newborn vampire who discovers she suffers from multiple personalities. My critique partner has actually just returned this manuscript to me and it is ready to be edited. You can learn a little bit more about this book here.
“Oh Snap!” is my WIP and I hope to have it published early next year. The first four chapters of this are available on my site.
I am also working on an exciting new project with James Tallett. James came up with the idea of starting a social media marketing firm. We launched Deepwood, Inc. about a month ago. We currently post one article a week on marketing and social media. There are also plans to feature guest author posts and webinars in the near future.
And finally, I formed my own independent publishing company, Black Kettle Publishing (the site is still in its infancy, so bear with us). Aside from publishing my own works, I plan on hunting down some seriously talented writers over the next year to feature there as well (i.e., the very talented Andrew Mocete). I have had my eye on his writing for some time now and do hope down the road when he is finished with his book, I can persuade him to let me publish him. I’ll pay him millions of dollars of course…well, maybe not, but that probably caught his attention, right? 😉
Finally, I know that you are also a founder and heavily involved member in a writing community publishing fantasy fiction weekly. As a member of the Splintered Lands myself, I am very excited to share this with our readers. In a quick few words, what makes Splintered Lands unique, different and attractive for new readers?
You mean aside from the fact that I’m involved with it? TOTALLY KIDDING. Ha, Splintered Lands features the writings of five different authors. That alone I think is a big draw for readers, because you get to see five different styles of writing. Aside from this fact, the story behind Splintered Lands is fascinating and one that both fans of fantasy and those new to the genre should check out.
Memoirs of a Monkey is L.M. Stull’s debut novel. Already she has gathered a huge following of readers. Read below and find out what you also can look forward to!
Samantha Bowden was born and raised in the Nation’s Capital. As a young, energetic writer, everything seemed to be going right in her world when she was offered a junior writing position in the Marketing Department of a very prestigious invention firm. As she tries everything to get recognition from her new boss, it becomes apparent that most of the executives at You Name It, We Made It are not what they seem to be. Samantha sets off to find out what is going on, but will she regret learning about the creatures she calls coworkers? In her quest to succeed in one of America’s deadliest offices, she finds herself on a hilarious, sexy and action-packed journey to find the truth of just about everything in her life.
During the day you will find her chained to a desk at a law firm. Yes, she works for lawyers. Now you understand why she writes about creatures . . . Boom! At night she channels her inner creative monster and writes (sorry, she doesn’t turn into a werewolf or anything).
When she’s not writing or feverishly taking orders from attorneys, she laces up and runs (and sometimes drinks wine… yeah, okay maybe more than sometimes).
There are several ways you can go about stalking her on the web if your little heart so desires: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads (Hint: she’ll totally think you’re awesome if you add her upcoming books to your to-read pile) and of course on her really cool Website. She also runs the Fellow Writer’s Group on Facebook.
L.M. is also the founder of Between the Lines, a book club who is proud to feature the writings of independent and small press authors. For information on membership and how to become a contributing author, visit their website. You can also connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.