For this months Writer’s Corner I am choosing to do something a little different. Recently I was asked a series of questions about writing and because the questions were so good I wanted to share them here for anyone else asking the same ones!
How to get in the mood to write when you don’t want to?
When descriptive writing doesn’t come naturally?
Getting through writers block?
Worrying about what other people think?
Tips for writing a series?
A good way to start a book?
Describe characters skin tone without being awkward?
Ending a series with a bang?
Word count for a book for teens?
Thank you all again for your question!
If you have more questions about publishing or writing in general, leave a comment down below or comment on my Instagram posts.
All the best,
We are officially in the NANOWRIMO days and many of us have already done incredible work on story ideas and novels we’ve been meaning to write for a long time now. For those who don’t know, NANOWRIMO is National Novel Writing Month which began back in 1999 and consists of one major challenge: to write 50,000 words in one month (or thirty days)! Any writer can tell you that this is one heck of a challenge on its own to write a novel consisting of 50,000 words - or more - but the challenge really lies in getting it all done on a time crunch. NANOWRIMO offers writers the chance to punch out that story they’ve been carrying around in their minds or even the next book they’ve been meaning to finish.
On many levels it’s the writing marathon some of you might’ve never known about. It is also one I will never participate in AGAIN.
Before I get ahead of myself, I need to clarify a few things. I have already participated in NANOWRIMO last year and found it to be an exhilarating experience. Not only that, but I managed to complete the book I’d been writing as well - now known as The Caged Curse. Nevertheless, as productive as that month was for me, I was completely burnt out by the end of it. After finishing my manuscript I couldn’t even look at my laptop for days because I needed to take the time to recoup.
I have, and will always, support my fellow authors who are taking on the challenge of NANOWRIMO but I respectfully decline any offers to join in from here on out.
Writing is a joy for me. Its something that gets me out of my own head and allows me to fulfill a deep passion of mine. To share stories with the world that would’ve otherwise been locked away in the deep recesses of my imagination is a privilege and a gift for me. One I take very seriously. Something else I take seriously, is my own mental health. Every writer works differently. Some can write in the dead of night, some over month long periods, and some prefer the challenge of NANOWRIMO; to name a few. One thing that remains the constant is that there is no wrong way to write your story. Only that you do it.
But something else that is important is listening to your own self when you’re in that writing process and knowing when to hold off and take those much needed breaks. I have no doubts that I will fall into more writing sprints throughout my writing career, and some even similar to NANOWRIMO in some respects. But I refuse to set a clock above my head and criticize myself if I haven’t reached the same goals as my fellow writers who are also doing the exact same thing. This was something else that severely impacted my thought process during NANOWRIMO. I was thrilled for my fellow writers, don’t get me wrong, they were absolutely excelling in this challenge and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem, in the end, was that this was not a good fit for me.
My writing process consists of following my inspiration and at times pounding out countless words when I have that moment of clarity. Along with detailed plotting stages and thought out drafting, with the occasional plot twist thrown in, I’ve managed to find a system that works for me.
I’ve had fellow writers ask me about my own thoughts on NANOWRIMO and I’ve been honest with them in saying that it wasn’t for me. I hated the forced deadline, the unmet goals, the long hours of forcing out the words that just wouldn’t come and in the end feeling as though I had failed at being the one thing I had dreamed of being for so long. But one thing I have never done, and never will, was discourage them from trying NANOWRIMO for themselves. Despite my seemingly negative experience with this challenge, it was still a worthwhile experience. One that I learned so much from and, in time, learned what my own writing process was in comparison. Through NANOWRIMO I was able to learn what worked for me and what didn’t.
So, when the days come when I don’t write a single word for what feels like forever, to the moments when I post about how I’ve managed to write a couple thousand in one sitting - and sometimes for days at a time - I want to stress that this does not mean that YOUR writing should reflect how I, or any other author for that matter, works. What we’re doing is an art form and should be respected as such. We all work differently and from that, we create absolutely unique stories that fill in those empty spaces on shelves all over the world. Quite a beautiful concept isn’t it?
So no, I will never participate in NANOWRIMO ever again, but I will also never regret having done so in the first place.
I will forever applaud those that take on this worthy challenge!
All the best,
This week’s topic, PLOTTING YOUR BOOK
Its a question that many authors get asked: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Did that last one throw you? Don’t worry, it did for me too in the beginning. Essentially, they’re asking if you prefer to plot out your book, or, if you prefer to write by the seat of your pants - pantser - and just go where the story takes you.
I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea where I fell when I first started as an author. When I say I was adamant that I didn’t want to use plotting for my books, I mean it. I wanted nothing about writing to remind me of those school days where we would be forced to come up with a story and literally EVERY detail being torn up by the teacher because we didn’t follow the rules. I was worried that those same rules would force my story to be dry and void of the emotions and connection I wanted with my readers. Little did I know…
Thanks to more research and a lot of patience later, I took to looking into what everyone was talking about when it came to being a plotter - nothing against fellow pantser, but your girl needed some structure to her books. I listened to other authors - both indie and traditional - and learned what it really meant to be a plotter and to use structure when it came to writing, and how helpful it was to have all those aspects in place BEFORE you started writing.
Having been a pantser, I already knew how I wanted the story to go. How the characters would develop and how everything would tie together in the end. However, I will admit, that once I got my hands on a clear layout for a story and saw what was needed, I found that I could add more to my stories. With that visual I could see any gaps that I would have missed before. I guess that means I’m still a visual learner after all.
If you haven’t already, I recently posted a look of my new writing nook on my Instagram page and some of you might notice the blank white pages I have above my desk. These are in place so when I plot out my book and I divide everything into Acts (act 1-2-3) as well as sub sections like plot points and climax, I have a constant visual right in front of me as I write so I always know where the story is headed and what’s coming next.
This also gives me AMPLE time to use what I love the most: SCHOOL SUPPLIES! Yes, I was that kid that was always so excited to go back to school shopping and getting a notebook, pens, pencils, etc. All the things that would add to my learning experience. Having been a student for so many years, when I finished my Masters in 2018, I’ll admit, I was at a loss when September 2018 came around and I wasn’t joining my friends with registering for classes and getting supplies like I used to. Now I have more reason than ever to use all the supplies I have left over and put them to use.
So you can just imagine how covered up that board on my desk becomes as the story develops! And I love every minute of it!
The long and short of it all is, do what works for you. Regardless if you prefer plotting out your books, or if you prefer just being inspired and seeing where the story takes you and filling in the gaps along the way, if it works for you and you benefit from that mindset, by all means CONTINUE!
All the best,
Today I wanted to discuss those dreaded 'no word' days. Almost every writer I've come across has faced days like this if not once, then countless times. It's those days when you write ABSOLUTELY NO WORDS. Not a single one.
As authors, we're constantly struggling to get as much work done in a given day as we can in order to finish a project or meet one deadline or another. Whether they be traditionally published authors or even indie authors, we all face days where we are simply not able to write a single word, and because of this, we're faced with judgment - sometimes even from ourselves.
Those 'no word' days used to terrify me. Made me feel as though I'd failed somehow and I wasn't an actual author because I would spend hours, if not days (yes, plural) without writing a single word. I'm sure we've all seen those social media posts claiming that you can't call yourself an author, let alone a writer, if you do not write EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
But now that I've been a writer for nearly a year - and a published author at that - I've come to learn that its not all about writing EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It's not about the criticism either. Just because I wasn't writing a couple thousand words every day didn't mean that I had failed. Not at all.
I've even worked to join the ever popular NANOWRIMO last November and I'll be honest, I will never participate in that project again. Don't get mw wrong, I can definitely see the community aspect and developmental benefit of joining such an endeavour, but from my perspective it was KILLER. Day after day I felt that if I didn't meet a certain goal then I've ultimately failed. Especially when I would compare my writing goals to others. Never mind that I managed to finish my manuscript because of this project, it was certainly not without its price.
I've learned that it truly isn't about the word count or page count that one can get out on a daily basis that matters, but about being proud of the work that you do, and this means being kind to yourself on those 'no word' days.
I am a firm believer that even when I am not writing that I am still, technically, writing. My imagination does not, and never has, had an off switch, so I am constantly thinking about my characters or where the story is going. Maybe even a new story all at the same time.
The days when we aren't writing a single word, isn't a failure. It doesn't mean we are less of an author than the other person who finished their manuscript or someone who is selling more copies than us.
Learning to embrace those 'no word' days and choosing instead to allow them to happen and not force myself to write has been a monumental part in embracing my life as an author. I've grown to trust my writing process, because we all work differently. There is absolutely no shame in that. None at all. No matter what some carefully crafted social media post may say.
If you have written a story, either in your mind, on paper, on a computer, phone, tablet. If you have dreamed up a scene in your mind because you were inspired by a TV show, or you came up with a cool way for your character to develop through your own book by a song that you heard. Hell, even if you are just lounging on a couch and reading someone else's book. You, my dear, are writing. You're building your arsenal of tools at every corner and are adding onto your imagination one step at a time.
So, if you're struggling with those dreaded 'no word' days, promise that you won't be so hard on yourself. Because, I can guarantee, there is another author out there who is doing the exact same thing, and instead of beating yourself up over what you feel you didn't accomplish, trust the process. Because it's working in your favour.
All the best,
This month’s post will be about how I work to wrap up my novels. Now this can differ from one author to another, and that does not mean one way is better than others - just another the creative process comes alive.
Wrapping up a novel - now what is that? Well, it’s just how it sounds! Wrapping up the story like a present right before you present it to the world. Essentially, when you close the story to the ever approaching ‘The End’ page - or ‘La Fin’ in my case.
Wrapping up a novel also looks differently when it comes to the story itself, for instance, how you would wrap up a stand-alone book compared to a sequel in a series will be completely different.
In the case of a stand-alone book, the author needs to wrap up loose ends and ensure that the story is coming to a close in a perfect manner or as perfect as they want the story to be when the reader finally gets to that final page. As the end of a story can differ from genres, we can never truly expect how a story will end until we finally get to that final page.
A sequel in a series will definitely have some open-ended areas in the last few pages and that’s how it’s supposed to be. Authors need the readers to anticipate ‘What Happens Next’ so that they come back for the next book - and the next and the next.
When it came to The Next Right Thing, I wanted to wrap up the story as best as I could in order to give my characters the closure they needed. It’s what they’ve been fighting for the whole story so its time to learn if they finally got what they were looking for. Did the bad guy pay for his crimes? Did the love interests finally end up together? Did that one mysterious thing finally get resolved? (Can’t way too much now, cause then this post would need SPOILER warnings, and believe me, you wouldn’t want me to spoil such an amazing story!)
Everything comes together in the end, but it can also depend on how the author wants to close off the book as well. Charles Dickens was the first to bring the concept of a ‘cliff-hanger’ to life - by literally ending the book with a character hanging from a cliff - and that left that sense of anticipation. Some authors may want everything to come together nicely, but I like to leave some things to the readers imagination.
Let’s be honest, you can’t please everyone. Not everyone is going to love how you ended off your story or how you left your characters. And, if you’re like me, you’ll have people asking for a sequel even though you never planned on one (but only time will truly tell). So don’t be too discouraged if you can’t for any reason give every single little loose end a nice little bow to tie it into the end of your book. Sometimes, that’s just how things work out. In my own opinion, I love when this happens, because it makes the story feel more unique and, more than that, it makes it feel REAL. The last thing any of us expect from life is for things to end off in a nice and neat little bow. Because, that never really happens. Instead, we are left with moments when stories are left open-ended and without any closure. But, when we look hard enough, we can find the depth of those stories. The way they made us feel and what they taught us along the way.
An open-ended, cliff-hanger, no lose-ends-tied ending isn’t the end of the world. In some cases, it’s the beginning of oh so many. What matters, is that we remember to focus on what we did learn, so that when that inevitable final page is before us, we know what to write, we know what to leave behind as our last parting words.
All the best,
How do you do it?
This has been a question I have been asked quite a few times when it’s come to writing or even while I was in school completing another degree. Everyone was always curious as to how I managed to finish assignments so early or in this case, publish not one but two books in less then 5 months and still manage to work full time as a Fraud Investigator.
To be honest, the question stumps me every single time. It’s not as if I plan ahead and know how things will turn out, but I have been known to have a killer sense of self discipline especially when it comes to something I am passionate about. Luckily enough for me I have not one but two careers I absolutely love so that to me if half the battle. Though being stuck at home during a pandemic does offer more free time then I could have ever imagined I’d like to think I was making the most out of a bad situation.
As with anything, my planning isn’t always perfect. There have been times when I’ve felt the tug of burnout waiting in the wings and seriously wondered if I could get everything done in time. These days I have taken to scheduling my time more - similar to when I was in school - having learned that it truly does help to have a game plan, and especially time to dedicate to myself and the ever important ‘days off’.
It has been my experience that when it comes to success, one must always schedule time for themselves. Take a night off, read a book (that has nothing to do with yours), go outside and look at anything but a screen! Honestly anything that will allow you to take a pause. It’s in these moments that I not only feel myself recharging but I can even find my best inspiration when I - quite literally- step away from writing. When it comes to work itself, that’s a little easier. Having a job that keeps me busy Monday to Friday from 8-4pm definitely helps with my scheduling as I know I can’t have anything planned during that time when it comes to my book. It sounds strange but I love that I have an excellent excuse to step away from writing and focus on something else that is so far from what I am working on. I’ve also found this to be an excellent way to get over writers block as well!
So when it comes down to it, I’d have to say that self discipline really plays a large role in being able to balance the both. That, and loving what you do. If you find something that you truly love to do you’ll set aside time for it. Whether it be an hour after work, or even more depending, or writing down some notes on your break which even I count as writing, it all comes together in the end. So for those wondering “how she does it?” The takeaway here isn’t some master plan which anyone can copy I’m afraid. In the end, it’s just loving what you do and making the time for it every single day. And yes, this can look different for just about anyone and that’s okay too.
I never imagined that I would have two careers before the age of 30 but you can’t put a price on living outa dream you’ve had for years. I am so lucky to be able to do not one, but two jobs that I’ve dreamed of doing - even if one came out of nowhere lol.
I can only hope that the rest of you manage to find the same, in your own time, and in your own way.
Best of luck!
All the best,
FYI - Hey everyone! I wanted to say real quick that give my busy schedule I will now only be posting a new #TheWritersCorner once a month on the first Friday of that month. Should you have any ideas or suggestions for posts please feel free to leave a comment or write a comment on my Instagram post! Thank you! xo
For this weeks post, I wanted to get into the topic of how I come to find my inspiration. As I have a feeling I’ll be referencing it from time to time it seemed fitting to have a post on it now.
I was always the one that would hear others talk about their inspiration as something that comes from everywhere, and truth be told, they were right. Inspiration for me comes from a variety of things. It can be as simple as having read a book or watched a TV series or movie and my imagination is kicked into gear. Sometimes something as small as wondering what would have happened to the characters had they not taken the one path they were on is all it takes.
Now, there are times all this results in is only a scene and nothing else but it was still prove valuable when I’m working on a new project and I need it for later on.
Sometimes I can be going for a walk, listening to music, or even cleaning around the house and because I’m not overtly focused on anything my mind wanders about. Having always been the child with an overactive imagination you can understand that having a million thoughts at a time is nothing new to me. Only this time, I can work on them, build them into a story that will one day grace the pages and become a book.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have ideas for every possible outcome when it comes to a potential story, but my imagination has a way of giving me a good starting point that I can build on over time. But only if the story really grasps my attention. I’m sure that many writers can sympathize that a story is only as good as the willingness we have to write it. I need to have a story that has truly captured my heart and attention. This way I know that I will give it my all and make it into the story that it was always meant to be.
All the best,
This week’s post will focus on my character development and what that looks like when I am both in the beginning stages of my manuscript and when I am working on the book itself.
Disclaimer: Character development can look different for all writers. Some will develop their characters as they go and some will have everything planned beforehand. Some may even have strategies of their own that I’ve never even thought of but they know works for them. For those of you who want to share your own forms of character development please feel free to comment down below!
For me the beginning always finds me with a story forming in my mind. This can play out like if the opening of a movie was playing in my head or when something like a song or a scene from a TV show inspires me. I’m not going to get into too much detail about inspiration but we can definitely save that for another post.
Character development comes along once I start asking questions when the story idea is forming in my mind, and these can be ones that any writer will be familiar with. Who is the main character? What do they want? And, my personal favourite, what am I going to do to keep them from getting what they want? If you were to break down a grand majority of the books you’ve read in the past into these three questions, you’ll likely find that a great many authors out there use the same format. It’s a great way to get the ball rolling in my opinion.
I like to think of my characters as people that I know, or at least that I am beginning to know. I’ll start with their name and what they look like. Once I have that frame in mind I’ll begin by filling in the gaps. Such as, how they like to dress, what is their unique style. Do they have long hair that they wear up all the time or lose? Do they have glasses and if so are they prone to breaking them? This will then spiral into character flaws and personalities. Is the character stubborn, are they messy, are they independent and head strong, or are they insecure and quiet?
Age is also a main factor for my character development as this will help me pinpoint certain “life events” for the character. Such as whether or not they might have a driver’s license or if they are still in school. (Side note: owning a license or being in school is not limited to any given age - I could go into detail here but then I would just be repeating my Master’s Thesis :D ).
Once I have the character ‘framework’ as I like to think of it, I then expand on what I know from that one person and begin to add other people into the mix. Do they have siblings, are they close to them, if not why, if so, why? Do they live with their parents? Do they live alone? How many friends do they have, are there any they have a tighter bond with, if so why? And on and on. This I find definitely helps build upon my characters and make them feel more real when it comes to seeing how they interact with the world around them.
After the characters social group is formed I can begin getting into the nitty gritty side of WHAT is going to happen to the character and this is where they will begin forming with the general story idea that’s been forming in my mind.
In ‘The Next Right Thing’ I’d had those characters in mind for years before they finally made their way onto the page. Characters like Rena and Will had changed so much over the years in terms of how old I thought they were to the life experiences they would have which would later on affect how they lived their own lives. It’s definitely at points like this in my writing that I can begin to see the influence of my educational background seeping in. Having studied subjects like Law and Justice, along with Psychopathology and Criminal Behaviour, I find it easy to form the characters to the story. Their actions and choices will ultimately effect how the story development will come back to haunt them later on in the book. For example, the main character in ‘The Next Right Thing’ Rena was deeply impacted by having been abandoned by her birth mom and feeling as though she had no control over the circumstances of her childhood which lead her to being raised by a single parent. This would later affect how unable she is to let go of the feeling that she could do more after she becomes a victim of a random hit and run accident and fears that someone else could get hurt the same way or worse and knows that she has no choice but to act on her instincts.
My favourite part of the character development process would definitely have to be when the characters make the choices themselves. I know I know, there’s no such thing as the characters coming to life. Don’t worry. I haven’t gone crazy and started to think of my characters as people lol. But I do imagine them that way when it comes to the writing process. Once the character has been well developed and you’ve given them a personality, an identity, it becomes really hard to force them to do something they aren’t ‘built’ to do. For example, Rena would never have dropped everything and fled town to go on an excursion after her accident. Her behaviour and personality wouldn’t allow it. She HAD to stick around and find out the truth. I’m sure many authors out there have also found themselves in this position where regardless of how much of a ‘plot twist’ one event could be, it’s just not possible given the characters they’ve created thus far.
My new project, ‘The Caged Curse’ series, is definitely my favourite thus far. I love how much more room I have to develop these characters versus a stand alone book. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still write more stand alones in the future. But there is something to be said about being able to given your character more depth. For example, in ‘The Next Right Thing’ I mostly focused on the aspects of Rena’s life that were necessary to the story at the time. But for my new protagonist Nora, I can really dig into what makes her tick and not worry about writing a 10,000 page book in the end either.
Character is hands down one of my favourite aspects to any story and I love how just an idea or inspiration can lead to creating an entire new world all on its own. The possibilities alone are endless! Keep in touch for my latest project as it is in its final stages of preparation before it becomes available!
All the best,
I was asked a while back to discuss what my editing process looks like when it comes to writing a book and getting it ready for publication. But in order to answer this I felt that I’d also need to discuss my writing process beforehand in order to make some sense of it.
Disclaimer: Each and every writer has a method to their writing that works for them. There isn’t one that’s better than the other which allows us writers to really own our style as we see fit. Because like with all good things, there is no one size fits all.
During my writing process I and definitely a planner! Or plotter? Whatever it’s called now, I’m the kind of writer that will create a bare bones timeline for what I want to have happen in my story before I actually sit down to write it. This can consist of mostly the major plot points of the book and it gives me a more visual representation of where I can fit in additional scenes throughout the book so things are less messy.
Afterwards I’ve held myself back long enough and I’m off! Writing to my hearts content until anything I’ve wanted to happen - or anything that’s come up along the way - finds it’s way onto the pages in a glorious mess that is Draft One.
One thing I want to say before I go any further. When it comes to drafting, your first one is always going to have faults and be messy and sometimes downright sucks - THATS OKAY! This just means that you have somewhere to start in the editing process. Can’t fix what doesn’t exist right? Right? So don’t be too hard on yourself if the first draft isn’t perfect - it’s never meant to be.
Once the first draft is done - this can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month or so - I go over the whole book and find places I can improve. I’ve taken to avoid calling my manuscript “done” or “finished” especially when I’m in the early stages of the writing process because I never feel that it’s reached that point yet.
At this point I’ll make sure that any of the additional scenes I’ve wanted to add along the way can still fit now that the manuscript has changed over time; which happens more often than you know. This allows me to include what I like to call “fluff” scenes. Scenes that don’t necessarily have that much of an impact in the whole storyline but do offer their own kind of importance by helping to develop a character more or showing more depth in one scene where there wasn’t one before. These can sometimes become some of the more favourite scenes for my readers I’ve found. Which in and of itself amazes me every single time because of how close that scene came to not being included at all in the final draft.
Once the fluff has been added and I feel well and truly like I’ve done all I can do in my power, I go over the manuscript one more time and correct any obvious mistakes and typos before I send it off to my trusted readers who will have the chance to read the manuscript in all its unedited glory.
This process can normally take anywhere from a few days to a week or so for them to get my manuscript back to me. I prefer to have more than one person looking over my manuscript because I’ve found that three pairs of eyes are better than one. And where one will notice a sentence fragment, one might notice a gap in the storyline instead so I have a better chance at getting the most out of my feedback.
While I wait, I normally take this time to work on my query letters and book pitch so that I can begin submitting them to potential literary agencies and publishers in the hopes that someone will find my pitch worthwhile.
Afterwards I dive into edits and spend the next few hours/days deep inside my manuscript going over it time and again until the edits are done and it’s as close to perfection.
Once we’re at this stage however it all becomes a waiting game. For my debut novel ‘The Next Right Thing’ I waited patiently for feedback from agencies and publishers for about two/three months before I’d had enough and went the self-publishing route - which I’ll never regret doing. It’s at this time that one can either wait to hear back from agencies and publishers to get that long awaited ‘Yes’ or choose to take matters into their own hands. But that all comes down to the writer themselves.
There are also plenty of paths a writer can be taken down when at this stage. Some may get feedback but not an exact 'yes' from an agency and therefore be required to make some edits before they re-submit their manuscript.
The only advice I can give at this particular stage of the game is to go easy on yourself. Those rejections will come in, they always do. But they aren't all horrible. I'm sure I've said this before but its worth mentioning again. Every single rejection I've ever gotten, every one, was positive. No one bashed my work or questioned my capability to be a writer, so please don't believe that every single rejection will be negative and harmful in nature. I'm not discounting the fact that those do exist, but more often then not, publishers and agencies want you to better yourself and not lose faith in what you are trying to do.
So keep at it.
All the best,
For this week’s Writer's Corner I’m going to dive into the story of how I came to find FriesenPress - the official publisher of my debut novel ‘The Next Right Thing’. In my last post I talked about the back and forth struggle that comes with choosing to go either with Traditional Publishing or Self-Publishing when it comes to your novel and how it can be quite the decision. When I finally got around to the idea of self-publishing FriesenPress was already on my radar.
I want to start off by saying that Self-Publishing is very much a catch-all term. There are various ways to go about publishing your book on your own that requires you to literally do all the work from start to finish. I happen to have great respect for the people who have gone this route! In my case, I went the route that consisted of me finding a publisher who was dedicated to self-published authors and worked with them every step of the way.
This is my story!
To begin, there are many, and when I say many, I mean MANY publishers who are dedicated to working with self-published authors who will become interested in your book, sometimes even the moment they hear about it. Not gonna lie, that is quite a confidence boost especially after you get some of your first rejection letters for your manuscript - it does happen but that doesn’t mean that you’re a terrible writer, I promise! But when it comes to these countless agencies be weary especially when it comes to some publishers who will push their packages on you. This happened to be with one group in particular and even I have to say, it was a BIG turn off. I felt as though I was being shoved into a corner and had no way out.
When it came to FriesenPress I’ve actually interacted with them long before I became dedicated to going the self-publishing route. Back when I was doing my research, their name came up as one of the most highly regarded self-publishing agencies in Canada. They were beyond professional in our first interactions and completely understood when I said I wanted to see how my manuscript would fair out in the Traditional Publishing pool. I still remember speaking with one of the representatives and them asking me if/when they should reach out to me in the future to see if I would still be interested in self-publishing. At first, I remember being apprehensive about this, especially given my last experience with a self-publishing agency. Nevertheless, I trusted what I had already seen from FriesenPress and told them they could call me back around November (back in 2020).
After I worked and worked at getting my manuscript seen by a variety of publishers and literary agencies I was beginning to feel discouraged and thought my dream of being a published author was nearing the end of its journey. What I hadn’t realized, was that it was nearing the first week of November and another agency was waiting to call me back.
It was when the call finally came from FriesenPress that I was beyond excited to learn as much as I could about them and see what they were capable of. That first call was essentially a get-to-know-you conversation where I spoke with a very kind representative named Bret Newton who was patient with me and helped me understand all the different facets that FriesenPress offered. Their team dedicated themselves to authors all over Canada - as well as some in the United States - on countless genres spanning children’s books, non-fiction novels, and of course, fiction novels to name a few.
After that first call I got to work and looked over every single package the publisher had and carefully selected the one I felt was a great fit for me. Being a debut author I wanted all the help I could get and given that I was starting from the ground up I was more than willing to put in the work. It was around mid-November 2020 that I officially signed with FriesenPress and I will forever remember that day as the one where I officially began my journey to becoming a published author.
Being that FriesenPress works with their authors throughout the ENTIRE publishing journey I got the chance to learn so much. The amount of resources that this agency has astounded me. Everything from what to expect when you’re first getting started to marketing your book once its published. But one thing that completely struck me the most was how patient and kind the team was.
I was lucky enough to be paired off with Karly who became my Publishing Consultant and whom I spent the most time with working on my book to make sure it was as ready as it could ever be. I still remember our first phone conversation when I told her that I was completely new to the whole world of publishing and admitted I didn’t really know where to begin. In the past I have met countless individuals who’ve taken this as an opportunity to make someone feel small and insignificant, but Karly instead made me feel accepted and encouraged me the whole way, saying that there was no better place to begin and that no matter the question she would be happy to help.
Countless revisions on both my manuscript, cover design, as well as the final bits of paperwork necessary before a book hits the printers, my book was ready and printed out by February 2021, less than a year later - and yes, even they were impressed, but what can I say, I was pretty motivated!
Once my book hit the printers and was finally made available for sale I got introduced to Michelle Rogers who became my Promotions Specialist and when I say this woman knows what she is talking about, I mean it. I’ll be the first to admit that one thing I was not expecting throughout this whole writing journey was that actually writing the book would turn out to be the easy part! When it came to marketing and promoting my book it became a whole new ballgame. I have heard many new authors asking when would be the best time to begin promoting their book - i.e. telling people about it and posting about it on social media - well I was lucky enough to have an author friend who informed me way back when I wasn’t even finished the manuscript yet to start right then! You want to get the word out as soon as possible when it comes to your book and work on building that interest so that when the book is finally available people are running (or in the case of Covid, clicking) their way over to buy your book because they have heard so much about it already that they are dying to read it. (No joke, Amazon was out of stock in the first week of my books release AND my book hit the FriesenPress Bookstore best-seller list at #2 in the same week).
So thankfully I already had that social media backing when I met Michelle. But it was with the help of this genius that my official website (the one you are currently on) became reality. I am still amazed that a site this professional looking is actually mine and I could not say enough good things about the work that went into this domain.
Once the site was live and the book was available for sale (see page ‘The Next Right Thing’ to see everywhere my book is available!) it was time to get into the marketing and promotions of my book. This was all thanks to the customized plan that Michelle created just for my book - with Covid restrictions respected as well - and I was off. This plan helped calm down my nerves when it came to book promoting because when I say I had no clue, I had NO CLUE. None. Nada. Ziltch.
The plan clearly outlined how best I could work to get the word out about my book. This consisted of reaching out to local bookstores and media to talk about my book - my elevator pitch as they would say - and hope that they would be interested in helping me spread the word. I am happy to announce that I have had quite a few interviews thus far - and even one Radio interview - which has all helped greatly to spread the word about my book; especially for those who were not tech savvy and aren’t on social media. I was shocked at how big of an outreach promoting has. But let me tell you, it is easy to get overwhelmed and feel as though you aren’t doing enough. Thankfully I had both Michelle as well as the book community I found on Instagram who were all more than kind enough to let me know that I was doing a great job.
And here we are today! I am still working with Michelle on promoting my book and working on my social media presence in order to gain more interest for my book as well as help guide me on my journey as a writer. I know that this post basically turned into a glowing recommendation for FriesenPress but what can I say? They were pretty awesome, and I have already recommended them to my fellow soon-to-become authors as well.
The journey to become an author can be a long one, especially when you have to sift through all of the details and information being thrown at you. I am forever grateful that I found FriesenPress and choose to work with them. It is because of this amazing team that I learned so much and can honestly say that I have grown more confident as an author and am looking forward to where my writing takes me next.
So, to answer a question I have received a few times now. Will I self-published my next book or go at it via Traditional Publishing? Guess we’ll just have to wait and find out won’t we? ;)
All the best,