Interview with Joanne Dannon

Interview with Joanne Dannon

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Joanne’s Path to Publication

Today I chat with the amazing Joanne Dannon,  a fellow Australian Author, who shares with us her Indie path to publication. Her novel ‘Kissing Under The Spotlight’ is book 1 in her Kissing Down Under series (previously titled, The Alex Jackson series, and the books were, Kissing under the Spotlight, Wanting Mr Right, Together At Last, Forever Mine. The book titles have changed but the book content hasn’t). Happy reading!

Multi published, award-winning Australian author, Joanne Dannon, writes to give her readers the experience she loves to savor–indulging in a sigh-worthy-happily-ever-after, being swept away from the everyday by diving into a delicious romance novel.

Joanne is a happily married mother of two heroes-in-training who loves spending time with friends and family. She can be found on Facebook and her website www.joannedannon.com chatting about reading, writing, cooking, vintage-inspired dresses and all things romantic.

 

I’m super excited to have you on my blog, and thank you so much for sharing your ‘Path to Publication’ experience with us all. I know so many of my readers will love to hear about how you went from an aspiring author to a published one, and many will gather inspiration from the journey! So let’s get started:

  • How long have you been writing for?

12 years

 

  • How long did it take you from when you started writing, to when you became a published (or soon to be) published author?

9 years

 

  • Where do you write from, home, office, coffee shop, etc? And do you have any pre-writing or actual writing rituals (such as lighting a candle, listening to music, etc)?

I write from home but once a week, go to a coffee shop to write.

 

  • Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in-between?

Plotter

 

  • What is your favourite part of the writing process?

I like all of it – the plotting, the writing, even the editing 🙂

 

  • What is the most important part of a novel to you: plot, characters, or setting?

The characters. I write contemporary romance that focuses on the journey of the hero and heroine coming together. It’s the characters that drive the story, not the plot or setting (for what I write).

 

  • Describe your writing routine (how long do you spending plotting the novel, time spent writing, editing, submitting it): 

I spent up to two weeks creating my characters and working out the GMC (Goal Motivation and Conflict). Once finalised, I start writing and that will take 2-6 weeks, depending on the length of the book. I write novellas that are 25K words and novels that are 50K words.

 

  • How many books a year do you usually write (or are you aiming to write):

I write 4-6 books a year, and also run boxed sets, with author friends.

 

  • How did you cope with rejection during the querying process?

Relied on the friendship and support of my author friends.

 

  • Looking back, what do you think you did right that helped you break in?

Worked hard, didn’t compare my journey to others, and wrote good books.

 

  • Is there anything you wish you could do differently?

I wish I’d learnt more about self-publishing before I hit the “upload” button.

 

  • Best advice you’ve ever been given, or have heard, about writing?

The difference between a published and an unpublished author is that one didn’t give up.

 

  • Any advice for aspiring writers on writing and submitting?
  1. Know that it’s not easy to write a book.
  2. Surround yourself with people who support you and want you to achieve (family and friends).
  3. Find your tribe! Spend time with like-minded artists like yourself.
  4. Keep writing.
  5. Remind yourself that overnight sensations take years of hard work to accomplish.
  6. Write what you love. Don’t write to market.
  7. Don’t let rejections stop you from writing.
  8. Learn your craft. Read “how-to” books, go to workshops and conferences.
  9. Find a writing partner or group who supports you, and wants you to do well.
  10. Read! As Stephen King says, “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.”
  11. Every author’s road to publication is different. Don’t compare yourself with others.
  12. Keep writing (purposely added a second time).

 

  • What advice can you give to other writers on building a platform and gaining a readership base?

It’s not easy to build a platform, create a brand and do marketing. Whether you’re traditionally published, self-published or hybrid, you need to be an advocate for your own brand. Don’t expect anyone else to do it for you. And, don’t wait till you’re published. Start now. It’s part of the writing process. Be active on social media, read and review books and share in others authors’ successes.

 

  • What’s up next for you, and what are you working on now?

In August 2018, I’m launching “Kiss Me: An Asian hero boxed set” featuring my sweet romance, “An Unexpected Forever”. In November 2018, I’m launching “Romancing the Holidays” featuring my holiday romance, “Christmas Kisses, in London”. And additionally in November 2018 I’m launching a holiday set, “New York Romance”, with my talented author friend Charmaine Ross. I also have a new steamy series planned for 2019, revolving around a sexy rocker and his entourage.

 

  • How can people connect with you?

All the links on connecting with me are on my website, joannedannon.com

 

Thank you so much Joanne for sharing your Path to Publication with us! What an awesome journey, with many more adventures to come. I’ve learnt so much from reading about your experience in the Indie publishing world!

And for those of you who want to read Joanne’s wonderful book ‘Kissing Under the Spotlight’ just click on the pic below for more info.

 

‘Kissing Under the Spotlight’

Can a superstar singer croon his way into the heart of an ordinary girl?

Violet McKenzie is in serious trouble. Her BFF often joked that if the police found her mobile phone they’d either think she was married to Alex Jackson or she was his personal stalker. So when said superstar crooner offers her a contract to be his personal physical therapist she struggles not to kiss him right there and then.

But Violet is too sensible for that. She knows an international superstar like Alex, with more fans than Michael Bublé and Ed Sheeran combined, isn’t going to fall for a track-pants-wearing wallflower like her.

Right?

KISSING UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT is the first story in Joanne Dannon’s Kissing Down Under series. If you love romances with sigh-worthy endings, you’ll love this series with real men and women who find love when they least expect it.

 

Joanne can be found on the following platforms:

Website address:www.joannedannon.com
Facebook link:https://www.facebook.com/joannedannonwrites/
Instagram link:https://www.instagram.com/joannedannon_writes/
Pinterest link:https://www.pinterest.com.au/joannedannon/
Goodreads link:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14156702.Joanne_Dannon

 

Interview with Faye Hall

Interview with Faye Hall

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Faye’s Path to Publication

Today I chat with fellow Australian Author, Faye Hall, who shares with us her path to publication. Her novel ‘Indulgence & Temperance‘ was release by Beachwalk Press in January 2018.

Come on a journey with Faye through 19th century North Queensland, Australia and explore the passions and hardships of unique characters.
There is corruption, deceit and murder, as well as cattle rustlers, slave traders and hell fire clubs. Explore townships of Jarvisfield and Inkerman, as well as Ravenswood and Bowen. One book even incorporates her great grandmothers cattle station ‘Inkerman Downs Station’.

As well as an author, Faye is also the most spoilt wife in the world, and a very contented mother.
Come and discover all the passion and drama of North Queensland history with her @ https://www.faye-hall.com

 

  • How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been writing since I was a child, but decided to try and make a career out of it at about 17.

 

  • How long did it take you from when you started writing, to when you became a published (or soon to be) published author?

My very first complete novel was actually picked up straight away by a company called Venus Press, but unfortunately they had financial issues and my rights were returned to me.  After that it was a struggle for quite some years of many rejection letters until I was taken up by another publisher in 2010.  From then it’s been a constant push but I’ve managed to get a book out a year through several publishers.

 

  • Where do you write from, home, office, coffee shop, etc? And do you have any pre-writing or actual writing rituals (such as lighting a candle, listening to music, etc)?

I write mostly at home, though my phone also has an assortment of notes and chapters hidden on it.  As for rituals, I’m very old school and still start a story the same way I use to at high school – I put on some music and I handwrite a rough story structure.

 

  • Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in-between?

I’m a bit of everything.  Most of what I try to plan on papers usually always changes drastically when I type it on the computer.

 

  • What is your favourite part of the writing process?

I really love the first draft, especially of the most dramatic scenes.  I find it a very raw part of the process and the most creative.

 

  • What is the most important part of a novel to you: plot, characters, or setting?

I like a good plot with lots of twists and turns.

 

  • Describe your writing routine (how long do you spending plotting the novel, time spent writing, editing, submitting it):

I so want to answer this with a precise routine but I really can’t.  My husband is a shift worker and we currently have 5 of our children living at home and at school so my life is usually super busy.  I write what I can where I can pretty much.  The only real routine I have is usually about a week of self-edits before I send a script away.  These usually include a long list of words I’m guilty of over using, as well as shortening any words that need to be – it’s a long list that I go through with each book before I send it on it’s way.

 

  • How many books a year do you usually write (or are you aiming to write):

I’m currently trying to write about 3 per year but I always strive for more.

 

  • How did you get your agent, or your publishing contract (if applicable)?

The publishing company I’m currently with was something I literally stumbled upon in a google search.  I was with another company at the time that were very slow and I wasn’t happy with their ethics or process so I was desperate to find something else.  I sent them a script in 2014 and they loved it. I’ve been with Beachwalk Press ever since.

 

  • How did you cope with rejection during the querying process?

When I first started submitting scripts rejection was very hard for me because on a whole most publishers claimed to like my writing style, but they didn’t like that my books were set in Australia.  I was asked many a time to change my setting to a more popular location such as England or America and they would happily reconsider publishing.  This wasn’t what I wanted to write though, so I got used to the rejection and just kept submitting queries, hoping there was a publisher out there who wanted an Australian based book.

 

  • Describe the time when you got ‘the call’ regarding publication:

Even now that I’ve just signed my sixth contract with Beachwalk Press, I still jump up and down with excitement each time I get a script accepted.  Then I get really nervous worrying about whether the book will sell or not.

 

  • Looking back, what do you think you did right that helped you break in?

I’d like to think it was because I didn’t give up.  I took the advice that was given to me and tweaked my writing, but I didn’t automatically change everything because it wasn’t seen as popular.

 

  • Is there anything you wish you could do differently?

The main thing I would change would be changing publishers sooner than when I did.  I will never get the rights back to my earlier books, and I really wish I could so that I could re-write them and make them better.

 

  • Best advice you’ve ever been given, or have heard, about writing?

That a bad first draft is better than a blank page.

 

  • Any advice for aspiring writers on writing and submitting?

Be brave and believe in yourself.

 

  • What advice can you give to other writers on building a platform and gaining a readership base?

You need to interact with people and share your stories with them.  Not just your writing, but ‘your’ stories.  Show them that you are human and have got angry or cried or whatever.  I’ve found so many of my readers are just as interested in my story as they are in those that I write.

 

  • What’s up next for you, and what are you working on now?

Next is Book 3 in the Sins of the Virtuous series titled Avarice & Charity.  Contract has just been signed so I will be expecting edits and cover work soon.  I’m also doing final edits on Book 4 – Apathy & Vigour – and hopefully it should be ready to send for consideration in a couple of weeks.

 

  • How can people connect with you?

I have several social media accounts but regularly check Facebook and Instagram the most. Also just visit my website and leave me a message on the contact form there.  I will get back to you asap.

 

  • Anything else you want to add?

Just a huge thanks for having me.  It’s been such a privilege 🙂

 

It’s been lovely having you and thank you so much for taking part in this ‘Path to Publication’ interview!

 

And for those of you who want to read Faye’s fantastic book ‘Indulgence & Temperancel’ just click on the pic below for more info.

 

Indulgence & Temperance

Would you abandon the woman you love for your own indulgence?

Beth Meridian has returned home, hoping to leave her sordid past behind her and settle into a quiet life. When her childhood friend, Hannah Raeburn, offers her a place to stay, Beth knows it won’t be long until she runs into Hannah’s brother, Daniel. What she doesn’t expect is for him to reignite feelings deep in her heart, reminding her of the kiss they shared before she left town.

Daniel Raeburn’s past is scandalous, his sinful indulgences allowing him more wealth than he could ever need. Still, he wants more, and his gluttonous appetite for wealth and women leads him to buy into a partnership at the local hellfire club.

When Hannah goes missing, Beth and Daniel follow her trail through the Australian outback. Witnessing the womanizer Daniel is, Beth flees on a cattle train headed north. Desperate to explain his actions, Daniel follows her.

Arriving in the small town of Jarvisfield, Daniel is shocked to learn that Beth is now the owner of the largest cattle company in the area. He’s even more shocked to discover that the preacher controlling the town, and stealing from the townspeople, is his once business partner William Maxon. He’s convinced this man is also responsible for his sister’s disappearance. When he learns William has Beth picked out as his next victim, Daniel knows he must do whatever it takes to make her listen to the truth. But she has no interest in hearing anything he has to say.

Faced with losing the two women he loves, Daniel is forced to choose between their freedom and the possessions and wealth he has hoarded over the years. But even if he gives it all up, he still might lose everything.

 

Faye can be found on the following platforms:

Website address:https://www.faye-hall.com
Facebook link:https://www.facebook.com/fayehallromanceauthor/?ref=bookmarks
Twitter link:https://twitter.com/FayeHall79
Instagram link:https://www.instagram.com/fayehallauthor/
Pinterest link:https://www.pinterest.com.au/fayehall79/pins/
Goodreads link:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6882637.Faye_Hall

Interview with MC Dalton and Melanie Page

Interview with MC Dalton and Melanie Page

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MC Dalton and Melanie Page’s Path to Publication

Today I chat with author duo, MC and Melanie, both fellow Australian Authors, who share with us their path to publication. Their novel ‘Iron Heart’ is scheduled for release on the 1st of June 2018.

 

 

 

Thank you both so much for taking part in this interview and sharing your Path to Publication with us all! I’m so looking forward to reading about both of your journeys!

Thank you Maddison. We are thrilled to be invited onto your website. We really appreciate the opportunity.

  

  • How long have you been writing for?

We have each been writing for over a decade, but in different ways. MC has been more focused on short fiction whereas Melanie has been slowly writing longer works.

 

  • How long did it take you from when you started writing, to when you became a published (or soon to be) published author?

Melanie first published in 2014 and MC in 2016. Our writing partnership is more recent. We have been working on related stories for a couple of years and started collaborating on our current novel, Iron Heart, last September. It will be coming out in June, so less than a year. 

 

  • Where do you write from, home, office, coffee shop, etc? And do you have any pre-writing or actual writing rituals (such as lighting a candle, listening to music, etc)?

We both make coffee or pour wine, then fluff around on social media for a while before writing. We exchange drafts by email but have a running conversation on messenger as well. When I (Melanie) finish a chapter, I send MC a message with just a running tally of the word count and she rushes to check her email.  

 

  • Are you plotters, pantsers, or somewhere in-between?

(insert crazy laugh here) Melanie is a semi-plotter who is trying to induce MC to at least acknowledge the concept of plotting. MC has all the wild crazy ideas; Melanie holds all the threads and tries to keep from getting tied in knots.

 

  • What is your favourite part of the writing process?

Melanie – I love seeing the story slowly build itself on the page, particularly as the characters reveal more of themselves. MC – I love hearing the ding of messenger and opening the emails, reading the edited product. I have an idea what to expect, but it often takes my breath away. It is like having Christmas five evenings a week.

 

  • What is the most important part of a novel to you: plot, characters, or setting?

And your next question is, which child is my favourite? Seriously, character is key, but if one is weak, the other are affected. They are a synergy.

 

  • Describe your writing routine (how long do you spending plotting the novel, time spent writing, editing, submitting it):

MC doesn’t grasp plotting (I’m trying to change that). We spent about two weeks exchanging ideas by email before starting to write, getting pictures of characters and settings, working out detail. And of course we wrangled and finagled as new elements somehow wormed their way into the story. When we are writing together, MC writes her draft of the current chapter in more or less detail, then sends it by email. Then Melanie reads it, takes a deep breath, rewrites it and sends it back for criticism. This works best for our individual skillsets. The editing has been ongoing for a few weeks and we just need a final check.   

 

  • How many books a year do you usually write (or are you aiming to write):

As this is our first collaboration, it is hard to say. Perhaps 1 per year? We both have other projects on the go as well. 

 

  • Can you explain the process you took to become independently published?

 Basically, we both (individually) got a Kindle Publishing account, filled in a ream of paperwork and then pressed the publish button. The learning curve came after. At the time, neither of us really had a clue.

 

  • How did you cope with rejection?

We don’t cope with rejection terribly well, which is a great reason for going Indie. We considered submitting to publishers for Iron Heart, wrote up the query letter and everything. But at the end of the day, we didn’t want to wait three months just to get a polite ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.

 

  • What were your biggest learning experiences or surprises throughout the publishing journey?

It is the detail, and all the little things that aren’t really little.

 

  • Is there anything you wish you could do differently? 

Not be so paranoid. Self-doubt is a killer. You need just the right amount of doubt to make you work your hardest, but not so much that it bogs you down. 

 

  • Best advice you’ve ever been given, or have heard, about writing?

MC – Once you’ve done the final edit, read your work aloud to yourself. That is the litmus test.

Melanie – Poe said we need to know the end from the beginning. Once you know where you are going you can plan the journey, even if you take a few detours. And getting there is half the fun.

 

  • Any advice for aspiring writers on writing and submitting?

Polish your craft. Write a great story, but write it WELL. And don’t be afraid to try something new – like collaboration. Iron Heart is a good story because collaboration doubles your strengths, halves your weaknesses and gives you another person who is as deeply invested in your story as you are. 

 

  • What advice can you give to other writers on building a platform and gaining a readership base?

Melanie – I’m a great believer in ‘Build it and they will come.’ There are people whose work I buy because I know they write great stories. I’ve never visited their web site or signed up for their newsletter. Great work sells itself.

 

  • What’s up next for you, and what are you working on now?

We are busy plotting a ghost story (well, Melanie is plotting and MC is waving her arms and having brainwaves). Melanie is trying to finish a Regency and writing a how-to book for short stories. MC is editing her romance ‘Epona’.

 

  • How can people connect with you?

Our BookBaybZ email, Facebook and website.

 

  • Anything else you want to add?

We would just like to encourage people, not to be afraid to try something new. The publication scene is constantly reinventing itself. Our kind of collaboration might not work for everyone, but partnerships with like-minded writers, or people who can balance your strengths and weaknesses, can be downright incredible.

 

Thank you both so much for sharing your Path to Publication with us! What an awesome journey, with many more adventures to come. I cannot wait to read more of your books – and I’ve had such fun reading about the writing process of an author duo!!

And for those of you who want to read MC and Melanie’s fantastic book ‘Iron Heart” it will be available from the 1st June!

‘Iron Heart’

Beauden Somerton is dying and he knows it. Then some fascinating research by an enterprising medical student puts hope within his reach. As she strives to mend his failing heart, he seeks to win hers.

Galena Tindale’s dream of being the first female graduate of Edinburgh Medical College comes crashing around her ears. Then she is offered a new opportunity, one that defies belief – and every medical convention.

Beauden and Galena, with the help of family and friends, must overcome prejudice and greed if they are to save both their hearts.

About MC Dalton:

MC Dalton has a background in business and nursing. She loves fantasy and romance, together where possible. Melanie Page is a voracious reader in a variety of genres but loves historicals and romance best. She has been teaching for almost twenty years.

 

 

MC and Melanie can be found on the following platforms:

Website address:BookBaybz.com.au
Facebook link:https://www.facebook.com/BookBaybZ/
Twitter link:@BaybZBooks
Instagram link:@bookbaybz  https://www.instagram.com/bookbaybz/

My 2nd Book – The Fiancé Fiasco is coming soon!

My 2nd Book – The Fiancé Fiasco is coming soon!

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Whoo Hoo! The Fiancé Fiasco is now scheduled for release on the 27th August 2018…

I was so thrilled to discover this morning that my second novel, The Fiancé Fiasco is now scheduled for release in only 3 months time!! Squee!! On the 27th of August the book will be released by my fabulous publisher Entangled, and I can’t wait for you all to read Sophie’s brother Daniel’s story.

So what is The Fiancé Fiasco about exactly? Well, let me tell you…

Romancing the Stone, meets Pride and Prejudice!

Brianna Penderley has a knack for getting into precarious situations. In the heart of Naples, her terrible Italian has her accidentally becoming engaged to two men at the same time. Of course, Daniel Wolcott—the Earl of Thornton and the only man ever able to vex her—shows up to rescue her.

Daniel has spent the majority of his life exercising rigid control over his emotions, determined never to become the rake his father was. But when he goes to aid his mentor’s niece once again, he finds himself struggling to control his attraction to a woman who is his complete opposite.

Then Brianna’s cousin is kidnapped by mercenaries seeking King Aleric’s lost treasure—and they claim Brianna’s family has the key. Daniel knows he can’t leave her side, as much as he might want to. And she’s determined not to lose her heart to such an icy, infuriating man.

 

I cannot wait until I get the cover art for this one! I shall be so excited to share it with you all 🙂

 

Interview with Suzanne Cass

Interview with Suzanne Cass

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Suzanne’s Path to Publication

Today I chat with the delightful Suzanne Cass, a fellow Australian Author, who shares with us her path to publication. Her novel ‘Glass Clouds’ was released on the 30th April this year.

Suzanne Cass has always had a fascination with the tough resilience of people who live in our amazing red-dirt outback country. Much of her adolescence was spent working as a jillaroo in the Snowy Mountains, forming her love of enigmatic, outback heroes in wild, passionate, dangerous stories. She lives in Perth with her wonderful husband and two gorgeous sons. When not writing about the characters that inhabit her head, Suzanne can be found prowling the beaches with her border collie. Her debut novel, Island Redemption won the Romance Writers of Australia award for best unpublished romance novel of 2016.

 

  • How long have you been writing for?

This is a really hard question to answer. I’ve actually been writing for most of my life. I still have the gorgeous little books I used to write way back when I was in grade one, complete with hand-drawn illustrations. I wrote off and on throughout my twenties and even submitted a manuscript to (back then) Mills and Boon. Obviously it was a big fat rejection. But I only got really serious around 10 years ago when I started my first rural romance.

  

  • How long did it take you from when you started writing, to when you became a published (or soon to be) published author?

From the time I got serious about writing it’s taken me 10 years to become a published author. It took me 4 years to write my first real book. I’d always had this story inside me, needing to be told. And I agonized over it, every word had to be perfect, every sentence perfect, every paragraph perfect. But it actually wasn’t perfect and it was only after I started subbing it to publishers (and receiving rejections) I decided to work on my craft, by doing courses and learning everything I could about writing. I wrote more books and I became a better writer, until I eventually found the confidence to publish my debut novel in May 2017.   

 

  • Where do you write from, home, office, coffee shop, etc? And do you have any pre-writing or actual writing rituals (such as lighting a candle, listening to music, etc)?

I think I might be a really boring writer. I have a little nook in the spare bedroom where I have a desk and a chair. I did buy myself a nice new, ergonomic chair as a bit of a reward after I won the Emerald, but otherwise my desk is fairly simple. Because sitting is supposedly the new smoking I now have a cardboard box on my desk that I can use as a raiser, so I can stand and type. On Instagram there are all these wonderful pictures of other authors writing in café’s and I think it looks so romantic, I should do that. But I never seem to get my act together. Tomorrow I’ll go and sit in a café. I will, I promise.

 

  • Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in-between?

I’m a somewhere-in-betweener. I do a rough outline, using the snowflake method (a few pages at most, a paragraph for each chapter). Then I flesh out the outline as I write, and add in chapters, or move scenes around as I need to. I also do an in-depth character interview to make sure I understand my character’s motivations before I start writing.

 

  • What is your favourite part of the writing process?

This is an interesting question, because I think my most favourite part and my most hated part of writing are one and the same thing. It’s those first couple of minutes, when you sit down at your desk in the morning with your cup of tea and tasty snack and open your computer to your WIP and type those first few words of the day. I love the feeling of potential and hope and autonomy. But it can also be the scariest part of the day (and being a procrastinator I’m always finding things to put it off) because if the ideas aren’t flowing and you’re just sitting staring at the screen, that’s when all the doubts start to overwhelm you.

 

  • What is the most important part of a novel to you: plot, characters, or setting?

While Plot and setting are both really important, my stories tend to be character driven. For an author, getting to know your characters is a little like making new friends. You have to like and understand each one (if you don’t then it will show through in your writing) to get to know them intimately, to be able to make them come alive on the page and resonate with readers. I have a 100 question interview that I ask my two main characters, so I understand them in minute detail before I start to write.

 

  • Describe your writing routine (how long do you spending plotting the novel, time spent writing, editing, submitting it):

Being an indie author, I need to spend nearly as much time marketing and promoting my books as I do actually writing them. I am getting faster at writing. From 4 years for my first, I can now write a book in less than 6 months. This process includes 3 months for the first draft, then 3 months for re-writes and editing (with help from my critique partners and beta readers) As an indie author a big part of the publishing side is formatting the final manuscript (Scrivener is my savior when it comes to formatting) creating a cover design and then uploading the files on all the different formats. This can be quite time consuming. I’m still on a very steep learning curve with the marketing thing and it can take up to half my day and really eats into my writing time.

 

  • How many books a year do you usually write (or are you aiming to write):

I’m aiming to write, and publish, 3-4 books per year. (I can hear you doing the sums in your head, if I only write a book every 6 months, how am I going to publish 3-4 books a year. Hmmm, I’m going to have to up my game. A lot.)

  

  • Can you explain the process you took to become independently published?

It took me 4 years to actually finish that first rural romance book. (yep, procrastination is my friend) Then I discovered RWAus, which is such an amazing organization that changed my writing life, and I started writing my second book (this one only took me a year to write) and also began to enter some of the RWA competitions. Over the course of the next 4 years I finaled in some of the competitions, until eventually I won the Emerald Award in 2016. A the same I was also subbing my books out to publishers and agents in Australia. I kept getting rejections (lots of rejections). Most of the rejection letters said the writing was strong and the characters believable, but for whatever reason, my book just didn’t fit into their list/particular genre/marketing sphere. Disillusioned by the traditional publishing path, I started to look into self-publishing. And what I learnt about becoming an indie author really excited me. So in May 2017 I took the plunge and self-published the book that won the RWA Emerald Award. I self-published my second book six months later in early December and my third book is due out in April. My fourth book due to be published around August will be that very first rural romance that took me 4 years to write.

 

  • How did you cope with rejection during the querying process?

Although every author holds out hope that they will be plucked from the hundreds of manuscripts in the slush pile, I’m a pragmatist and never really believed it would happen. So I’d already steeled myself for the rejections. Of course they still hurt, and when I got the first couple I was down on myself and my writing for weeks. But then I remembered how many world-renowned authors (like Beatrix Potter, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King) received tens, if not hundreds of rejections before getting published and so you just keep going and keep believing in yourself.   

 

  • What were your biggest learning experiences or surprises throughout the publishing journey?

The big surprise for me was how much marketing and promotion (including social media) I had to do as an indie author, and how much time this takes up. It’s not just an hour here and there, it is literally half my day, sometimes more.

 

  • Looking back, what do you think you did right that helped you break in?

Probably the one big thing that helped me to really believe in myself was winning the RWA Emerald Award (for best unpublished novel of 2016) It gave me the confidence to believe I really could write. That my stories were good enough to be published.

 

  • Is there anything you wish you could do differently?

It might sound like I keep harping on about this, but as an indie author I didn’t realise initially how important marketing my books would be. I was under the illusion that I could just write, put my books out there and people would be knocking my door down to buy them. Nope, it doesn’t happen like that. I wish I’d researched marketing and promotion well before I first published, so my first books were released with a bang, rather than a whimper.

 

  • Best advice you’ve ever been given, or have heard, about writing? 

This is another hard question. (You’re good at getting right down to the nitty-gritty, Maddison) Probably the old, Show, Don’t Tell, technique is something that’s really important to do in all your writing. Early on, as an aspiring writer, I learned about this and now my books and my characters are so much stronger because of it. I’m a volunteer judge for some of the RWA competitions and a lot of the entries I see from aspiring writers are really lacking in this field.

 

  • Any advice for aspiring writers on writing and submitting?

Just keep writing. If you want to be an author, you have to have more than one book to sell. One book is not enough, you need a backlist to prop you up. Don’t sit back on your laurels when you’ve finished that first book. While you’re subbing your book to publishers and agents, keep writing. Keep building that backlist.

 

  • What advice can you give to other writers on building a platform and gaining a readership base?

I’m still in the middle of building my author platform, still learning what works and what doesn’t. Some of the OWLS (online courses) offered by RWAus really helped me in this area. I created my WordPress website after I did an OWL and then I did another course on Branding, which was immensely helpful. There was a third OWL on how to create a newsletter and start collating an email list through MailChimp. The only real advice I can give other writers is that it’s a slow process and takes a lot of work, time and commitment to build a readership. I’m still in the fledgling phase, but it is nice to see my numbers growing, slowly but surely. I keep hearing over and over again that an email list is a must for any author, so that’s what I’m concentrating on at the moment.

 

  • What’s up next for you, and what are you working on now?

It’s all about editing and re-writing for the next few months. I probably won’t start any new manuscripts for at least 2 – 3 months yet. This week, I’m doing my final proof read of Glass Clouds, so I can upload the final file for pre-order, ready for the big release on 30thApril. Then I’ll immediately start to edit (structural edits first, then line edits) my fourth book, ready for release in early August. As I want to put a link for a pre-order for this book into Glass Clouds, I need to have a cover ready for the fourth book, even before I’ve finished the edits on the actual manuscript. I’ve also signed up to do an online course on self-publishing and marketing, to see if I can find out how the really successful indie authors do it. As you can see, I’m usually working on more than one book at a time, still improving my craft and learning about the minefield of marketing all at the same time.

 

  • How can people connect with you?

Probably the two best places to connect with me, are either at my website:

http://www.suzannecass.com/contact/

Or come on over and chat on my author facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/suzannecassauthor/

 

  • Anything else you want to add?

Thanks so much for this opportunity, Maddison, you’re doing a great thing here on this blog, by broadening awareness on all the different pathways we take towards publication. Keep writing everyone. And keep smiling.

It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on my blog, Suzanne, and thank you so much for sharing your journey with us all! It was really fascinating reading about your Path to Publication and I know it will help other authors out there to gain an insight into publishing.

‘Glass Clouds’

Charlize Brewer is spending time in France to recuperate from both the physical and mental scars of a tragic crash that ended her career as a mounted police officer. Her search for a quiet life is shattered when a dangerously attractive stranger appears in her garden covered in blood.

Counter-terrorism agent, Jean-Luc Munulo, is being chased by thugs from a people-smuggling cartel. He disappears back over the wall and Charlize believes it’s the last she’ll ever see of him. But when Charlize becomes an unwitting target of the cartel, she’s forced to go on the run with Jean-Luc as he tries to stay one step ahead of the murderous gang.

During a shoot-out, Jean-Luc is wounded and taken hostage by the leader of the smuggling ring. As her past comes back to haunt her, will Charlize be able to overcome the insidious voices in her head to keep them both alive?

Suzanne can be found on the following platforms:

Website address:http://www.suzannecass.com
Facebook link:https://www.facebook.com/suzannecassauthor/
Twitter link:https://twitter.com/SusieCass1
Instagram link:https://www.instagram.com/suzanne.cass/
Pinterest link:https://www.pinterest.com.au/suzanne_cass/
Goodreads link:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4842221.Suzanne_Cass

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