Welcome back to the second part of my interview with the one and only, Kayla Dawn Thomas, an indie author of recently published “Swept Up” and upcoming, “Narrow Miss”. Today, I’m asking Kayla to share with us some of her experiences and tips when it comes to technical side of book writing and publishing.
LB: Hi Kayla, welcome back, thank you for being such a great source and gracious interviewee. Many of us who write also try to juggle many things in our life. Do you have a special time to write? What is your writing routine?
KDT: It really depends on the time of year. During the summer with my daughter home, I write whenever I can squeeze it in. I try to get in 2-3 thirty-minute chunks throughout the day. During the school year, I usually end up writing from 1-2:30 on weekdays. When I can, I add time in the morning. Sometimes I work in the evenings, and I usually squeeze something in on the weekend. I aim to write every day. That’s the most reliable routine I can claim.
LB: When I was beginning to write, I went through a struggle looking for the perfect writing spot. Do you have a special place where you write?
KDT: I have a wonderful home office where I do the majority of my work, but I also like hauling my laptop into my bed on a regular basis.
LB: Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
KDT: Both! I go through the manuscript myself after letting it rest for a few days. I usually end up doing a lot of rewriting during this phase. Then I give it to my beta readers. Their job is to punch holes in the story, make sure it flows, and just make sure it doesn’t suck. Using their comments, I may tweak some things. Then I send it to my editor. I’m a firm believer in hiring a professional editor. I don’t think you can thoroughly or objectively edit your own work. When I get it back, I go through the manuscript one last time with the editor’s notes.
LB: Tell us about the covers of your books, Swept Up and Narrow Miss, which are awesome, btw, and how they came about.
KDT: I was very fortunate to get Jason Gurley as my cover designer for Swept Up. He was awesome to work with, and gave me so much more than a cover. He was full of writing advice. Sadly, he has decided to retire from cover design. Narrow Miss was designed by my sister, Kendra Marvin from Boots and Bling Photography. She’d been saying she was interested in learning how to do covers as she loves graphic art. When I found out Jason was unavailable for my future projects, I shoved her into the deep end of the pool. She’s learning quickly, and has some great ideas and mad skills.
LB: How did you publishing this book and why?
KDT: I chose to self-publish through Amazon. I used Create Space for print on demand paperbacks, and Kindle Direct Publishing for my e-books. I chose to self-publish because I wanted to be in charge of every step of the process and maintain my rights. Plus, I’ve always wanted to run my own business.
LB: Did you format Swept Up on your own?
KDT: I formatted Swept Up on my own. It was very easy to prepare my e-book using Scrivener, which is only a $40 program. Create Space walked me through the process of formatting my paperback. I only needed Word for that.
LB: When it comes to marketing your book, do you have any tips on what to do and what not to do?
KDT: I’m still learning a lot about marketing, but here’s what I’ve been doing. I have a Facebook author page. It doesn’t have a lot of followers, so I also use my personal page for marketing. I share my blog posts, new release announcements, inspirational writing quotes, and random personal updates. I only post a handful of times per week on the official author page. I also use Twitter. I’ve learned through observation that continually spamming the feeds with “buy my book” stuff is very annoying and you lose followers. I tweet new blog posts, random updates, and tips about writing and running a business. I aim to be helpful and create relationships with people both online and in person. If they want to buy a book, they will. I will confess that on release days, I talk about the new book a lot. I figure, it’s okay every once in a while. To me this business is more than selling books, it’s about making connections with people. Books have been precious to me my whole life. I want to get to know the people who read my work and what it means to them.
LB: Which social network worked best for you?
KDT: Facebook is great for reaching my family and friends. Twitter has been the best for reaching new readers.
LB: Do you have any other advice for other writers?
KDT: Take the time to read up on how to market your work. I highly recommend Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook; Tim Grahl’s book Your First 1,000 copies; and Austin Kleon’s book Show Your Work. I also think you should read about your craft and be prepared to practice. Not everything you write will go in the next novel or blog post. Sometimes you just need to write for the sake of writing. You must be open to slowing down and being willing to grow. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott inspire me to dig in and let the words fly every time I revisit them.
LB: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
KDT: I want to keep publishing work regularly, hopefully improving with each book. I also want to keep connecting with readers and maybe find more opportunities to speak about writing and publishing. I gave a presentation a little over a week ago at our local library and loved every minute of it!
LB: Thank you so much for visiting again, I appreciate the great insight into indie writer’s life. For those of you who missed the first part of the interview last week, here are the ways you can get in touch with Kayla and discover her wonderful work:
Pinterest: Kayla Thomas
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kayla-Dawn-Thomas/e/B00LAMREVU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.) http://www.amazon.com/Swept-Up-Kayla-Dawn-Thomas-ebook/dp/B00JLDR3OS/ref=la_B00LAMREVU_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406648197&sr=1-1