Writing is a dream come true quite literally for GC Sinclaire, whose book Arianna is based on a dream.
But there is more to writing than that. It's sometimes hard to describe, but Sinclaire does a good job when she says:"Writing calls to me and is something which feeds my very soul."
I couldn't agree more. Read her Author Interview below, which includes insights into why she decided to self publish, and what's coming next for this new author.
Check out her author website:
1. How many books have you published and when?
Arianna: A Tale from the Eleven Kingdoms
2. When did you start writing your first book? Where did the idea come from?
I started writing Arianna in February of 2015. It started with an incredibly vivid dream which gave me part of the tale. I was at the time working on a collection of short stories and at first thought to include it in that. When I sat down to write the dream down, however, more and more details emerged. The tale took on a life of its own and kept growing and growing. In the end it turned out to be a rather thick book.
3. What was the hardest part about writing your first book? What hurdles did you have to overcome?
The hardest part was to have just the right tale for a first book. I have several others in various stages of completion but none of these felt just right to me for my coming out book.
4. Once your manuscript was finished, what did you do?
Once I was done writing, I began with the editing and the formatting. During my time at the university, I worked as an editor as well as a graduate tutor. I felt that my past editing experience gave me a solid base for working on my own writing.
The formatting was something I had to research and learn. I needed to create a template and decide on a book size as well as a font. I found some great resources on-line which helped with this.
Self-publishing was fun and a great learning experience and I don’t think I will ever look at a book the same way. Going through the entire creation process myself has given me an entirely new perspective and appreciation for the labor involved.
5. What did you expect from the editing process? How was the experience?
The book actually continued to grow during the editing process. To check for errors I might have missed, I used Grammarly. It checks for grammatical and spelling errors and did find some minor errors I had missed.
6. Describe what re-writing involves and how it makes you feel. How is it different than the initial writing?
I edited the book several times and rewrote small parts each time. Reading the work over and over again allowed me to fine tune the story. Finally bringing it to a conclusion was accompanied by a distinct sense of accomplishment.
7. Did you have non-editors read your book for feedback (Alpha Readers)? What did you get out of that?
The only person who got to read the book before its publication was my partner. He helped with the last edit. I was thrilled to see him really getting into the story. The further he got, the faster he was reading which made me feel really good about publishing this book.
8. Who designed your cover? How much input did you have? How important is the cover design?
I did my own cover design. From the beginning, I had a picture in mind and I worked on getting as close as I possibly could to this image. The cover is extremely important and should be designed in such a fashion that it appeals to the target audience. It is the first thing the reader sees and needs to say. “Pick me up!”
9. How did you go forward with publishing? Why? How was that experience?
I had signed a contract with Balboa but ran into some problems which convinced me that this was not a good route to take. After doing some more research, I decided to become my own publisher and purchase my own ISBNs.
I first published my book through CreateSpace and it was incredibly easy. Converting it to Kindle was also not difficult. Next, I decided to make it available through Ingram Spark. The printed version was not much of a problem but I really ran into difficulties with the digital version for iTunes. I ended up reformatting the entire file and in the end it turned out that the Epub converter I had bought was the problem. I tried one of the free version and it worked great. All in all, self-publishing was a great learning experience.
10. How have you marketed your first book?
My book is available on Amazon and included in the Ingram Spark catalogues. I am working on getting it into the library system. To increase my work’s visibility, I used a software program to fine tune my keywords. This makes Arianna easier to be found in the different search engines. The next step is the scheduling of book signings and promotions.
11. How was the initial feedback from readers?
The feedback was extremely positive. I was especially thrilled by the comments of an English literature teacher. She stated that my book was very well written and thought that it had a great future. I heard from several other readers that they really loved the book and that the story kept them in suspense until the very end. I have been asked repeatedly when the sequel will be published.
12. How have sales been on your first book? Did they go as expected? What helps you the most to sell books?
Sales have been great and keep increasing. I believe that the beautiful and bright cover attracts many of my readers. In addition, using the right keywords helps. My work is now easier to find on Amazon and shows up grouped in with successful books like Harry Potter.
13. Talk about print vs ebook. Do you get more sales with one than the other?
So far, I have sold more of the printed books. My book includes a map, a glossary, and a section listing people and places. Having the book in your hands makes it easier to go back and look at the map or check on a character. Personally, I love the feel of a book and it is kind of difficult to take the computer or Kindle into the bathtub.
Every reader is different and has different preferences and I intend to put out an audio book and a hardcover version with drawings as well. Maybe even coloring books ….
14. Did you set the prices of your print and ebooks? How do you decide how to price them?
CreateSpace does have some guidelines and, because the book contains 452 pages, my intended price of $11.11 fell below this so I settled on $16.11. To set my pricing for the ebooks, I researched the cost of other books similar to my own.
15. What made you decide to write more books? How were those experiences (writing/editing) compared with your first book? Did you do anything differently?
I have started on two more books in the series and have several others as well as some stories which I am working on. I love to write—it helps me grow and process my emotions and events around me. Since I have decided on a book size and have already created a template I like, it saves me from having to spend days formatting them later by using the template from the very start. Also, working in the final page size gives me a better feeling for paragraph length and how the work is progressing.
16. Anything different in the publishing process for your other books?
I am not sure yet but I really liked retaining all the rights to my work. So we will see. If a publisher comes along and takes over the marketing it would be fabulous. I would love to be able to concentrate more on writing.
17. When did you consider yourself a "writer"?
I started writing at a very early age, mostly poetry at first. In the last few years my writing has really started to flow. I truly cannot point to a specific time when I began to think of myself as a “writer” since to me it is art and I have considered myself an “artist” from a very young age on.
18. When do you write? What motivates you to write?
Writing calls to me and is something which feeds my very soul. It truly is my bliss and I get upset when life gets in the way. Whenever I have one of my vivid dreams, it is almost a compulsion to preserve it and I use the computer or paper, whatever I have at hand, to do so. I love to write but have learned not to force it when I am not in the mood.
19. What do aspiring authors ask you?
Many aspiring writers ask about the process of bringing a book into life and then to market. I discovered that there are some great sources out there that provide a lot of good information on how to format a book, how to publish it, and how to market it. But, caution is required. There are also a lot of people out there wanting to take advantage of a new author.
20. What advice can you offer for aspiring authors about writing, editing, publishing, and marketing?
About writing I can only say to let it flow and do not force it. When the time is right, it will come. Also, decide what size you want your book to be and create or buy a template for your works. After spending days converting my book to the right format and creating a template I liked, I now start out in this format from the very beginning. It gives you a better idea about paragraphs and what the finished product will look like.
For the editing, you definitely want a very good editor. I feel very blessed that I have the background to be able to do my own.
When you publish your book, stay away from Vanity Presses or anybody who wants exclusive rights to your book.
Marketing is something I am still improving on but remember that places like Amazon are search engines so choose your keywords carefully. There is some software available which can really help with this and do not be surprised by the words it does come up with.
Most of all, follow your gut and your heart. If you feel called to write a book and you believe you can do it, you will find a way.