Jan 5, 2012

Rebecca Hamilton and The Forever Girl

This week, I'm featuring aspiring author/editor Rebecca Hamilton, whose debut The Forever Girl comes out this month.  Today, we're discussing how this story evolved, along with the experiences that convinced Rebecca to launch it herself. Stop by tomorrow to learn how Rebecca co-founded Immortal Ink Publishing, which will open to queries in May.

Either day, you can sign up here to get a .99 release copy of The Forever Girl. For every ten who sign up, Rebecca will give away one free e-book. So get your ereaders ready or dust off your bookshelves and sign up today for this exciting paranormal fantasy.

1. Your blog states you're a mom of three, including one child with autism spectrum disorder. Talk about how you organize your writing day - are you a scheduled or on-the-fly writer?

I try to have a schedule, but it’s really not working out so well. Mostly I write at nights, and use daytime for social media and editing, as I don’t mind being interrupted when doing those things. A lot of days, however, there’s so much to do with the kids that I don’t really get anything done. Maybe that will change once they’re all in school .

 2.  2011 has been a big(ger) year for you. You've started Immortal Ink Publishing and are getting ready to launch The Forever Girl - first in the FG series. What made you decide to go into publishing in the first place?

         The seed first planted itself before I started writing. I have always loved reading, but not only that, I was also amazing at picking out books that me and all my friends would like, no matter how different we were.
         This feeling intensified some time after I started writing, when I got into editing. I used to do paid editing for very cheap, but only for novels that I was personally interested in. Many of the books I edited later went on to agents and/or publishers. I knew I had a knack for editing, but I also knew I had a knack for finding the right stories to edit.
         Meanwhile, my closest writing partner and I had been discussing some kind of literary venue. We didn’t know what at the time—literary magazine? A website to feature authors? Something else? We were always discussing, but no idea ever stuck. In the end, with some additional experiences coming into play, we decided to open Immortal Ink Publishing.

 3.  I've read the first chapter of The Forever Girl on your blog and have to say, I was hooked. You've discussed the impact your MC's religion has had on some readers (Sophia is Wiccan) - talk about how this story grown from its first draft.

            Thanks ! The final draft is completely different from the original. There’s not much the same except for the characters and the very bones of the story. The religion has been the biggest hurdle, especially being an American author. A lot of people now assume I’m Wiccan. (I’m not; I’m agnostic, though I’ve studied many religions including Wicca and Christianity.) It wasn’t until I started writing this novel that I realized there was still such a judgment against the Wiccan religion. Some were upset also that there are some not-so-great characters who call themselves Christians in the novel, but I also have flawed Wiccan characters in my story and Christian characters who are kind-hearted, so I think the balance is there to anyone open to see it.Hopefully the free sample I provide has enough there to convey that the good and bad in my characters come from the characters themselves and not the religions they associate with. 

4. What made you decide to go the epubbing route instead of traditional - snagging an agent, going on sub, etc.?
          This goes back to why Rudy and I started Immortal Ink Publishing. Over the course of the last year, several publishers and agents approached me regarding my book after reading a sample online. I knew my book wasn’t ready, but in several of those cases I was persuaded to send anyway because “things can always be revised”.
           Ultimately, both agents and 2 of the 3 publishers passed, all asking to see future projects. They said I had a great writing style and “voice”, but all had different reasons why they didn’t have room on their list for The Forever Girl. Some hated parts others loved, and vice versa.
         I figured I might be onto something but knew the book needed more work. I hired some well-regarded editors, two of whom mentioned the idea of resubmitting. I’m not Stephenie Meyers or Amanda Hocking, but I had enough that I worried I might I start LOSING interest instead of gaining it if I didn’t make my book available, so I decided it’d be wiser if I didn’t put my book in limbo for another 6-12 months.
          Getting my novel ready meant I had a lot to learn. I figured…what a waste for me to learn all this just for me. As Rudy was also looking to self publish, I suggested we start our own publishing house. We agreed to use our own books as guinea pigs for the publishing house to show what we can offer. I still suspect self-pub will be the preferred option for many, but we hope to be a small publisher that is a good option for authors who don’t want to do the behind-the-scene work themselves or can’t afford to invest in themselves but still want to give their readers a high quality product.

5.  What are some technical details behind epubbing you didn't know before you started the process - the cover, the ISBN number - etc? How hard is it to get it all done these days? How expensive is it?
           I knew a fair bit since I’d seen it talked about so often online. The biggest hurdle for me has been more on the business end—registering a business, for example. The next has been formatting. Sure, there’s some fast and easy ways to do it, but I want to put out the best quality I can. I don’t think it’s really hard (aside from getting formatting done the right way). It’s just time consuming. And, in some cases, it can be expensive to some people. For me, paying what I did for my book covers was no big deal. A few of the covers in The Forever Girl series are done by the same person who designed the overseas covers for the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.

6.  Now that you're familiar with the process, what advice do you have to other authors thinking about epubbing?

           Get a great cover artist. Get opinions on your cover from people you can trust to be honest with you. Get an excellent editor. Be sure they provide quality editing, and remember you will need to do several edits on your manuscript from large scale to small, preferable in that order ;) Do your research and don’t be in a rush.

Other epublishing authors have told me that the importance of a great cover can't be overstated. And the one for TFG is really great.

Thanks, Rebecca. Join us tomorrow for part two to find out more about submitting to Immortal Ink Publishing.


Jolene Perry said...

Awesome interview :D

Cover art is SO key.
There have been several self-pubbed books that I loved, but that it took me a long time to read cause the covers were so awful.

Yours is fab :D

Becky Wallace said...

I second what Jolene said. And the art work on her book, The Next Door Boys, is great. It's a book you want to pick up because the cover is lovely!

Cassie Mae said...

Ooh! I'm excited for part two!

And I left you an award on my blog :) http://readingwritingandlovinit.blogspot.com/2012/01/wow-links-take-huge-chunk-of-time-lol.html

Kelley said...

Found you via Cassie's blog! So nice to *meet* you :)

Becca said...

Wow! Thanks for the book cover compliment, Jolene! It's nice to meet you all.

Jacco said...

Nice interview!