Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Interview with Jayne Fordham

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
A Season Of Transformation is a young adult fantasy romance novel set in contemporary Australia. Makenna Matthews is just your average teenager until one day at school she feels drawn to four other teenagers and together they discover their ancestors are trying to communicate with them. They have abilities bestowed upon them so they can complete their mission, to defeat Maxvale the town villain. They need to overcome their differences in order to unite and save their town from destruction.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, I queried a literary agent in Sydney and unfortunately my novel was not accepted. I did do a lot of research into agents in Australia that took on fantasy novels but I did not find many. In mid 2010, my novel was accepted for publication with a new online book publishing company that was developing an ipad/ iphone app for eBooks. This was a very exciting time for me, the contract was signed and I was ready to go! However due to financial issues in setting up the platform, the company put their proposition on hold and released me from the contract. I was very disappointed but it was definitely a confidence booster and got me back on track to pursue publication. I probably could have sought out more agents or approached publishers directly but I know that this is a long process, I had already spent two years refining my manuscript and I decided that I wanted to publish it before I chickened out. Hence, the self-publishing route!

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
No I don’t belong to a critique group, but it does sound like a useful resource! I have sought assistance from a writing mentor who helped me to self-publish my novel. It can be a bit daunting at first because of all the options available nowadays.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
Initially, I self-published to Lulu so that my book would be available as PDF and paperback. The next step for Amazon Kindle just seemed like an obvious choice- it’s a highly popular site, accessible worldwide and relatively easy to self-publish. I wanted to make my novel available to a wider audience. Unfortunately, to publish a paperback with Amazon you need a U.S bank account- which I do not own.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
My novel undertook many many rewrites following two manuscript assessments by a qualified writer/ editor. My mentor then provided a final proofread. This is my first novel and I really wanted to see how it would be received by readers.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
It’s a lot of work! Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to spend much time writing since I self-published this work in March, 2011. Marketing and promoting a book is a lot of hard work! I connect with readers, writers and authors via my book review blog that has been a great starting point for me to promote my novel. I have also developed an author site along with social networking sites: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Shelfari etc and keeping all these up to date takes up a lot of time! To launch my book I organised my own book blog tour for June/ July 2011 to promote A Season Of Transformation with the aim of collecting reviews and a bit of hype.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Yes, it is available as paperback and PDF from Lulu as well as an ebook download at Goodreads. As an ebook it is priced at $2.99 and the printed version is $15.99.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
Twitter: @AustBookshelf
Please feel free to follow me J

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Yes! As mentioned earlier, I have had to put my writing projects on hold. I work full-time as a psychologist, I do freelance writing jobs on the side as well as promoting A Season Of Transformation and so creative writing has been put by the wayside for a little while. I hope in the next few months I can get back on track with a writing schedule and publish another book.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Be prepared to put in a lot of time and effort to network, connect with readers and self-promote your book. I recommend finding reviewers as your first step and joining the Goodreads community. I am continually learning from other writers and authors about how to best promote my book.

What’s next for you?
I have started writing a sequel for A Season Of Transformation as well as an adult fantasy/ SciFi novel which I hope to develop into a series. I am also working on a travel memoir.

Thank you for having me!