Okay, first a quick update. This is likely going to be the last Indie Tuesday writer interview for a while. Lots more writer friends and colleagues to talk to, but FINDING FRASER is getting down to the wire, and there are going to be some BIG changes around here as a result. The entire site is getting an overhaul [no more white-on-black print — Hooray!] and lots of exciting new book events are about to begin.
More details soon, I promise!
In the meantime, let’s enjoy a chat with writer Denise Jaden, shall we? She’s been published traditionally and has tried the self-pub model, and she’s got lots to share. And stay tuned to the end for a special choice in our prize this week!
kc: So, Denise — welcome! Let’s begin by asking the eternal question: when it comes to writing your books do you outline or are you a pantser?
DJ: I’ve tried everything from zero planning to a 38,000-word outline (yes, you read that correctly) when it comes to prepping to write a book. Every book continues to need its own strategy it seems, but I have come up with a Story Plan, or loose and changeable outline form, that generally is a good place to start, and I tend to write my first drafts quickly. Anyone interested in hearing more about this can check out my article on the Writer’s Digest blog.
kc: Can you talk a bit about the way you foster community with other writers…what’s your March Madness Challenge, for example?
DJ: March Madness Writing Challenge is something I look forward to every year. It started with a feeling that I didn’t want to wait until November to set a lofty writing goal for myself, but I also wasn’t sure about my ability to complete my goals alone. I’ve been blown away by the camaraderie and support that March Madness has provided! We check in every day through the month of March on different writers’ blogs, and offer some fantastic prizes just for staying accountable throughout the month. Everyone is welcome, and if you don’t make it by during March, we also check in with each other throughout the year on Twitter under the hashtag #WIPMadness.
kc: Very cool! Can you tell me, do you have a favourite genre to read — or write — in? What draws you in that direction?
DJ: I’m a YA contemporary gal at heart. I read a wide variety of genres, but I usually get most swept up in a realistic world I can picture myself in. Those are the worlds I usually get most of my own story ideas for as well.
kc: You’ve done both Indie publishing and the traditional route. What helps you decide which direction to take?
DJ: With the book I Indie published (WRITING WITH A HEAVY HEART), I presented it to my agent and we chatted about which direction to take it. It was my first attempt at nonfiction, and while ultimately, my agent loved it, she felt like it could be part of a bigger book about writing on emotion to be marketable to traditional publishers. That wasn’t really part of my vision, so we didn’t pitch it to any publishers, and I kept it as a short book, taking a crash course in Indie Publishing.
kc: Huh. A good choice! So, tell us what your favourite part of the publishing process is.
DJ: I love writing a first draft. I know many writers hate this part, but I love all of the surprises that come up along the way. Honestly, I don’t mind revising either. I love reading my books back after I’ve put them away for a good long while, and of course I love seeing my books in bookstores and libraries. I love so much of the process, it’s hard to pick just one!
kc: What about a preferred format for your books? E-book vs paperback?
DJ: I’m a paperback girl. I like to see how much of the book is left in my right hand, to give me a constant sense of where I am in the story.
kc: You’re not alone there — most of the writers I speak to agree with you! Do you have a favourite review one of your stories has received?
DJ: One review favorably compared my writing to Laurie Halse Anderson’s. Made me feel like I’d died and gone to heaven!
kc: Wow — that’s fantastic! Can you name a favourite Indy author and recommend a book?
DJ: I love all of Elena Aitkin’s books, and she has been a great help to me in navigating the Indie World. I would heartily recommend any of her books!
kc: Elena’s lovely — a Calgary writer! So to finish, I am hoping you will offer a piece of advice either to Indie writers or Indie readers, based on something you have learned from the process.
DJ: I’m so new at this side of the business, I feel a little silly giving advice. But I guess one tidbit I could throw out would be to join some Indie author groups. There are several of them on Facebook, or if you chat with other writers on Twitter, Facebook, or in person, you’re sure to hear about some collaborative groups. What works in selling Indie books changes so quickly, and think writers have a much better chance of success when they are helping each other.
kc: Ha! Collaboration is the key. [Hey, have you been hanging out at SiWC or something?]
A huge thank you goes out to Denise Jaden who agreed to do this interview SMACK in the middle of her March Madness challenge [there’s still time — go check it out!] And as a special treat, one lucky reader will get to choose their prize e-book from either her Indie non-fiction book WRITING WITH A HEAVY HEART or her latest fiction FOREIGN EXCHANGE.
And since this is the last contest for a little while, let’s open it up. If I find a link to this post ANYwhere on the web — Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, Pinterest — anywhere! — you’ll be eligible to win one of Denise’s books.
Info about winners always goes up first on twitter, and you can find me sweetly tweeting there @kcdyer.
Thank you again to Denise, and as always,