Hola! This week we have an Indie celebrity in our midst, in the form of Laura Bradbury.
Laura’s forte is the self-published memoir — and what a story she has to tell! It is filled with romance, intrigue, anxiety, high comedy and a whole lotta wine. Laura’s ‘Grape’ stories are must-reads, and the reading community is getting the message. She’s continually posting huge sales, as more people discover her warm, whimsical story-telling style.
Laura’s also extremely generous with her hard-won knowledge and has really been helping me in my efforts to get FINDING FRASER out into the world. Let’s hear a bit about her experiences, shall we? She’s got a lot to share, so I suggest you get a cup of tea — or a glass of wine! — and enjoy!
kc: Why did you choose this title?
“They are the days of a long time ago, Laura,” Pa said. “Go to sleep, now.”
But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa’s fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods. She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the fire-light gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting.
She thought to herself, “This is now.”
kc: Do you have a favourite genre to read — or write — in? What draws you in that direction?
kc: This book is part of a series — where do you plan to go next?
LB: The “Grape” series will have six books in total: MY GRAPE YEAR, MY GRAPE PARIS, MY GRAPE ESCAPE, MY GRAPE VILLAGE, MY GRAPE TOWN, and MY GRAPE BABY, plus a few of what I think of as “Memoir-ettes” (novella length memoirs): ‘My Grape Wedding’, ‘My Grape Cellar’ (not akin to Twenty Shades of Grey, but rather about the 13th century wine cellar we renovated under the streets of Beaune), etc.. As you can see I do not write them in order. Whichever story is yelling at me the loudest is the one that gets written next. See above re: my visceral resistance to linear thinking.
kc: Why Indie publishing instead of the traditional route?
LB: I actually wrote a blog about exactly this topic and here is the list of reasons why self-publishing was the right choice for me:
- I am incurably impatient
- I like being my own boss and want to choose my collaborators
- I had several ideas re: how to launch / market my first book
- I actually enjoy marketing / social media
- I had a web presence already built up thanks to graperentals.com
- Aspects of my books (i.e. my struggles with panic attacks / anxiety) didn’t “fit” with mainstream publishing. Several agents were interested in taking on My Grape Escape but they all wanted me to remove any mention of my mental health struggles. I felt my story would be inauthentic without this honesty, and I also felt removing them would be a betrayal of myself and anyone out there who also lives with any mental health issue. I wanted to show how it is not necessary to eliminate or “cure” life’s many challenges in order to live a rich, incredible existence.
- I wasn’t prolific when I began, but definitely writing more and faster was a goal. I felt I had far more than one book in me – self–publishing doesn’t work as well for people who only want to publish one or two books – although like everything, there are exceptions.
- I am happiest when working on projects from beginning to end. I’m definitely a “project person”
- I have ongoing health issues (a rare auto-immune disease of the liver and bile ducts known as PSC which means I will need a liver transplant sooner rather than later) that meant I did not want / need stress of having to meet other people’s deadlines and expectations.
- I have an allergy to authority in any form
- I wanted to donate 10% of all my after-tax writing-related earnings to PSC Partners for researching PSC.
kc: What’s your favourite part of the publishing process? Why?
LB: Writing a book is a hell of a slog. Still, there is something epic in the feat of writing a book that appeals to me – a bit like climbing Everest or rowing across the Pacific. Most days I write because I force myself, but there are moments when my imagination takes flight or I come up with an evocative turn of phrase or the perfect tempo of dialogue and I feel as though I have been plugged into a force way bigger and more awe–inspiring than myself. I call this “communing with The Great Mysterious”. These moments are generally fleeting, and I can also experience them when by the ocean, eating a particularly scrumptious cheese, spending time with my family, meditating, or doing other creative work – painting, making beach glass mobiles, etc. but I get them fairly regularly when writing and they always leave me with a sensation of grace and oneness with the universe. Who doesn’t need more of that?
kc: Do you have a preferred format for your books? E-book vs paperback?
kc: What’s a favourite review one of your stories has received?
kc: Can you name a favourite Indy author or two, and recommend a book?
Well, I am VERY excited about kc dyer’s upcoming “Finding Fraser”! I cannot wait to get my hands on the paperback of that. Martin Crosbie does lovely memoirs and his blogs about self-publishing are always so generous and helpful. I also love pretty much everything Chuck Wendig writes and he is a stellar advocate for writers everywhere. There are so many talented, insightful Indie authors out there…
kc: And to finish, can you give your best advice to someone starting out?
side and I simply must go beachcombing…life happens, but having a goal is something to shoot for.