That’s a great question. In 2014, the year I restarted my career, my goal was to write and publish six books. I nearly killed myself working and getting those books ready for publication but once I accomplished it, I assumed I’d be able to do that each year. Wrong. Being a self-published author who does all her own formatting, uploading, promotion, etc. means a LOT of maintenance, and working seven days a week for seven months at my small business means figuring out at way to work writing time into shorter periods—in the tub, on the road to work, between customers. So from January to August sometimes I only get one-two books written and published. In the winter months I try to do more. I have a tip for your readers that was a real eye opener for me. I have an itty bitty spreadsheet that I keep handy to remind me how small increments of words add up. 250-300 words a day on busy days and 1-3000 on off days depending on the day, calculated by month and year. Then I divide the total (124,000, 296,000 or whatever) into possible outcomes, two novels and a novella, three novels and a short, etc. You’ll amaze yourself at what you can accomplish with a regular habit, no matter the amount because once you start writing you will usually write more than you think.
Q: Do you ever get writer’s block? Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Before this year, I would have said no. When it threatened before, I went to the tub (my muse pool) and my characters never failed to follow me, or I took a drive. But for the second year in a row, my day job killed my creativity. Then, doubts creep in and you think, “My characters have left me. I’m out of ideas. I’m crap at this.” I struggled for probably a month-and-a-half recently feeling like my current book was lacking something or even several somethings. So I took a break, caught up on some reading and started a new audiobook. Then, I ran across a picture in a magazine that inspired me with some ideas and suddenly things were clicking again. It also helped when my time freed up a little, but if the characters and story are real to me, I can usually work through the job stress. Escape is wonderfully energizing.
Q: To date which of your books was the hardest to write and why?
Well, probably the one I mentioned but before that, Blame it on the Moon for a similar reason. Fear. The first three books in the Destiny Paramortals led up to Blame and halfway into it I was afraid I didn’t have what it took to make it work and be proud of it. Fear and doubt are big hurtles for a writer I think. But my readers loved it even more than the first three, so I’m trying to use that as encouragement for book five, Take These Broken Wings, which is on preorder now for July.
Q: What do you feel is the most important aspect for all new authors to remember when writing or creating their own stories?
Be true to yourself and to your voice. And if you’re not enjoying the story, the world and your characters, it’s time to change it or move on. Writing something for any other reason only brings misery. For me anyway.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your STORM LAKE series?
Ha! I grew up in DC afraid of thunderstorms and lightning, apparently from a July fireworks adventure gone awry when I was three. After moving to Louisiana during the worst tornado year on record, and then going through Katrina, not to mention a few others weather related events, Storm Lake was born. And since I love contemporary and paranormal, the lake has both. The Paramortals live on the west end where the leylines run through Destiny, and my heroine there is a weather witch (Tempestaerie). The east end has natural severe weather and the heroes are ex-military now cover models. Those stories are contemporary romance and romantic suspense.
Q: Why did you choose Indie (self) publishing vs. Small Press or Traditional Publishing?
One of those aforementioned weather events in 2011, the Mississippi River flood, kept me from turning in some submissions and when the dust settled I realized it was going to take too long to get back my momentum and expect to be published anytime soon. There were other reasons like creative control – being able to write the book my characters wanted me to write and not having to determine the exact sub-genre. Authors were just started to self-publish and there was still such a stigma, but I decided it was the only way for me. I didn’t go about it the right way though. I published one book and then had no clue what to do. It wasn’t a wasted effort because I learned a lot about myself and the business of writing, but it was two years before I was ready again to do it right.
Q: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing?
Especially if you have to work or have big drains on your time like a family, it’s really hard. It’s all on you, especially if you can’t afford to farm out administrative tasks, formatting, promotion, uploading, writing blurbs, descriptions, re-uploading, etc etc. BUT if you’re the kind of person who wants to be in control and can manage your time and create viable deadlines, and you want to be the one that says, “I want to make my own decisions (after researching and getting the best information you can of course) and I can live with the outcome knowing I’m in control of my own creative work,” then maybe self-publishing is for you. You won’t have the big engine of a trad publisher behind you, but we’ve seen that sometimes that’s a dual edged sword. Royalties are certainly better if you can find visibility, which is the biggest struggle for any author now. But this is important, I think you should have several books ready to publish right off, say a month apart or two months at the most to get your “footprint” established.
Q: Who designed the covers?
My fantastically talented cover designer, Linda Boulanger, of Tell-Tale Book Covers, designed all my covers except Undone. She’s recently revamped my Under-Cover Knights which underwent a series change to Storm Lake East: Larue (where the hunks are on the cover :))
Q: Which one of your covers is your favorite and why?
I love what she did with the Larue covers and Blame it on the Moon, but recently Linda updated my cover for the first Destiny Paramortals book, Storm Crazy. The first books in my series are free and I wanted a fresh look for Tempe and Jack. Here it is.
Q: Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Buy links for all stores: http://liviaquin.com/books.html
Sign up for my newsletter http://eepurl.com/W94bb
Join me on Saturday when we read a sexy excerpt from one of Livia’s books. ~Tina