After interviewing Fay Bec about her debut novel, Hidden Beneath The Embers, I also asked if she'd answer some questions for the future authors, trying to navigate the self-publishing world. And she graciously agreed! As a busy, homeschooling mama to 4, she was able to not only fall in love with reading, but also write and publish her first book in the span of a year! So let's dive into some of her writing and self-publishing advice!!
1. Let's start with setting the mood, what does your writing space look like when you’re completely in the zone?
Drinking coffee or maybe wine? Music, shows in the background, or maybe complete silence? I have learned wine and writing do not mix for me! Lol but I write on my laptop. I have tried going out to write but I get too distracted. So, for me it’s at home, in bed or on the couch after my kids go to bed. And music, blasting in my ears! Can’t do it any other way.
2. What's one thing you wish you knew before starting your writing/self-publishing journey?
Plans may have to change, and that’s okay. I had this idea in my head of what it should look like and was discouraged many times when I couldn’t make certain things happen for this book. Self-publishing it a lot of work. And when it’s your first book, be okay with adjusting your plans. It’s a lot to learn and go through. Reach out to other indie authors, including me, and ask questions. Even though we all have to go through our own obstacles with publishing, you are not alone and have people in the amazing indie author community that can help give you advice. Take time to research, take notes, and account for some extra time in your process to get everything situated.
3. Biggest piece of self-publishing advice?
Research! Ask questions to other indie authors. Interview editors and get sample edits to make sure you like the editor’s style. You are going to work with for the next 4-6 months. Same with designers for the cover. Checkout their art, have conversations, and talk about your timeline. You will be putting money out for this. I’ve seen people do it on lower budgets, and others who put out just as much as I did. Which was about $7,000 at this point. But you can still find a team of people to work with on your budget. Just take it one step at a time, and don’t be afraid to ask questions when you have them. Use your voice through the entire process. This is your baby; you make the calls on every little detail!
4. What was the hardest part about your writing process?
Oh man my biggest struggle was actually during proofreading. I hired someone who helped, yes. But in many areas, the edits made my book not sound like me. I was back in editing for over a week to correct and fix the book. I was worried about having to push my date and worked around the clock to make sure my writing style was back within the book. I doubted just about every word at that point, and cried a lot. Thankfully my main editor, another proof reader, and some early ARC’s helped me get the book in order. It’s so important to know who you are working with and understand their editing style, because there are different kinds, just like writing styles. There is nothing wrong with taking advice, but it’s your book, don’t doubt yourself and your story. Listen to your gut feeling through the process.
5. What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
Write the shitty first draft! I was so afraid of failing from the get go. But after hearing that, I felt like it was a pass to make mistakes! Your first draft isn’t supposed to be perfect. That’s what editing is for. The more you write, the more you will learn your style of writing, and you will grow as a writer. Tell the imposter syndrome to get in the back seat and write your story! If this is heavy on your heart and sparking passion inside you, that means someone out there needs your book. Even if it’s for one person! Do it for the one!
6. Are you a plotter or pantser?
Plotter for fantasy. I need to know what’s going on there. I am currently being a panster on another book idea right now and I have no idea if it’s going to play out right. it feels so weird! I like to know what’s going to happen, even if its vague. It’s a small structure I can use while writing to stay somewhat on course, but let’s face it, the characters pull you around.
7. At what point did you consider yourself an author?
When I saw my book up on amazon for pre order, and giving out ARC’s. I felt like it was finally safe to say the word, but up until then, I just said I was a writer, which we all are. I think the closer you get to Pub Day, you just have to claim it. You are a writer, but also an author now, which still feels surreal.
8. How did you celebrate when you finally finished the final draft?
Wine! But I was also working on other things so I didn’t really have time to step back and celebrate. I still don’t even think its hit me that I published a book, even with the 6 copies I have at my house of proof’s. Lol! I think I’m going to plan something for Pub Day, whether it’s a Facetime call with friends or a night out with hubby.
Thank you Fay for the wonderful advice, we can't wait to see what you do next!