Name: Anne K. Edwards
Book Title: Changing Places
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Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published. Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Anne: I didn’t really decide to be an author. I write because I must. There is no peace until I settle at the keyboard and begin. It is that part of the mind that never ceases to produce new ideas, stories that I simply must tell. Changing Places is one such tale. I had several other books published in different genres before the idea for this story took hold of my imagination. It proved irresistible and I felt I had to tell the tale of a cat and a snake that met one summer day. My cat loved to roll around on the cement floor of our front porch and he rolled off the edge to land on a sunning blacksnake. I knew I shouldn’t laugh as each raced away in a different direction, but it was a bit of funny business that kept me giggling for days as the idea for a story formed.
Is this your first book?
Anne: No, but it is only my second venture into writing for children. My first was about a little boy who outsmarted a hungry dragon.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Anne: I’ve had the good luck to be published by a very successful small press called Twilight Times Books in the traditional format. However, they don’t publish the type of children’s books I write. Instead of spending time looking for a publisher that does put out this genre, I chose to try self-publishing. There were other reasons for this decision as well, such as the shortness of the books. If you look into submission guidelines of children’s publishers, you will find a certain length is desired and to reach that number of words, I’d have to pad the story with unnecessary sentences and I do think it would not improve the story. Often, there is a demand for breaking a book into chapters and the length of time used in telling the story makes that an unrealistic requirement. The action only lasts a little while and the padding to make it longer would ruin the pacing. I enjoyed writing the story in its short form and believe children would also prefer it this way.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
Anne: Having published other books after searching for an agent and/or the print houses as a new writer and learning the sad truth that most new writers do not find success in that way, I decided not to waste the time in repeating that process. I admit, I did look into a few Internet small presses that accept children’s book submissions, but their requirements were not compatible with what I write. I do not mean their requirements are a bad thing, not at all. But my writing style of a short story showed me that I did not write to meet their specifications and I had no desire or intention to try rewriting to meet them. As someone I admire once said about a book, it is what it is, and that was what helped me decide to try the self-publishing route. I was extremely fortunate to have a dear friend who got me moving in the right direction and making the final decision on how to publish when I procrastinated. She guided me all the way on my first and second children’s books, told me what steps to follow in getting the book ready to post. Because I am a big chicken when it comes to new technology, she had a lot of hard work to do. I hope she reads this and knows how much she is appreciated.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Anne: Since being a writer is a continuous learning journey, I can truthfully say that I learned how much more I have to learn. My ignorance of the changing publishing scene and technology is abysmal. I’m like a first grader trying to learn to read and understand Shakespeare’s plays. Coming from the days when writing was done on a manual typewriter into the days of computers, I have some real problems with understanding the lack of instructions in most phases of usage on the social media sites. I’ve learned that joining some promotion groups and advertising on many websites that claim to promote one’s book is also a waste of promo funds. The writer seeking publication must be aware of how much they will be able to spend on promotion. There are too many places willing to take your precious cash and give nothing in return. In the end, I find the old ways are most productive while searching out new sites that are recommended by other writers I know. It is a process that also takes a lot of time.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Anne: Absolutely. It is another chance to learn about one’s writing and one’s willingness to tackle the experience of new technology, even if you fail the first hundred times. You will learn to separate the good from the bad and how things work. But bear in mind this is a constantly changing workplace so we must be willing to change with it. The more we learn, the better a writer we will become.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Anne: Don’t give up. The temptation to quit is always present when we run into a problem that seems insurmountable, but it isn’t. Consider it like a plot that needs reworking and try to look at your work with a different viewpoint. Don’t spend years and years rewriting the same book. Finish that first book if you haven’t. Don’t keep rewriting those first chapters to make them prefect. There is no such thing as a perfect book. Join a writers group. Find like minds on the social media if your ego needs bolstering. Don’t continue to bask in the limelight of family’s and friends’ compliments, ask people in that writers group to read your work and keep moving forward on the story.
About the book:
Changing Places is a humorous story about a cat and a snake whose meeting was accidental and leads each into an adventure that does not turn out the way they though it would. The idea came from the day my cat rolled off the porch onto a basking blacksnake. They both fled the scene in different directions, and gave me the idea of what if they stopped to talk about their meeting. The book is available in ebook form at Amazon Kindle.
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