When did you realise you wanted to become a writer?
I’ve been writing since I was young, and writing seriously for about twelve years now. I always knew I loved it and I wished I could make a career of it but didn’t think it would ever be possible. About seven years ago, I wrote my first chick-lit novel, and I realised that people could and did make careers and earn a living from doing just that. That’s when I started to really concentrate on writing novels and started to take writing seriously, with the intention of writing something that could one day be published.
Why did you decide to self-publish Kismetology?
Although my dream is still traditional publication, I’m not in a position right now to pursue it with all my heart. I had put my dreams of writing on the back burner, and continued writing books with no real plan of doing anything with them, just writing because I enjoyed it. I’d heard of self-publishing years ago and decided it wasn’t for me. With the rise of ebooks, I started looking into it again last year, and it was such a revelation to me. How much things had changed since the Kindle came along! I researched and researched and researched some more and something just clicked. Self-publishing was the perfect fit for me.
How have you found self-publishing so far? Was it easier/harder than you imagined? Were there any problems you didn’t anticipate?
I’m absolutely loving it so far. I’ve only been at it a few months, but I can honestly say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. In fact, my only regret is not doing it sooner! I have two books out now, and I still cannot get my head around the fact that people are reading them and enjoying them. They have sat on my hard drive for years, doing nothing but gathering virtual dust, and it’s absolutely unreal that people are now reading my words on their Ereaders!
I think it’s been a bit harder than I anticipated. I came into this with a pretty good idea of the amount of work involved. I had no illusions of it being easy, but there are so many little things that take up hours of time and frustrated fiddling for almost invisible results, so it has been harder in the sense of little things that no amount of research could warn you about.
The biggest problem I’ve come across so far is the number of sneaky little typos that find their way into any manuscript no matter how many times it has been proofread, and how hard it is to spot them. I can’t tell you how disappointing it is when you’ve had a book edited, proofread by others and by yourself a few hundred times, and then someone points out a typo in the published version. I firmly believe it’s impossible to catch every single one, no matter how many people you have working on the manuscript before it’s published! It’s so disheartening when you fix it and go to republish and wonder how many people have already read it and thought badly of you as a writer. It makes me feel unprofessional, even though typos can sneak in anywhere, even in traditionally published books!
What advice would you give other writers who are thinking of self-publishing their book?
Just do your research. Read as much as you can about other writer’s experiences, and make sure you think it’s for you. You have to jump in both feet first and absolutely whole-heartedly. For a long, long time the only person who cares about your book is going to be you, and it’s an uphill struggle all the way. It’s certainly not as simple as pressing that ‘publish’ button and becoming a millionaire overnight (unfortunately!) This isn’t the easy route, but it’s definitely the most rewarding. The feeling of getting a good review or a compliment on your cover or something is the best feeling in the world, and made even better by knowing that you’re the only person responsible for it.
What was your inspiration for Kismetology?
I love reading books where the character is trying to find the perfect man, and I love dating stories whether the dates are good or bad. It’s particularly fun to hear about the bad dates! I wanted to write something like that, but I thought that the ‘single girl trying to find the perfect man’ angle was a bit overdone. I’ve often thought my own mum could do with a man, but she would consider herself too old for dating. I realised I could combine the two ideas, and Kismetology was born!
In Kismetology, Mackenzie decides to find a new man for her mum. Have you ever played Cupid yourself?
No, but since my mum has read Kismetology, she suddenly wants me to! She keeps asking why I can’t find a man for her like Mackenzie tries to find one for her mother in the story! I may have to play Cupid pretty soon after all!
Who was your favourite character to write?
I loved writing Eleanor – the mum in the book – because she’s kind of neurotic and a bit paranoid and overbearing and she overreacts a lot, and she kind of gets more pronounced as the book goes on. It was fun thinking ‘what can she do next?’ to annoy Mackenzie. I have to say though, I thoroughly enjoyed writing the men that Mackenzie meets, particularly the bad ones!
What was the first book you ever bought yourself?
I think it was Deenie by Judy Blume! I loved her books, and I loved Enid Blyton. I devoured all that I could get my hands on and read them over and over again when I was younger!
If you were stranded on a desert island and had only one book (conveniently) about your person, what would you like it to be (bearing in mind you may be stranded for months on end with nothing else to read)?
Can’t I have just one Kindle with hundreds of books on it? (Er, and a charger and electricity. And a WiFi signal.) No? Okay, my one book would have to be Survival When Stranded on a Desert Island for Dummies! If that doesn’t exist, I’d go back to my childhood and have Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series with me, the omnibus edition of all six books in one, obviously! That should give me quite a bit of reading material!
Finally, what are you working on at the moment?
I’m in the middle of editing book three – a paranormal romance for young adults, which is due for editing in February and I’m hoping to have it out around March/April time!
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Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Jaimie.
Kismetolgy is out now.