December 17, 2014

How I Was Inspired to Self Publish

Author Mike Crowl kindly interviewed me about my book, and the publishing process, on his blog. I appreciate his time and efforts! The post is a little long, but it contains information that I hope will be useful for all lovers of reading and writing:

Traci Lawrence is the author of the e-book Accept No Trash Talk, which I read recently. I've been in touch with Traci and asked if I could send her some questions about the book. She's sent me the answers and here's the result. [My questions and comments are in italics.]

This is your first book, I believe. Has it taken a long time for you to get this book off the ground?

In a word: yes. About a year and a half passed from the time when I got the idea for the book until it was first published. I have spent the past five weeks editing it for the publication of the second edition. Editing is an important, seemingly never-ending process.

I can agree with that! I see you’ve had some very positive reviews from readers. Have you had similar reactions from people on a more personal level as well?

In the beginning, my beta readers (people who an author asks to read an early, pre-publication manuscript) gave me more constructive criticism than positive feedback. However, since that first awkward stage, I have been given mainly positive responses. Relatives, friends, and colleagues who have read the book usually say that it’s inspiring. At the very least, they tell me that they appreciate the stories of prominent figures overcoming the odds.

I believe you’re preparing a revised version of the book. Is this based on feedback from other people, or is it because you’ve rethought some of the things you’ve written?

The main motivation for my edit was the advice of a publishing industry professional. She felt that the message of my book was important, but I needed to tighten up the formatting and content. Also, she felt that I needed to shorten the book,

On my own, I had decided that I wanted to update the examples that I used. I added, deleted, and edited stories. I wanted to bring a more positive, updated outlook to my work. I took some of the focus off of me and shifted it more to the stories of other people.

One of the great advantages of e-publishing, especially when we self-publish, is that we can correct things, or improve them, even after the book has gone out to customers. Will your updated version be the last word on this book?

It’s hard to say. I understand that some authors publish many editions of a certain book, and I am a perfectionist. Aside from that, there will always be new stories to tell of how individuals interact.

Did you find the self-publishing process difficult, overwhelming, straightforward...? Were there people who could help you with the task?

I made the choice to publish only on Amazon for now. Publishing in electronic format is not difficult. I followed the links for publishing to the Kindle starting from the Amazon home page. My book was available for download by the next day. There are no fees involved for this process. It is straightforward.

Amazon Kindle publishing experts are available by e-mail only. They did help me with a few simple formatting questions at no cost to myself. However, it was inconvenient to only be able to contact them by e-mail. I really would have appreciated more help in a timely manner.

[For those wanting to self-publish with Kindle, I'd recommend the free e-book, Building Your Book for Kindle which I've used for all three of my books. It takes you through the process without missing any vital information!]

Do you have any other books in mind? If so, will they be on the same sort of topic, or on other areas of concern?

I am currently doing research for a book that is a sort of continuation of my first book. It will feature specific examples of prominent figures and everyday people overcoming ridiculous odds. Some examples of the famous people it will feature are King George VI of England (who conquered a debilitating stutter) and the French Impressionists (who conquered a lack of acceptance by the mainstream art community).

How easy do you think it is for sensitive people to confront bullies or controlling people? Is it better to avoid confrontation, to ‘tune-out any sort of inappropriate negativity’ as you say at one point?

Confrontation is difficult for many people, especially sensitive ones. Some delicate individuals may shy away from conflict altogether. In some cases, we must ask ourselves if the clash is really worth it. If our rights, or needs, will be trampled unless we address a particular issue, perhaps we should choose to face the situation—if feasible. However (in my humble opinion) if confronting a situation will be unproductive, it’s best to avoid an altercation. I have never been a big fan of wasting my own time.

I don’t know if it’s feasible to say that confrontation is always right, or always wrong. Individuals should use their own judgment. That’s the safest answer. When I mentioned tuning out negativity, I was referring to tuning out people who, generally, demean us. I wasn’t mentioning people who might be a real threat to us in any way. There will always be naysayers out there, and we can’t afford to give weight constantly to what they say and do.

You say at one point that you’ve ‘heard it said that every person...has a particular section of the body which is more prone to disease.’ I wasn’t sure that I agreed with this. Is there any actual research done along these lines that you know of?

I’m no expert on this subject, and I’m not aware of any scientific research on the subject. However, I have seen references to this issue in non-medical literature (such as New Age literature). To me, it’s an interesting field to observe. There does seem to be a pattern: ulcers may occur in people with a certain personality type. Other gastrointestinal issues may happen in people who are more sensitive. These conclusions are based on my non-scientific observations, and research, only. Of course, I can’t say that my observations are true for everyone.

One of the things the book made me do was look at my own behaviour. I don’t like confrontation much, but I’m also capable of being a controlling type of person in some areas at times. Do you think that many people have tendencies to swing between one or the other?

Again, I don’t pretend to be an expert in this area. I only know what I’ve researched, and observed. Some researchers of personality types, such as Tim LaHaye, feel that every person is an unique amalgam of characteristics. It’s a fact that few mentally stable people are controlling, or submissive, 100% of the time. It’s probably true that most people swing between the two depending on the situation. For instance, I may feel comfortable taking the lead on a small group project at work while I may be submissive to my supervisor.

People are complicated. Most of us can’t be put into boxes that read “Continual manipulator”, or “Shy and awkward”.

Thanks, Traci. Good to have some background to your book. I know it will encourage a great many people, whichever version of it they read...

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