Welcome to this week’s Blog Ring of Power guest, TJ Loveless. She can often be found surrounded by the wonderful chaos of life, writing, editing and laughing at the antics of family.
Don’t miss the rest of TJ’s BRoP interview:
Part 1 @ Emily – Friday, August 9
Part 2 @ Sandra – Monday, August 12
Part 3 @ Vicki – Tuesday, August 13
Part 4 @ Terri – Wednesday, August 14
PART 5: WORDS OF WISDOM
Tell us about your route to success – how/when did you decide to self-publish? Did you query an agent first? How did you handle the editing, proofreading, cover design, etc. I didn’t query this series, simply because most agents don’t take novella, and two, well, it felt right to self-publish The Fortune Cookie Diaries. When I first started thinking about it, I wondered, then realized, I wanted to self-pub it, to do it myself. It is hard work, and despite months of research, stupid questions aimed at those who’d gone before me, some things you have to do before you get it. Although I am a content/copy editor by profession, I still sent it out to another professional editor, and then several proofers. I contacted Cali McKay to handle the cover, with a general idea of what I wanted.
She listened, tossed some ideas my way, and with a few emails, and a couple of changes, we had the cover for Lucky Number Six and Odd Number Five. Currently working on Unlucky Number Four. She’s a genius when it comes to covers. I didn’t do a massive shout out about Lucky Number Six, as it is really my learning the ropes. Despite nothing but glowing reviews, it’s Unlucky Number Four I plan to do a lot of marketing, blogging, etc. Another big learning experience.
What are the most important elements of good writing? First – pay attention. A writer can have a great idea for a premise, a wonderful plot and lovely 3D characters. But don’t pay attention to the stuff that makes the writing sloppy. Overuse of pronouns, redundancies, constantly repeating the same phrase over and over, constant POV changes or not sticking to either first/second/third POV, switching between present or past tense, small inconsistencies, info dumps. It’s the little things that kill a book. No, you can’t complete eradicate those things, but overuse … ugh. Second – know your characters. It shows when a writer only has a slight idea of the inner workings of the ones fueling the story. Even secondary characters are important. Third – have some idea of the message you are conveying. I’ve edited some MS in which the message changed three times in one book. I had to send it back to the author and tell them to do a complete revision.
Do you have any advice for other writers? See above. Most of all, don’t be afraid to color outside of the lines. Let your imagination soar, be different, twist it, turn it, flip ideas on their head. Don’t copy authors that have done it already – make your own. One book I edited by Matthew Graybosch, took fantasy and flipped it. Great writing, carefully placed hints, great world building, didn’t do a ton of backstory. Created his own creatures and myth, his own society, his own weapons – keeping a little bit of the familiar then created something all new. Loved it.
What do you feel is the key to your success? Is success that I finally hit the 200 books sold mark? Or that I put it up and so far I’ve heard nothing but good things? That not one person said it was badly edited, or that the favorite character is secondary? Is it that I put it up and bragged about it despite severe author insecurities? Maybe it’s the fanmail I’ve received? Honestly, I’m not sure. I will say I worked very hard, I asked questions, I offered to help where I could, researched, researched and researched. I took full responsibility for my mistakes, and tried not to make the same ones others made – I learned from them. I never stop learning, trying new things. Being the best I can be.
What are your current / future project(s)? I still have Going Thru Hell out on query, with a few more rejections to go. But as I learn more and more about self-publishing, I may go that route. There are other options that I can’t talk about right at the moment, but I’m no longer thinking the traditional route is the only one. I’ve learned to follow my instincts. I also have to finish five more novellas, and have two more humorous novella series in the planning stages for next year. On the full length end, I have to finish the Braiders’ series, work on the Maiden series again, and two more in the planning stages. Lots and lots of writing.
What format is your book(s) available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)? All books are in eBook at this time.
Please let us know where your readers can stalk you:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/TJ-Loveless-Author/129753790413808
Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7142612.T_J_Loveless
Dr. Tiffany Crews is a renowned psychiatrist, a klutz, Arkansas hillbilly born and bred with her feet firmly rooted in reality. Her two best friends, Janet and Mark, keep life interesting. Add in a duck with Houdini tendencies, and Tiffany leads a wonderfully laughter filled life.
One morning, they find a unicorn in the communal courtyard of their townhouse and life takes a surreal twist. It leads to burning the bacon, along with the kitchen, yet they nevertheless refuse to leave the animal in a possibly bad situation. Until they learn it talks, anything veggie causes rancid flatulence in the form of rainbows, and its grumpy attitude can only be helped by indulging his carnivorous tendencies with Shrimp Po’ Boys.
Drop in Flying Granny, sporting dragonfly wings and really flies, who calls herself The Fairy Godmother, and believes she was summoned to help find their soul mates. Reality takes another twist nobody is prepped for.
The three friends are on the prowl during New Orleans’ infamous Mardi Gras to find where the two myths truly belong. Every attempt to find the truth leads to hijinks and compromising situations for the three friends, and a true appreciation for the unknown. Tiffany needs to find a way for the two myths to fit into reality, and keep her sanity in one piece.
If only it was that easy.