iWriteReadRate caught up with Emlyn Chand, founder of Novel Publicity, on Twitter and we thought that there’s a great number of similarities in our objectives, so we interviewed her earlier this month. We think that you’ll find her expertise and answers valuable. So, without further ado, here’s Emlyn:
Q1: You recently launched Novel Publicity. For the benefit of the members of iWriteReadRate.com can you tell us a little more about what you do, your team, and your expertise?
A1: Sure! Novel Publicity offers a la carte author promotion, which means you can pick and choose the services that you want based on your needs and your financial constraints. We have 43 distinct services, including custom-scripted book trailers, blog tours, social media set-ups, web and blog design, audio book adaptation, and more. We’re writers working for writers, which, I think, makes us different from the other PR firms out there.
Q2: From your experience, what advice would you give an aspiring writer about how they should go about self-editing their work in the first instance?
A2: Editing is a learned skill. It’s challenging but also vital. I wrote an article about this recently here. Every author will edit differently. My best advice is to gain adequate distance from the piece before you begin revision, don’t impose deadlines on yourself (these could wind up being counterproductive), make sure to engage beta readers, and consider hiring a professional editor to look over your work. I also recently discovered the AutoCrit Editing Wizard, and, well, I’m sold!
Q3: In your opinion, what challenges do unpublished writers face in their dream of becoming published?
A3: The challenges abound. First, the writer must overcome the challenges she creates for herself—sending out queries to the wrong agents or publishers, sending out her manuscript before it is truly ready, and not understanding the absolute essentiality of building a platform to support her work. Once she has dealt with her own issues, she’ll have to work hard to break into an industry that is not friendly to newcomers. The author must bare her soul for the whole world to see, only to face faceless rejection, to learn that her soul is not pretty enough, that it’s not wanted. It’s very easy to be overcome, but you can’t give up! The writer must walk a tight rope act; at the same time, she must believe that her work is worthy and excellent, and she must also be ever critical of it. It’s extremely trying on one’s delicate ego, and we writers are already sensitive to begin with!
Q4: How do you think the publishing industry will adapt to new and emerging technology over the next five years?
A4: The industry has been adapting and changing in wonderful ways. As eBooks become more and more prominent, internet marketing will become crucial to the success of any author, digi-published or not. I believe that social media networking, multimedia promotional tools (such as book trailers and audio books), and blog out-reach will take over a great deal of the traditional PR services. I also believe that the shift toward the internet market will enable more authors to have their work published. The internet is a strange and wonderful thing; it brings the entire world to your doorstep, making it easier than ever before to find that exact audience who has been waiting their entire life to read YOUR book.
Q5: What are your thoughts around the new community for writers’ unpublished work being launched by iWriteReadRate.com?
A5: I love it! I can’t stress enough the importance of beta readers to the writer. You need that secondary feedback from someone, who has a bit of distance from your work, someone who doesn’t have access to all of the extra thoughts in your head that explain your story but didn’t make it into print. A beta reader can point out inconsistent characterization, lacklustre description, slow plotting, and more. The idea of somebody paying to beta-read a writer’s work is just fabulous. It’s not about the money but rather that iWriteReadRate connects writers with readers, who actually want to read their work! As a writer, how many times have you wondered if your husband, mother, best friend was truly interested in your manuscript or just said s/he was to protect your feelings? Novel Publicity is a big supporter of iWriteReadRate’s mission and can’t wait to find new ways to partner these two budding tech-savvy author service firms.
Q6: What top writing tips can you give the aspiring writers on iWriteReadRate.com?
A6: Practice makes… better than it was before. Compare the first draft of your novel to your most recent draft. Aren’t you disgusted by how poorly you used to write? We all improve as we go, so never stop writing. Also keep a voracious reading appetite—read both books that you love and books that you hate. I’ve found that I sometimes learn the best writing lessons from poorly written books. I didn’t understand how obnoxious adverb overkill, for example, could be, until I read a book that was teeming with –ly words (here’s an article I posted with examples of both types of books). Also make it a point to read writer’s magazines and reference guides and to engage in the online writer community. Every bit of inspiration helps, and, who knows, you may learn some tricks along the way.
Q7: If you could change anything about the traditional way that writers get their work published through Agents/Editors/Publishers – what would you change and why?
A7: I like the direction the market has been taking on its own. The indie publishing wave is brilliant. It gives authors the attention and recognition they deserve and can also save them a lot of heartache, when it comes to the querying process. The querying process is not at all fun. I wish that there was a way to change it, but I don’t think there is. Rather I wish that writers would be better aware of the alternatives before beginning their publication journeys. When I first began to pursue publication for my literary novel, I thought that cold querying was the only way to do it. It’s not. There are so many other opportunities out there with self-, digi-, and indie publishing. Research those, one of them may be a better fit for you than the traditional path.
Q8: In your opinion, can aspiring writers and authors afford not to engage with readers in this age of Social Media? What are your top tips for these interactions?
A8: I don’t understand why any writer would shirk this opportunity. One of the best things about being a writer is engaging with your readers, especially when those readers enjoy your work! Even the negative feedback tends to be constructive and can help you improve your future work. Everything Novel Publicity does is aimed at bringing the reader and writer together (kind of like iWriteReadRate, but in our own way). The absolute best way to connect with your readers initially is through Twitter. To develop a relationship with them over the long term, Facebook is golden. The value of a writer’s blog can also not be ignored. Oh, and then there’s GoodReads and a whole host of other sites on which authors should be present. We offer services related to all of these, and our Free Advice Blog regularly features do-it-yourself advice.
Q9: Any final thoughts for the members of iWriteReadRate.com?
A9: You’ve got to be willing to put yourself out there. You have to believe in the quality of your product but also to never stop seeking ways in which you can improve it. IWriteReadRate is a great way to stick your toe in the pond—you’ll be dealing with friendly guppies rather than author-eating piranhas (i.e. literary agents). Once you’ve landed a publisher or have decided to self-publish, make sure you are ready to market yourself. In a congested arena, you have to be willing to shout, wave your arms, and jump up and down to get people to notice you. And, hey, we at Novel Publicity can help you do that too.
From an early age, books have been Emlyn Chand’s best friends. She loves to hear and tell stories and emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Her affinity for the written word extends to absolutely every area of her life—she has written one-and-a-half novels, has two freelance columns, leads a classics book group with over three-hundred members, and, of course, she runs the whole shebang here at Novel Publicity, contributing her business and marketing savvy as well as her writing and graphic design talents. She has an MA in quantitative sociology, which means she’s able to understand both numbers and people.
The book that changed Emlyn’s life is “Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crocket Johnson. It opened her eyes to the world that could exist if only she was willing to create it and she’s never forgotten this lesson. She now reads an average of one book per week, and while she enjoys all types of novels, her greatest loves are literary fiction and YA. Emlyn truly believes that there is an audience out there for all books—it’s only a matter of finding it.
Thank you, Emlyn. We’re really excited as well about the upcoming Beta site launch of iWriteReadRate. We look forward to working with you and Novel Publicity further following our upcoming launch phases, so we can continually improve the support we offer our writers and their readers.
There’s still time to register to gain Beta access and enter our competition to win a fantastic Sony Pocket Digital PRS-350 eReader.
Visit us at: www.iWriteReadRate.com to find out more!