It is Day 2 of the Rainbow Awards Weekend on the Virtual Living Room.
They’ve got such a great group description:
The VLR is a place where readers and writers of lesbian literature in its permutations (books, e-books, comics, etc) can come together and discuss the works and the topics within them, as well as celebrate the community that lesbian fiction readers can be. Whether reader or writer, membership AND participation is not based on any aspect of gender, sexuality, identity, creed, nationality, culture, ethnicity, or any other incidental of being a human being scattered somewhere on the planet. The requirement of membership is merely this: that the member be a supporter of lesbian literature. Fan fiction is nice, erotica is topic we cover from time to time, but there are other forums that focus on that specifically; we are not that. We encourage and celebrate the accomplishments of the readers and the authors, from first contracts to new ones, first published work to (hopefully) 100th and actively seek to share these wonderful bits of news, which are vital to us as a reading community. Civility is not only also encouraged, it is EXPECTED, because more than anything else, the VLR is, again, a COMMUNITY which means we all share in responsibility for making this a comfortable, welcoming, and enjoyable space for all.
That said,the VLR has a focus on Lesbian works; this is by definition Lesbian safe space and a safe haven for all respectful to our focus on lesfic may they be LGBTQ or straight. It is in fact *the* reason for this joining and celebration.
It makes it a fun and supportive place to hang out – especially when they’ve got a discussion focused on winners and runners up (like me) from the Rainbow Awards.
Here are my answers to today’s questions:
1) Indie or traditional publishing – what was important in your decision?
I went traditional when I started for several reasons – I have no skills or training in copyediting, graphic design, distribution or promotion nor do I have the time to learn them. As a readers, I enjoyed many of the titles from Bella Books and was impressed by the quality of the product they put out. I was very happy to have Karin Kallmaker as the reader of my first manuscript and squee’d like a little girl when she called to tell me they wanted to publish it.
2) What is the hardest part of the publishing process? What do you most enjoy?
Hardest is waiting for my book to be out! It seems to take so long to get the book written and polished. To then to go through all the processes to get it into the hands of readers can be excruciating for someone who likes immediate gratification.
I generally enjoy working with my editors – while we do tussle occasionally, I am a better writer and have learned so much from them.
3) Have changes in the book industry forced you to change how you published or marketed your work?
Yes, in so far as there are fewer bookstores to contact regarding my books. Having to find other ways to connect with readers through social media (like Facebook and blogging) has been an enjoyable learning curve as the connection to the readers is so much more immediate.
4) Do you have any formal training in writing?
Post college courses in creative writing, I have gone to a lot of conferences and have taken advantage of the chance to improve my craft by taking workshops from the likes of Lori Lake, Karin Kallmaker, JM Redman, etc, etc, etc. I highly recommend conferences like the Golden Crown Literary Society Annual conference or Saints and Sinners.
5) What’s your next book project and what can you tell us about it?
I’m working on a slightly more sci-fi story that takes place in a far away universe where the main characters have to escape an invasion and plot a rebellion while fighting their growing attraction to each other.
6) What made you enter your book into the Rainbow awards?
I had originally posted this story on the Athenaeum and it had gotten a lot of positive reviews so I believed in it enough to enter it for a Rainbow Award once I had improved it through the editing process.
And to answer Devlyn’s questions: How did you select the title of your book? At what stage in the writing process did you know what you were going to call your book? If you could ‘do-over’ would you change anything about the title?
The book originally was a bit more religious – each chapter heading was the title of a gospel song and there were more debates about religion throughout that, frankly, distracted a bit from the story. I knew at the beginning of the writing what I was going to call it and only worried that too many people wouldn’t understand what it meant. Even that worry was not enough for me to change the title.