Author Anna Fox goes through her experience of the final steps of writing, editing, and publication!
The Author Blog Series is an impactful series for aspiring writers and seasoned authors alike, covering topics like plotting your book, editing, and to give writers tools to create their greatest work.
Click here to read more from the series, hearing from authors like Angela Anne, Chloe Hodge, Victoria Marshall, and others.
Let's Meet Our Author
Anna Fox began writing The Hashna Stone three years before its publication as a choose-your-own-adventure story on her blog. Because readers enjoyed it so much, and because the pesky characters wouldn't let Anna leave them alone, she decided to make the story into a novel.
She lives in the scorching heat of the south U.S. (Alabama), and when she isn't writing she practices yoga and dabbles in acrylic paints.
Author Interview Questions
1. When looking at publishing your work and getting it out to readers, what do you believe determines your own personal success?
The process of writing a book and self publishing is a long process and a lot of work.
I don’t think I would have finished if I didn’t have a love for storytelling and a crazy, unshakable belief that I could write a novel and get it out there.
2. Around the middle and end of the book are generally where readers start seeing a plot twist(s). What is your advice for writers when considering plot twists?
Plot twists are a fantastic way to keep readers’ interest and crank up the level of tension. It really adds that “wow” factor to a story that keeps readers engaged and makes the story memorable long after they’ve finished the book.
If you do decide to add a plot twist, make sure it is relevant to the story. Don’t add a plot twist for the sake of having a twist. The plot twist should have a direct impact on the characters and the direction of the story.
3. How might a new author build relationships with other writers to help market their book?
Instagram and blogging have been essential for me to connect with other writers as well as marketing my book, The Hashna Stone.
They both have the benefits as well as draw backs, so I would recommend doing both rather than choosing one or the other. For instance, Instagram allowed me to connect with fellow authors so much faster than blogging, but having a blog allows me to maintain deeper connections than the sometimes quickly forming but fast fading ones on social media. Having a blog also allows for more personalized content and deeper discussions about the writing process.
I highly encourage authors to start a blog as well as one or more than one social media platform (it doesn’t have to be Instagram, although I’ve found Instagram to be the most useful for both connecting with other writers and marketing you book).
4. What does your editing process look like? What tips or tricks might you have for authors struggling with editing?
With my first book, I did a lot of learning as I went, even though I read articles and listened to podcasts with advice from other authors about the editing process.
There are certain things you can’t learn until you are actually doing it and discovering what works best for you, so don’t feel like you need to know everything about editing before you get started (which can lead to paralysis).
If we are talking about developmental editing which involves looking at each element of the story (character arc, pacing, plot, etc.), then my advice would be to get beta readers involved. They will be super helpful in pointing out what is working in a story and what isn’t.
If you are in the throes of the more technical aspects of editing (line or copy editing) I highly recommend hiring an editor to take a look at your manuscript. Trust me, you will not see every typo or grammatical error because you’ve looked at your manuscript a bazillion times and your eyes are too glazed over to notice them.
Editing doesn’t have to be scary.
Take it just like you do every draft of your story: one step at a time.
5. How do you find editors for your book(s)?
I hired a freelance editor from Upwork.com and was thrilled with the outcome.
Upwork is great because it allows you to post a description of the job you want done, and then any freelancer interested will bid on the job (How fun is that?). You can also search out freelancers on the site and invite them to place a bid if the ones coming in aren’t working for you or if there is a specific freelancer you would like to work with.
I was surprised by how quickly the responses came flooding in. Within hours, I found an editor who fit the profile I needed.
6. Traditional publishing or Self publishing?
Deciding whether to self publish or go with traditional publishing is a difficult and very personal choice. I can’t tell you which to go with, but I can tell you my experience.
I started writing The Hashna Stone with the intension of self publishing. It was supposed to be one small book, but once I got into it, it became a lot larger than I originally intended. So by the end, I decided that I should at least send it to some agents and give it a chance in the traditional publishing world.
After sending queries to a few agents, I had a request for the full manuscript from an agent from Writer’s House. She ended up saying that it wasn’t quite a good fit for her (although she did say that my characters came to life, so that’s a plus). I sent a few more queries after that, but it was at that point that I started thinking about self publishing again, and ended up doing so and loving it.
I still plan to send future stories to agents, but this story was a self-publish one. Each story and author is unique so each will have a unique publishing story. Sometimes it is by trial and error that you and your story will find the right way.
7. What kind of relationship do you have with marketing?
I think that marketing is the bane of every author.
We love telling stories, creating worlds, and playing with words, but most of us don’t decide to become authors because we want to spend our time marketing. That being said, I’m still learning this foreign world of marketing. It’s difficult to tear myself away from writing (something I love and I’m familiar with) to work on marketing (something that makes me feel overwhelmed and lost).
The best advice I can give is to not be too hard on yourself because you don’t know what you are doing or because you didn’t sell as many books as you thought you would.
Allow yourself to experiment and have fun with it.
8. Do you have any advice when it comes to getting a great book cover?
Book covers are so much fun! The moment I saw The Hashna Stone’s cover for the first time was the best moment of the publishing process.
As wonderful as it can be, it can also be a nightmare if there are complications due to the cover artist not being able to deliver what is promised. I speak from experience.
Go ahead and chose the more pricy option if it means going with a reputable cover artist who you know will be able to deliver what is promised.
Writing is a beautiful, yet intense craft. If you're nervous to take the leap and start, don't doubt yourself! Ask for support and guidance from your writing community, practice, and read books and articles like this.
Discover the Book
The Hashna Stone
Dalan, a six-teen-year-old orphan, can’t wait for the day he can leave the orphanage and return to his hometown to find the truth behind his father’s death. He thinks he’s found the way to escape his life as a poor orphan when he finds a bright red gemstone in the middle of the woods.
Instead, it puts his life at risk.
He hopes the gemstone will provide a way to go back to the wealthy lifestyle he knew as a commander’s son, but the suspicious magic it contains keeps anyone from buying it. Not only does it fail to yield riches, but it haunts him with dreams telling him to take the gemstone further than he’s ever traveled: Hashna.
Dalan has never visited the country that is home to the tiny, green-eyed people who filled the gemstone with magic, but when winged beasts armed with sharp talons and teeth—who are supposed to be mythical—attack him, he is driven to take the gemstone to Hashna to find answers. The gemstone turns out to play a vital part in the affairs of the entire county, and Dalan is charged with its safety. Dalan sees the opportunity to follow in his father’s footsteps and gain fame and glory from the task.
But his quest for recognition may be the downfall of a country.
Follow Anna Fox
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Do you want more information on the writing process? Curious about editing, marketing, or best practices for starting your book? Comment on this post or click here to go to my contact page and send me a message!