Today, J.S. Hazzard is sharing her words of wisdom with us as part of the Blog Ring of Power. You can find the previous parts of her interview at these links:
The Writing Life
The Creative Life
About Your Current Work
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 decided to self-publish fairly early on. I did query a bit initially, and had a surprising number of requests for a genre that many people insisted had no life left. However, as I learned about the various aspects of self-publishing, I realized I was an excellent candidate. Whereas it seems that many writers have a fear of public speaking, marketing, or both, I relish such things. My legal research background also gave me quite a boost in this regard. If I don’t know something, I know how to learn it and I love problem solving.
As for the editing and proof-reading, I’ve read Blood Leverage a total of 132 times. Literally. As an undergraduate English major and someone trained to write professionally for a living, I had a very clean manuscript before I let anyone read it. I’m also fortunate to have had a wonderful and exceptionally talented group of writing critique partners and beta readers who put Blood Leverage through the wringer for me more times than I can count—as well as a mother who taught English back in the days before people did the majority of their writing on their cell phones.
What tools are must-haves for writers?
The most important tools for any writer are their friends. The more people who critique your writing, the better it will be. You can also learn a tremendous amount from critiquing the work of others.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Reading through your first draft two or three times does not qualify as ‘editing’. If you’re still making changes when you read, then you need to read again. And again. And again, as needed. Remember, for every beta reader or critique partner you have, you get the benefit of their fresh eyes only once. Do not sacrifice your critique readers to a sloppy manuscript filled with typos and grammatical errors. Give your helpers a clean manuscript so that they can focus on and criticize your STORY.
What do you feel is the key to your success?
Without a doubt, persistence and the determination to present as perfect a product as I am capable of.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! I hope Blood Leverage brings you a fraction of the joy it has brought me, and please stop by any of my social media sites and say hello!
What are your current / future project(s)?
Blood Leverage is the first of three intended novels in the Bloodstone Chronicles. The second book, Blood Loyalty, is slated for release this autumn.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
For a limited time, I’m doing an incredible giveaway over at my website, www.jshazzard.com . In honor of Blood Leverage’s release, I’ll be giving away thirty days of “Bloodstone Bling”—some truly spectacular garnet and sterling silver jewelry! Please stop by and check it out.
Author Bio: I grew up in a tiny town in Western New York and now live in the suburbs of Buffalo with my husband and our little pit bull, Casanova. After years of term papers and legal briefs, I decided to attempt writing fiction mainly to see if I could do it. (It also sounded a lot more fun and possibly easier than practicing law.) Looking back, I'm pretty sure somebody must have slipped me special kool-aid, because there's nothing easy about the worlds of writing and publishing.
That said, releasing Blood Leverage has been a joy, and I'm so grateful for all the support I've received. The only thing better than writing something you love is having someone else love something you've written. I absolutely love discussing Blood Leverage with my readers, so if you liked my work or have a suggestion for me to improve, I'd love to hear from you! I do my best to personally answer each and every one of my emails, and I can be reached through http://www.jshazzard.com .
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