Did the week fly by for anyone else? It sure did for me – but here we are once again for Indie Author Friday. K.L. Kranes is here to share her YA fantasy, The Travelers. Isn’t that a beautiful cover? Check out what she says about getting book reviews – I think we’ve all been there.
Dagny lives a dangerous life. Pursued by an unknown enemy, Dagny and her family are always on the run and must use magic to stay hidden and safe. When Dagny meets Marc, everything changes. For the first time, she can imagine a future that doesn’t involve constantly changing her life. Despite the risk, Dagny vows to stop running. But as their enemies start closing in, Dagny wonders if she can ever really live a normal life and if she can actually trust Marc.
What do you wish you’d known before you were published?
I wish I’d known that writing a book is the easy part. I’d imagine I’m not the only writer who’d prefer to stay at home and write or read all day. Once a book is published, that’s no longer an option, if you want anyone to read it. This becomes even more difficult as an indie author. A lovely independent publisher, Saguaro Books, published my book, The Travelers, and provided guidance and suggestions after the book launched, but they have limited resources. Therefore, I had to do much of the book promotion myself. This required a crash course in book marketing, including coordinating events, book signings, blog tours and delving into the world of social media. Before becoming published, social media was a concept, a term thrown around in the ether. Facebook sent me “welcome back to Facebook” messages because I checked it so infrequently. I had to embrace and learn about social media, publicity and promotion. It wasn’t easy, but I think I’ve learned a lot and will be much better at it the second time around.
How did publishing your first book change your writing process?
The Travelers is my first novel and it took a long time to write, or rather, it took a long time to revise, nearly 10 years. I’d edit and revise until I may have edited beyond the point of recognition. If I had an idea I’d work it in and then revise again. I was a Communications major and an English minor in college. That meant I knew how to write pithy press releases and analyze complicated books, but I did not take many classes in fiction writing. I confined my stories to journals hidden in drawers in my room. With few exceptions, no eyes ever saw them except mine. Publishing my first book forced me to “put myself out there,” at least my writing self. The feedback I’ve gained from beta readers and editors forced me to be more contemplative and focused in my writing. I’ve stopped endlessly revising and looking for perfection because that process only leads to the opposite for me. Instead, I’ve learned to write with a clear idea and path, get it all out on the page, and then edit with a draconian, emotionally removed style. Nothing is sacred, no idea is too good to be cut. I’ve learned to put the story first rather than the words I’m using to tell it, no matter how much I like how I’ve put those words together. It’s very different than the freeform writing style of 10 years ago and I think much more efficient.
What do you do to get book reviews?
I beg. In all seriousness, this is one of the hardest parts of post-publishing, particularly when you have limited publisher resources. While I’m hardly an expert, I can share where I’ve found success and failure. One of the most effective ways I’ve found to get reviews is book giveaway contests. I’ll give away a copy (or several) of my book for free and write a personal note to each winner asking them to review my book on Goodreads and Amazon. Most readers who receive the book will review it on Goodreads. Getting Amazon reviews is much harder, especially with Amazon’s new stricter guidelines on reviews and verified purchases. The better question might be what doesn’t work. I tried researching, collecting contact information and emailing Amazon top reviewers and book bloggers, offering the book for free in return for an honest review. I found this wasn’t worth the return on investment. It took an extensive amount of effort for little reward. The best advice I can give, that I’m still taking myself, is perseverance and hope. Keep asking for those reviews and hopefully they will come.
Any unusual talents or hobbies?
I have a very strange talent for being able to predict the plot twist or end to any book, TV show or movie. My husband gets very upset when I shout out who did it or make a quip about how it’s so obvious that character is going to die because of color of his tie. I am obsessed with the show Tiny House Hunters and can even predict which house the person will pick on the show. I’m sort of like a story detective. I piece together all these strange clues and figure it out. There are rare, few cases I haven’t been able to break. The Usual Suspects is the last one I can remember.
What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?
The Handmaid’s Tale. I’d also recently read the book for the first time before I watched the show. I didn’t think that I could be more terrified for the future of the world than after I read the book, but I was wrong. The show made me even more terrified. As a woman, it’s so easy to see how that kind of fiction can easily become reality.
Book you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
This may be a bit of a cheat, but I can’t imagine only having one book for the rest of my life. I think I’d figure out a way to find a dolphin and ride it back to the mainland just so I could read more books. However, if there were no dolphins swimming on the shores and I had to pick one, it would be my Shakespeare Anthology. That’s a bit of a cheat also as it’s comprised of many plays and sonnets in one book. The question said book though and it’s technically one very big book.
K.L. Kranes, author of The Travelers, lives in the Washington, DC metro area with her husband and daughter. She graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Communications. K.L. moved to New York City after college and worked in public relations before returning to her true passions of writing and editing. When not working on her next YA novel or blogging, she works as a freelance writer and editor. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her family and trying out new potential hobbies. Her latest endeavors include driving her dog crazy as she learns the guitar and making a fool of herself as a novice swing dancer. For more information on K. L. check out her website http://www.klkranes.com or http://www.thetravelersbook.com.