Claret was busy making strawberry and cream frappacino. Red pulled a tray of flaky croissants from the oven. She whipped some honey into the butter and set out into the M3 Coffee Shoppe in search of Laurie Childree. She knew she would be around today and wanted to sit down with her to talk about her new book and the grueling schedule.
M3: When you decided to publish Moments, Money & Memories, did you have an idea how much work would go into the final stages?
LC: Not in the slightest, if I’d had to do it all myself the book would have never seen daylight. The amount of questioning whether something was where it should be or said what it should to make the point was unbelievable. Proofing was torture, and it was self imposed. A little closer attention the first time around and I wouldn’t have been nitpicking the final version before publication.
M3: Having more hands and eyes to help is always a plus. What was the biggest surprise during publishing?
That I made it through the process with all my hair still in tact. Even my lack of formatting capability turned into a book in the right hands. What I thought was randomness actually had themes and appeared to take a look into a reality that is all to real for some was a real shock to the system. The biggest surprise was seeing the finished product ready for readers.
M3: What is your marketing strategy for MM&M?
LC: To get it in people’s heads, if it’s not on their minds, they won’t buy it. I intend to have more books out before the middle of the year (hopefully), so they have something to say, “Oh, I wonder what this is.” I fully intend to pester the daylights out of family to get them to get copies for their friends. My big mouth is going to be my biggest asset in the marketing, as I jump up and down screaming “guess what I did!”
M3: (Smiles) Nothing wrong with that. Which is your preferred social media outlet and how do you plan on capitalizing on it?
LC: My big mouth, I don’t actually prefer one, and I use (attempt) to use several regularly. I have trouble remembering I have them. So I would be doing well to remember to use them. While I’ve never considered myself to be a people person I do have a strange ability to have long conversations with strangers about nothing. I think I can manage to squeeze in the book during a few of those.
M3: Books should always come up in casual conversation. Poetry is known for little editing. What did you learn about your writing by the editing processes?
LC: That what I said and I what I thought I said are often two very different things when the work came without instructions to decipher and confuse me because nothing is simple anymore. My fingers somehow manage to outrun my brain; not good when you leave out entire words. I have a problem with not wanting to interrupt the thought. What I thought was random actually had a theme I had refused to see.
M3: What are you working on now?
LC: Finding time for myself, relaxing is something I forgot how to do, and earning a living of sorts. Actually, I have an idea for fiction in my head that is coming together rather slowly, a poetry book that depending on how much time I find could turn into two. The biggest thing is the autism book which while it started out simple enough should probably be broken down into at least two books, possibly three I tend to ramble. The goal is to give a different, personal perspective without telling my story, and allow a glimpse into why parents of autistic children are so insistent that what they say is done, the way they want it done. I have had requests for stories about the baby and her dog with all the trouble they get into.
M3: A break is definitely not a bad idea. I have one of those planned myself. (wink) How has publishing MM&M changed the way you view yourself?
LC: I used to think I’d never manage to finish an entire book, that there wasn’t enough hours in the day. I know I can now, and I realized that I create my own stress. It would seem that I don’t actually function without it, that is until it causes me to cease function and I take to the bed for a day.
M3: You are not the only author to say that. How do you feel about your colleagues (other authors)?
LC: They have some active imaginations, and a way with words that leaves me, speechless. I do believe they are the only ones that understand fully why I do what I do. Actually there are days I think they’re the only ones that understand what I do. They’re my support, my family, and I’d be lost without them.
M3: You read some of their books pre-press. What did you learn about the way you approach your own writing by beta reading?
LC: I learned that even though I usually can’t stand to read what I wrote at some point I have to, and not just to search for that annoying typo that changed the entire meaning. I stop more often to make sure what I wrote makes sense instead of waiting for the end to go back and read it all. Sometimes you have to let the idea go and move on, other times you have no choice but to keep writing even if it doesn’t make a bit of sense. Eventually, it will all come together; it just takes a bit of patience.
M3: It is not together until the jackback is on it. How important is a great jackback?
LC: Life or death. It’s the difference between selling a book and having it collecting dust somewhere. The jackback is the trigger that gets the reader’s attention, without it there is nothing.
M3: MM&M went through some structural changes from the original manuscript you submitted. How did those changes help it?
LC: The thoughts actually got completed, and what I thought I said turned into what I actually meant to say. It was without punctuation, and after it went in the thoughts stopped running together. OK so maybe, I have a problem, er… loath interrupting myself, but it was corrected and now the text is legible. The rearranging of the book made it come together and the pattern developed to allow the reader to actually follow the thoughts presented.
M3: What advice would you give an unpublished author?
LC: Have someone else do the technical part, if I’d had to do it myself MM&M would have never seen the light of day. I don’t have the patience for it. Beta readers are as important as editors, if they don’t grasp the idea that you tried to get across you missed the point. Listen to the criticism more than the praise; the criticism is the area that you can fix.
M3: That is very good advice. How has being a part of RedmundPro changed the way you approach writing books?
LC: I have to have complete silence, or at least relaxing noise. I hunt for the gaps and the typos every few sentences to make sure what I have in my head is actually on the page. The guessing game isn’t really one I care for and I’m trying to eliminate that. While I don’t have a complete meltdown at edits, in the past I’ve had things sent back because someone couldn’t tell the difference in a typo and a grammatical error. I try to avoid the confusion now. I also learned that I should invest in a typewriter, my hands tire of writing easily and the typewriter won’t eat my copies so I have to start from scratch in the middle.
M3: Wrap it up for us. In 15 words or less, why should the M3 Readers buy your book?
LC: It’s sugar free, blunt and to the point. It could be anyone, anywhere at anytime.
M3: See you back here when your next one comes off the press.
Dearest M3 Readers,
As always, thank you for your continued support of the talented authors of the M3 Coffee Shoppe.
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What would you like to ask Laurie? Thank you for sharing.