|Susan and her dog Wylie|
Today I am excited and proud to share an interview with one of my longtime blogging pals, who recently published a book.
Her name is Susan Carter Payne, who goes by SuziCate in the blogging world, and can be found at The Water Witch's Daughter.
Her book is entitled, Stepping into the Wilderness, both in paperback and Kindle.
Since I know that many of you have considered publishing a book, or have already done so, I thought it would be encouraging to share a little bit about the journey Susan has hiked through in publishing her own book.
What I personally love about Susan’s unique writing is that she receives much of her inspiration through communing with nature and then applies it to her life. Often times on her blog, she will share things that strike a chord within my own heart. Her posts are always uplifting, honest, and provoke looking within.
She will frequently share images of nature, and then weave within them an exquisite verbal tapestry of reflection, that leaves you pondering.
So without further ado….heeeere’s Susan!
How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I started my blog October 2009 which makes it just shy of three and a half years. I had just started writing again and had joined a writer’s group when I was reacquainted with a childhood friend. This friend happened to have a blog and told me I needed one. I didn’t even know what a blog was so I emailed her and asked her how to write a blog post. She came over a few days later and set up my blog for me…and here I am! I started off posting writing exercises from class. I posted poetry and a bit of humor. I moved on to showcasing bits and pieces of memoir. Then I fell in love with photography and hiking and wrote about my adventures. Somehow I fell into writing pieces akin to affirmations but not in a religious context, and this is where I feel called.
How has blogging supported you in becoming a better writer?
It has given me a voice. I’ve been introduced to so many wonderful people and interesting writers. A few of these people have become mentors in some ways. I am inspired by their words, kindness, and generosity. They share advice freely and offer writing tips and books. I am grateful to be a part of a community of such caring people.
|photo provided by Susan|
What made you want to publish a book and how did you come up with the overall theme?
I enjoy reading and writing words of encouragement. I like to dig deeper into myself for answers to life’s questions. I have looked for a book that not only encourages me to explore and discover myself through writing but offers me prompts and writing exercises. I have found books that do one or the other but not both so I decided to write one of my own. Actually, I’ve written two. Stepping into the Wilderness is my first book, and Swimming the River will be available in another week or so. I think my writing, at times, denotes a spiritual connection which I have found in nature through hiking. This led me to include nature photography in my book as well.
|photo provided by Susan|
How challenging was it to find out how to publish a book (both in Kindle and paperback)?
The biggest challenge was putting aside my own fear. What if it sucks? What if everyone hates me? My own self-sabotage had me sit on the manuscripts for a good eight months. Finally after encouraging someone else to step out of the box, I decided it was time to listen to my own advice. I figured I might fail, but I couldn’t possibly succeed if I didn’t give it a shot. The process itself was not that difficult. Create Space and Amazon/Kindle Direct Publishing guide you through the process. Formatting for Kindle and paperback differ greatly so they had to be done separately. There were snafus here and there. I’d have to go back and tweak this or that. I hate to tell you how many times I ended up downloading each manuscript. Seriously, it was probably fifteen times. There were little things I’d forget like a cover page or copyright page or I’d have to realign a photo or redo the spacing between the photo and words.
Please share a brief synopsis of your book.
Stepping into the Wilderness is a book of self-discovery offering sixty inspirational affirmations with quality photographs of nature's landscape. Each affirmation poses five questions for exploring self-truths through reflection or journal writing and includes five writing exercises/prompts for enriching the writing experience. With an offering of 600 questions and prompts this is a great resource for writers, especially the journal or memoir writer, and anyone interested in promoting inner growth.
Are there any helpful tips or advice you can share with anyone who is interested in publishing a book?
First and foremost, believe in yourself. Don’t allow your inner critic to hold you back. The second tip is if you are self-publishing, make sure your code is clean because cutting and pasting manuscript passes along hidden code if you use different fonts and formats. The third piece of advice is one I still need much work on…be prepared to market your book. You must be able to sell yourself. I’m not a pushy person so I’m working on that one!
Thank you so much for sharing this interview, Susan. I wish you much success!
*please feel free to direct your thoughts or questions to Susan within your comments. She will be responding to them throughout the weekend. If you’re new to my blog, your initial comment will be held in moderation until I can approve and publish it. Thank you for your patience….X