Stories are Gifts...SHARE
Today we share with you the second in a series of helpful interview posts with current authors of the Relevant Pages Press team. You can find others under the category Author Interviews.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Betts Keating. I live in SC with my husband and two daughters. Normally I work as a graphic designer but a long time ago in a land far away I actually used to write. Recently, I made a return to writing. This is my first book.
What is the title of your book, what’s it about, who should read it, and where can we buy it?
It’s a memoir about a challenging time in my life. I call it “a story of motherhood, injury, stressful relocations, money troubles, medical miracles, grief, faith and everything in between” because it is actually hard to describe exactly what it is about. Anyone who has ever gone through something challenging, anyone who has ever suffered a serious injury, anyone who has ever dealt with grief or depression, anyone who has ever moved multiple times, anyone who has a child with a major medical issue, anyone who has had to battle back from a deep sadness and find a way to keep going would be able to identify with at least one story in this book.
I call it a “chick flick” because it was written by a woman, but I have heard that a few men have read it and actually enjoyed it.
How did you come to the decision to write a book?
I kept seeing these little messages all around me that it was time for me to speak up about my story. On a Starbucks coffee cup I saw “stories are gifts, share.” On a t-shirt I saw “every story deserves to be told.” And a large number of friends and acquaintances kept telling me that I should write about everything I had been through. Eventually, I heard enough people say that my story would make a good book that I decided to give it a try.
What challenges did you face during the writing process and how did you overcome them?
I struggled for about four years with idea of writing this book. I didn’t actually want to write it. I looked forward to the idea of returning to that piece of myself that used to write, but I did not want to write so publicly about such a private topic. It was difficult for me to get this story out and on paper. I had to overcome a lot of personal fears and anxiety and just start writing. It was pretty grueling at first. My first few chapters were pretty ugly, but eventually I found my voice and the words began to flow. It ended up being a really great process and once I was finished I was able to let go of a piece of my painful history. It was very cathartic.
What's one thing you would tell yourself to do differently before starting to write it /while writing?
I would try to figure out a way to be less worried or anxious about my writing. Even if no one ever reads my book, it was a valuable process for me to write my story. When I am having post-publishing panic attacks I try to remind myself of that. It doesn’t always work, but it’s definitely a goal I would like to accomplish.
Why did you choose to self-publish?
Unless you are a well-known celebrity, memoirs are typically very difficult to traditionally publish. I wanted to move forward on my book without having to go through the process of a finding a publisher willing to take a chance on an unknown author.
What's one thing about the self-publication process that surprised you? Why?
I was surprised by how much I have enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work. But I have found that if you stick with the marketing process, you can figure out a way to wade through it all. The good thing about self-publishing is that as a self-published author you can set your own pace for your release.
What promotion strategies are you using to help sell your book? Why? How are they working?
This is something I am still working on and figuring out. For now I am using social media and blogging to get the word out. So far it is working well, but I think I am about to enter a new phase. I only have so many friends and family who are willing to buy a book. Now I need to get people I have never met before to be willing to check it out. That’s a challenge I haven’t quite figured out yet.
What, in your opinion, is the most crucial part of the:
Having a critique group or a group of readers to work on the book with you. It is vital that you surround yourself with a great group of writers and readers who can help you through the writing process.
Put together a strong editing team.
Without a doubt, use social media.
Are you planning on writing another book? If so, what changes will you make in each of the above areas?
I am not planning on writing another book at this time.
What’s some advice you can share with other authors who are just beginning their writing and publication journey?
First of all start writing! Then find a team of people who will give you realistic deadlines to meet. Writers are notorious procrastinators… even newbies like me… and if you don’t keep yourself reigned in by some sort of structure you will never finish even the simplest of projects.