Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
I grew up in Warren, Michigan. I graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication and a concentration in Film. I started writing more seriously in elementary school because it helped me express my thoughts and feelings and feel better. I also enjoyed the art of trying to put into words exactly what I was thinking and feeling, so that a reader could understand me and get the exact emotion or thought I wanted to express. I always felt I could write better than I can talk (is that last sentence perfectly grammatical?). I cannot let grammar rules stop me from writing and writing as truthfully and real as possible. I am an extrovert with writing, but more quiet in daily life.
Tell us about your books.
I wrote one children’s novel so far. I’ve written some shorter children’s stories on my website. I am most happy with my children’s novel Searching for Pi though. I put a lot of effort into it and worked with a collaborator, who first had the idea for this book and for the author name Bianca March. I am in a way making the collaborator’s creativity become a reality in book form. Why? Because the collaborator’s ideas are totally out of the box and funny and they need lots of help to write and publish complete books. Their creativity works in short bursts of genius.
How did you go about getting published?
I first hoped to get published by Hay House. I took their Writer’s Workshop and was therefore allowed to enter their Writer’s Workshop contest for a publishing contract. I ended up not winning a publishing contract though. I knew it was a long shot.
Then I submitted my book proposal to several children’s book publishers, perhaps 30 publishers or so (including a few literary agents). No one showed interest in wanting to publish my book.
I then decided to self-publish on Amazon using Kindle for the ebook and CreateSpace.com for the paperback. I created my book typesetting using Scrivener. I researched on YouTube how to do everything. I used Fiverr.com for illustrators and book cover designers. I am happy with the results.
What is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
Lately, I have not been writing as much, but I want to get back into it. After my book was released to low sales in 2016 (I sold about 25 copies; about 200 people downloaded it for free), I was very discouraged and disappointed. I re-entered the workforce and took a day job.
I’ve decided to find a part-time job and re-focus on my writing because it is one of my greatest joys in life to produce these books. It does often feel like a one-sided relationship though when I don’t get the sales or downloads I am hoping for. It is not an easy path. It requires a lot of patience (and perhaps vanity? or self-confidence?). I realize that there is a lot of competition out there with getting my book known and accepted. I also work on my own continuous improvement. The bird sings to sing and not because there is an audience. Sometimes just the creation is the success. It may sound pathetic, but at the end of my life, I will enjoy having a bunch of books to show for it, even if they did not have a big audience.
One of my goals is also to write so well that if I were forced to read only my own books forever, it would not be torture.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
I am a rental property manager at the moment. I enjoy going to the gym, Zumba, yoga, pilates, dancing, gardening (a little), reading strange books.
Any advice for authors about book covers?
I researched the Fiverr.com cover designers and chose someone who’s work I thought was great. I believe in starting small and letting the business grow over time. Trust in your ability to choose a great affordable cover designer by looking at their previous work. Maybe later I will splurge on a fancier design from 99designs.com.
Any marketing tips you’d like to share with other authors?
I sent a flyer (designed by thiwanka10 on Fiverr), cover letter, and copy of my paperback to my local, county, and state newspaper; local news anchors; a few radio stations. I also emailed my flyer and ebook PDF to all the local public access TV stations, asking them if they would like to interview me. I emailed all the libraries in my county and asked them if they would like to purchase my book for their collection, add me to their local author collection, or have me do an author reading. I’ve gotten a few good responses from these efforts. It feels a little strange to self-publish and self-promote. It feels lonely and many times I had doubts and wondered if I was good enough and worthy enough to self-publish and self-promote. I say just do it and think happy thoughts as best you can (easier said than done). Don’t contact people more than once. That’s my personal philosophy.
What’s your favorite book?
My favorite children’s book is probably the first Harry Potter book. I don’t really have a favorite book, I like parts of so many.
What are you reading now?
I actually don’t normally read children’s books. I like reading strange philosophy-related books.
What’s your next book project?
I plan to publish more short ebooks, hopefully around 10 to 20 pages each. I already have the text written for a couple of them I just need to finish them and draw some cartoons for them.