Felicty Heaton has been a keen reader of fantasy, horror and classic novels since a young child. A writer of emotion and life, she strives to touch a chord of familiarity in readers and give them characters they will love and a read they will remember. Three of her novels were previously published by Linden Bay Romance. In 2006, she moved away from Linden Bay Romance and since has self-published.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since 2003, and was e-published back in 2005. In 2006 I decided to go indie and haven’t looked back since.
How long did it take you to write your most recent release?
My latest novel is Ascension, the first book in my new series, the Shadow and Light Trilogy. It’s a 92000 word novel, and in total it probably took me around ten weeks to get it from idea to final product. That includes writing up notes, an outline, and character bios, and then the first draft, a second draft, a polish draft and then a couple of proofing rounds.
What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
Read. It’s very important to keep reading. Not just books that are in the genre you like to write, but books that are about the craft of writing. I think it’s one of the parts of being an author that a lot of people overlook. It’s essential to read books on writing and editing, and I have stacks of them. Some are great, and others not so good, but I’ve learnt something from all of them.
Are there any books on writing you recommend?
Five I can’t live without are:
- Self-Editing for Fiction Writersby Renni Browne and Dave King
- Revision And Self-Editing by James Scott Bell
- Description & Setting by Ron Rozelle
- Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress
- Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
I have many others but those are my top five recs.
How often do you write? What tips do you have for people who have trouble staying on task and getting the book done?
I write as often as I can as I can’t stay away from it for long and always seem to have a list of 20+ books that I want to write and release. I’ve just finished the first draft of a new novel, Her Guardian Angel, which is book four in my Her Angel series written as Felicity Heaton, and I’m starting the first draft of Masquerade, the tenth book in my Vampires Realm series. Once the first drafts are done for both of those books, I’ll be going into editing mode again, whilst maybe writing a couple of short stories. It’s not all about writing though and sometimes I have to break away from it to do other stuff like marketing and promotion.
Whenever I’m having trouble focusing, I tend to shut myself away from the world or head to a coffee shop where there are minimal distractions. No internet! My computer chair faces the wall in my office, so I can’t get distracted by staring out of the window. If focusing isn’t my problem, and finding my flow is, I tend to read back what I’ve written, even if it’s just the last few chapters, and find that often helps me reconnect to the story I’m writing and get my groove back. If it’s more like a scene is giving me trouble, I’ll sit down and plan it out a bit more clearly and comprehensively, and that often clears the block.
In this changing world of publishing, what advice do you have for new or aspiring authors?
I’m an indie author, but I have been e-published in the past. I still think there’s a place for the big print publishers out there, and I would still love to see my books with one of them someday. The world of publishing is changing rapidly at the moment and it’s important for authors to take stock of those changes, and the direction things are heading, and not rush into anything. e-books are an emerging market and if you’re going with a print house, you’ll need to make sure that either they will put your book into e-book too (at a reasonable price) or they’ll allow you to do something digital with it yourself.
A lot of authors are racing to cash in on e-books. It’s best to take your time, learn the craft, and then only take the leap once your book is ready. Remember that books will remain out there for decades in digital format, floating around the internet, and you don’t want to look back at what you put out there in haste and cringe.
I also think it’s very important to start building your platform before your first release. Publishers are really looking for authors with a solid platform now.
What do you do to promote yourself? How do you balance time promoting and writing?
What don’t I do? I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and run my own websites and also my blogs. I’m also currently on a year-long blog tour promoting the 8 books I’m releasing this year. I make my own graphics for advertising and also the covers for my books. It’s very difficult to strike the right balance between writing and promoting. Sometimes it builds up and I have to put my writing aside and focus on the promotion for a few days so I can get all my articles, interviews and other work done. Being an indie author, I have a lot of work on my plate. Editing, creating book formats, sending books out for review, arranging advertising, it all takes up more time than we think it will. It’s a full time job just to promote stories, let alone write them too.
I have been a full time author for a couple of months now and I’m still finding the balance. When I write, I just want to write, and often do so until the end of my working day and then realise I haven’t done any of my promo work. It’s so easy to get absorbed in writing and forget about the other important stuff. I’m going to start setting strict times for things to see if that helps.
How about reviews? Do you think they are important? Do you have any advice for dealing with less than positive reviews?
Reviews are very important as it’s another chance for potential readers to see your book and find out about you. I know a lot of authors who are edgy about sending books out for review because they’re afraid of negative reviews, but I think it’s important to remember that a review is just one person’s opinion and that you can’t please everyone. I’m sure there are books you’ve read that you didn’t like. It’s the same with reviewers. Some of them just won’t like your style, or the book just won’t appeal to them. You have to learn that it’s only one person in a world of many, and that even the most famous authors have their critics.
Is there anything else you would like to add either for readers or writers?
I’d love to invite everyone to check out my website and the places where I lurk online and chat the day away, and want to also tell writers to keep writing, and readers to keep reading. If you’re a reader and you enjoy a book, then let the author know by leaving a review somewhere. Nothing inspires a writer like a review, even if it just one line to say that you liked it. It can brighten the darkest of days.