The IWU Blog Tour rolls on, and my guest author this week is Jolea M. Harrison, author of Chosen, the first in her Guardians of the Word series. Jolea lives in Virginia with her family in a 200-year-old farmhouse. She collects historical artifacts from the Civil War period. On a recent fact finding mission about the house, she discovered the name of a young Civil War soldier who died there while being cared for by a field doctor. She has two children who firmly believe in ghosts.
JWG: What first motivated you to become an indie author?
Jolea: Complete frustration with trying to go the ‘traditional’ route. Sent out to agents, over and over, got nothing back. It really makes you feel like you’ve written a terrible story or something. I started getting positive beta reader feedback, heard about the Indie explosion from a friend, and decided it was time to stop waiting around.
JWG: What has been the biggest challenge for you when it comes to self-publishing?
Jolea: The initial learning curve was a bit steep for me. I’m not a tech wizard and you do have to know some stuff about these programs to get them to format properly. I finally gave up and paid someone to format for me, but now that I know what it’s supposed to look like, I think I can do it myself, next time out. Maybe.
JWG: Has any aspect turned out to be easier than you expected?
Jolea: Promoting has gotten easier as time’s gone on. I’ve gotten over the tooting my own horn part of it, and I’m starting to look at it as providing a service to people – they get a good story for my efforts in letting them know about the book.
JWG: That's a great way to look at it. I admit, I'm still having trouble getting over the "tooting my own horn" feeling, myself.
Do you take a strictly DIY approach, or do you hire help with things like editing, cover art, etc?
Jolea: I did everything myself except the formatting and editing. I had a pretty clean copy, but there were still several typos that got by everyone!
JWG: How has the decision to go indie turned out for you? Overall, are you happy with the choice?
Jolea: I’ve very happy with it. I wanted a specific look for the cover and even trying to get other artists to go along with that was difficult so, I ended up making it myself. I’m glad I have the artistic control over the entire product. If it’s a mess, it’s mine. If it’s great, it’s mine.
JWG: Are there any stand-out lessons you've learned about self-publishing that you'd like to share with my readers?
Jolea: It’s easy to get swept up in ‘publish fever’, especially once the formatting is done, you think, oooh everything is ready to go now! That’s when you should set the whole thing aside for at least two weeks. Give it a rest, then give it one more, painstaking look before hitting the send button. Get opinions on your cover. Don’t get married to a title. Google everything – even your name, before you publish. If your title is already out there a quadrillion times over, you don’t want to use it. There’s a J. M. Harrison – already a published author, so I ended up changing to my full name instead of the initials because of that. You want to be unique because you want Google to find you. If you don’t have a unique name, consider a pen name. We’re writers! We make stuff up for a living, so be creative with everything!
For everyone else in the world, getting stabbed in the heart means instant death. All it does for Dynan Telaerin is send him to hell.
In Chosen, Jolea M. Harrison transports us to a world on the cusp of destruction, caught in a thousand year cycle of ever-repeating time, trapped between the warring Gods and the demon, Belial, with one young hero chosen to save not just the world, but the Gods themselves.
Dynan finds himself on a corpse-strewn hillside, uncertain if he's dead or alive, charged with saving the soul of his ancestor, the most powerful telepath to ever exist. Dynan has telepathic powers of his own, only he doesn’t know how to use them. With monsters and minions trying to eat his soul, the demon’s lair isn’t a place conducive to learning anything, except how to run and how to hide.
Can Dynan find his ancestor before the fabric of time is torn beyond repair? Will courage alone be enough to face the greatest evil to exist? Will he lose his soul to save everyone else?
The running starts, and doesn't stop to the end of this action packed adventure of a young man coming to terms with his life while he's barely a spirit, through horrors he thought existed only in dreams.
Chosen is the first book of a 7 book series, entitled The Guardians of the Word.
Buy Chosen on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
You can visit Jolea at her blog, friend her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.
Thanks for stopping by, Jolea!