One of the best side effects of being an indie author and doing all of your own marketing is connecting with the incredible, supportive community of writers and authors. In all my years of corporate marketing, I have never been part of an industry whose competitors actually help each other promote and sell their products. Connecting with this community is as simple as following on twitter, participating (not just posting) on blog hops and spreading the word about an author’s new project or accolades.
Sharon Powers is one such connection. A talented children’s book author, screenplay writer and all around superstar marketer, we met through a joint marketing opportunity earlier this year and have been supporting each other ever since. So I was excited to have a chance to ask her a few questions about her latest book and her appearance at the Orange County Children’s Book Festival on Sunday, September 28th.
What brings you to the Orange County Children’s Book Festival?
As I was doing my routine googling of book events, marketing, etc. back in April, I came across information on the OC Children’s Book Festival. I got on their website and found out its location and date and was surprised to see the number of people that attend this festival every year. I realized it was basically in my own backyard and couldn’t resist setting up an Author Table for the event. The date worked perfectly in my schedule with my travels back and forth to Baja. To put icing on the cake, they invited me to speak on their Animal Stage about my book “Barney and Barry, The Hitchhikers”. The whole thing just fell into place for me!
[Find details about the Wild Animal Stage where Sharon will be speaking here: http://kidsbookfestival.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/2014-animal.pdf%5D
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Not what, but who. I asked my sister to read my script “Barney and Barry, The Hitchhikers” and she loved it. Afterwards, she told me it would make a great children’s book so I adapted the script into a book. Getting a publisher is like finding a buyer for your screenplay, virtually impossible. Self-publishing and ebooks have created an opportunity to get your work published and available to readers. It seemed a logical step for me.
How do you approach cover design for Barney and Barry, The Hitchhikers?
“Barney and Barry, The Hitchhikers” was the first cover design I’d ever done. I started with a large piece of artwork I’d commissioned of the characters and I knew what part of the painting I wanted for the cover. I also had feedback on the font from my daughter and I went through colors for the font with my sisters and friends. It was a matter of fine tuning it and then realizing at a certain point that was it and it was done.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I started to write a romance novel in my early twenties. I completed the outline and got through about three chapters. I never finished it, but still have the notes, etc. I wrote my first screenplay at twenty-nine. I liked the concept of how concise scripts can be and didn’t really think I could write an actual book due to all the description that’s needed. I love movies so a script seemed natural for me.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love to let my mind wonder and create characters and events from concept to conclusion. All the decisions that go into creating a story are fascinating especially knowing each decision sends the story in a different path and you have the option, at any given time, to change the direction and the characters themselves. I like knowing so much about a character that when I write something, I can say to myself, “He’d never do that. She would never say that.”
What are you working on now?
Last month, I released a novella adapted from my very first screenplay and it’s called “Seapsan”. It’s a fantasy romance and has underwater and time travel intrigue thrown into the mix. I’m working on another screenplay and I’ll have the next book of the MySeaBuddies series completed the beginning of 2015. Story ideas for the characters are never ending in my mind.
Stop by and see Sharon Powers at Author’s Booth #102 this Sunday, September 28th at the Orange County Children’s Book Festival in Costa Mesa, CA. More information about the event can be found at http://kidsbookfestival.com.
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