Interview Date: May 16th, 2020
Story Link: Regency Masquerade
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WPB: We are pleased to introduce Vera Loy to the Wattpad Bookshelves profile for a chat. She is the successful author to the book "Regency Masquerade"! Thank you, Vera Loy, for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions about yourself and your writing life. Now, let us begin! Were you traditionally published prior to becoming self-published?
Vera: No, I leapt straight into self-publishing! I had a good response to Regency Masquerade on Wattpad - which was encouraging, and then I discovered how easy it is to publish on Amazon. Probably too easy in hindsight! My first effort still had a few typos and also, I wasn't familiar enough with some of the publishing conventions, things which didn't matter so much on Wattpad but which were definitely noticed on Amazon and Goodreads, eg the Direct Address comma and the correct way to write an ellipsis. I've published several different editions of the same work over the years, each one a little more polished as I've learnt more about professional writing and editing.
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WPB: A good response, indeed! Your story was quite captivating. It's amazing how you continued to learn as you went. So, you went straight into it with Amazon? Let's go back to that; What made you choose self-publishing over traditional publishing?
Vera: Looking back, I think the main reason was because my plot was not your "typical" regency, and I was afraid a traditional publisher would want me to change it, making Frances less able to look after herself, and Carlton more "macho." Additionally, I wasn't seeking to making my living out of becoming a professional writer. I had just taken early retirement from work and I was eager to get my book out there and see what would happen! And the ease of modern self-publishing allowed me to do that, without spending time searching for agents, submitting applications to publishers and waiting months for a response.
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WPB: That sounds like a retirement dream come true. We absolutely love reading stories with characters who break the rules of "normal" ! So far you seem to have been doing this journey on your own. Did you find it difficult to navigate the steps to self-publishing? What resources did you use?
Vera: From a technical point of view: when I joined Wattpad back in 2011, I also joined another site called Authonomy, which was under the umbrella of HarperCollins. It was basically a writer support group, where writers could pitch for the first chapter or two of their story to get critiqued. As you can imagine, some advice was better than others but I got a couple of really useful suggestions. I was also referred to a free online book called "Self-Printed" the Sane person's Guide to Self publishing, by Catherine Ryan Howard, which was extremely valuable at the time. And of course, Amazon and Smashwords also have a fair bit of technical information freely available. From a support point of view, I received a lot of encouragement, and even some of my favourite Amazon reviews, from other writers I met here on Wattpad, many of whom went on to become part of the LOL-35 group (Ladies On Life over 35) which still has a presence on Wattpad in 2020.
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WPB: Miss Vera, you gave our readers such lovely advice, thank you. We're sure this is the first time some of our readers have heard of some of these helpful points. Catherine's book is definitely a book we should check out. Moving on to our next question, let's get more into the making of your publishing journey! About how long did you work on your manuscript before you self-published?
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