I am so excited to announce that I have the privilege of working with the fantastic Veranda Kahur Studios on my first novel, ‘Broken Mirrors.’ With their help and expertise, my dream of having a published book will come true, and I cannot thank them enough for taking a chance on an unknown writer like me! To celebrate our collaboration, I thought an interview with the founder of this independent, fledgling business, the gorgeous Veranda herself, would be perfect, so you guys can discover them and the great work they are doing for yourselves!
I guess the question most writers will want to know, is what is it exactly that you guys do?
The goal of our company is helping independent writers with things they don’t like to do, don’t want to do, or aren’t very good at. Editing, helping with your self publishing, cover art, promoting your book, etc. Some writers just want to write. They have no interest in going line for line and checking for every little grammatical error, and they don’t have the first clue as to how to create the chapter illustrations they wish they had. We want to help you create the best work that exemplifies you.
What Inspired you to create this business?
I have been wanting to start a studio for a long time. I tried Etsy a few times, and I realized my work just doesn’t sell. My work isn’t “paint on a canvas and someone will hang it in their homes” kind of stuff. I was asked to illustrate a children’s book, and I loved the process so much and saw all the positive feedback on it, and I realized something like that is more my talent. I looked around trying to find someone else who needed an illustrator and then I met my partner Richard. He is my editor, and a writer. He has several books on Amazon, and I designed a cover for his most recent book. I loved the process, and I realized this was where I should concentrate my talents on. I love books and reading but I can’t write to save my life. So this is how I can dive into this world of self published writers. In the process Richard realized he didn’t like what he was doing for work either and asked me how I felt about having him do editing and formatting, and a few other things and I thought, wow this is going to be awesome. This can be a full service company for Indy writers, and we can do what we love by helping others do what they love.
What is your favourite part of the process?
I think so far my favorite thing is the positive feedback from a handful of people we have begun this process with. The searching for and recruiting Indy writers, who just love to write. I’m getting to know some really awesome artists from all over the world, and team up with them to create something completely unique. I also am so excited to commission some amazing covers. I’m a painter, I love to do it and paint everything by hand, which while some may say is old fashioned, I think its something that is rare and there is definitely a market for.
If you could change one thing about the Writing/publishing industry today, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about the industry I suppose it would be the way “good” work is sold. It irks me the way social media algorithms, and the amount of views/reviews you receive determines your success level. It has very little to do with the work itself. I mean, if we are being honest with ourselves, we have all read that one book that is super popular and you get done reading it and you think “What the hell did i just read? And how did someone make millions off this?” and then there are these little guys, who have a basic cover and no publisher but their book is just AMAZING. In order to be successful you need more than just the talent to write. You need to be able to create a product that people are attracted to, you need to make a name and label for yourself, you have to have a decent understanding of social media and how to get your numbers up on Amazon and Goodreads. Because of this so many great writers go unnoticed.
What kind of books do you personally read and enjoy?
This is such a difficult question for me! I definitely go through phases. I would have to say my all time favorite genre is dystopian fiction. I like a great story about someones theory for the future, where we may all end up one day, and especially I like these things when it is believable. My second favorite would have to be history, specifically Early American history (thanks Lin Manuel Miranda!) and historical fiction. I do, however also enjoy the occasional YA, and of course books written by Independent authors. Stories by people who just love to tell stories.
What are your top tips for aspiring writers?
Tips for aspiring writers is tough, as I am not a writer. Actually, I cant write to save my life which is strange to me since I can read all day long, lol. However, if we can broaden the term to aspiring artists? And entrepreneurs? Because that’s what this is isn’t it? It is marketing and sales. Its taking your unique product that you love to create and selling it, and hopefully making enough to live off your passion. So my tips for aspiring artists and business people are as follows; 1) Create what you are called to create. I had so many more people interested in my work the day I stopped wondering what people wanted my work to look like, and just made it the way I wanted it to look like. 2) When it comes to writers, remember that your product cannot sell itself. With painting this is easier, someone sees a painting they like, and the buy it. But with books, you have to get a person to pick it up before they can start to read it and be interested in it. It has to be attractive. Make it attractive. And 3) Id say one of the most important things is to learn how to use the internet. Social media can and will take you a long way, but you have to know how it make it work for you.
What in your opinion are the biggest barriers to getting published?
I have never traditionally published a book myself. However I’ve seen the struggle some of my writer friends have gone through. A few have been successful, but mostly its submit and submit and submit to company after company, and if you’re lucky they may send you a rejection letter, but usually you just never hear anything back from anyone. Its a tough route to take. I even know of one guy who submit a children’s book to a few publishing companies, and no joke, they stole his idea, changed it just enough to avoid copyright, and its now for sale at Barnes and Noble. (I may or may not have mailed them 6 hissing Madagascar cockroaches as revenge. But probably I did.) So the way I see it, self publishing is the best route to take. You are completely in control of your product, you cant be undersold, its YOUR WORK and that keeps the art alive.
If you are a writer, of many genre or style, and would be interested in working with Veranda and her team, then check out their website! Or alternatively, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you fancy reading the first chapter of my book, Broken Mirrors, click here!!