Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Tenacity Interviews - Linore Burkard

It's interesting that we're looking at two self-published authors this week. Very different books, stories, and audiences, but both taking a great deal of Tenacity to get them to press. Let's meet today's tenacious writer, Linore Rose Burkard:

Linore Rose Burkard is the creator of “Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul.” Her characters take you back in time to experience life and love during the era of Regency England (circa 1811 – 1820). Fans of classic romances, such as Pride & Prejudice, Emma, and Sense & Sensibility, will enjoy meeting Ariana Forsythe, a feisty heroine who finds her heart and beliefs tested by high-society London.

1) When did you know for certain being a writer was a goal you weren’t going to give up on?
When I got close to finishing my first book, I knew then that I could finish it, and be a writer. Before that time, I had started about five different books but wondered if I’d ever actually take one to completion.

2) How do you define “success” for yourself? Success to me would be achieving my goals for each book. For instance, with Before the Season Ends, I give readers the feeling they’ve been to Regency England—which was a goal. The book also gives readers hope that God is only a prayer away, no matter who they are, or what they’ve done; and that happy endings are possible for everyone. I wanted to write a really fun, romantic read. These were goals I had in mind when writing it, and when I get feedback from people that they’ve actually gotten these benefits from reading it, I am thoroughly satisfied. Another aspect of success to me is knowing that people have been really blessed by the book, and that more people are learning that it’s available.

3) What were the top three obstacles you encountered on the road to being published?
Since I self-published originally, I went around some of the typical obstacles, such as sending out endless queries and proposals. I queried a total of two publishers before deciding to self-publish. Having Harvest House as my publisher now is definitely preferable, as I can reach a wider audience with their help, and I enjoy working with them; but my biggest obstacle was just having time while raising a family to focus on writing.

4) You understood self-publishing as the best option for you. How did your tenacity work for you through the process of self-publishing?
It takes tenacity and confidence to do a good job with a self-published book; essentially, you have to invest a good amount of money, and this is after you’ve invested the time and effort to write it! In my opinion, if you’re going to go the cheaper route and skimp on cover design or anything like that, you’re better off not doing it at all. People DO judge a book by its cover. Most of us don’t have scads of extra money sitting around, however, so it takes a good degree of self-confidence and faith that this is what you’re meant to do.

5) Your book was later picked up by Harvest House. What
did you do to celebrate that sale?
I went out to dinner with my husband, and treated the kids to take-out. We also went out as a family to our favorite Chinese buffet that weekend.

6) Is tenacity something you learned along the way? Or does it come naturally to you?
What comes naturally to me is doing things myself—even when I shouldn’t or really would do better doing it with help. Unfortunately, I have rarely known about all the resources or help that may have been available to me in most anything! My life story is how I struggled through things because I didn’t know how to find help, or didn’t know it even existed! When it came to my book, it wasn’t much different. I didn’t know I should have had my manuscript professionally edited, for instance, and I thank God that I at least had the sense to self-edit tenaciously.

7) When did you have to push hardest for your dream? How did you reach for the stars?
I think back in the days before I even finished a book. I would get ideas and write while my toddler was crawling across my lap; I would write in between changing diapers and then at night when the little ones were finally asleep. But the biggest push I made, of course, was when I chose to self-publish. My husband is very conservative about risk-taking, and I’m always the daring one, for better or worse! So this was a major push for doing what I felt called to do. When Harvest House picked up my book, and gave me a second contract to boot, it was (at least in retrospect) a sort of “homecoming,” like this is where I belonged all along, and I’m comfortable with them. It’s been very affirming.
Thanks so much, Linore! There's a great deal in the interview - for people thinking about self-publishing, for writers who are moms and so much more! I'm inspired by your tenacity!
I bid you all good writing.


lynnrush said...

Great interview. Thanks!

Janet said...

"I didn’t know I should have had my manuscript professionally edited, for instance, and I thank God that I at least had the sense to self-edit tenaciously."

I congratulate Linore on her perseverance and energy. I'm sure I could never do it. But please, please, don't give your readers the impression that you "should" have your manuscript professionally edited. This isn't standard practice, and leaves aspiring authors open to all kinds of scams. Learn to self-edit. You'll be a better author for it. If you want to be a professional writer, you should learn to write at a professional level.

Linore Rose Burkard said...

Hi Janet,
Thanks for your input. I'm wondering if you were aware that I was referring to writers thinking of self-publishing when I suggested getting a professional edit done. Writers who work with a traditional publisher will have their work edited. But it is the standard lack of editing that gives self-publishing such a bad name. I don't suggest hiring just anybody--do your homework and make sure the person or company is legit. But for self-published writers, and those thinking of self-publishing, I still say that a good edit by an established, professional editor is the way to go. It can improve your work immensely and save you a great deal of regrets down the road.

Janet said...

Yes, that does make a difference, for sure. Still, I think even in that case, it would be better to start out with some kind of critique group. I've seen so many self-published authors who write very, very poorly and have no idea. They might as well find out for free... ;o)