Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Author interview with self publishing legend Carole P Roman

What on earth do you ask a woman who has published more books than I can count, has won a ton of awards and is so far at the other end of the publishing spectrum to me I can barely see her? OK I did try. Please put your hands together for Carole P Roman.

Voice: You're not on TV
Me: (Thwacks owner of voice round head)
Also Me: (Now has headache)

Congratulations for many things: Your recent article in Forbes, your new radio show, the book Navigating Indieworld-A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing Your Book co-written with Julie A Gerber (thank you for that book). I have tried to count how many books you’ve published. I counted as far as a lot. How many different series of children’s books have you published and how many individual books is that in total? (I love numbers!)

Thank you so much, Amy. Sometimes I can't believe myself what I've gotten accomplished. My first series, Captain No Beard has 10 books, If You Were Me and Lived in...(cultures)- is now on the 22nd book, the historical series of the same name has 10, I have a nursery series with 5 books and finally I've just completed my first early reader chapter book. Oh yes, I co-authored a book with Julie Gerber, as you mentioned. So, by my count, that's 48 in five years.

(Whoa, sits down, drinks coffee, recomposes self, attempts coherence.) When did you write the first book and as things move so fast these days, have there been any drastic changes in the publishing world since you started?

Yes, as soon as I learned how to do something, either Amazon or Createspace would change the rules. Createspace originally was one-stop shopping. They had publicity packages, posters, bookmarks, videos, illustrators- all kinds of services that were phased out over the years. Amazon allowed you to ask people for reviews. It was easier to get your books reviewed and the reviews stayed up. Now they will randomly remove the ones they think were not by people who bought the book. They changed the pay structure on Kindle so you get paid only when the book is read. It's harder to market a book as well as harder to turn a profit.

How do you start each book or series? Do you have a brain storming session with anyone or are you very secretive about the next project?

It usually starts as a hazy idea. Something will motivate me, it could be a conversation or a sunset. For my latest book, it was the feeling that the papers on my desk had taken on a life of their own and were multiplying like the brooms in Disney's Fantasia. I took that idea and wrote my first chapter book about an eight-year-old girl whose backpack becomes so packed with all her problems, it bursts.

The captain was based on playtime with my grandkids, the nursery series are love letters to all my grandchildren. The cultural and historical series are born from my love of those subjects. I don't think long about things, I usually just begin to write and see where it goes.

Oooh oooh something we have in common-I also just start and see what happens. (The result is usually weird.) To write the number of books you have you must have a dedicated space unlike me sitting on my sofa. Tell us about where you write. Are there any weird habits you complete first or do you just start writing?

I will stall and that usually involves something fattening. I like to check the conversations of Goodreads. So many of the authors make me laugh. Once I go through all my different programs (email, gmail, hotmail, the bank, Amazon) and I can't put it off, I open up a Google Doc and start writing. I check my word count and as I see it increase it motivates me to push harder. I write all over the house or in my office. I have no set or special place.

Out of all the books you’ve written which one is your favourite and why?

I love them all, each and every one of them. I love the captain series because it's stories about my home and family. (even my husband is a character). I enjoy researching the historicals and culture books. I find the information fascinating. The other books are personal to my life (girls can be anything they choose to be), or trips to the stars and other planets. (I am a total space geek). Each one represents something that was important in my life.

When you were the age your books are aimed at-what did you read?

My grandmother lived with us. She was a wonderful storyteller. She would tell us tales of her life in Europe and I loved hearing about them. She was more interesting than anything I could have read in school. Once I did discover books, I was in a healthy competition with my best friend to see who could read the entire Nancy Drew series. I won- I read them all 100 books. Mostly, I read adult books. There were always books laying around the house. I read anything I could get my hands on. I was reading Tropic of Cancer, I think, when I was in Junior High. The teacher called my mother to complain. My mom said she didn't care what I read, as long as I read. She was my reading partner most of my life. We had our own little reading club.

You’ve written books set all over the world. Is there anywhere you haven’t visited that you’d like to?

I'd like to see the Taj Mahal. I want to go back to Florence. England is my favorite place in the world- I loved Bath and Stonehenge, the Cotswolds. I want to go back for tea. I'd like to spend a day in the Hermitage. I'd like to see the pyramids in Egypt and Petra in Jordan. I want to stand on the Great Wall of China and spend the day in St. Paul de Vince in Provence. I would like to ride in a gondola with my grandchildren and visit the Sistine Chapel in Rome. (It was closed for repairs when I was there.) I want to show my grandchildren the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. I'd love to see Pompeii.

Those are some great places.I think you've seen more of England than I have and I've lived here all my life! Who do you read for fun now and what’s your favourite genre? 

For a long time, Regency's were my favorite genre. Right now, I'll read anything. I just finished A Gentleman in Moscow. It was a beautiful book, lovingly written. I didn't want it to end. I always finish my night with something historical and non-fiction.
If you had to write another genre what would you pick?

I love genre jumping. I would like to write an adult historical fiction novel about World War 2. I'd like to honor my father by writing about his experiences in the war.

Finally, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give to someone just starting out as a writer?

Have a great time. You are going to learn so much about yourself. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and don't be surprised when something amazing happens. The first time you read that review where you really connected with someone is both intimate and gratifying. Unless you have writers in your family, nobody will understand your elation.

Have a thick skin, prepare to wear many hats and enjoy the wide ride of self-publishing.

Thank you Carole. They wouldn't all fit, but here are three of Carole's books.

(Me:This is where I come from. No it isn't. Shut up voice)

Test all the links for me, hit everything, all at once:

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