Meet Micheline Rychman

Author Interview, Bookish Interview

Meet Micheline Rychman.

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The Interview.

Hi Micheline!

Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Micheline Ryckman lives with her family on a farm in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. She is co-owner of Whimsical Publishing, and an accomplished artist/illustrator in multiple mediums. The Maiden Ship is her debut novel, the first in an upcoming series. The sequel book, The Lion of the Sea, is already in the works.

What was your very first commissioned piece of art?

Oh gosh, I’m old, so this is really hard to even recall, but I can tell you that it would have been a traditional acrylic landscape painting on canvas. I did those for years before I ever took up illustration.

Can you pick a favorite quote from your debut, THE MAIDEN SHIP?

I have many favourite quotes from TMS but probably this one:

“Do you know why wildflowers are the most beautiful blossoms of all, my son?”

   Dain shook his little head.

Soft waxen curls blew forward in the breeze as she lifted her storm-gray eyes to gaze out over the sea of petals. “Wildflowers are the loveliest of all because they grow in uncultivated soil, in those hard, rugged places where no one expects them to flourish. They are resilient in ways a garden bloom could never be. People are the same, son—the most exquisite souls are those who survive where others cannot. They root themselves, along with their companions, wherever they are, and they thrive.”

What kicked started your illustration career? Your writing career?

My illustration career was actually kickstarted when my daughter was a teen, she always wanting me to join her while drawing and read her books. And I found that I loved the stories and the art so much more than what I was already doing. It quickly became a passion to produce and create work that young adults could enjoy.

The Maiden Ship is my first novel and my firstborn was only three months old when I developed the story. That was twenty-one years ago. The book didn’t get far back then because the demands of a new marriage, a new child, and so many other life callings forced me to set the story aside. It wasn’t until 2018 that I revisited The Maiden Ship. And that decision was brought on by several major life events: a mix of chronic health struggles, my firstborn leaving home for college (don’t let anyone ever tell you it’s easy when your children leave home—it is not), and a severely injured drawing arm. Art has always been my lifeline, and when my arm went, and that privilege was taken from me, a bout of depression inevitably followed. It was a tough season, and I was desperate for a creative outlet. I needed something to keep me sane amidst the chaos and pain.

So, I wrote. Typing with my non-dominant hand took some getting used to. The process was arduous, and sometimes I used dictation when the pain was too severe. Yet, word by word, this book saved my life. This tale gave me a reason to wake up each day; it gave me a purpose. I am so thankful for this story. I poured so much of my own personal life journey and lessons into this novel, and I’m hopeful that the premise and messages in this story will speak to the hearts of those who read it.

Was there any scene in THE MAIDEN SHIP that really surprised you with how it turned out?

Not a scene as much as a couple characters that surprised me, Casper and Lydia. They were meant to be simple background characters and ended up demanding much larger roles in the story. Lydia is fierce that way, and well, Casper could charm the fangs off a snake, I never stood a chance.

What character spoke to you the most in THE MAIDEN SHIP?

Definitely Morgan Crouse, or Mo as we affectionately call him. He speaks to my heart and I loved writing his dialogue.

Do you have any current writing project(s)? If so, can you share anything? 

I am currently working on two projects actually. One is the sequel to The Maiden Ship, it’s called The Lion of the Sea, the second is a full-length novel of my graphic novel, Charting Stars. I was unable to continue this graphic novel series because eof health problems that prevented me from drawing that much, so I’m super excited to continue this story in novel form!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Just that I’m so incredibly grateful to my followers and those who’ve already read The Maiden Ship, I have been so touched by your kindness and sweet reviews. Thank you all so much!

Bookish Interview:Fantastic Flying Book Club Tours

Bookish Interview, Interview

Meet FFBC Tours.

FFBC Tours Social Media Links:
TUABFC Social Media Links:

 

The Interview.

Hi Patricia! 

Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself and FFBC.

  • Profession: Regulatory Affairs
  • Country: Spain & United Kingdom

Patri is the owner and blogger of The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club (TUABFC) and co-owner of the Fantastic Flying Book Club Tours (The FFBC Tours.

She loves books so much that on 2013 she had to open a website and blog about books (of course!) and in 2014 she started the free-of-charge (we get paid in book-form) PR services, The FFBC tours.

Loves romances, dancing and shopping (even though her bank account doesn’t like that). Funny, friendly and loud, at times, always looking to engage more and more in the blogging community.

 

“Our love of books is what drives us to help the authors and publishers behind those amazing stories.” When did your love of books start? What was the first book that really left a lasting impression?

Gosh, now I know how authors feel when I ask this question! It is quite difficult to answer this. My mom taught me how to read at a very young age (at 5 years old) and since then books where my friends. I was the weird kid at school that teachers literally banned bringing books to school because I would spend my playground time reading. Something about not socializing enough… Don’t know what they were thinking really!

I think that the first book I read in Spanish that left a massive impression was “Memorias de Idhun by Laura XXX”, in Italian “Tre Metri Sopra il Celo by Federico Moccia” and in English I think it has to be The Lux series, Harry Potter and Abbi Glines’ books.

 

How did you come up with the name “Fantastic Flying Book Club”? Had your tour company originally been an online book club?

After we decided we wanted to do a bit more than just blogging, I saw this short movie called “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ad3CMri3hOs) and the story touched me so much and I felt so identified that I wanted to honour that short film. I think people who love books the way we love them is Mr. Morris and we all live surrounded by books and stories we will take with us when we leave this world.

The FFBC Tours, or The Fantastic Flying Book Club Tours, started organising some extra publicity on the book INK by Amanda Sun. It was basically Anasheh from A Reading Nurse, who’s now “retired” from the FFBC tours, and myself hosting several promotional posts (interviews, extra materials from the book, reviews, etc.) that we created with the author for a week. We thought it was amazing and we wanted to expand that to a larger audience, so we decided to email people asking them if they would be interested in working with us as our team. Since 2014 we have perfected our services and tried to make them user-friendly for bloggers and authors and we have tried to re-invent ourselves to keep up with the game (e.g. Bookstagram).

 

What is your favorite thing about being a book blogger? Favorite thing about running a tour company?

The books and the people. Before starting book blogging, I felt a bit lonely. I could not talk to my friend about the latest book I was reading, because back in the day books got translated at a slower pace so I was reading English books, but my friends did not. So after I finished a mind-blowing book, all the hype, all the “what-did-just-happened”, got deflated because I could not share my thoughts with anyone. That changed drastically when I started blogging. All of a sudden, I was doing that but with an online audience and online friends. Plus, sometimes I got books before they got released! How cool is that?

Now, my favourite thing of running the tours is having an open conversation with authors, bloggers, publishers and literary agents. I love hearing how happy people are for participating on our tours and getting the feeling we are a (small) important part of the blogging community.

 

On average, how many tours do you schedule for a year? How does this number differ from when you first started?

I have never counted the amount of tours we do per year as silly as it sounds! I know that for this 2020 I have planned 75 tours from January until August, and I have some pending requests. Then there would be Michelle and Jana’s tours for the year, too.

Since 2015, this has changed drastically. I think we started with maybe 5 tours per month (approx.) whereas now between us 3 we can easily reach 20 tours a month.

 

When approached with an inquiry about scheduling a tour, how long does the process take to get everything finalized?

I like to start the tour organisation 3 months in advance. We always schedule our tours around the book release date (either the week prior to the release or the week after), so I ask authors and publishers to start early to allow the author time to write any promotional posts they might want to do and for bloggers to have time to read without having to stress about time. Also, this leaves some extra time for errors or unexpected problems.

 

How did you go about creating your brand; tagline?

The FFBC Tours started with me and Anasheh from A Reading Nurse wanting to help authors a bit more. I remember chatting with Amanda Sun and seeing how scary it would be not having enough outreach, so your book can at least be seen. It is a shame that there might be book jewels hiding on Goodreads and our libraries/book stores, that we are completely unaware of because they didn’t get “talked about”.

That’s when 1 year into blogging, I decided to create the FFBC Tours. I would mainly focus on the site design, banners and reaching out to authors and publishers and Anasheh would make sure my Spanglish sounded more English and a bit more formal. With time, the FFBC tours had expanded so much that I could not cope with all the work and Anasheh was a bit MIA due to her work, that’s when I asked the blogging community if they wanted to be part of the FFBC Tours. That’s when the lovely and amazing Michelle became one of the co-owners of the FFBC tours while Anasheh stepped down. I can’t tell you how happy I was to have Michelle. She’s a sweetheart and she helped me so much. I completely disappeared on her at some time while pursuing my research project for my MSc and she took charge of the FFBC Tours like champion! Due to the workload increasing rapidly and my absence during this time, we decided to bring a 3rd co-owner into the picture, and that’s when the lovely Jana came in. She’s also amazing and has been a great addition into the team. I don’t know where the tours would have ended if I didn’t have these 2 amazing bookish ladies with me. From time to time, we skype to align some changes and to catch up with any news, but we are constantly texting each other, too! Which is super nice.

As for the tagline, it all came from Mr. Morris Lessmore’s video. Watch it and let me know what you think! It really made me cry and woke all these fuzzy feelings… honestly, just watch it.

 

Real life vs. Tour Organizer: What is your daily routine like?

To be honest, my daily routine is stressful. I work for a quite famous British multinational consumer goods company whose brands you more than likely have in your household. I have a very flexible office hours which helps with my 1h and 30 min commute from my house to the office and I can work from home some days. I get home around 6pm (UK time) and then off to the gym, since I am trying to stay healthy (new goal for 2020 as cliché as it sounds!). When I get back home I cook some food for my partner and I while watching some TV and then off to bed to start all over in the morning.

When I don’t go to the gym, I use the evening to do some tours work and I read on my breaks at work and listen to audiobooks when I drive. I have lots of time to spare then!

I barely have time for blogging or to re-design my site like I have been wanting to do for 3 years now, but I am hoping this will change in the future!

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

We want to invite any blogger reading Rae’s interview to join the FFBC Tours and we want to ask everyone to only request books they want to read. I know we all tend to be bookhoarders, but it is really difficult for us when a blogger doesn’t post on their assigned date.

We want the FFBC Tours to be like a family. I want bloggers know we have their backs and that we will keep “fighting” to get them the best titles we can. I like to think we are quite understanding, and I want to build both a rapport and a friendship with our FFBC Team members and help them as much as we can.

We are really thankful for everyone working with us, including authors, publishers and literary agents, but specially bloggers, because without their constant hard work and creativity we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Also, sorry to all our FFBC Team members for sending you emails at random times at night. I am based in the UK whereas Michelle and Jana are based in the US. For any urgent matters, always tweet us or contact us on IG, if we do not reply asap to your emails.

Bookish Interview: Rebecca Weston

Bookish Interview

Meet Rebecca Weston.

RebeccaWeston_RWL.jpg

Photo credit: Elizabeth Clark Photography

Hi Rebecca! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, thanks for having me! I started my publishing career as an editorial assistant at Random House Children’s Books. I was an editor there for eight years and was lucky enough to work on award-winning middle-grade and young adult novels. In December of 2016, my husband and I moved from New York City to Boston, and I started freelancing. A few months later, I founded Rebecca Weston Literary, LLC, an independent editing company. Currently, I edit middle-grade, young adult, and adult fiction, as well as memoir. I offer a wide range of services, from editorial letters focusing on big-picture aspects such as plotting, characters, and tone, to intricate line edits. I welcome writers at all stages in their careers, from those just starting out to published, seasoned veterans seeking a fresh set of eyes. I tailor each edit to fit the specific needs of each writer and to help writers develop their stories into the best versions of themselves. In addition to my editorial work, I am a co-host on the Writer’s Bone podcast, where I interview authors about their books and careers.

Website: http://www.rebeccawestonliterary.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rwestonliterary
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/rwestonliterary
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rwestonliterary

What is an average day like for an independent editor?
On a typical day, I am doing a combination of emailing, posting on social media, chatting on the phone with writers, and, my favorite and predominant activity: editing. I exercise first thing in the morning, which energizes me and helps me to focus. After breakfast, I check email, then get to work editing. I usually schedule author calls for the late morning or early afternoon, and I go for an afternoon walk most days. I like to get an early start and stop working before dinner, leaving my evenings free for reading published books, either related to manuscripts that I am editing or for my Writer’s Bone author interviews. Sometimes, I even find time to read just for fun!
Did you ever have a project that you struggled to connect with? If yes, how did you work through the roadblocks?
If I take on a project, that means that I have, on some level, connected with it and with the author’s vision for it. I always have had an active imagination and an overdose of empathy, so it isn’t difficult for me to connect with many different types of characters and stories. And, usually, I know fairly quickly what are the main areas that need work. I take notes and write my editorial letter with the aim of helping the author see what he or she needs to focus on and how to strengthen the manuscript. Once in a while, I notice a lot of little things that need work but not the overarching aspect that needs focus. When that happens, I set the project aside for however long I need—an hour or a day or two. When I take a break by going for a walk or working on another project, the ideas usually start coming to me pretty quickly.
You have the option of living in one of the books you edited for a day – what book would you pick?
Wow! Great question. Some of my favorite books involve scary or sad worlds, so I wouldn’t necessarily want to pick one of those. . . . I would have to say that, if I had the option of living in one of the books that I have edited, it would be Nate the Great and the Missing Birthday Snake. Well, the snake part isn’t great, but the world of Nate definitely is! The Nate the Great mystery series has existed since the 1970s, and the books all have been written or co-written by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to get to edit the latest book in the series. Nate never ages, he always solves the mystery at hand, and he eats a lot of pancakes in the process. That is a world in which I would be happy to live.

Tell us about the experience of editing your first project and later seeing it published.
The first book that I acquired at Random House was Black Radishes by Susan Lynn Meyer. Editing this beautifully written, poignant novel was an honor and a wonderful experience from start to finish. The author is a really talented writer, and we are both obsessive perfectionists. We spent hours on the phone and over email, going back and forth about everything from plotting to commas. I was quite proud when the book was published and went on to win a Sydney Taylor Honor Award.

Share a daily routine fact that helps you focus.
I practice Pilates and walk, which are great ways to start and break up the day, reenergize, and refocus. Checking email or social media is not a break! I am working on checking email only three times a day . . . “working on” being the operative words.

What made you decide to start your own company and go independent? What challenges and joys have you experienced along the way?
I left Random House because I needed to give my arms time to heal from three repetitive strain injuries that I had developed from overuse on the job. It was really hard to leave my talented Random House authors and colleagues alike, but I am incredibly happy with how things turned out. I love working for myself, setting my own hours, and spending the majority of my day editing and chatting with writers about their stories. I am so grateful for the work that I get to do every day.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
Writing is a solitary profession—to a point. It is important to know when to take a step back and share your manuscript with someone else. There always are things that you miss when you are too close to the story, and it is essential to get feedback before submitting to agents. You don’t necessarily need to find a professional editor. You can join a writing group, or find a friend who will be brutally honest. If you do want a professional set of eyes on your manuscript before reaching out to agents, or during that agent-hunting process, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’d be happy jump on the phone, listen to your vision for your project, and go from there. You can find out more about me, my independent editing company, and the editorial services that I provide at http://www.rebeccawestonliterary.com, where you can also listen to my Writer’s Bone interviews. And please follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @rwestonliterary. I look forward to connecting!
Thank you so much for your interest in my work! It was fun thinking about these different aspects of my job. See you around the online publishing community!

Guest Post: “Small Business Thoughts for the Strange” with Haley Jenkins from Selcouth Station

Bookish Interview, Misc.

Meet Haley Jenkins.

Author Pic Full.jpg

Haley Jenkins holds a Creative Writing Master’s Degree from The University of Surrey and a Creative Writing Bachelor’s Degree from The University of Roehampton.

In 2016, Haley was awarded First Prize in the Elmbridge Literary Competition for her short story ‘Talisman’ and in 2014 won 3rd Prize in the Hopkins Poetry Prize. She has been published in two anthologies by Fincham Press – The Trouble with Parallel Universes (2014) and Screams & Silences (2015), as well as publications such as, Guttural MagazineTears in the Fencepainted spoken and The Journal of British & Irish Innovative Poetry. Her work has also appeared in online zines such as datableedzine, Rag Queen Periodical, epizootics and ez.Pzine (Pyre Publishing)Haley’s first poetry chapbook was published by Veer Books (August 2017). She runs Selcouth Station Press (https://www.selcouthstation.com/), which she founded in April 2017. You can follow Selcouth Station on Facebook, Twitter (@SelcouthStation) and Instagram!

 

 

The Guest Post.

Small Business Thoughts for the Strange   

I’ve given myself more labels than I have been labelled. This is the price paid by all of us who think inwardly a little too much. I’ve called myself fat, useless, mad, bad, fucked-up and a few words in made-up colours and languages Google can’t translate. But somewhere along the line between sitting in college corridors alone and shying away from any social engagement where I might have to talk to someone, I became proud of my strangeness. I didn’t fit the mould, I never would, so why not celebrate that?

 

Selcouth Station Press arrived out of a desire to meet people like me, who wanted to write but for whom the Big Five, agents and contracts route was too scary, too demanding and let’s face it: too pressuring. I wanted to hear new voices, strange voices, engage with people who wanted to be seen and not just looked at or sold. There is a difference. It wasn’t easy – what did I know about running a press? I had volunteered with Veer Books, so I knew a lot about creating the physical books and editing. But how much did a small business cost? How do you find printers? How do you find writers? How do you use Twitter? The answers are: not as much as you might think if you’re smart about it, search engines, social media and Tweeting for a business is about consistency and sharing.

 

An important element of running a small business online is sharing and not just on Twitter. It is about not just asking for help but being the one to give it and giving it as freely as you can. I’ve built up a wonderful network of people by celebrating and promoting each other’s work, sending long emails about life and just being there. Ask for advice, email the writer whose work you loved in that zine, message a podcast you’d like to be on. The worst they can do is say no. I once emailed a famous photographer for a college project and got a very snooty response, asking why I even bothered emailing him when the Internet held everything I needed to know. I still printed off that email and stuck it in my portfolio: it was proof I had been brave enough to try. Being brave isn’t about not feeling scared, socially awkward or a fake, it is about doing it anyway. And you know what is brilliant about it? You don’t have to talk to anyone if you don’t want to.

 

Currently, Selcouth Station Press has three chapbooks to its name and we’re open for submissions on the theme of ‘Love’. After the next round of chapbooks, we’ll be looking into publishing solo collections. We regularly publish work online, including art work, interviews, guest blogs, fiction, poetry, flash fiction and reviews! We have two volunteer editors who joined me in the Spring, Sandra Partanen and Lorna Dicken, and we are open to collaborating with others. I am always happy to give insights and advice, you can message me at contact@selcouthstation.com.

Interview with iWriterly’s Meg LaTorre

Bookish Interview, Misc.

Meet Meg LaTorre.

Meg LaTorre

 

Website: https://iwriterly.com/
Newsletter: https://eepurl.com/c7skY6
YouTube: http://youtube.com/iwriterly
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MegLaTorre
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/meg_latorre/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MegLaTorre/

 

Welcome Meg! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Thanks for having me! My name is Meg LaTorre. I’m a writer, AuthorTuber/BookTuber, developmental book editor, and former literary agent with a background in magazine publishing, medical/technical writing, and journalism. On my YouTube channel, iWriterly, I geek out on all things books—from the concept to the bookshelves (and everything in between). I also launched Query Hack, a query critique platform where writers can submit their manuscript queries or Twitter pitches for free feedback. Query Hack is hosted on my website, where I’ve also started a blog on writing-related topics. I’ve written for publications such as Writer’s Digest and SavvyAuthors on topics related to writing and publishing and can be found teaching online classes throughout the year. In my free time, I enjoy reading, running after my toddler, and sleeping. To learn more about me, visit my website, follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook, sign up for my monthly newsletter, and subscribe to my YouTube channel, iWriterly.

 

The Interview.

What is the origin story of iWriterly and how did you first get involved with the book community?

I initially joined the book community on Twitter, which is where I’ve met so many amazing writers and industry professionals. iWriterly started as a YouTube channel in March of 2017. At the time, I was on maternity leave from my job as a magazine editor, but I was also working at the Corvisiero Literary Agency on the side. I learned so much during my time at the agency and, because I’m also a writer, I wanted to share what I learned with other writers. When I first started my journey toward traditional publication, I remember being so frustrated about the lack of (decisive) information on how to write a book well, how to get an agent, or even how to be traditionally published. AuthorTube didn’t exist back then (in the format it does now) and there were plenty of blogs, but many had conflicting information. My husband suggested starting a YouTube channel, and I quickly became convinced it was the information-sharing medium I had been looking for to help other writers so they didn’t have to experience the same hardships I went through. Gradually, the iWriterly videos have gotten out there (starting a channel today is tough with YouTube algorithms). After receiving similar questions in the video comments (and on my other social media platforms), I decided I wanted to create a secondary resource to my YouTube channel and launched the iWriterly website, posting supplementary blogs to the videos and answering popular questions.

 

From journalism to medical and technical writing to being a literary agent and now a jack of all trades in the book community, how do you balance the roles you play and played and how have they influenced or clashed with each other?

At heart, I’m a writer—regardless of genre or style (novel writing, technical writing, etc.). When I first graduated college, I started out as a program manager for a medical communications company and worked my way up the ranks to medical writer and eventually the lead editor of a (technical) magazine. Those experiences give my blog and platform a business twist. I’m a huge proponent for treating your passion with the serious attention and dedication you’d give to your job. It’s also impacted the way I approach potential opportunities, such as teaching online classes or webinars. I’d say the biggest clash they’ve had is simply for my time. While working as a full-time editor, I also worked at a literary agency on the side while also writing my own book and freelance editing. Now that I’m a mom, that level of multitasking is much harder to maintain, and I’m very selective of where I invest my time. Because time is precious!

 

Is an “AuthorTuber” very different from a “BookTuber” and how do you use them to connect with your followers?

I go into this on my website, but AuthorTube and BookTube are two communities on YouTube. On AuthorTube, published and yet-to-be-published writers post videos on writing-related content. This could be anything from vlogs of their personal writing journey or how-to videos on the craft of writing. BookTube is another community where creators post videos related to books, and they aren’t necessarily writers (though they can be).

For me, AuthorTube has been fantastic for connecting with my followers because my platform revolves around the craft of writing and navigating the publishing industry. I’ll do occasional BookTube videos, such as book reviews or book hauls, because I acquire quite a lot of books throughout the year at industry events or at local bookstores. All writers are readers, so (for me) having a hybrid AuthorTube-BookTube channel has been a very natural one.

 

Query Hack sounds like a great service you offer. How did you decide and then define the services you offer from Query Hack to development editing?

To clarify, Query Hack is not part of my freelance editorial services. It’s a free query critique platform where writers can submit their queries with the chance to receive free feedback. I specify “chance to receive” simply because I’ve received hundreds of queries and it’s physically impossible to get to every one (though I wish I could!). I launched Query Hack as a way for writers to see how a publishing industry professional would look at their query—identifying what’s missing, what parts of the story are unclear, how important the metadata is (word count, genre, age group), etc.—without the need for a financial investment. (Let’s be real, so many of us writers are broke!) My developmental editing services, on the other hand, are opportunities where writers can pay a fee for me to review their work. I offer query, synopsis, first five pages, first chapter, and full manuscript critiques as well as video coaching. The latter I added on as an option later because I noticed a lot of writers asked pretty personal and in-depth questions either on social media or sent through the website. These questions were often ones related to the direction of their book or writing career. Thus far, it’s been a great way for me to help coach and encourage writers who are at a crossroads in their journey and want advice on where to go next.

 

You do book reviews too! Phew. I can only imagine the crazy schedule you have split between books and family and personal care. Any tips on how to step away from the workload without feeling guilty?

That’s a great question! And one I’m still working on. Personally, I love my work (and I love to work). As time is going on, I’ve become far more selective with the projects I take on so that I still have time to spend with family or doing things I love (like sleeping). For example, I often will turn down time-consuming opportunities or opportunities that lack financial compensation (because we all have to eat!). Once you get to a certain place in your career, people will ask you to do things all the time (such as family members asking you to edit their book for free), and I constantly remind myself that it’s okay to say no. I think the next phase in my career will be shifting to a scalable career/income. I’m also huge into scheduling. Once I’ve worked my allotted number of hours each day, I’ll stop and do personal stuff.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Although many of us want to turn our writing into our career, make sure you’re still writing for yourself. Don’t be afraid to hustle and work hard (something we all have to do as we’re launching our platforms and careers), but make sure you’re filling your creative well and writing for the enjoyment of it. On the flip side, be prepared to put in a lot of hours to get your platform and author website off the ground. Work hard to learn things like SEO and algorithms so that eventually your platforms will do the work for you.

 

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions Meg!

Thanks for having me!

 

Meet Freelance Illustrator Nicole Tealdeal

Bookish Interview, Interview

Meet Nicole Tealdeal

Screen Shot 2018-06-25 at 9.33.16 AM

I am a 26 year old teacher,  book-loving fangirl, and now a freelance illustrator. I’ve been drawing since I was a child, and digitally painting since I was a tween.  I use photoshop and a Wacom intuos to paint images from my favorite books and creators. I live in the country, and am astray cat a person. Meaning I snuck into my fair share of pastures to read and eat home-made buttermilk biscuits. I have two dog and a cat and spend what free time I have volunteering/fostering for my local Humane Society.

Social media links
https://twitter.com/tealideal
https://www.instagram.com/blogtealdeal/
https://blogtealdeal.tumblr.com/

 

The Interview

What was your very first illustration? Share with us about the illustrator part of you.

My first illustration, that I can recall, was a graphite drawing of a young  girl with a head-sized pearl leading a giant koi from the Sea.  I had just read the Old Man and the Sea.  I have always had a deep fear of catfish and carp. Giant things that lay in the mud ready to swallow up a young girl with her toes in the slime. (My love of monsters and jewelry has only grown.)

 

What was your first fandom illustration? Share with us about the fangirl part of you.

Oh lord, it was probably Sailor Moon? But, in as far as me spending any real time- I believe it was ACOTAR related. I’d never been a part of a book fandom before that and it was so active. I made it to thank a fanfic writer. I do that often.  I enjoy showering writers I appreciate with fanart ranging from doodles to full on illustrations. I deeply believe in thanking creatives, and in return I always find myself friends with at least a few writers.

 

When did you open your shop? How did you handle the nerves + business side of things?

My first shop was opened January of this year. At the urging of one of those fanfic writers who I had been plying with gifts.  Before then I hadn’t even considered taking commissions let alone selling anything. I’m quite new to all of this.  But, after I made a significant amount of sales at my society 6 shop, I decided to move to Inprnt because the profit margins on prints was significantly better.

I’m still figuring out the freelance business and initially charged far too little. Which is a mistake many artists make starting out. Joining with an online artist/book community helped me navigate how to approach commissions, rights, licensing, etc.

Most importantly to me, is that I have other sources of income that help me keep the freelance pursuit less pressured and more able to be directed my decision instead of desperation. Variety is the spice of my life.

 

Tell us about what an average (or maybe not so average) day of being a freelancer is like.

First thing is walking dogs and answering emails with a strong bit of tea and my cellphone. Then I go to teach.  Something that brings me endless joy. When I get home, I play with the pups again and tidy the house. This helps me clean my head and get some physical activity in before freelance work.  I get some lunch and settle in for paintings and answering emails. I usually have an audiobook playing. This is usually a 3 hours working/ 1 hour walking the dogs/ taking a visual break schedule.  I find that Breaks let your brain do some back-burner processing. Plus my dogs are tempting as sin, and never fell to encourage me into our sunny yard.  I like keeping busy, but I need a turntable of things to rotate through, so I don’t stagnate.

I fangirl over your illustrations ever since I came across your Twitter! Any WIPs that you are able to share?

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What has been your favorite and least favorite experience so far since starting your freelancing and illustrating journeys?

Early on I was commissioned by one of my favorite authors, Rosamund Hodge, to do character portraits for one of her novels. That was hands-down one of the most surreal freelancing moments. One of my worst experiences was brought about by my own inexperience. I did not ask for payment up front and ended up working 8 hours on something that was never paid for. In those moments you feel quite foolish.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Creative community is essential. I talk about pricing, hours/ work schedule, critique and books with my art friends. It’s very relieving and eye-opening.  Please find those in your orbit and unite.  By that I mean, don’t always be looking up at artists further in their careers.  Instead Pull your face down and lift your mutuals up who may very well be wrestling with the same problems as you.