Book Publishing Secrets: A Conversation with Linda Kovic-Skow

We’re talking to authors from all walks of life about their experiences in publishing their book.  Some have smooth paths, some rocky, but they all share a common goal – to see their name on the cover of their creation.  It’s interesting to read what path they decided to take to get there and my guest today is here to tell everyone what he/she did in order to make it all happen so that other writers will learn a little something from the experience.

Today we are talking to Linda Kovic-Skow, author of the memoir, French Illusions.

Linda Kovic-Skow resides in Kirkland, Washington. She earned an Associate Degree in Medical Assisting in 1978 from North Seattle Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Seattle University in 1985. She has been married for 27 years and has two daughters. An enthusiastic traveler, Linda also enjoys boating, gardening and socializing with friends. French Illusions, her debut memoir, is the culmination of a three-year project.

You can visit her website at www.lindakovicskow.com.

Thank you for your time in answering our questions, Linda.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to write a book?

About four years ago, after my husband and I dropped our youngest daughter off at college, I went through a sort of mid-life crisis. I missed being a mom and I wondered how I would fill the void. Sure I had my part-time bookkeeping business, but it consumed only a few hours a day and it wasn’t interesting to me any more. Something was missing, but what?

This prompted me to review what I like to call my “mid-life list.” This is similar to a “bucket list,” with an important twist. The idea was to refocus myself and figure out the things I wanted to do with my life in my fifties – while I could still do them. My list was short.

-Learn to play the piano

-Travel to Africa to see the elephants

-Travel to Tahiti and see the island of Bora Bora

-Travel back to France (with my family this time)

-Write a book

At the time, I didn’t own a piano and, with two daughters in college (out of state no less!), I couldn’t afford a trip to Africa or Tahiti. I had already traveled back to France in 2001 with my family, so that left me to examine the fifth item on my list more closely.  If I did write a book, would it be fiction or non-fiction? What genre would I choose?

The answers to my questions came to me in the shower (which is where many of my ideas seem to materialize, strangely enough). I decided to hunt down my diary from my au pair adventure in France and compose a memoir. It took me three years and countless hours to write French Illusions, but now I can scratch another item off my mid-life list.

Is this your first book?

Yes, but not my last. I’m already working on a sequel to French Illusions called French Encore!

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

I chose to self-publish my paperback through Dog Ear Publishing. They gave me control over design, editing, pricing and allowed me to retain all the rights to my book. Then, I contracted with BookBaby to create my eBook, which I published using my own Limited Liability Corporation called Dreamland Press. They charge a fee to create the eBook, but they don’t take a percentage of the royalties.

What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?

Everything takes longer than you think it will. French Illusions was a highly complicated edit given the foreign setting. It took three different editors nine months to complete the process. Three more months passed while Dog Ear Publishing created the cover and produced the interior parts of the hard copy book. Another month slid by while BookBaby created my eBook file. Formatting issues ate up another month. It was a long, drawn-out process that kept me up nights.

If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?

I would start my Twitter and FaceBook Fan Page campaigns prior to publication. Connecting with readers early on and involving them in your book’s progress will result in a more successful book launch. As I pointed out above, the wait is agonizing anyway. You might as well use this time to promote your upcoming book.

Did you credit any person or organization with helping you get published?

No, but I did credit the people who helped and supported me throughout my journey.

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Hire a professional editor. I mean it. You can’t edit your own book. You won’t see the mistakes because you are too close to the writing. It will cost you a few hundred dollars for a line editor, a bit more if you need some in-depth editing, but it’s the best money you will ever spend. I cringe every time I read a negative review where the main complaint is formatting, spelling or punctuation. You want readers to judge you solely on the content of your story.

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