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December 8, 2017

My Indie Publishing Story and Five Things You Can Learn From It --- Guest Post by Martin Niewood, Author of FORGOTTEN VIOLETS


Sometimes inspiration can hit you in the most unexpected places. For Martin Niewood, author of FORGOTTEN VIOLETS, inspiration struck in a paralyzing nightmare. This nightmare was just the beginning of his process in creating an entire world that he calls the Domain. As an indie author, Martin has learned a lot about what publishing. Through his experience, he has learned five valuable lessons that he wants to share with our readers!

Have you ever had a nightmare so vivid that you couldn’t escape it even after you awoke? I have. In fact, that was the inspiration for my new young adult novel, FORGOTTEN VIOLETS.
After a day, no a week, where everything had gone wrong, I crawled into bed thinking that things couldn’t get much worse and yet somehow they did. My sleep was troubled and before long, I tumbled head first into the realistic horror of a night terror.
I dreamt that I was sitting in my living room and although the adjoining dining room appeared empty, I felt that someone or something was there. Suddenly, there was a flicker of movement and two dark eyes materialized as they narrowed, turned, and stared back at me. Immobilized by fear I recognized the form as human but it was covered in blistering black flames. Still paralyzed, I watched the slow motion morphing of the image into a dragon before gently dissolving into air. Although no longer visible, its presence was palpable and I believed that somehow it was watching me. I awoke from the nightmare shaking and covered in sweat.
Days passed but I couldn’t shake the dream because it felt so real. I wasn’t sure what it meant. Was it an omen? I questioned things that had never troubled me before. I became intrigued with questions like, ‘Where do we come from?’ The catechism answers I memorized as a child no longer satisfied me. I speculated from what real or imagined corner of hell that monstrous form had emerged. I wondered what would happen to me when I died. Slowly, the idea of an afterlife where souls were given a second chance emerged. I envisioned a world that I called the Domain.
I mused that the Domain was created by an unseen energy system and that its very existence depended upon maintaining the delicate balance between good and evil. Inspired by my fiery vision, I created Aiden Rose, a terrifying but disillusioned figure and realized that I would need Meadow Noone, a strong but naïve character to counterbalance the darkness of Aiden’s world. All of the characters within FORGOTTEN VIOLETS lived within the confines of the Domain but not all of them were created equal for some like the Preternaturals, were born into the Domain with special gifts. Preternaturals like Aiden and Meadow had extraordinary powers that could be used for good or evil to affect the balance. These powers were enhanced by ingestion of a mysterious fruit called Elsyn, a gift that exacted a demanding cost.
I decided to tell the story of Meadow’s journey through the Domain from her point of view because like many of the characters in the novel Meadow had made mistakes in her life on earth but unlike others, she was willing to learn from them and try again. Meadow’s journey through a landscape of deceit and betrayal is full of missteps and mistakes but it is ultimately a triumph of hope.
Aiden Rose evolved from a fiery monster that terrified me one dark night at a time when I was unsure of my way. Meadow Noone was initially terrified of Aiden but she found the strength to overcome her fear and recognized Aiden for what he was. All of us face demons; some are real and some are self-created. The question is do we let fear consume us or do we rise above it as Meadow did.
If you have a story to tell, I encourage you to write. Writing is a very personal thing but if you intend to publish, there are some not so personal aspects to consider. When I started FORGOTTEN VIOLETS, I had no idea of how to go about Indie publishing and I made some mistakes. Here are a few things that I learned; I hope that you find them useful:
  1. It’s never too early to start building your platform. I advise developing your website and social media outlets so that when your book is released you have a strong foundation of followers.
  2. Hire a professional artist to design your cover because people really do judge books by their covers.
  3. This might seem obvious but hire a professional editor. Although they may be expensive, they can take your writing to a new level. Consider having a developmental and copy edit of your manuscript.
  4. When your fully edited manuscript is finished, the hard work begins. Ensure that your work is protected by copyright; decide on the distribution channel and upload the formatted work; and market your brand as well as your book. If you can afford a publicist, he or she can help with the marketing campaign.
  5. Don’t let the compliments go to your head or the criticism crush your spirit. You can learn from both.

Most importantly, keep writing and remember to have fun.