THE ART OF THE INTERVIEW
As a now Self-Published Fantasy author, I find myself still learning the "Art of the Interview". Appearing on podcasts, radio and TV spots, as well as taking part in BLOG interviews, is vital in the overall strategy of creating so-called "Buzz" within your community and beyond. An Author interview is a like a pitch to a Producer. You need to be prepared to give well thought out answers about you and your brand in a creative and presentable way. One of the many things I have learned from interviewing is that audiences identify with authenticity. Be yourself and be proud of who you are and what you have created. Do not try to be something you are not. Although I am far from an expert on the topic of author interviewing, I wanted to offer five tips that I have learned by being given the opportunity to interview with some fantastic hosts.
I did touch on this above but wanted to mention in more detail - be confident and excited in your book. Believe in yourself and what you have created and pro-ject that to the interviewer and audience. This stems from being well prepared.
Know your Unique Vision and understand this thoroughly. I did cover this in a pervious post but to refresh - Your Unique Vision is what YOU want the outcome to be. You need to tailor your interviews and talking points to achieving this overall objective. Spend time creating talking points that help connect the audience and interviewer to your Unique Vision.
I define the term, Unique Vision, as your ultimate goal for your book. I myself set small goals, small steps to achieve that will contribute to my main goal, which is, creating an audience for my Grandfather Chronicles Fantasy world. Furthermore, inviting people from all around the world to be a part of this Fantasy world I have created and share in my magical family adventure is the cornerstone of my Unique Vision.
Know your interviewer. Take the time to research who will be interviewing you. Interviewers are people too and knowing a little about them will help you connect and carry a conversation that is natural and not rehearsed or robotic. The interviewer will also have researched you, so it's important to be comfortable with everything about you as an author and person that is out there for people to read.
Have fun and smile. Body language is just as important as being well informed and prepared. Being able to radiate positivity during an interview is very important to helping people connect with you. This also helps present a image of confidence.
Remember, although an Author interview is about you and selling your book, don't make this the focal point. Instead, talk about the the creative process, the journey to making your book a reality. Don't turn your interview into a Commercial or Advertising spot. Make the focus of your interview about connecting with your audience by sharing intimate experiences of your journey to publication.
As opportunities present themselves to interview about my debut novel - The Grandfather Chronicles, The Secret of the Sword, I am constantly practicing these tips I have shared. Fine tuning them is something I still am working towards. Recognizing ways to improve your interview skills will help you utilize your on-air time. Some interviews are very short and to the point so you need to be aware of these spots and tailor accordingly. I would like to invite you to my "MEDIA APPEARANCES" section of this website where I have posted some of the interviews I have taken part in. I continue to learn from them and I recommend watching interviews you do a few times and take notes on the things you think you did well and things you think you didn't do well. Learning from these experiences is key and will help you become an on-air sensation and presence audiences will listen to repeatedly.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to everyone who has helped and continue to support the launch of The Grandfather Chronicles - The Secret of the Sword. Your support, generosity and love is something I feel everyday:) Thank you:)
I would also like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season.
May the love and joy of the season be yours this holiday season.
THE ROAD SO FAR...
It's hard to believe it's been over two years now since I made the decision to share my imagination with the world. In the midst of a real world Global Pandemic that has altered the reality in which we live, Fantasy literature allows us to, if only for a brief amount of time, escape to worlds where our imaginations roam free. Introducing the world to my Fantasy adventure was a decision that was not made lightly. Creating a world and inviting people to visit and experience it is a big leap of faith. What makes a reader want to invest their money and time in your Fantasy world? For me, as a Self Published Fantasy Author, the answer was, seamlessly mix Fantasy with elements of reality based on my personal experiences and wonderful memories I shared with my family growing up.
The decision to share heartfelt family memories as part of my Grandfather Chronicles world of story was a very difficult one. These were treasured memories that I kept close to my heart and the idea of including them as storytelling elements was a big decision for me. However, including realistic moments that were a part of who I am and where I came from would add a uniqueness to the story itself and always keep a certain aspect of The Grandfather Chronicles real.
Using real life memories and impressions made upon me as a child, and young man growing up, was now going to be the backstory of The Grandfather Chronicles trilogy. Furthermore, using real relationships to inspire characters that would play prominent roles in the story to come. Forever having that special connection to so many special memories I experienced would be the cornerstone of this Fantasy trilogy. Once the decision was made to include these real-life moments, my imagination took over creating a powerful Fantasy with characters and events based on real life experiences.
Becoming a partner with a professional Self-Publishing house like Friesen Press allowed me as an author to include all aspects of the story. Friesen understood the reality of the backstory of my book and professionally edited the content and made suggestions that never compromised the integrity of the work itself. Relying on Friesen Press to create a professional piece of work that could compete in a very competitive market was key in my mind. After lengthly edits and cover revisions, Book #1 of the Grandfather Chronicles Trilogy, The Secret of the Sword was officially published and released on the Friesen Press bookstore site on July 15th 2021. Just over a month later on August 19th, 2021, The Secret of the Sword, was officially released worldwide on all major online book retail websites.
One of the many questions I am asked about the entire process of creating a book through Self Publishing and then Marketing that finished product is, "Sean, how do you continually drive forward not knowing what the ending outcome will be?" The simplest answer I can provide is, You need to have a Unique Vision of what YOU want to the outcome to be. You need to tailor your interviews, marketing strategies, personal image as an Author, as well as your brand identity to your Unique Vision. I define this term as, your ultimate goal for your book. I myself set small goals, small steps to achieve that will contribute to my main goal, which is, creating an audience for my Grandfather Chronicles Fantasy world. Furthermore, inviting people from all around the world to be a part of this Fantasy world I have created and share in my magical family adventure is the cornerstone of my Unique Vision. Patience is a virtue. This is something my Granddad believed in. It takes time to build something and see it through. Although creating the book was a long process in itself, you must continually ask yourself how far will you go? It takes a tremendous amount of dedication as a Self Published Author because although creating a professional product is of the up-most importance, the overall success you experience will be based on how far you will go with the Marketing aspects of your book. Building a Fantasy world takes time, however, building an audience for that world can take a tremendous amount of invested time.
As I sit here at my desk continuing to work through Marketing promotions, planning up-coming personal appearances that follow COVID 19 protocol, reaching out to influencers and planning the outline for book #2 in the trilogy series, I find myself now more determined then ever to continually work towards my Unique Vision. Having a completed product that I believe in and have invested so much in makes me want to pursue the very best possibilities. Has the road been a long and rough one so far? Yes, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Great things take time and I know my Granddad would be proud of the patience and dedication I have taken as I continue down the road, equipped with the tools I need to one day reach my destination.
Thank you for reading and please continue to follow my blog. Feel free to leave me a comment as I love to interact and meet new people. You can leave me a comment below, contact me through the "CONNECT WITH SEAN" at the bottom of my homepage. Additionally, you can contact me through the various Socials in the right hand column of this page.
Sean R. Bell
July 15th, 2021 will be a date that I will never forget. Although, I was used to getting frequent emails from my publishing team at Friesen Press, the email I received on this day was special. A simple email with a few powerful words - Congratulations, you have just published The Secret of the Sword. I took a few minutes to really understand what I had accomplished. Hours upon hours of dedication had led to this moment. They say life is about moments and I couldn't agree more. I worked hard for this moment and now it was here. In the final weeks and days leading up to this defining moment in my life, I wasn't sure how to feel. The worldwide Covid pandemic has changed life as we know it. Everyday routines have been up-ended, changed for the safety of the greater good. For me, this has caused a great deal of reflection on how fortunate and lucky I am to be surrounded by such supportive family members and friends. Family defines the very nature in how we live our lives and Covid has exposed the raw humans emotions of what it is to be human. Having the opportunity to introduce the world to my Grandfather Chronicles universe is something I do not take for granted. I recognize how fortunate I was to be given this chance, a chance to share a part of me and who I am through my debut novel, The Secret of the Sword. In a world that will need to recover together from such a life altering experience, my hope and personal goal is to remind people, there is always hope, we just need to embrace it together.
As the launch continues for book #1 - The Secret of the Sword, I will be releasing with each blog post, a question and answer relating to the creation of this story. I enjoy sharing my backstory and experiences and I hope you enjoy learning a little more about me and where my ideas stem from.
Q: How did this project Start Sean?
I was blessed and very fortunate to have such a special relationship with my Grandfather on my Mom’s side of the family. He was my hero. My Mom always said to me impressions made upon you when you are young can help shape who you become and I have always kept this quote in my head. The special memories I shared with my grandfather provided the inspiration for this story I wanted to tell. I always believe write what you know so you can achieve that personal touch. So, it was through these special memories of my Grandfather, that this story started to take shape. I love Fantasy and Science Fiction stories, movies and television. The idea of taking my family and the memories I hold close and combining that with a story I created from my imagination and love of Fantasy gave way to the creation of the Grandfather Chroniclers.
Thank you for reading and please continued to follow my blog. Feel free to leave me a comment as I love to interact and meet new people. You can leave me a comment below, contact me through the "CONNECT WITH SEAN" at the bottom of my homepage. Additionally, you can contact me through the various Socials in the right hand column of this page.
Sean R. Bell
THE ADVENTURE OF SELF-PUBLISHING
The idea of creating a story that comes from your imagination and writing it down is truly a wonderful thing. It allows you to embrace your creative mind and showcase your storytelling skills. This is my favourite part of writing as it only involves me and my imagination. The single greatest thing for me about the storytelling process is being able to accurately describe on paper, or in some sort word processing document, what's happening in your head. This is a skill I am always trying to improve on. The fine tuning of your craft, and the ability to describe to an audience the vivid details of your imagination, is the very essence of creative storytelling, in my case, Fantasy storytelling.
When the world of the Grandfather Chronicles began to take shape in my head, I immediately began making detailed notes of the events I could see clearly when I closed my eyes. My imagination took over and pages of rough notes led to the first draft of Book #1 - The Secret of the Sword. I then spent countless hours editing and reworking every chapter with one thing in mind - clear and concise narratives that will hold the readers interest. The Secret of the Sword is the introduction to the Grandfather Chronicles trilogy and as such my goal was to entice readers and get them hooked, but ultimately wanting more. As the final manuscript took shape and my story came to life, the biggest question remained; what's next?
There are many ways to proceed with the next step, but, at that time as a new author, when the publishing industry and how it operated was unknown to me, self publishing became a viable option. Further to this, self publishing with a reputable publishing house that had the means and resources to produce a professional product was the option I chose and my relationship with Friesen Press was born. Self-Publishing is in fact Self Publication, meaning, you pay for a package that best suits your needs for the development of your story and you are assigned a team led by a publishing specialist. I was so fortunate to have a wonderful publishing specialist who laid out a detailed plan based on my needs, which included, detailed questions I answered and goals I had for the manuscript. I have broken down my Publication path into five steps listed below:
Sean's Friesen Press Path:
-Editors Manuscript Evaluation
-Developmental Edit, Complex Copy Edit & Proofread
-Layout & Layout Revisions
-Promotions and Marketing.
Being a new author, my main goal with Friesen was professional editing. The production plan I chose specifically covered various rounds of detailed edits that included, a Editors Manuscript Evaluation and what turned out to be a monstrous Developmental Edit, that in my personal opinion, turned my manuscript from amateur to professional. As luck would have it, I was assigned a fantastic editor who specialized in fantasy and worked with me for hours to fine tune the content, delivery and overall aesthetic of my craft. One of the things to keep in mind here is that you as the author do not need to necessarily need to accept all the editing changes suggested, however, in my case I recognized that my editor's abilities and recommended changes had such a positive impact that helped the story flow and delivery in a clear and concise way. After two rounds of complex developmental editing, the manuscript had a professional feel and it was time to move on to the Copy Edit stage. This particular stage dealt with grammar and punctuation. After submitting a request to have the same editor continue working with me through this step, who I now had a working relationship with, I was granted that request and together we now worked through two rounds of the Copy Edit. Upon the completion of the edit, I finally was able to have a phone chat, that would turn out to be one of the most memorable chats ever with my editor to discuss the overall progress of the manuscript, and ultimately the decision to green light the script and lock the edit as complete.
With the Manuscript now locked, I had the choice to decide when I would like have the Proofread completed. The Proofread is a step where a different editor with a fresh pair of eyes reads through the script to see how everything looks and flows. Depending on the comments that come back from the Proof Editor, you have the choice whether to proceed or consider purchasing another round of developmental editing if you feel the comments are extensive. I had very little feedback so things were now clearly taking shape. While the Proofread was being completed, I now started the two rounds of Layout, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Layout includes the design of your cover and interior look of your book. I had a very clear picture of the elements I wanted to use on the cover. Submitting rough sketches from my end and talking with my Publishing Specialist in detail over the phone, Friesen's Design team created the cover exactly how I envisioned. A few minor edits led the way to the cover design that will attract audiences and readers and entice them to consider reading my book. However, I did know that it would take a lot more then fancy covers to attract an audience to my book, and so I started what I considered the largest part of Self Publication - Marketing and Promotions.
Friesen Press provides extensive Marketing and Promotions resources that are available to you through your Friesen account. Resources vary from over 180 hours of seminars led by David Chilton (Author of the Wealthy Barber and the Chilton Method) to step by step modules detailing what you will need to successfully market your book to the public. I can honestly say this is an overwhelming step. My best piece of advice here is to dedicate time everyday and work one module at a time. What worked best for me, as I am visual learner, was to take detailed notes of each module and start a collection of notebooks. Your notes will continue to grow and become a very valuable resource for you. I recommend reviewing them as much as you can. This will help you become familiar with how to approach marketing methods for your book. Additionally, I was assigned a fantastic Promotions Specialist, who based on a detailed questionnaire I completed, created a Self Guided Promotion Plan. This promotion plan uses many of the elements included in the seminars I mentioned above, so, thorough notes and knowledge of these seminars is an asset to fully appreciate the Self Guided Promotion Plan. This plan is structured towards the best possible success of your book based on the questionnaire you filled out. Ultimately, a thorough understanding of Friesen's marketing resources and seminars will help you create a plan to market your book successfully. I can't stress enough at this stage, it's very much about how much you want to give and dedicate to marketing. The resources provided are extensive and valuable, but, it was very much up to me how much I wanted to give. I spent hours on these modules creating personal notes and now I have a collection of notebooks I use everyday. I myself completed all the modules Friesen provided.
The adventure of Self-Publishing can be gruelling at times. This journey may not be for everyone, as it does primarily depend on the dedicated time you have to give, as well as the ability to multi task and meet deadlines accordingly. As of May, 2021, I have almost come through the entire process of Self-Publishing. One of the most important things about promotions and marketing is having your book reviewed by professionals in the writing industry. I am currently waiting on a review before I proceed to the Publication step. However, in the meantime, I continue to build marketing strategies and advertising materials, a strong social media presence and networking with industry professionals in preparation for the launch of my debut novel - The Grandfather Chronicles, The Secret of the Sword.
Lastly, Friesen Press has aloud me to pursue by dream of creating a professional product for the world. I have thoroughly enjoyed every step so far and I am excited to complete to journey of Self-Publication.
Sean R. Bell
Friesen Press then uses detailed steps to deliver the best possible product that is professional and print ready.
Friesen Press then uses detailed steps to deliver the best possible product that is professional and print ready.
Greetings everyone! I'm Sean Bell and I am a Canadian fantasy fiction author. At heart, I am a huge fan of the Fantasy and Science Fiction genres. I always find myself drawn to epic narratives and tales of adventure and courage. My eclectic nature has aloud me to pursue many interests and hobbies from World History and Ancient Mythology, to puzzles, model building, gardening, as well as an avid collector of movie and television memorabilia. Among my favourite classical fantasy authors are J.R.R. Tolkien, Phillip Pullman and C. S. Lewis. I'm inspired by their creativity and passion. Their stories inspired me to create a world of fantasy I could call my own. I currently reside in St. Catharines, Ontario with my favourite pal, my dog Rocky. I also have deep family roots to the city of Montreal, which helped create the backstory for The Grandfather Chronicles. My background and experience in Media Production has aloud me to continually sharpen my craft and focus on what I love - creative storytelling.
Why did Sean create the Grandfather Chronicles?
Growing up, my creativity and interests were encouraged by the loving relationship I shared with my grandfather. I have always been fascinated by epic narratives, fantasy literature, Arthurian legends, and powerful villains. Combined, these influences led to the writing of first my book, The Secret of the Sword, which is part of my forthcoming series, The Grandfather Chronicles.
The Secret of the Sword is set to debut as Sean's first novel.
It’s taken me nearly three years to complete my first novel, The Secret of the Sword, as I wanted to get it right and I believe it will be worth the wait! Furthermore, I really believe my unique vision and imagination has helped create a powerful story with meaningful characters. Please visit me at my social media platforms for everything you want to know about the novel, and how to purchase The Secret of the Sword when it's published. Join me on this journey!
Please feel free to email me in my Contact section on my Home page with any questions as I really look forward to hearing from you.
The Secret of the Sword is the first novel in The Grandfather Chronicles Trilogy.
This is the story I have been wanting to tell for a very long time. I always knew I wanted to tell this origin story of a grandson, who uncovers dark family secrets that link him to the Arthurian Pendragon bloodline. To me, this is the story that starts the adventure as it establishes strong characters and storylines, a sinister plot, and a newfound responsibility of a grandson that will forever shape his future. My original plan was to always use this story to introduce the grandson, Ian, to the mysterious world of his Grandfather's past; a past that would now become his future.
This is just the beginning of the Grandfather Chronicles.
Please feel free to leave comments on this and future blogs as I am always happy to answer questions.
Sean R. Bell's