Did You Know …
Getting your first book published is thrilling, but the work doesn’t stop there. You have to keep writing, keep growing, and keep working hard.
Beth Steury’s here to talk about her writing strategies, her decision to self-publish, and her advice to new writers.
Welcome! How do you prepare to write your books: pantser, plotter, both, something completely different? Describe your strategy.
I think I’m a “plantser,” a combination of pantser and plotter. I definitely did not create detailed outlines for my YA series, but I did have a solid idea where the plot would go for books one and two. For the final book in the series, see the next question!
Which was harder: the first book or the following books?
Book three is proving to be the hardest. While the first two books came together with relative ease, the final book is presenting more of a challenge. I recently heard a well-known, much-published author admit, in reference to her current work-in-progress, “the plot is eluding me.” That’s me and book three! I love my characters and their journey. And I will persevere.
You’re self-published. Why did you decide to go that route?
I had interest from traditional publishers for my YA series, but when two different publishers ceased their fiction line while reviewing my full manuscript, I felt led to pursue indie publishing.
What’s surprised you the most about the publishing process?
While there is a fairly-steep learning curve involved in taking on the role of publisher, the reality proved to be easier than I anticipated. I entered the world of indie publishing with fear and trembling, so much so that I nearly talked myself out of taking the plunge. Discovering the Facebook group Christian Indie Authors proved to be incredibly helpful. It’s a great resource for information as well as support and encouragement.
How did you find your freelance editor? How would you describe the experience?
I have worked with two freelance editors, both of whom I met through connecting and networking opportunities associated with American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). I think the best descriptors would be “valuable” and “worthwhile.” I feel I benefited, as did my series, from both experiences. My goal to produce a quality book/series was greatly aided by both of these experienced professionals.
How do you self-edit your manuscript?
I begin each writing session by reviewing that I last wrote. I find that a stronger verb or more detailed noun will often immediately come to mind during this very initial stage of editing. Two major concerns of mine, consistent characterization and story flow, usually each get a dedicated edit. Typically, the all-important beginning and ending gets tweaked many times.
What conference do you most want to attend? Why?
I would have loved to attend the Mount Hermon Writers Conference, but I understand the conference has been permanently cancelled. Possibly the Write-to-Publish Conference in Wheaton, Illinois then. In general, I adore writers’ conferences! I relish the time spent with fellow writers. I love immersing myself fully in the writing world. I love how the conference experience allows me to focus only and fully on writing. A friend and I tucked ourselves away in a lake house to attend this year’s online ACFW Conference, to more fully capture the conference experience.
What advice do you have for new authors?
It doesn’t matter what you write or how well you write, simply write. Take advantage of every possible writing opportunity whether it be for the Women’s Ministries newsletter, the family Christmas letter, the neighborhood watch fundraiser flier. Explore topics and styles and genres. Try to discover what works best for you: daily word counts, timed writing sessions, legal pad scribbling, note-taking apps on your phone or a laptop. If turning the weekly grocery shopping list into a poem sounds fun, go for it.
Beth immerses herself in the YA world via substitute teaching, connecting with the teenage staff at the fast-food joint where she claims the back booth as her office, and reading YA fiction.
She’s a cheerleader for saving sex for marriage. Her “Waiting Matters … Because YOU Matter” blog helps people of all ages navigate the choppy waters of saving sex for marriage and “renewed waiting.” In her “Choices Matter” YA series, a relevant cast of high school-aged characters face real life choices and consequences in the often-messy, rarely simple world of friendship, family matters, and dating relationships. The mini books of the “Waiting Matters” series offer practical, candid advice for making wise life decisions.
Beth is also a genetic genealogy enthusiast who used DNA to find her birth parents. Her journey to find and connect with her biological family is chronicled in “A Doorstep Baby’s Search for Answers”. Her “Slices of Real Life” posts find GOD in the day-to-day moments of real life. All of Beth’s writing endeavors can be found on her website at https://bethsteury.com