#ThrowItForwardThursday: Meet Tessa Shapcott, Editor Extraordinaire

Tessa ShapcottWoot! It’s the final #ThrowItForward Thursday of 2015! (But don’t worry – 2016 will be chock full of other editors, bloggers, fellow authors, designers, and anyone else who helps promote authors, so stay tuned…)

It’s hard for me to believe it’s been a year since I first hired the marvelous Tessa Shapcott to help me whip A Man of Character into shape. It seems like yesterday, and yet so long ago, as well!

I can’t imagine my writing life without her, and am so very grateful not only for Tessa’s outstanding editing instincts, but to Katy Regnery for first recommending her to me (and to Tessa for agreeing to take me on!). My books would not be half of what they are without Tessa’s keen eye for plot and character development issues, y’all. So it’s only fitting that I take time to honor her, and get her to share a little bit about herself (surprise! She’s also an author!) with you on this Throw It Forward Thursday.

How long have you been working as an editor?

HarlequinI’ve got over thirty years’ experience as an editor. After leaving university, I started my working life as a secretary in a London literary agency, then became a children’s books editor for a while, specializing in teenage fiction. Later, I spent many years working for Harlequin Enterprises in their British office, looking after the Mills & Boon romance series, including Harlequin Presents. I left Harlequin in 2013 to freelance and write, and have been working with a growing list of clients from different genres ever since.

What drew you to editing? 

I come from a family of journalists, so words are in my DNA. I did toy with the idea of becoming a newspaper reporter but realized that I wasn’t tough enough for some of the assignments! Then it struck me that I had been a voracious reader and watcher of movies from an early age, and working with writers and the craft of storytelling, and dealing with amazing fictional characters, would be just perfect.

What kinds of editing do you do, and of them, is any one type your favorite?

I’m a fiction editor, specializing in genre and women’s fiction. I particularly love romance, being fascinated as I am by human relationships and I’m also an eternal optimist.

About how many clients do you work with regularly? Are you open to new clients?

I have a regular client list of approximately 25 authors. I am open to new clients if I can accommodate their timelines with my availability.

TVTVFinalEbookCoverDo you have any big name clients you’d like to brag about? Any romance writers in general you’d suggest we try (whether you edit them or not!)?

I love working with all my regulars; they’re all wonderful people and fantastic storytellers. But Katy Regnery, Kylie Gilmore, Jennifer Faye and Mimi Barbour, who are all NYT/USA Today best-sellers, deserve special mentions. Also Kristine Mason, who writes wonderfully chilling thrillers. All are self-published, and I would thoroughly recommend their books.

What’s your take on traditional versus indie publishing for a new author? Can an indie author produce a book comparable in quality to what comes from the professional houses? 

I would say that, for sure, there some indie authors who are absolutely competing head-to-head with traditionally-published writers.

What has interested me since I started my business working with indie authors is the quality of most of the self-published work I see. I think what happens is that traditional publishers—like any branded business—are obliged to build niches within the market and so they set boundaries for what they will and won’t take. Many self-published authors just don’t fit in a particular box, but it doesn’t mean to say that they are not worthy of publication. And what’s more, I am blown away about how intuitive and savvy indies can be about marketing themselves to readers and achieving sales.

I think the book market is currently the most exciting it’s been for a hundred and fifty years, with the two streams of traditional and indie.

What do you wish authors understood about editors?

writingThat an editor’s criticism is a gift! No-one writes the perfect novel straight off. So try not to be too precious or crushed if you get developmental tasks or revisions; put your ego aside and embrace what your editor is trying to tell you—she’s just wanting to help you get the best out of your book. She’s there to act as a professional reader, to show you the strengths and weaknesses of your work. There’s a well-known maximum amongst editors: the more revisions we give you, the more likely it is that we feel you’ve got something worth publishing!

What advice would you give a newbie author when it comes to editing?

Good freelance editors tend to get booked up well in advance, so do plan and approach your editor with plenty of time to spare to avoid disappointment. I am usually booked out 3-4 months ahead. However, I find myself having to turn away at least one new writer a week who decided a couple of days before they needed to get their manuscript edited, and who expects that I can begin work the next day. I should add that good freelance editors will also be juggling a number of projects/authors at any given time.

wifeineverysenseYou’ve told me you write as well as edit! Tell us about your own work!

I write romance under the pseudonym Joanne Walsh, and publish with Entangled Indulgence and Tule Publishing. I am loving doing it! My heroes are alpha males and I love to pit them against determined heroines in intense, passionate relationships. I write about international backgrounds (Italy and Greece are favourites), and like my characters to go through journeys of self-transformation emotionally.

How does your editing experience impact you as a writer?

That’s a very good question! I’d say that, having started writing, I am now a better editor because I understand now exactly how it feels to be edited, to struggle with deadlines, characters that won’t behave and words that don’t come. And there’s nothing like the exhilaration of getting your novel published. It’s definitely humbled me a little!

You live in England. Is there a big difference in the romance markets, from what you know, between the US and the UK?

Not a great deal actually. Authors can be best-sellers on both sides of the Atlantic if they have accessible voices and write about engaging characters and universal emotional truths and themes.

Thank you so much, Tessa! I feel unbelievably privileged to be one of your regular clients, and am so grateful for everyone you’ve done for me in whipping A Man of Character and A Matter of Time into publication-worthy shape.
Here’s to a fruitful 2016 for both of us, and for all of the authors with whom you work! 

#ThrowItForward Thursday: Meet Gina of Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

GinaRYes! It’s Thursday! And I’m so pleased and proud to bring you another #ThrowItForward Thursday. #WriterWednesday is for honoring fellow authors; #ThrowItForward Thursday shines the spotlight on those who help us authors in innumerable ways: book bloggers, editors, cover designers, etc. Because without y’all, we authors would be toast!

Today, we have Gina from Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers. I just love the fact that her blog combines two of my favorite things: books and food. Okay, so the books are the food on her delightful blog, but, well, you get the picture. Gina very kindly reviewed A Man of Characterbut believe you me, she’s got a lot more going on than that. So grab your favorite beverage, settle back, and get to know Gina a little bit more!

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What was the impetus behind starting Insatiable Readers? How long have you been a book blogger?

SFIR took root when I first started working at our local chain bookstore.  I had always had a love of reading and scoring that job, even if it was a 2nd to my full-time position, was a dream.  A fellow coworker and I were discussing a title and the conversation led into her current blog.  I was clueless…had heard the term but had no earthly idea what it was.  She kindly explained the basics and offered to help me set one up.  I agreed, but being impatient (our schedules were conflicting), I struck out on my own to discover the WORLD OF BLOGGING via BlogSpot and the rest is history!

What is your favorite genre to review? Any genres that really aren’t your cup of tea?

background made from opened booksFavorite genre is Fiction in general; more specifically Young Adult, Children’s, Contemporary, and Literary.  I can do some Sci-Fi on a limited basis and Romance as long as it stays the Contemporary line of things (not so much Johnny! Marsha!).  I’ve been known to dabble in Biographies, Memoirs, Pets, Christian Fiction…I’m sorry, it would have been MUCH easier if I answered the LATTER question first.

The two genres I do not dabble in are Sports and Erotica.  No jokes on that either….I can see them brewing in your mind.  😉 

[ML: *innocent face*]

Do you have a preference regarding accepting requests from traditionally published vs indie published authors? Do you notice a quality difference in the materials you receive from each (generally speaking)?

Personally, I don’t have a preference.  I know some readers are hardcore one or the other, but I’m equal opportunity in that area.  If a book sounds good, and captures my interest, I’m more than happy to take a trip through the pages.  Quality wise…honestly I’ve seen errors and opportunities in books I’ve received from both sources.  It can happen more frequently in smaller publishers (or to self-published authors) that don’t necessarily have the manpower or are splitting resources, but generally by the final product, it all turns out for the best. 

How many review requests do you receive a month, and how many are you able to accommodate?

Ooh…the million dollar question.  I really don’t know exactly on the numbers, though I try to tackle them as I see them.  As far as how many I can accommodate, it’s dependent upon the type of post (review, spotlight, teaser, giveaway, excerpt, etc)…and my scheduling.  I’ve been known to stretch myself a little thin from time to time.  *-*  What can I say?  So many GREAT books, so little time!  I’m trying to do better, but I won’t miss a deadline.  That I can promise.

What’s one thing you wish authors knew about approaching book bloggers? 

We’re people, not robots.  Tell us about yourself and the book.  If we’re not interested, please don’t take offense.  We do this on our own time because we love reading and the magic that books bring into our (collectively speaking) lives, not because we’re obligated to take on every one that comes our way.  Also, many bloggers have Review Policies on their sites.  Take a moment to read them before sending the pitch; it may save yourself some time (ergo my preference to NOT read Erotica…and receiving a request to review one *-*).  Oh and if you’re going to use a “form pitch” at least personalize the opening; getting a “Dear <insert name here>” (which I’ve actually received before)…or one that’s addressed to the wrong person (ditto on the comment) can be a little irksome. (Wait you asked for one thing…oops!)

What’s your biggest pet peeve in a story? Dialogue issues? Saggy plot? Unrealistic characters? Typos?

Biggest?  Typos and grammar issues.  It interrupts my train of thought when I’m reading if I have to go back and try to figure out what the author was trying to say over and over again.  Most other things I can work with…I realize that every work is the author’s “baby” so I try to give each one their time to shine.

Where do you see yourself and your blog in 5 years?

Me?  Well, I’d LOVE to be in Publishing…specifically the Editorial aspect of it all.  The idea of helping to bring new titles to the forefront and assisting in them reaching their full potential really makes my heart flutter.  The chances…I wouldn’t say nonexistent but they are slim simply geographically speaking.  As for my blog, I’d love to see it continue marching forward like a story you just can’t get enough of, with the readership expanding to spark some conversations in the blogosphere.  *daydreams*

[ML: The internet makes all sorts of things possible, you know! My editor lives in England, my cover designer/formatter in Australia. Don’t let geography limit you!]

What are one or two relatively undiscovered books you think people should pick up and read?

alicewonderOh man…one or two?  Eek!  I could probably fill a book with them to be honest.  Umm, let’s see…two, two, gotta pick two.  Alright, I’ll pick…but it doesn’t mean that the others in my head right now are any less on the totem pole of reading.

ONE:  Lot’s Mountain by N.R. Allen

TWO:  Alice Takes Back Wonderland by David D. Hammons

…both are YA fantasy picks that really left their mark in my mind, but I mean there are SO MANY MORE!

How much time do you devote to your reviews and blog each week?

I try to have a new post every day which may mean scheduling in advance (when possible…not always), but each review generally takes about two hours from start to finish.  So I guess that means at least 14 hours, not including reading?

Is there any type of story you have yet to read but would love to see?

You know, I’m not certain.  Every time I think I’ve read most types of stories, something new crops up and surprises me, like this Picture Book I read earlier today, Dewey Bob by Judy Schachner.  I thought it was going to be this story about a cute little raccoon who collects things but in actuality, it was SO MUCH MORE!  (Can’t tell you what, that would spoil the surprise for YOU!)  I leave the writing and creating to the authors…I’ll take ownership of the enjoyment factor.  ^-^

What’s the book blogging community like? Do you interact regularly with fellow bloggers, reads, and/or authors?

The book blogging community for the most part is the most welcoming I’ve seen in reality or virtually.  There’s always going to be a few that push people’s buttons the wrong way, but the majority are kindhearted, happy to answer a question, offer their words of wisdom for a problem you’ve encountered, or simply share a good conversation about what you’re reading now or perhaps should be reading. 

Interaction-wise, it’s more of a hit and miss.  There are a few bloggers that I regularly chat with (Tracey at Pen and Paper, Jess of Nayuleska’s Reading Corner, to name a few), other bloggers and authors I catch in passing.  Some over the years have fallen out of touch whether it be us missing each other time wise, losing interest in blogging, or perhaps their star of fame shot so high so fast that staying in touch wasn’t the easiest of things.  It’s all good though…the memories stay with you even no matter what.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

I can be long-winded at times…like in this interview.  ^-^  As I’ve said before, I LOVE READING and sharing my experience through the pages is something that really touches my heart.  The more connections I make with authors, publishers, publicists, and readers, the merrier…and if something I’ve written speaks to you, feel free to leave a comment!  Each one is another ray of sunshine in my day.

Also….THANK YOU for the opportunity to visit and say my piece!  Though it may have been larger than anticipated, it was wonderful to share a bit of myself with you and your readers.  ^-^ – Gina

Want to connect further with Gina? Find her here! 

gmrSatisfaction for Insatiable Readershttp://insatiablereaders.blogspot.com
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/GRgenius
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/GRgenius
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/insatiablereaders

Thank you so much for sharing your time and self with us today, Gina – I loved reading all about you and your experiences as a book blogger, and just have to say thank you again for all you do for authors.
You clearly invest your whole self into sharing your love of books with others, and it shows!

#ThrowItForward Thursday: Meet Donna McBroom-Theriot

DonnaMcBTWow, it’s Thursday – which means it’s #ThrowItForward Thursday. I love it! I love shining the spotlight on people who spend so much of their time putting authors center stage. It’s so fun to get to know book bloggers and contest runners and cover designers and … okay, you get the picture!

Today, I welcome Donna McBroom-Theriot. Donna graciously agreed to review A Man of Character over the summer, and delighted me with her very positive response to my book. But Donna doesn’t just review books – visit her site, My Life, One Story at a Time, to discover all the irons she’s got in the fire: book reviews, product reviews, recipes, organizational tips. You could spend hours discovering everything Ms. McBroom-Theriot has to offer, and not get bored.

Luckily for me, and for y’all, Donna took time away to answer a number of questions – so grab your hot chocolate and spend a few minutes peeking into the life of a book blogger. And please, leave some comment love below, if you would!

What made you decide to start a book blog?  My book blogging actually came about quite by accident. I was just started writing stories on my blog and was stumped for a topic. I had just completed a book and thought, why not review the book? There were a couple of book reviewers following my blog at the time and they messaged me, encouraging me to try my hand at book reviewing. They also sent a few sites and my book reviewing career was born.

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How long have you been blogging about books? 

I have been a book review blogger since 2009. 

How many review requests do you receive per month?

I receive approximately 200 requests a month for book reviews. 

[ML: I feel especially privileged that Ms. McBroom-Theriot chose my book, considering how many author seek her out monthly!]

love heart in a book with filter effect retro vintage style

How many books do you review a month?

For a while in the beginning, I was obsessed with reading as many books as I could fit into my schedule. I have since realized I could not possibly keep up that ridiculous pace and slowed things down a bit. I regularly schedule three reviews a week. This allows time for other writing I enjoy doing – recipes, my “Lucy” adventures, book blasts, etc. 

How do you deal with reviewing a book that wasn’t quite your cup of tea?

I am fortunate enough to be able to pick and choose which books I review. It wasn’t always this way and I did read a few that I struggled to review. I never wanted to hurt someone’s feelings or turn down their requests for reviews. I quickly realized that this was not fair to the writer, to me, or to my followers who expect a truthful review. There have been a few books that I have not liked along the way and I am honest about them. As long as I am able to read most of the book, I do try to find something positive to say while still expressing my dislike or disappointment in the book. As I said earlier, I am now in a position to pick and choose my books and I rarely come across a book that I do not like. When I absolutely do not care for a book, I email the author or publicist and let them know that I do not like the book and will not be reviewing the book. I also refuse to spotlight a book unless I have read at least a chapter of the book and it is within the genres that I enjoy.

clotheslinebooksWhat’s your favorite thing about being a reviewer?

Oh my! Free books of course! But, also importantly, I have met some really nice authors along the way and we have become “internet” friends.  I would say that is the best part about being a book reviewer.

What’s your least favorite thing?

My least favorite thing about being a book reviewer is turning someone down for a review. I write and I have friends who are writers, so I know the time and angst that goes into a book. This is why I have submission guidelines on my blog. I think the second thing I dislike is saying yes to a book and then have it turn out to be really bad.  I do not like having to go back and let the author know the book wasn’t for me. 

What do you wish authors and/or readers knew about book reviewing?

business, finance, investment, saving and currency concept - close up of dollar paper money in bag on bank table over gray concrete background

I think some authors forget that book review bloggers are not paid to review their books. We have lives and sometimes life gets in the way of our deadlines and reviews are sometimes late. This does not pertain to all authors, only a fraction. I think readers and authors need to realize the time involved to post reviews. Books sometimes take a couple of days to read. Then, unless the information such as the blurb, book cover and author social links, etc. are included, the reviewer can spend up to an hour or more looking for these items. The actual writing of the review can also take up to an hour, especially if you post quotes from the book. Then, there is the posting of the review on social media and book sites such as Amazon, GoodReads, and others. The entire process may take up to two hours or more. That is a huge amount of free time and publicity that the author is receiving. I would tell authors to be grateful for each and every review they receive

What’s one piece of advice you’d give authors seeking out reviews?

The phrase Top Tips on a reminder pinned to a notice boardI would tell authors that they have taken an inordinate amount of time writing the book, take a little more time and write a proper presentation to the prospective reviewer. Visit their blog to make sure they review your genre. If they do not, then just as you wouldn’t send your book to a publisher who does not review your genre, do not send it to the reviewer. Also, read some of the reviewer’s reviews or stories and mention them in your email to show that you’ve actually spent time on their blog and not just grabbed their name and emailed them. The last and probably the most important thing I would tell authors, (because I’ve deleted more emails than I can count because of this) is write a decent email request to the reviewer telling them who you are and what your book is about. DO NOT just say “you can find my book here – link”. I delete these requests. My time is just as valuable as yours. One last thing – if you are doing a mass mailing, make sure the font of the “insert blog name here” is the same as the body of the letter. That tells me I was part of a mass mailing and you don’t know who I am. I delete those as well. 

Do you connect and commune with fellow book reviewers, or prefer going it solo?

I did connect with a number of book reviewers in the beginning. Later on, my reviewing took on a more solo approach simply because publishers and publicists began contacting me and I got busy with other avenues of reviewing. It would be nice to have a group where I could spend time conversing with other book review bloggers. 

old-books-11281939505MsrnWhere do you see yourself / your reviewing life in 5 years?

As I mentioned before, I’ve slowed down and only review three books a week at the present time. I can see myself still reviewing books in five years. It is something I really enjoy doing. I’ve been a reader my entire life and unless my eyesight decides to play hooky, I will be a reader until I close my eyes. So, in five years, I still expect to be reviewing books, although I may be limiting my genres. 

Thank you, Donna! Great answers – and I think authors like myself will find your tips for approaching book bloggers to be wonderfully helpful. I wish you the best, and look forward to our future encounters. 

#ThrowItForward Thursday: Meet Rebekah Postupak of Flash Friday Fiction!

I cannot tell you how excited I am to feature Rebekah Postupak for this week’s #ThrowItForward Thursday, for if anyone deserves recognition for all she does to promote writing, writers, and writing community, it’s Rebekah.

rebekahBack in the fall of 2013, I was a lonely writer desperately seeking writerly connections. I stumbled upon the Shenandoah Valley Writers Facebook group, and through it met co-founder Rebekah, who also happens to run a little weekly Flash Friday Fiction contest some of you may have heard of. I entered the contest, got kudos for my writing (first public praise of any fiction I’d ever written), and kept participating, both in the contest and the FB group. I met Ms. Postupak in person. I met her again. I hung out with her again and again and again and . . . okay, you get the picture.

See, Rebekah Postupak is one amazing human being. She is one of the most talented writers I know, and yet she spends hours every week helping other writers achieve their dreams – through running Flash contests, featuring authors like me in Spotlight interviews, promoting the heck out of people wherever she goes, the whole shebang. Her spirit and generosity are endless.

I’m so grateful, therefore, that she somehow found the time to answer my nosy questions. And I’m fiercely proud to call her my friend. Read on for insight into Flash Friday and Ms. Postupak herself. (And if you haven’t ever given flash a whirl, come write this Friday!)

When did you start Flash Friday? What was the impetus behind it?

Oh, what a merry party the weekly flash fiction contest circuit was when I first (thanks to my dear friend, editor/publisher Susan Warren Utley) stumbled across it: a contest (or two, or three!) for every day of the week. Alas, by the end of 2012 many contests were petering out as their hosts started paying attention to (gasp!) their own WIPs. But it was too late for me, as I was already obsessed with this sharp, brilliant form of storytelling. I had no choice but to launch my own contest, which I did that very December.

ffbadgeHow has running Flash Friday impacted your own writing?

I’ve the greatest advantage of anyone, sitting at the gate week after week and watching the stories flood in: it’s like having eighty tutors. You writers are the masters, and I your wide-eyed student. Each Friday y’all teach me something new about just how mindblowing flash fiction can be.

Do you have any idea how much you’ve affected the writers around you?

I’m the one who’s indebted to the flash fiction community. Beyond their consistent writing excellence, they have faithfully supported me by encouraging me in my own writing, and by turning up weekly to write and thus sparing me utter humiliation (like that horrific day shortly after I moved to the United States when I fashion-mistakenly wore yellow socks and a matching yellow sweater vest. I didn’t knoooooooooooooow! Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave me!).

Tell us one favorite story about a Flasher, and seeing them grow through their writing for FF.

Oh, I have so many rich, beautiful stories I could share! So many brave writers for whom FF is the first place they’ve shared their writing publicly; others for whom FF represents the first time they won anything for their writing. It’s infectious: such gorgeous confidence and skill can’t help but keep growing and spreading across the community. Like Tribbles, except useful.

Why, yes, I AM the proud owner of one of these vintage Flash Friday victory badges!
Why, yes, I AM the proud owner of one of these vintage Flash Friday victory badges!

What do you wish people knew about being the figurehead of flash?

I was going to say, “I wish they realized I don’t know anything at all,” except I suspect everyone already knows that. 🙂

Where do you see FF in five years?

Tough question, as we’re already past the average lifespan of this sort of thing. Let’s just say that I love the community so very dearly, and it will be my privilege and joy to continue running Flash! Friday as long as there’s a need for it.

Where do you see your own writing in five years?

In a completed novel or three. But as a fantasy writer, I usually see things that aren’t there…

You’ve emphasized to me a number of times how you value FF as a safe space for writers to come and be validated for their writing. What’s your opinion on feedback? Better when framed positively, or more baldly?

May I be a rascal by answering “neither” to that? 😀 I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about diversity, and one thing that’s become abundantly clear to me is the universal ache for authenticity and humility. So for me “positively or negatively framed criticism?” misses the heart of the problem. Instead, I need to ask myself, How can I pass on to this writer what other writers have taught me? I need to remember not to command, but to share. Not to impose, but to offer. As long as I am careful to approach critiques in this way, then the frame almost won’t matter: an authentic, humble heart will be the only voice heard.

Writers Selfie!
Writers Selfie! Margaret, far left; Tamara Shoemaker, Rebekah Postupak, Kim. Front: Allison Garcia and Annika Keswick.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give aspiring writers?

Don’t be afraid; you’re not alone.

What’s one piece of advice you yourself wished you’d had before launching a venture like FF?

Don’t be afraid; you’re not alone. 🙂

Tell us about your own writing career: when did you start? What’s your preferred type of writing? What are your goals for the future?

I started the moment Princess Periezade leapt on her horse to go fetch the Talking Bird, the Singing Tree, and the Golden Water after her brothers failed (Arabian Nights), when the four Pevensies plunged deep into the wardrobe (Narnia), when Frodo danced naked on a sunny hilltop (Lord of the Rings), when Harimad-sol raised Gonturan to the sky (The Blue Sword), when Anne saw Barry’s Pond and knew it for The Lake of Shining Waters (Anne of Green Gables), when Caderousse looked into the river to see his hair turned white (The Count of Monte Cristo)…. Which is all to say I fell in love with writing by reading: as a child, on long, hot, monsoon-drenched afternoons when writers across the ages opened the world to me. Since then I’ve been a fantasy writer hobbyist, spinning mostly short stories and flash. I dream of finishing writing one of my novels. It’s a beautiful dream, isn’t it?

writingAre writing flash and writing novels compatible? How does writing shorter pieces aid in constructing longer works?

Oh yes, flash writing boosts novel writing in the same way sprints help in training for a marathon: you learn economy, efficiency, resourcefulness, persistence. Thanks to flash, you can also learn one rarely needs the word “that.”

What’s the most difficult thing about running a venture as large as Flash Friday? What’s the most rewarding thing?

Flash! Friday is a hungry beast: she devours as much time and energy as I’m willing to give her (and often more). Not surprising, however, given the glittering hoard she guards! Your tales, your friendships, your personal and public triumphs, make the whole thing worthwhile.

Thank You Word CloudLast one: with everything else you do, how on earth do you find time to write anything, much less run a huge flash community?

See # 7! It’s a struggle; I’ve yet to finish even one novel. But look at how marvelous all of you are! I feast on your stories week after week after week. Even if I never write “The End,” I will still end my days the richest writer in the world.

My eyes are teary after that last answer. But I guarantee you, Rebekah, your impact stretches far and wide.
Thank you for joining us today.  

#ThrowItForward Thursday: Meet Joy of Lankshear Design!

Joy Lankshear#ThrowItForward Thursday. I love it. I love being able to shine the light back on those who help authors, to give credit where credit is most certainly due, and it absolutely delights me to honor Joy of Lankshear Design today.

Sometimes I meet the coolest people in the most unusual ways. I met my husband via my (late 90s) Elvis website. I met Joy because of our mutual love for the BBC show Merlin. We stumbled across each other on Twitter, started talking about the show, then about other things. She learned I was a writer hoping to someday publish a book; I learned she was a graphic designer.

Kismet? I think so. One look at her work, with its beautifully clean, classic designs, and I decided she was the designer for me. Given the reception to the covers for A Man of Character and A Matter of Time, it was clear I made the right choice (though I knew that the minute I saw the designs!).

If you’re looking for high quality, custom designs, whether for a book, a magazine, brochures, you name it, I highly recommend you contact Joy. She’s so fun to work with, her work impeccable, and the final products brilliant. I literally could not be happier with my books, for Joy did both the covers and the interior formatting, giving me a final product leaps and bounds ahead of anything I could have produced in terms of quality. Thank you, Joy!

A Man of Character Cover Margaret LockeHow long have you been doing graphic design?

I’ve been working full time as a Graphic Designer for 24 years – wow, that is a long time.

How did you decide to become a graphic designer? Had it been a long-term dream?

I’ve always loved art and creating things with my hands, so my interest in design grew out of that. I received a Bachelor of Graphic Design from La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia in 1991.

You work from home. Do you love it? Is it hard to balance family needs when your work place is in the same space as your home place? (I know many authors face this challenge – I do!)

I love the flexibility of working from home. I’ve worked in large design studios in Sydney for many years, but since having a family, I have worked from home. It is the ideal job to do while working from home. I’m the kind of person who can’t sit still, I love multitasking, and this is a great environment for that.

ld2What’s your favorite kind of work to do? Book covers? Brochures? Posters? Logos?

My favourite work is book design and magazine design. It’s great to finally see the printed thing in my hand and to have helped an author or publisher to create it.

I also design virtually anything that will be printed, bill boards, banners, product packaging, annual reports, brochures, logo signage and stationery. I also design websites and web gifs.

You live in Australia, but are working with me, an American. Is it odd to be doing work for clients who live far away, whom you’ve never met in person?

I love this about my work, the variety of people I meet. I have several clients in America and have worked with clients in England, Singapore, New Zealand and Malaysia, just to name a few other countries. Many of my clients I’ve never met in person; however, we Skype and email so often we have become good friends.

ld8How long does it take you to design your average book cover?

I usually try to turn a cover design around in a week. But I’m very flexible and work hard to fit in with my clients’ schedules.

From where do you get your ideas? (Yeah, I totally have to ask that, even though authors roll their eyes at that one, too, because, really, do we always KNOW from where the ideas come?)

24 years as a designer brings with it a feeling for what my clients want. Sometimes an idea will jump out at me within seconds. Other times I really have to work and experiment and play around with ideas until something gels.

I try to get out often and look at what is happening in design so that I stay relevant. Being in touch with other designers and ad agencies is also a great inspiration, as we can bounce ideas off each other.

ld4What other sorts of services do you provide for authors?

Just about anything. Cover design, typesetting and promotional graphics. A lot of my clients request web graphics, slider banners and gifs, which they can add to their websites.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I would love to go to Europe and London, especially. We don’t have all those ancient buildings and history in Australia in the way that Europe does.

Name two things people don’t know about you:

I was born in a fishing village in South Thailand where my parents worked as medical missionaries.

I took up jogging 3 years ago and am still persevering with it, though I’m the world’s slowest runner. I saw a t-shirt that said, “I run … I’m slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter … but I run!” That about sums it up.

Front Cover of A Matter of Time by Margaret LockeDo you have a fan base built up? (I know quite a few people who’ve expressed their admiration for A Man of Character‘s cover, and I’m always quick to tell them who designed it!)

Only really my Lankshear Design Facebook page. Which I haven’t done a lot with, so far.

Anything else you’d like us to know?

I’m flexible with work. I’m generally happy to work with my clients budget.

Aren’t those covers gorgeous? I look forward to seeing what Joy will do for my third book (The Demon Duke, which will debut sometime in 2016).
What can she do for YOU?