Jack Lewis Baillot is the focus of today’s “Before and After,” a feature on this blog. In “Before and After,” we hear from new authors before the publication of their novel and then follow up after the book’s publication to find out how the experience went.
Jack is planning on self-publishing her first novel, Haphazardly Implausible, and is talking a little bit about the beginning of that process as well as the book itself.
Gwen: Hi, Jack. Thank you for coming on the blog today. First, I’d like to invite you to tell our readers a little more about the book that you’ve written.
Jack: Howdy! And thank you for having me!
My book is titled Haphazardly Implausible. It is a Steampunk book, filled with airships, Air Pirates, Pilots, and a dog who thinks he’s a man.
1906 photograph of the Eagle Airship. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
The story is centered around three young men, all from different parts of the world who are trying to fulfill different missions. They have no way of knowing that their paths are about to cross.
Peter Jones is a Scot who was left at the Scottish Royal Air Force Base a week before his parents were killed. It is the only life he has ever known, and now he is forced to flee for his life when he learns that the general, a man he has always looked up to as a father, now wishes him dead.
Isidore Thaddeus Reichmann is hiding from his past. Bitter and alone, he spends his days solving mysteries, and has earned the reputation as being the best detective the world has ever seen. However, his world is forever changed when he leaves Germany for England to find a missing young man. In England he meets a girl named Jack, a girl who is going to change his life.
Singur is the smartest person on earth, but no one is allowed to know it, or to know his real name or he is a dead man. However, when his long guarded secret is found out Singur is forced to leave Italy, and finds safety with a man who might be nothing more then a Sea Pirate.
The world is on the edge of war, and it might just be up to these three to end it.
Gwen: Wow! The book sounds fantastic from what you just told me. So let’s chat a little more about what it was like to come up with the concepts. What new ideas did you uncover as you started working on Haphazardly Implausible? Did you learn any lessons from your own characters?
Jack: Ideas I uncovered. Hm, well, I guess I wished the main idea to be in not hiding who you really are. To be accepted now these days, one has to change, to fit into a mold, and I want people to see it is more wonderful to be themselves. And I believe this is the same lessons I learned from my characters. Even starting this book, I had to take a risk in being picked on for what I was writing. But, the more I wrote, the more they showed me, if a friend will only be your friend if you change then they are not a true friend.
Gwen: I understand that you’re considering self-publishing as an option. Why have you decided to go this route? Do you see this as the way of the future for authors?
Jack: This was hard for me at first. I spent weeks pondering self-publishing and researching it. I have sent out query letters, and have always said I would trditional publish, but that was before ebooks and the change publishing has taken. According to my research and authors I’ve been in contact with, self-publishing is no longer the “Publishing for those who’s books weren’t good enough for trditional.”
However, my reasons for it. One of the reasons was that, before, triditional publishers would do most of the marketing. Sure, you had to do promoting and such as well, but they did most of it. Now, before an agent will consider you, not to mention a publisher, you have to have a following. You have to have readers interested before the book you even have an agent.
Also, you have more rights with your book if you self-publish. With triditional publishing they have rights over it. If the book doesn’t sale as much as they think it should they can put it on a back shelf for later. And it can take years to trditional publish, and by that time the book I have written (Steampunk) might no longer be a “fad”.
After all my research I decided self-publishing was the right thing for me to do. Maybe it isn’t for everyone, but it is for some.
As for seeing it as the future, yes, I do. Other authors have said the same. With ereaders being in almost every home in American ebooks are becoming more and more popular. I don’t think they will replace hard copies, mine will be coming in both forms, but I think they are starting to become more common.
And, with the publishing world changing, I think many authors are going to go with self-publishing. Going through an agent is becoming harder, and there is also the risk you will not find one. This doesn’t mean the book is bad, but that it “just isn’t what they are looking for.”
Gwen: Have you found there to be any special challenges that you’ve encountered in trying to publish this novel on your own? Tell us a little bit about your process.
Jack: Editing. Once the first book is published and I’ve made money on it I will be able to hire an editor. But, with this one, I don’t have the money. I’ve been working on it on my own. It has been painstaking, all the more so as I’m dyslexic, but I’ve been going at it slowly, carefully, and recruiting all the help I’m able.
The other challenges I’ve encountered is lots of research. There are many self-publishers out there but I wanted one with a good reputation, one known for publishing good books. I’m, as of right now, going to go with Lulu Publishing. I’ve also, as said before, contacted other authors who are self-publishing to get advice from them. This has been my best move so far. If anyone plans on self-publishing, my biggest suggestion would be email other authors. Ask them all the do’s and don’t’s.
Gwen: I know one of the things that was really important to me when I released my novel, The Universal Mirror, through Hydra Publications was the art on the cover. I must have spent hours looking at different artists before we settled on Enggar Adirasa. Have you reached this point for your own book yet?
Jack: I’ve not found an artist yet. I have, however, looked at other Steampunk books. I’ve looked at the newest books coming out, I’ve studied covers. One of the authors I talked to said that it is important that the cover looks professional, like other covers out there, and draws readers in. Contrary to that old saying, readers do judge a book by its cover.
I hope to find an artist just starting out, and one who is willing to do the covers for all four books – so they will look alike. I’m contacting two artists right now, but if neither of them can do it, I will continue my search elsewhere.
The things influencing me right now as far as cover designs are airships. They are popular on Steampunk novels and since my novel is set on an airship, it seems fitting there should be one on the cover. I’m even working on designing it so my artist, whoever it will be, will have some idea of what the Zeppelin looks like.
Gwen: Do you have any expectations about what will happen once the book comes out? Any special plans for other projects?
Jack: I would be delighted if it sold well and left readers begging for more, but I try not to set my hopes too high. I plan to, once it is out, continue my work of getting it out there. I’m also working on a series of short stories that will be released once the book is out. These will be about some of the side characters that didn’t have much time in the books.
My other projects will consit of editing the other three books, working on getting them published – hopefully book two will be out six months after the first – and continue writing. I have many more series planned, so I will, hopefully, always be writing.
Gwen: What has been the most rewarding part of your experience thus far?
Jack: Finishing the series. And writing Steampunk. This was my first Steampunk book and though I had no clue what I was doing, I’ve come to love and plan to write many more Steampunk stories.
Gwen: If readers want to follow your work or find out more about you as an author, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Jack: The best way would be by blog. http://missjacklewisbaillot.blogspot.com/ I also have a twitter and facebook page, both links to these can be found on my blog.
A little bit more about Jack Lewis Baillot:
Jack is, above all else, a Christian. She started following God at the age of sixteen when He called her out of her sins and since that time her greatest desire is to serve Him.
Secondly, Jack is an author. It is somewhat of a mystery exactly how old she was when she penned her first story – one involving four siblings, a goat, a grandmother, and a flood – but she has been writing for at least ten years. Since that time she has written about twenty books, and thankfully her writing has improved. She plans to publish most of these twenty books, after some re-writes and editing.