I got the chance to sit down with local author Leslie Baker and discuss the importance of knowing your genre and how it plays a role in everything from what scenes to include, who your audience will be, and how to market your book. Take a listen!
You can find Leslie’s author profile here: https://soapboxedits.com/leslie-baker-author/ And if you’d like to chat with her, drop a line! firstname.lastname@example.org
A quick note:
I’m new to all this and the tech knowledge it comes with. It’s been a steep learning curve. Thank you for your patience with the few little blips here and there and for following me on this journey!
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[00:00] This is Jacque with SoapBox Editorial the place to go to turn your work from fatigued to powerful. Here I interview debut authors about a step they took to make that happen.
[00:10] I got the chance to discuss the importance of genre with local author Leslie Baker. We talked about how it plays into everything from meeting reader expectations to how you market your book. Let’s hear what she has to say:
[00:24] Jacque: Hi Leslie thanks for coming in and talking to me today.
Leslie: I’m glad to be here.
Jacque: It’s good to see you again. I wanted to talk a little bit about your debut book Fireworks! A fearless look at Boomers and old age and the Millennials they raised. Profane, witty, irreverent, and not for the faint of heart. It’s quite title there.
Leslie: I think so!
Jacque: When I read the whole title, when I finally got to see the cover it was on point, for sure.
Jacque: When did your book come out?
Leslie: My gosh, I guess it’s been about six or eight weeks now.
Jacque: Okay, sure. Okay, we’re recording this in July.
Leslie: So it, you know it got to me and got printed and got to me and then it takes oh, maybe a month after that before it’s actually live on Amazon.
Jacque: Oh, okay well, that’s good to know and you went through Bookstand right?
[01:29] Leslie: Yes, yeah yes she liked them as an idea this is…I think we had used them once before for one of my husband’s books and while I would much rather be able to just go directly to Amazon and put the whole thing on there myself, like, I did really everything. The cover I did myself, but I’m not tech savvy enough to know how to go on Amazon and get everything formatted properly right? and so even though it was an expensive proposition, going through Bookstand, it was also nice to have real-life people to talk to.
Jacque: That’s always good to have that, being able to have that tech person walk you through it.
Leslie: Well and then, although I did it all there were very few things that once I converted it to Word rather than Pages and sent it to them, I didn’t have to do a whole lot more than that except proof what they sent me.
Jacque: Well, that makes it nice. How long do you think that you worked on your on your book before you sent it? Before it was it was ready?
[02:46] Leslie: Oh God, that would be scary to think about that all right you know I don’t know. If you count the Yesterday’s News segments in there, which are the columns that are for the local paper that I used inserted throughout the book and of course some of those were several years old but they’ve just been sitting there and so I would say about a year.
[03:19] Jacque: Did you have an audience in mind when you started or did you just want to write for yourself?
Leslie: I think I did have an audience. I think my initial target audience would have been…I volunteered for many years, as you saw in the book, with hospice and I think at the time I really got serious about writing it I had several friends who should have been in hospice but their families were not aggressive enough with the doctors involved to realize that their parents or their husbands or whoever it is they had reached the point that they really needed Hospice and and I think that was the audience that I was trying to initially to speak to. In saying you don’t have to just sit and wait for something to happen to you, you could be more proactive and I think that was kind of what got me started.
[04:27] Jacque: Yeah, it certainly evolved from there. You have topics anywhere from MeToo, to gender neutrality to…
Leslie: Yes, yes. Incontinence.
Jacque: All with a hint of humor, which you know life needs for sure. Now, having an audience mind once you
Leslie: We just didn’t know how to give it a label and every marketing thing that you look at whether it’s Amazon or whether you’re trying to go the traditional publishing route, genre’s the first thing that comes up.
Jacque: It is. It’s kind of a…it’s pretty important for reader expectation. What did you finally decide on?
Leslie: I don’t know that it’s any. Essay, probably is what it ended up with it. Seemed like I had to check a box somewhere from this word did.
Jacque: Do you know what Amazon categorized it under?
Leslie: I’m trying [to remember]. I’m sure, even think I’ve checked that my, yeah, if because that was the hard thing and I think that if there
Jacque: For sure. We sat in your office that day and talked about you know, how do we get the late 20s early 30s somethings and that’s you know, the boomers, how do we get them both to enjoy the same the same book, right?
[07:14] Leslie: That’s a nonfiction. And that was quite a struggle.
Jacque: I know we did a little bit of research but I’m glad that you were able to find something that that worked for you and for Bookstand for Amazon as well.
Leslie: Yes. Although I will say, and I know that you encouraged me to turn it into two books because you felt like they were so diametrically opposed as they were in some ways and in some readings of it…compulsively reading that book, but in some readings of it, I have thought well Jacque was right about that it would have been it makes more sense for it to have been two books. All things considered though, I probably would not have done it. At that point of us up to here
Jacque: Yeah, I know. Every writer struggle, right?
Jacque: Would you approach your next book…have you…I know you’ve got one in the works, a new book in the works, so have you approached it a little differently in regards to genre or you still just kind of…
Leslie: No, I think I’m still just kind of winging it. For one thing I don’t want to be painted into a box and I think if I were to assignment it genre at this stage I would feel I would be saying oh, well that assists it and I don’t really want that. If I have to come into strictures later on, okay I can do it then, but right now I really don’t want any more restraints than I have to have now.
Jacque: Now, the restraints do you mean through your first draft and then you want to look at the structure and genre later on?
Leslie: Yes. Yeah, yeah.
Jacque: I think that’s a smart idea because then…
Leslie: You do?
Jacque: I do because when you write you just want to be able to sit and write and get your ideas paper and just kind of get it out of you and then you can sit and decide which direction you should want to go and your subsequent drafts can then work like that. You can, you know, always take things out, add things in, tweak what you do have.
Leslie: I agree they lose their spontaneity. I think if you have too many walls around it if you early on.
Jacque: Yeah, I agree you know doing more of that structure working second and third drafts absolutely. Yeah, you kind of want that story out.
Leslie: Oh, I’m glad [hear that].
Jacque: Oh, yeah. The first draft…there’s that quote: the first draft is telling yourself the story.
Leslie: It is a good one.
Jacque: I thoroughly enjoy that one because people do end up getting so stuck in that like, oh, this isn’t right yet. Well, it doesn’t need to be right, you haven’t even written it.
So people can buy your book it’s out now, they can buy it from my website soapboxedits.com under New Releases. It will take you to a link on Amazon. Where else can they purchase your book?
Leslie: It’s online with Barnes & Noble and it seems like there are a couple of other spots but I haven’t really been too concerned about where it’s available yet, because it just really, I haven’t one any marketing and so I would say that most of the people who have bought it have been family and friends and so if I end up getting more aggressive about marketing it I’ll look into other options, other outlets.
Jacque: Now, did Bookstand help you get into it at all…
Leslie: They did it all.
Jacque: And you do have print and e-book available
Jacque: Is that available on Nook or just Kindle?
Leslie: I think it is on Barnes, no? Yes, it is.
Jacque: I think so that’s cool, that’s very cool. Can you tell me about your new book that you have in the works? How far along are you can [you share with me?]
[12:02] Leslie: Yeah. It’s, I’ve got probably, I would say 90% of the text there. At this stage, but I haven’t done any of them…well, I’ve just started the sorting into chapters and that sort of thing and the title is kind of scary. The title’s Old Lady Porn…
and I read the intro to it to my book group a week or two ago and they loved it. They laugh and all the way through the intro so I’m going yes! that’s what I wanted
Jacque: That’s good to hear!
[12:46] Leslie: You know, basically it’s just a bunch of very short stories and kind of thinking old ladies like me will take to the short stories but it’s not really pornographic and, as I said in the intro, you get to be our age and Godiva chocolates are a lot more pornographic.
Jacque: So you could get in your bed with a glass of wine have, your chocolate, and you’re good to go! Very nice! Do you think I’ll get a sneak peak?
Leslie: [Of course].
Jacque: Now, readers and listeners they can find you on my website. You’ve got a an author page on there www.soapboxedits.com-Leslie-Baker-author, because I could have made that longer, but there they can find out a little bit more about you, about your book Fireworks! We’ll probably throw something up there pretty soon about your new one I hope. But where can people get a hold of you? Where can they contact you? You have an email address?
Leslie: Um, I have email and I’m on Facebook and I [don’t] know my Facebook. After you kind of tried to get a little more serious about it but it hasn’t worked out.
Jacque: You were doing okay on Twitter there for a while.
Leslie: I did a few thingies did I just [I’d rather eat glass].
Jacque: Yes, it can be rough what’s your email for people to get a hold of you email@example.com
Jacque: Well, thank you, Leslie, for coming down and talking to me.
Leslie: Well, this has been fun. It’s been nice to see you again.
Jacque: Likewise. We’ll have to get together another time.
Leslie: Okay, thank you.
Jacque: Thank you, for listening. When you’d like to learn more about how I can help you step up your story from fatigue to powerful, or you’d like to be featured on Soapbox Talks, visit my website www.soapboxedits.com and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter and stay tuned for more powerful training content on my blog. G’bye!
Amazon (or Bookstand) categorized Leslie’s book under Health, Fitness, & Dieting with a subcategory of Aging and Aging Parents.
You can find Leslie on Twitter @CLYesterday, but remember, she’d rather eat glass than use social media 😉
Once you’ve read her book Fireworks! leave her a rating on Amazon.
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