Hello everyone, and welcome to my blog for April 2021
Many people have spouses who are extremely supportive of their writing career. These partners take on additional chores, child-rearing duties, extra employment, and more. All these sacrifices are made to support the other partner who is writing, in order to facilitate the creativity of their spouse. Some even elect to pair with their spouse to help advance their writing careers. Such couples may have one or both partners who are writers, but work together to advance whatever creative work is being produced in the household.
Sadly, there are also authors who do not have quite the same level of assistance from their loved ones. This can be for a variety of reasons, and not necessarily because the other spouse does not want the best for their creative partner. For example, sometimes due to the nature of the other partner's work and commitments, they are unable to lend help. I have even heard the rare, and unfortunate stories of authors who have family members that are ambivalent at best, or negative at worst, towards their writing aspirations.
I am extremely grateful that my lovely wife, Debbie, backs my work completely. Moreover, she has elected to partner with me, to create a wife-husband author duo. One of the senior project members - and a valued friend - at my Indie Publisher FriesenPress, has affectionately dubbed Deb and I their ' favourite author couple'. I love that title, because very few experiences can be more rewarding than teaming up with one's spouse to create magical, fantastical novels, and ensure those novels reach the hands of those who would want to read them.
I said truthfully in the acknowledgements portion of A Drowned Kingdom, where Deb was the second being I thanked after God: ''...My lovely wife Debbie, who is my rock, my world, my everything, my sole business partner in authorpreneurship, my corporate manager, marketer-in-chief, editor, confidant, and so many other jobs that it would take another novel to describe them all...''
Deb is the better half in our marriage, and in our Indie author business. She has a background in marketing, and is extremely savvy with her organizational and promotional skills. She keeps us in order, on budget, and on mission. She takes care of so many critical details of our business, in order to free me up to engage more in the writing-related activities, including actually writing. She is entirely indispensable as a wife, and as a business partner.
Her value extends into the realm of my writing too. While Debbie is not an author herself, nor an editor, she is very much my primary point person for editing. I have a wonderful, professional editing team at FriesenPress, including the incredible Janet Layberry. But before any final draft of mine gets into the hands of FriesenPress and Janet, the first person my novels must meet the approval of is Deb. She has a very discerning, critical eye, and is highly intelligent. She can also be very frank in her feedback. Perhaps most importantly, she is not my target audience. Deb does not typically read fantasy by choice. It is not her preferred genre. So for her to enjoy a fantasy novel, it has to meet some fairly high standards. I believe that is a distinct asset when it comes to writing The Drowned Kingdom Saga.
Having Deb read and critique my work is all about trust. I implicitly trust Deb, with my life, my love, and my writing. That level of complete trust I have for her allows me to have faith that Deb will provide me with at least an indication of something being ''off'' with passage or plot line or writing device that is part of my work. More often than not, Deb provides very specific input about what she feels needs to be addressed. On occasion, she does not. She merely notes ''fix it'', or ''rework it because I don't know exactly what is wrong here, but something is.'' Then I go back to the drawing board and reread. More often than not, I see what she is referring to, even though she only articulated in a very blanket fashion that something was amiss. I then rewrite the sentence or paragraph, and usually, Deb gives that satisfied nod of concurrence.
And of course, there are times that I defend something that Deb does not agree with, and I stand by my opinion. I trust Deb, but I also trust myself, my writing skills, and my vision for the story. And, once we have a discussion about it, typically Deb agrees. In the end, we both want what's best for my writing, and to produce a quality book that others will enjoy reading. So there is no room for egos, or taking things personally. I can't only be seeking the acceptance of my wife - the most important person in the world to me, whose opinion matters the most - when I write books. I should not be only wanting to hear what she likes about the book - that's not seeking writing advice. At the same time, I have to have confidence in what I know is good about my book. I need to keep those good things I firmly believe in that are integral to the story, untouched. For example, I may have an idea about why a certain character would react a certain way in a given situation. Deb may see things differently, and in retrospect, I end up agreeing. Or, because no one knows my characters like I do (even Deb) I remind Deb of an element of that character's backstory as to why they would act in that way. Then Deb immediately sees where I am coming from, and endorses what I am saying completely.
I fully look at working with Deb on the editing part of my book as a unique and very satisfying collaboration. Ultimately, there is also alignment. Deb and I may not like the same type of books, or the same type of prose or structure, but we are completely in agreement on many of the aspects that make a book well written. Before a book in The Drowned Kingdom Saga makes it to the initial editing round, Deb and I move forward as a unified team, agreeing that the book is good enough to start that final editing process.
And of course, it is not just editing, where Debbie and I can have divergent views. Running any business, partners can sometimes have conflicting ideas about where to take the enterprise, in order for the betterment of the organization. Being an Indie author couple has involved incorporating a business, tax laws, copyright laws, working with our Indie publisher on editing, print, pricing and a host of other issues, liaison with bloggers, podcasters, reviewers, book fairs, newspapers and other press, libraries, book distributors, dealing with reader inquiries, booking speaking engagements, management of website and social media, and so much more.
It is virtually impossible to agree completely on all those aspects. Yet, we always find a way to common ground, and alignment, for the benefit of the collective. As a result, we have enjoyed some early success with our partnership, including the sales and exposure of A Drowned Kingdom to a wonderful audience of readers. But there is endless work to be done, to continue to build on that success, and continue to reach for new heights. I am so honoured I will be able to do that in tandem with my amazing wife. It makes me savour the efforts, and the journey, that much more.
In the end, it's all about our authorpreneur business succeeding. And, to that end, we provide each other with unconditional trust and love, and offer our talents to each other, and the business, unreservedly.
Please feel free to comment on this and future blogs and I will be sure to get back to you. Chat soon!
P.L. Stuart's Blog
I am a Canadian high fantasy author. My debut novel, A Drowned Kingdom - first in The Drowned Kingdom Saga, is now available! Book 2 in The Drowned Kingdom Saga, The Last of the Atalanteans, is now available here!