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Paige Erickson

Here’s Part II of my interview with Paige Erickson, author of The Nice Thing About StrangersPart I was published on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

1. Describe the process of putting the book together. What was the biggest thing that surprised you about that process?

The thing that surprised me the most was how many of the stories I had forgotten. In four years, I’ve had 567 posts. These weren’t all brand new, sometimes I would re-blog, I’ve had four guest bloggers (Rachael included) and sometimes I would post a favorite line from a book. However, most of those posts were original stories.

I heard Seth Godin in an interview say, “Everyone starts a blog, and nobody finishes one.” He was talking about the thrill of the start and the frustrations and lack of motivation that can cause many of us to abandon these blogging projects. I’ve been close to that myself, but the book has given me a second wind for sharing my stories, and a desire to keep at the discipline of blogging. As I compiled the stories, I fought the urge to do a lot of editing or changing of the way the original story was told. I had a feeling that was likely a form of procrastination. Plus, I think the group of stories show some changes in my perception over the years, and I wanted to let that remain.

2. It looks like you used a self-publishing platform. Did you consider trying to go the agent/editor route, or did you always know that you would self-publish it?

I have a visceral memory of a shoebox full of rejection slips from literary journals, and the contents of that box held me back from pursuing publishing for a long time. I also have a friend who had a book accepted by a major publisher this last year. In talking to him about it, he encouraged me to go the route of self-publishing. He had a lot of frustrations–compelled edits, didn’t get to pick his cover, didn’t get to pick his timeline, and the publisher set an extraordinary price, so in the end it isn’t as accessible as he’d like. With the blog followers and the trust I hope I’ve built with readers over the years, I thought I would give self-publishing a try.

I used Amazon’s Createspace for the print edition, and Kindle Direct for the Kindle edition. I used the extremely helpful bookow.com for formatting. Self-publishing gave me a chance to learn about the process—layout, editing, marketing—so I had a chance to explore some elements of writing as a business. I’ve learned a lot to file away for next time.

3. I found out about your book on Facebook. Are you also using other avenues for promotion? If so, what?

I will mostly run online promotion through Facebook and the blog itself.

My friend Matthias Hilse is an excellent graphic designer, and he put together images with text for me to use in the book launch and on the Facebook page for 20 days. These are single lines from within the stories. They are placed on a background in-theme with the book cover. He’s a marketing genius. He put these together, coached me through the launch, and has other recommendations for marketing over time.

I have a Twitter account for the blog that announces new posts, but I am almost never on Twitter. It feels too short-lived for me.


An example of Matt’s work.

4. Do you have any new writing projects on the horizon?

So the next project will be that elusive novel I’ve been moving from place to place without actually finishing. I’ve just been having too much fun in creative nonfiction. With any luck, I will tread back into fiction next year.

Good luck, Paige! Thanks for sharing your insights on writing, publishing, and marketing with us. The link to her book on Amazon is at the top of this post.