Karen Tyrrell chatted with Lucy McGinley about the Indie publishing process of Karen's latest book in the Songbird series, Rainforest Rescue.
Karen defines Indie Publishing as setting up your own imprint to the highest industry standards and subcontracting editors, illustrators, designers, formatters and printers to produce a quality book.
Write Links junior fiction group critiqued Karen’s Tyrrell superhero eco fantasy novel, Rainforest Rescue (Song Bird 3) chapter by chapter, month by month. Karen rewrote Rainforest Rescue based on their suggestions and positive feedback.
1. What was your editing process for Rainforest Rescue?
I sent out my completed manuscript to Beta Readers who gave me more suggestions on how to further improve my story. I re-drafted and rewrote my story to make it the very best it could be. My aboriginal cultural advisor, Uncle Barry Watson read my manuscript to check the indigenous content: Gondwana rainforests, mythical creatures and bush tucker. Next, I sent my manuscript to a professional editor (ex-Penguin) for an intensive structural edit. The editor asked me over 100 questions to draw out character development and the story line. I addressed these questions, inserting those new sections back into the manuscript. Finally, my editor line edited my manuscript so my book was ready for publishing.
2. After editing Rainforest Rescue what happened next?
I brainstormed cover ideas with my business partner and husband Steve Tyrrell at Digital Future Press. (my publishing imprint). Steve and I developed a precise brief for my cover illustrator Trevor Salter. As an indie publisher, I sub-contracted a book designer and formatter through Book Cover Café. I print my books POD via Lightning Source, the largest printer in the world.
3. How do you organize your book launch?
Six months before the release date, I booked a launch event at a local library. I planned my launch so that Uncle Barry Watson could present ‘Acknowledgement to Country’ and my illustrator could attend. Steve and I brainstormed ideas for a multi-media launch presentation.
4. You have about 8 characters that are in every story. How do you keep your characters consistent throughout the series? Do they have a character arc where they are changing much?
For my main character, Rosella Ava Bird (bullied), and her side-kicks Amy Hillcrest (disabled) and Ben (low self-esteem), I keep detailed character notes and interviews, keeping tabs on their appearance, description, back story, flaws and favourite expressions. As the series progresses, I give them increasing self-confidence and problem-solving abilities. I do the same for Rosie’s family and class teacher, Miss Darling AKA Wonder Girl but to a lesser degree.
5. Looking at your themes you are obviously conscious of environmental concerns. Is this because it is a hot topic or is this something you are passionate about?
I’m an ex-teacher. Environmental issues were part of my class teaching and my personal lifestyle. For over twenty years, I have hiked through Gondwana rainforests and national parks from Mt Tamborine to Springbrook and Lamington National Park behind the Gold Coast.
You can learn more about Karen at http://www.karentyrrell.com/
Karen Tyrrell writes empowering books to help kids live STRONG through humour and self-belief. She’s an experienced Brisbane teacher, workshop presenter and motivational speaker. Her acclaimed books include Song Bird series, STOP the Bully, Bailey Beats the Blah, Harry Helps Grandpa Remember, and Super Space Kids series. Karen won 3 awards, 4 literary grants, 2 sponsorships and a mentorship through the Society of Editors.