I’m super excited to introduce my first writer’s interview of 2017!
Fabi Ghittoni is an Argentinian-based indie author about to publish her very first book, The Elven Tales: The Company of the Rose. I really enjoyed doing this interview with Fabi and I must say she totally blows me away. She’s gorgeous, smart (she’s a lawyer!), she loves to read, she’s super creative and now she’s about to put out her very first book!
The Elven Tales is the story of Prudence Clark, a seemingly ordinary girl who lives with her best friend’s family in Cambridge. But a wave of kidnappings and a brutal attack turns her life upside-down and suddenly Prudence finds herself a refugee of The Council of the Five Kingdoms and charged with locating the King’s runes. Accompanied by the warriors known as The Company of The Rose, Prudence is about to set out on a journey that will reveal new secrets about her past and her destiny.
Fabi has put an amazing amount of time and effort into writing and getting The Elven Tales ready for publication, and luckily for us, she’s willing to give an insight into how she managed to get all this done plus hold down her day job and other obligations. Read on to find out exactly how she does it!
Hi, Fabi, and welcome to The Salonniere’s Apartments! I thought we’d start by getting you to tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hello Marilyn! Thank you very much for having me at The Salonniere’s Apartments! I would start by saying that my full name is Fabiana, although everyone calls me Fabi. I live in Argentina. I’m 25 years old and I’m a lawyer. I graduated from law school at the age of 22 so everyone who knows me considers me quite a nerd. I love books and it is very rare not to see me with one in my hands. I started writing The Elven Tales two years ago, when I took my grandmother on a trip to the islands in southern Chile. That landscape, full of mountains, forests and volcanoes, inspired me to write a fantasy story.
What can readers expect from The Elven Tales?
The Elven Tales will be released within a few days, on February 1st to be exact. My deepest wish from the moment I conceived this story was that readers could enjoy a cozy reading. I personally experienced that feeling as a reader every time I’ve read the books in the Harry Potter series. Something very similar happened to me with The Hobbit. I wanted to replicate exactly the same feeling with my own book. I wanted readers to feel the desire to live within the story, the desire to be part of it, to feel embraced by a new magical world full of adventures in which incredible things happen. That is what readers will find in The Elven Tales: a very detailed magical world, journeys to amazing places, adventures, creatures and magical beings, action, epic battles, secrets, betrayal, friendship, courage and many mysteries yet to be solved.
What was the writing process like for The Elven Tales?
At first it was a nightmare. It was literally like walking through a thick fog that didn’t let me see beyond my feet. That was until I perfected my plotting techniques. Then I saw the light, and the right path appeared before me. Since then the writing process has been very fast.
I’m not a native English speaker and Spanish is my original language. I didn’t even take English classes. I learned by myself reading books, and after many years of practice I have finally mastered it. It is a very arduous task to write a book in English without it being your original language, but it has been a lot of fun. The manuscript was originally written in English, it was not translated. In the process I have received the help of my wonderful editor, Sylver. She lives in Ireland, on the other side of the world for me, but we have worked together all 2016 and so far this year. She has polished my work beautifully and I am very happy to have her on my team.
The Elven Tales is a self-published book. Why did you choose to go the indie author route?
I chose the independent route mainly because I am a very creative person. When I’m not writing I’m reading, drawing, or capturing images with my camera, or designing graphics in Photoshop. I knew from the beginning that producing and self-publishing a book would be a very fun process for me, given the amount of creative work I had to do. And I wanted to direct the project in its entirety. Besides, I’m quite a perfectionist. I paid close attention to every detail and I wanted my book to stand out from other independent books for being of high quality. I have read and researched a lot about it and the first thing I did was to draw up a plan with everything that had to be done. Self-publishing The Elven Tales became a personal goal for me.
Could you tell us a little more about your self-publishing process? What was it like?
I wanted to produce a book of the highest quality, from its cover, through its edition, to the formatting, the interior design of the book, the illustrations, the map, and more. All those things were in my head and I could find the right people to work on it. First, I contacted my editor and while I developed the chapters she was polishing them. Then I worked with another editor who helped me correct some plot holes I didn’t feel comfortable with. When the manuscript was advanced enough I looked for a graphic designer to work on the cover. The next step was to deal with other details like the map. I hired Ren, another graphic designer who does fantasy maps and she turned my ideas into a fabulous map that will be included in the book. Finally, I decided that I would entrust the interior design and the formatting of the book to the same designer who made the cover, because she was the one who knew the concept of The Elven Tales better.
I worked with two graphic designers; I had two editors and two illustrators. Each one of them delivered their talents in the tasks I have delegated them and they’ve contributed to the book The Elven Tales has become today. But the process does not end there. The promotion and distribution of the book is equally, if not more, important than the production itself. To get my book out there, social networks have helped me a lot, mainly Instagram and Wattpad. I have also figured out that the best way to sell books is through email marketing.
I have partnered up with a company called BookBub that has about 8 million subscribers, to launch an advertising campaign from February 1st. The Elven Tales is currently available for pre-order on Amazon, B&N, and Apple in eBook version. The printed version will also be launched on February 1st through the same distribution channels and others such as Ingram, through which you can purchase not only the paperback, but also the hardback.
I am super impressed with all the time and effort you have put into not just writing, but publishing and marketing your book! And I must say the book cover is simply gorgeous! You’ve already touched a little on the design process of the cover but could you tell us a little bit more about it?
Thank you so much! The cover of The Elven Tales has had a wonderful reception among readers. After revealing the cover I got hundreds of likes on Instagram. Many bookstagrammers have left the same comment: “It’s the most beautiful cover I’ve ever seen.” Although that is a lot to say, I think it is a fantastic cover and I owe it entirely to my extremely talented designer Mirella Santana. Mirella lives in Brazil and is well known for her graphic design work. I discovered her through her portfolio on DeviantArt, and fell in love with her work. I contacted her immediately after and we started working on the cover. She is also in charge of designing the interior of the book. Each page, each chapter header, each title has a custom design made by her. Just look at the cover and imagine the beautiful work she’s done inside! The interior is as much or prettier than the cover. I can’t wait for you to see!
I can’t wait to see it either! Now what was the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far in your writing journey and how did you overcome it?
Time. Definitely time. As I told you before, I’m a lawyer, and that’s what I do for a living, in addition to attending other family businesses. It has been a real struggle to find time and peace of mind to write. It was very difficult to get all the daily occupations out of my head and make my mind blank to imagine and connect with the magical world I was creating in parallel. But I delegated a lot of work, and I received the support of my family, mainly from my mother, who has taken care of many of my tasks so that I had time to write and achieve my goal of publishing a book.
Money has been another issue. Self-publishing a book doesn’t cost so much, anyone can afford it. But self-publishing a high quality book with so many details costs a lot of money. I had to acquire an extra credit card to be able to finance my book’s production costs.
What’s a regular day like for you?
My routine has changed a lot in the last year since I embarked on my self-publishing journey. I used to go to the gym every day, but I totally left it *sighs*. I get up early (although not so early – since I don’t have a boss, I can be flexible with my schedules) and I go to the office. My mornings are full with work but in the afternoon, when I find free time, I write. Weekends have been my most productive times during the year. I have also taken great advantage of holidays. When I finish my workday and I can go home, I spend time with my dog, Kika, a mini schnauzer who is like my daughter, or I go out to dinner with my boyfriend. And I always try to write a bit before going to bed.
Finally, what’s next?
The Elven Tales is a series of five books. So, The Elven Tales: The Company of the Rose, is the first one. There is still a lot of work to do and many adventures to tell. I have already diagrammed much of what happens in the rest of the series. Regarding the debut of the first installment, I have many expectations about it, since I got so much support from the readers’ community. The most important thing is that after the launch, and once readers have the chance to read and fall in love with the story, I will travel to London to meet some of them. On March 24th there will be a launch party and a book signing for The Elven Tales in London. Those wishing to attend can book their tickets through Eventbrite. So for those who attend, I’ll see you there!
Thanks so much, Fabi, for coming onto The Salonniere’s Apartments and sharing your writing journey with us! For those who want to find out more, you can connect with Fabi at her official website. You can also visit her on Instagram, Twitter and Goodreads. The Elven Tales can be pre-ordered at Amazon and an excerpt of the novel can be found at Wattpad. And to attend Fabi’s book launch and signing in London, you can purchase tickets here.
All images courtesy of Fabi Ghittoni.