Interview With Author Elizabeth Suggs

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

I’m Elizabeth Suggs. I’m an indie publisher, editor, and writer. I own Editing Mee, where I help bring authors to market through editing and marketing, and co-own Collective Tales Publishing, where we publish anthologies with new and known authors. My bestselling book is one where I helped edit and publish it. It’s Collective Darkness: http://collectivedarkness.com/ (We now even have an audiobook!) I also have been in several other anthologies, on podcasts (The Night’s End read one of my stories on their podcast), and I was in a poetry journal. I’m still working on a novel, but I should have something out soon, hopefully in the next few years! 

I’m also a cosplayer. I use the power of images and silly videos to get people into reading! This also combines with my book reviewing, which helps me find clients, better my writing skills, and help new writers navigate the book review world. All in all, I keep myself fairly busy. Here’s my linktree: https://linktr.ee/

# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?

One real-life story about Collective Darkness is that it took two years and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to make. I started on my own, but without the help of Jonathan Reddoch, Ashley Bigbie, and Brandon Prows, I don’t think it would be such a success as it is now. It’s the combined effort of brilliant minds that made it awesome. 

After reviewing tons of other books, I can see which ones have had editors, marketers, and so on to help in the book process. It makes the book better, more seamless, and more enjoyable overall. To think a book doesn’t need more than one editor is faulty logic. The writer is biased, and the editor may only see one stage of the book. It’s best to have eyes on the story throughout the process.  

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

People and music. I love people-watching. I’m inspired every day by how people interact with the world. Also, music. Music can really pull me out of a writing slump with that one perfect note. 

# How do you deal with creative block?

Sort of mentioned above, but music really helps my creative block. It’s also important to have breaks. Sometimes I push myself too hard—stress curbs creativity. So, if I’m having a tough time, I do something fun. I play “hooky” from my work… play a game, go on a walk, so on. For me, this helps tremendously. 

# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

As mentioned above, believing you can publish a book all by yourself is the biggest mistake. Don’t get me wrong—it is perfectly possible to publish anything online, but if you want quality? You want something that’ll hit market standards? You need help. And there are different editors. Developmental editors will help you with the core of the story. They’ll help move it forward, but they may or may not be the best proofreaders and vice versa. Make sure your editor can do multiple things—has shown that they’re capable of doing multiple things, and then after, get another editor when you’ve got a final product. 

For instance, Jonathan and I work on Collective Tales Publishing. We do developmental, line/copy editing, and proofreading. But this takes stages and skill. And even after that, when a book is finished formatting, we like having an extra pair of eyes look at our work, go through the stories, line-by-line before we publish. 

As an author, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the story and want to show it to the world, but the biggest mistake is rushing the product. Editing, formatting, and marketing all take time. You want to be careful. You don’t want to make a mistake and have readers get pulled out of the story because of it. This is your baby; treat it with the respect and love it deserves. 

# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

Ah, titles and covers. Sometimes the best title or cover isn’t the one an author loves. The reason? Titles and covers are to bring in potential buyers. They are the “booth babe” of your book. There are particular colors in advertising that bring people in, particular titles and fonts. For instance, your title font matters. If it’s not a fantasy book, yet has a font that readers traditionally associate with fantasy? You’ll lose sales. 

Another thing with titles? Keep them short. Memorable. You don’t want readers to stumble over the title name. You want them to say it and remember it. Here are some title examples: Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Goosebumps, The Secret Life of Bees, etc. These are all famous and fantastic books with titles that are strange enough I remember them. Make your title memorable, but make sure it hits your genre (unless it’s a name like Harry Potter, then you may want a subtitle), give your reader an idea of the tone of your book, etc. 

And colors that are too soft or blend in will have readers gloss over your book. Think about fast food joints. Have you noticed they all use a similar color scheme? Reds, yellows, etc. WARM colors? Now, you may not always have to have warm colors, but warm colors pop. And popping is the most important when it comes to sales. You can’t always be there to sell your book. 

The best thing you can do for your cover is to hire a cover designer. They’ve been in the market for a long time. They know what’s sells. Sometimes they’re not that cheap, but it may be worth it in sales and recognition. 

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

I don’t like them hahah, but I like to read them. Sometimes a bad review isn’t helpful, but sometimes it can be. I use those bad reviews to help me better enhance my stories in the future or help others with their stories. Bad reviews are just critical feedback. Try to see their side and what really compelled them to write that review. 

# How has your creation process improved over time?

Consistency, seeing the market trends, and reading. These things have improved my writing and process because I’m writing all the time, and I’m open and willing to see what’s popular and see the tried and true methods. Even if you don’t write to what’s popular, it’s still good to know about them, and it’s good to understand why you don’t want to do that particular process. Wisdom is key. Not enough writers are willing to do research. I hope that can change. 

# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

My work-ethic. I could work 24/7 if I didn’t have people who demanded my attention, and while this can lead to burnout, I do it because I love it. Because I want to be in the editing, writing, creating world. It’s a lovely experience. 

# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

I try to do both. But generally, I write for my personal satisfaction. I think it’s important to be cognizant of your readers and what they enjoy, and knowing this with the market trends, helps, but it’s most important to write because you like writing. 

# What role do emotions play in creativity?

Emotions are the foundation for creativity, and as such, writing. They build settings, enhance characters. They are the very fibers of your story and thus are the most important.

# Do you have any creativity tricks?

Having trouble with a scene or the emotion in that scene? Say you want to enhance an especially dark scene. Write it when you are in that dark mood, or turn on that dark music to get you in that mood. 

# What are your plans for future books?

There is a ton in store for Collective Tales Publishing. We’ve got three more books opened for submissions: Scifi, dystopia, and an LGBTQ charity anthology (we’d love for you to submit! http://ctpfiction.com/). For me personally? I’m writing two books right now. I’m hoping to have them both finished in the next few years. 

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

I enjoy walking for long periods, sometimes 2-3 hours at a time, listening to an audiobook. I have a perfectly good car to drive, but I prefer walking. There’s sometimes calming about it.