Self-Publishing: An Interview with Liz Henderson
Liz Henderson is the author of Viridian Dreams, a young adult Christian fantasy novel that came out on November 1. After being inspired to write the book during NaNoWriMo in 2014, she let the book sit until a family tragedy motivated her to finally publish the book. Keep reading to learn more about the book and her self-publishing journey.
Viridian Dreams is a young adult fantasy novel that follows Ezra, who is eagerly waiting to find out if he’s been accepted into university. But when the letters arrive, they’re all rejections. Devastated by the turn of events, he goes for a walk to clear his mind, accidentally stumbling through a Gateway to the planet Chromvah. There, he learns that God is real and the guardian angels living on Chromvah need his help to continue their work on Earth.
When the guardian angels reveal that the gateways between Chromvah and Earth have all disappeared, Ezra realizes he is trapped. While Ezra is stuck on the strange planet, he dreams about a girl named Petra, who he discovers is in fact real and living on Earth. She, along with Ezra’s newfound faith in God, will be the only hope he has of returning to Earth.
This book is perfect for teens who might be questioning their relationship with God, or who just want to lose themselves in an engrossing story of good versus evil.
How it All Started
Viridian Dreams came to Henderson while she was on her daily walk to the bus stop.
"My path took me between two street signs that were a bit close together," she said. "I started imagining what if it were a gateway to another planet. I have a bit of a fascination with the verse in the Bible that says to show hospitality to everyone because some have entertained angels unaware. So I decided to write a book about a fictional planet where guardian angels would live."
Henderson wrote the first draft of Viridian Dreams in thirty days during NaNoWriMo 2014. But, after that, the draft sat for years without being touched.
"I then proceeded to do nothing with the book, but occasionally remember that it existed and that maybe I could do something with it," she said. "In November 2018, I had just gone through a major family tragedy and needed to do something for myself. Doing another NaNoWriMo wasn't possible for me with a one-year-old, so I dusted off my old project and read it through and revised it."
The Self-Publishing Process
When asked why she didn't try getting her book published traditionally, she said, "Honestly, it was because I'm impatient and didn't believe in myself enough to go through the querying process. I just wanted to get my story out there, so I chose self-publishing."
So, what were her first steps?
"I started off knowing almost nothing about the whole process. Someone I kind of knew at church had self-published a book of poetry, so I messaged her and picked her brain. She made self-publishing sound not as scary as I thought it was. She told me about Amazon's self-publishing platform."
The more Henderson explored self-publishing, the more she heard about Kindle Direct Publishing, so she decided to use that platform to publish her work. But first, she had to polish the novel and figure out how to craft the cover.
"I got a few friends to beta read for me the first round and then a few people I found on the internet the second round," she said. "I hired Natalia Leigh of Enchanted Ink Publishing to do line/copy edits. I also hired Alea Harper to design my cover and the full paperback wrap."
The Best of Times and the Worst of Times
The hardest part about self-publishing for Henderson was not knowing if her book was the best it could be. "I was the one making all the decisions and I'm not a professional. There's also the not knowing the current trends and having to do all the marketing myself," she said.
Though self-publishing does have it's difficulties, Henderson said the best part about it is the feeling of accomplishment when the book is finally out. "I did all of this on my own," she reminisced.
What Does the Future Hold?
Henderson has another book she's working on, but it doesn't relate to Viridian Dreams at all. "I think I've exhausted everything I can about that world, at least for now," she said. "I did write a short story related to Viridian Dreams thinking I'd release it on my blog, but I decided against that. Maybe one day I'll revise it and release it as a reader magnet."
Viridian Dreams is available for purchase here on Amazon.