Hi Guys! How are you all doing? I know we can’t do much this year, but who’s excited for Halloween!!? I know I am! Let me know your plans in the comments!
So, welcome back to my FOURTH author interview. I am so excited to be posting another one! It has been so long but I’ve been finishing off my FIRST DRAFT (more on that in another post). How did you find R.F Blackstone’s interview? Good right? I just have to say a huge thank you to all the authors taking part in this series as I have loved doing it so far. I have spoken to, and become well acquainted, with so many inspiring people, and it has helped fuel my own writing career. So, thank you! And thanks to everyone reading, you make me carry on something special. I have loads of interviews lined up and I can’t wait to keep sharing some amazing insight for you! Let me know who or what you would like to see 😊
My Fourth interviewee is a different one today guys! As some of you may know I am back at university now (3rd year hype!) and I thought it would be beneficial if I spoke to someone who has recently graduated too. Fun fact. She graduated from the same university as me and we both didn’t know until just before this interview. Freaky right? Anyway… this author has recently self-published her anthology dissertation, Devil’s Lettuce, for an MA in publishing. So, if you’re a creative writing or publishing student this interview will definitely be the one for you! She talks all about the writing process and how difficult it has been trying to do this project in a short time frame, as well as delves deeper into publishing through KDP.
Interview with Paige Briscoe, author of Devil’s Lettuce.
I: Hi Paige! Are you still interested in having a chat about your published project?
P: Hi. Absolutely.
I: Yay! This is exciting! Especially since I’ll be doing my dissertation this year. So, tell me all about the project and why you decided to do it??
P: Devil’s Lettuce is an anthology of poems, short stories, and stream of consciousness writings that have been written whilst under the influence of marijuana. Going to university made me realise just how big & normalised weed culture is – it is, in essence, more harmless than alcohol; you can’t overdose on weed to the extent that you can on alcohol, and you also cannot get addicted in the same way. It has medicinal benefits – so many women I met used to smoke solely when on their periods because pharmaceutical pain killers just were not effective enough. I decided to do this project because I wanted to explore how being stoned can effect one’s writing. As a creative writing graduate, I had a lot of former course mates who smoked, but none of them (to my knowledge) utilised their smoking habit when writing creatively.
I: I have a few ideas, but none concrete yet. And that sounds interesting! I’m definitely going to give it a read. What was it like trying to get submissions? Was it just your classmates or other writers?
P: Getting submissions was both easy and hard. It was very popular when I first started advertising for people expressing interest in and I would often get ‘I would love to take part!’ messages, but then the difficulty was chasing them up and, sadly, a majority of them fell through. I was lucky enough to have a core group of writers established who more than happy to submit several pieces, which was fab! Using social media to get submissions was such a platform boost, and I ended up getting submissions from people (who I didn’t know!) in the US, Australia, and all over.
I: Amazing! Did you have a word count on the dissertation? Was it hard to adhere to?
P: So, there was no word count on my project, and in total, I think it was only about 4,000 words long – short but sweet! The paperback ended up being 86pp. The essay companion to the project, however, was tough to stick to. That was 7,000 words and trying to cram everything about the project into such a small account was annoying, if anything! Obviously, I didn’t wish to narrate the whole process, but then I couldn’t go too critical and deep into everything part of the project because there just wasn’t enough space!
I: Yes, it definitely is! 100% going to struggle on the critical side for me as well. How did you overcome it? Bet it was exciting getting to talk to new people and producing it.
P: It was definitely exciting reading all of the submissions. I even received some BEAUTIFUL works of art – which, sadly, I couldn’t incorporate into the final issue because of printing costs, paper insert availability, and eBook exporting (the issue when you’re a one-gal team on a deadline!). Had I had infinite time; I would have learnt a way to properly embed the images with InDesign. Getting submissions was mostly a result of pushy advertising! I made lots of fun infographics explaining the project and just shared them around on different platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Instagram, and some Discord servers!
I: Oh, that’s a shame! Maybe make another (fuller) version.
P: I’m actually tempted to a different volume each year/every couple of years as just a fun project!
I: And oh, you totally should! It’ll be fun! Was publishing it apart of the project? Or did you decide to do that yourself
P: Publishing was both a part and not – it had to be “publishable” i.e, print ready, or a complete eBook; before the pandemic, and in previous years, they had asked for paperbacks as the submission (if applicable) but decided this year not to, which is understandable. I mostly published it for myself; I had worked really hard on it, I’m so proud of it! Not to forget all the volunteers- they worked incredibly hard and the cover design is just so beautiful I couldn’t not have that on show!
I: Definitely! I bet it’s great to see you’ve got something publish out there too! You published on KDP. Why?
P: I chose Amazon KDP mostly because it was the quickest and cheapest route, and as a (now ex)student, I couldn’t justify spending hundreds of pounds on an ISBN and then more for printing costs. I know a lot of people have issues with Amazon (rightly so- no one needs to be a trillionaire), but that’s what’s great about KDP; I retain the rights, so I am able to offer eBook copies through my website, and for a lower price. Paperbacks I can’t do this for because it involves paying Amazon for copies first, but I hope to look into it in the future to see if there’s a way!
I: I don’t know much about publishing through kdp so it’s great to get some insight into it in case I (or anyone else) ever decides to publish something through it.
P: Yeah it’s so cool to see my work.
I: Are you writing anything at the moment? Or have another project in mind?
P: So, a few months ago I also self-published my creative writing dissertation, which was an LGBT+ coming out short story. I hope to turn it into an anthology of five short LGBT stories, and have it published as a collection- hopefully by a professional publishing house! I’m currently working on the second story for that
I: I would love to see that! Have you got a link?
I: Thank you so much! And thanks for setting aside some time to talk about your projects! It’s been interesting to hear!
P: Thank you for letting me!
So, guys! That concludes Paige’s interview. I hope any student reading this has been given some helpful tips and ideas for their own project this year! I know she has me!
You can read Paige’s dissertation here. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Devils-Lettuce-Paige-Briscoe/dp/B08GV9NFMY/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=paige+devils+lettuce&qid=1603829930&sr=8-1
And follow her socials @cruciomysoul on twitter
Paige’s website: https://wordsfromthepaige.com/