May 19, 2016

The Story Behind the Book - Publishing After The Ending

In our last post, After The Ending: The Story Behind Book One, we talked about how The Ending world came to be, what book one looked like in the beginning stages, and how much it has changed since. But there's another side to being an author that some of you may not think much about--the publishing part of being an indie author. We're going to share that piece with you today. 

Things are always changing in the indie pub world, so why did we want to go this route when we were so green? Why would we want to spend so much time on formatting and design and marketing when we initially knew so little about the process?

In part two of The Story Behind the Book, LF sheds light on why we wanted to put in all the work and publish independently vs. traditionally. 
The Story Behind the Book  

Getting Published by Lindsey Fairleigh

First off, I want to say that we published independently, meaning an outside party didn’t coordinate the actual publication process for After The Ending. We had our sticky little fingers in everything from the writing (one would hope) to the creation of the cover and the formatting of manuscripts. Unsurprisingly, the question many people ask us is, “Don’t you want a 'real' publisher?” We’ll be the first to admit that we’ve thought about it...a lot. We sat down one afternoon shortly after the first draft was completed and spent hours drafting a query letter to send to traditional publishers, and we later spent more hours revising said letter. But, we never sent it. As we wrote and worked with editors and created covers, we talked about sending it...and talked about it... and talked about it, but there was a point where the book was so close to being publishable that we thought, why not try doing it alone? We loved the book, loved the characters and how they handled everything that we threw at them, and simply loved the world we’d created together. It seemed a bit of a shame to hand our literary baby over to someone else’s care. 

I’m not going to go into the tedious details of publishing independently--and believe me, there are many details and most are tedious--but I have to say that a few services like Createspace, Kindle Direct Publishing, and Lightning Source are amazing for the new-to-publishing indie authors like us. Of course, there are countless, tireless blogger-authors who devote hours every day to helping their fellow authors achieve their publishing dreams--people like Joanna Penn, J.A. Konrath, and the trio of fellas behind the Self Publishing Podcast--without whom we’d probably still be bumbling along through the brambles of the publishing world.

It’s definitely been a lot scarier than I’d imagine the traditional publishing route to be, but also a lot faster. It’s also been a lot of work, far beyond the writing of the manuscript...which was a lot of work in and of itself. But in the end, it was worth it. 
With blood, sweat, tears, and tired fingers and eyes, we managed to navigate the choppy publishing waters independently, and we’ve never experienced anything more rewarding. I’m putting words in LP’s mouth, but I spend enough time with her to be certain she’d agree. After The Ending was the first book either of us published, and thinking about readers’ responses sometimes brings me to tears...happy tears. As we've gone on to publish more books in this way, we've been able to smooth out some of the bumps in the road, we have no problems staying on the independent route.

May 12, 2016

May Giveaway!!

Hey Endingers!

This month, we're offering up a complete set of audiobooks to one lucky Endinger!
All you need to do to enter is fill out this form.

We'll announce the winner in early June! 

Good Luck!

May 5, 2016

After The Ending -- The Story Behind Book One

As mentioned in our last post, this series of blog posts are about Team Lindsey's story and how The Ending Series came to be. Why are we spending time on this? The answer is simple. Most of our readers haven't been with us from the beginning and know little about us. Even those loyal readers who have been around over the past three plus years aren't aware of how The Ending world came to be.

So, here you go! This is our story of when it all began--when After The Ending wasn't even a book concept yet, when Dani and Zoe only communicated through one-dimensional emails, and the world was just starting to fall apart... THIS is how the world of The Ending came to be, how Dani and Zoe grew into complex, commanding characters who would traverse the world in order to find each other--in order to survive the Ending.

The Story Behind the Book  
The Inspiration by Lindsey Pogue
It all began with two women, a longish car ride, and a lot of passion and inspiration...

Well, that's only part of the beginning. To start off, Lindsey Fairleigh and I met working at a bookstore in 2010. LF had recently moved to the Napa Valley and LP had just returned home from traveling through Europe. At first, it was cool because we were both Lindseys, tall, awkward, quirky book addicts. But our similarities didn't stop there. 
For most of our lives, we’ve been conjuring up fantastical worlds, heroes, and leading ladies, but neither of us had the confidence to do much with our passion for writing.

Fast forward to October 2011...
We were on a several hour car ride back from an exhaustingly awesome NCIBA (Northern California Independent Booksellers Association) conference on behalf of Copperfield Books. LF, being the science fiction and fantasy connoisseur that she is, got to talking about an idea for a blog—a correspondence between two friends as they experience the end of the world. We started brainstorming, developing our characters, a name for the project, and so on. Apparently all we needed was a seed of mutual enthusiasm, a sprig of inspiration from all the authors we'd met at the conference, and a spark of intrigue as we browsed the endless tables of lavish book covers to get our creative juices flowing, and... dun dun dunnn... Team Lindsey was born! That car ride began the After The Ending journey that would inevitably change our lives.
As a result of our enthusiasm and collaboration over the next year or so (and an immense amount of revisions), After The Ending, book one in The Ending series, was born. And when I say born, I mean it morphed into a completely different project from the one we initially set out to create. While the concept and storyline essentially remained the same, the format went through multiple revisions, transforming from the original online blog version into the nearly 500-page book that was finally published in February 2013.
Because our initial idea was to start a blog where our two characters documented their apocalyptic survival experiences solely conveyed through emails, we started off writing in first person and only in the format of emails between Zoe and Dani. It didn’t take us too long to realize that we were severely limiting the story that Zoe and Dani had to tell. We realized we were unable to convey the depth, dynamics, and true nature of our characters because we only allowed the reader to see them through their silly, realistic, and sometimes melodramatic emails. We wanted more! We wanted to share our characters in a way the emails wouldn’t allow, so we did a complete overhaul of everything we’d written. Happily, this not only enabled us to learn more about our characters, but it allows our readers to see beyond their quirky emails—to see our leading ladies as they truly are, including their fears, passions, and even their secrets. 
Eventually, we realized we don’t have to limit ourselves to Zoe and Dani’s perspectives either. These two young women are only part of the world of The Ending so we spread the love, including other perspectives throughout the series. Since publishing book one, we haven't looked back!

May 1, 2016

Team Lindsey Ending Series FAQ

As most of you are aware, The Ending Series proper has come to a close. Yes, there will be small writing projects here and there, specifically World Before and World After that will be getting some more buzz later this year. But what we'll call The Ending Series origin novels are complete. Finito. Closed.

Now, some of you Endingers have been with us from the beginning, reading our stories and growing with our characters alongside us. Other readers are new to the Ending Series--to Harper's waggling eyebrows, Jason's smoldering stone-faced expressions (yes, somehow he manages to do both), Dani and Zoe's silly banter and unwavering friendship--and those of you newest to the world of The Ending might have a few (or many) questions about, well, all of it. The series, how it started, us...

That being said, we wanted to share a little bit about our writing process, the origin of the series, our Team Lindsey history, and so much more with you through a series of short blog posts.

To start, here are FAQ's that you may or may not be wondering yourselves. Get out the libations and popcorn, it's sort of a long one. Happy Reading!


1. What inspired The Ending series?
LP (Lindsey Pogue): We were both working at a bookstore a few years ago, and we were on our way home from a tradeshow in Oakland. I think we were high from the smell of new books or something because we were giddy and started chatting about writing and stories and it bloomed from there. We started brainstorming characters and story arcs, and before we knew it, we had Zoe and Dani outlined and a title for our project.
LF (Lindsey Fairleigh): Yeah, we had the entire premise set up by the time we parted ways that evening.
2. What motivated you to write a post-apocalyptic romance series? Have you always been science fiction fans?
LP: Romance fan, yes! Science fiction…not so much. My dad was a sci-fi reader when I was growing up, so I was surrounded by books with spaceships and laser guns on the cover. I assumed that was all the science fiction genre consisted of. Clearly, I was wrong. When LF and I first started The Ending project, I wanted to write and embrace my creativity. Our collaboration was going to be that outlet for me so I committed myself, not caring what the genre was. Since then, I’ve started to read more dystopian novels, and I am fascinated with the intricacy of some of the more epic science fiction storylines.
LF: I, on the other hand, have always been a fantasy and science fiction fan. My love of romantic themes didn’t develop until later, but now I find myself losing interest in a book if it doesn’t include at least a little romance or sexual tension. As for our motivation to write a new adult post-apocalyptic romance series—we both love YA books like Divergent, Shatter Me, and Hunger Games, and wanted to create something similar, just with more adult themes.
3. How much of the series is realistic?

LP: Although our book is fiction, we tried to make it as realistic as possible. We did as much research as we could before taking our own creative licenses and adding things into our post-apocalyptic world that might not have been there otherwise. Overall, we try to keep the reader engaged and constantly thinking “what if”. 

LF: There were a few “real world” things that we tweaked for the sake of the storyline, possibly the most obvious being that the internet stays up for a few weeks after almost everyone is dead, but we stuck with it because of the way the project originated. In the beginning, the entire thing was epistolary--it was all written in the form of emails between Dani and Zoe. We changed that, thankfully, but felt the need to retain the email communications because they were the original heart of the story--everything else formed around them.
4. How would you describe Dani?
LF: Dani is definitely someone who proves that first impressions can be misleading. She’s a tiny redhead with a feisty personality to match her fiery hair, and if you don’t spend much time getting to know her, she seems silly and a little flighty. But, as we learn throughout After The Ending and Into The Fire, this is simply a disguise she’s been wearing since childhood. She fears that if people get to know the real her—the intelligent, thoughtful, independent, and deeply caring person she really is—they’ll reject her. Of course, she doesn’t wear this
emotional mask around her best bud, Zoe…and therefore not around Zoe’s older brother, Jason, either…making them some of the few people who know the real Dani.
5. How would you describe Zoe? 

LP: Zoe is…complicated. She’s in her own head a lot, stands in her own way, and is loyal to a fault when it comes to Dani—the one consistent person she’s ever had in her life—so she clings to their friendship above all else. But on the flipside, she’s also extremely passionate and determined, which in the end, will help her rediscover herself in the new world of The Ending. We see her growing a bit stronger in book two, Into The Fire, but it’s book three where the readers will really get to know Zoe Cartwright and book four, well...I LOVED writing her chapters in Before The Dawn. She's come so far!!! :)
6. Do you have any advice for writers?
LP: Go with your gut and keep in mind that you will NEVER please everyone—the latter is something I’m finally coming to terms with.
LF: Put your manuscript aside for a month or two—like lock it away in a safe and don’t peek at it even once—and then when you look at it again, you’ll have all these new ideas for improving it. I know a ton of people have already said it, like Steven King, but there’s a reason--they’re right!
7. What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
LP: Not everyone writes the same, has the same imagination, or shares the same work habits. Find what works for you and embrace it. Try not to compare yourself to other authors because it's exhausting and your quirks are what make you unique.
LF: Write for you...the only way you’ll know if other people like (or hate) your words is if you write them down. And yes, no matter what, some people will hate them.
8. What made you first decide to become a writer?
LP: It has always been easier for me to write down how I feel as opposed to communicating it to someone aloud. I started writing in journals at a very young age and inevitably my ideas, dreams, and life experiences starting turning into more than that. Little bits and pieces of my observations and of my life turned into storylines, and soon fictional characters and plots began to develop until I had so many story ideas that I had to invest in cases of floppy disks (yes, real plastic floppy disks) to save all my stories onto. I’ve been writing so long that as I go back now and read through some of my stories from fifteen years ago, I can’t help but laugh because they are so horrible and surprising at the same time. 
LF: I think it goes back to the fact that I tend to spend half of my life in some other, completely fictitious world. I loved the worlds and characters that other people created so much that they almost seemed real to me. And, without meaning to, I started to create my own imaginary worlds and my own imaginary people...but they only lived in my mind. To make them more “real” I needed to write their stories, to describe their worlds on paper. Once I started, it was like everything slipped into place. Writing just feels...right.
9. What is one thing you hope readers will take away from this series?
LP: I’d like the readers to consider this our interpretation of the humanistic side of things. I think we provide a pretty realistic picture of what life would be like after The Ending (maybe minus all the hot guys running around). Yes, Zoe and Dani are in their twenties, but that’s young and they’re alone, and the world as they know it is ripped out from under them. There is so much for them to process, and they are scared and grasping for any sense of normalcy they can find. For them, sometimes that means crying too much, distracting themselves with men, and making poor or rash decisions. Are they acting immature? Maybe, but unrealistic would actually be having them pick up a rifle and start blasting people without a second thought. Our heroines have a lot of maturing to do throughout the series, so partially I think we wanted to show Dani and Zoe as they were prior to The Ending, and as the series progresses, how they grow.
LF: Hmmm...maybe that the apocalypse doesn’t have to be entirely about death and sadness. That’s not to say that those things aren’t present throughout the books--I think Dani and Zoe have emotional and mental breakdowns nearly every other chapter--but we really wanted to highlight the undeniable power of hope, love, and friendship. For Dani and Zoe, a life without those things would have been only a half-life.
10. When will The Ending Series be made into a movie?
LP: I think I speak on behalf of both of us when I say that as much as we would LOVE to have The Ending Series turned into a movie or show, it's not something that's necessarily up to us. It's been our experience that producers approach authors, not the other way around. And we aren't out there pitching a screenplay to anyone at this point in time. Plus, there's always the fear that once the rights to your work are sold to someone, you have no control over what they will do with those rights. Many books get picked up by movie studios but nothing ever comes of it, so you've sold the rights to your book that you might never get back. BUT, even with all of that being said, we would love the see the world of The Ending on screen, to see it more developed and explored and our characters in action. The idea of having the series turned into an AMC or HBO series would be our dream come true. We wouldn't scoff at a movie, either, but there's just so much that can be done with the story, a TV show or mini-series would be able to dive in more and would be our ideal choice. We shall see what happens...

LF: What she said! All of it is dead on, which makes sense because this is something we talk about with each other A LOT. I mean, how could we not? What author wouldn't love to see their creation come to life? I'd be ecstatic to have the chance to see how someone else interprets our world and characters, but...I'd also be scared. Because, you know, what if it's all wrong?! That being said, I'd be way more ecstatic and excited than I would be scared, so, yeah. :)
11. What projects, if any, are you both going to work on together? Will they be in the world of The Ending?
LF: LP and I have three Ending projects planned down the pipeline - two that are much more immediate and one that's definitely a several-years-out project, as we'd like to develop our other, separate projects and grow individually as writers and creators. The two more immediate projects are titled The Ending Series: World Before and The Ending Series: World After, and both are story collections featuring our favorite Ending Series characters, but not focused solely on Dani and Zoe.
LP: The stories in World Before will take place prior to the Virus outbreak--five, ten, maybe even twenty years before in some cases. The stories in World After will be continuation stories that take place after The Ending Series book four. Depending on the characters we choose to write about, their stories could take place months or maybe even years after Before The Dawn. As for the third project, that will be a ways out, as LF mentioned, but we've left the world of The Ending open for many possibilities. :)

Coming 2017