By Free Flowing Florida.
Her book shows how love (even with all its problems) can transform a person and heal them enough to allow forgiveness in a heart. The best part for me is how true it shows Nigeria and Nigerians, down to our little idiosyncrasies. So, here is introducing Myne Whitman and 'A Heart to Mend':
Let’s meet Myne Whitman.
My name is Nkem Akinsoto also known as Myne Whitman. I am a Nigerian writer and blogger whose debut novel A Heart to Mend has just been self published through AuthorHouse. Myne Whitman is a name I coined myself while still in secondary school and is a play on the transliterated words of my maiden name.
Take us through your journey to being a writer
I have been writing for a very long time. Ever since I was a child, I dreamed of holding a book in my hands with my name on the cover as the author. I prefer to write in the romance genre and would describe my writing style as direct and simple.
So, your book, ‘A Heart To Mend’, what is it about? What inspired you to write it?
The book is about two people, Edward and Gladys, who meet and are attracted to each other almost immediately, but have difficulty in resolving their feelings, especially because of Edward’s past and other twists. The inspiration for "A Heart To Mend" is from the theme of unconditional love which has always interested me. I also felt that there were not were not enough romance novels set in contemporary Nigeria, and that I could do something to redress that.
Being a writer myself, I know I have on severally occasions written stories I wasn’t quite convinced were publish-worthy even when they had lots of love from the few people I let read them. What was it that got you thinking that A Heart To Mend was just too good to be left to gather dust in your brain or your laptop, that it had to the shared with the rest of the world?
It's not about "A Heart to Mend" being too good I think, but more of thinking it was ready to contribute to conversation. I believed it was the right time time to get it into the wider public consciousness. It was also the right time for me because I could now give more to the writing impulse in me.
Which aspect of the book would you say was your favourite to write about? Which was the hardest? Which do you think will make the most impact on the readers?
The love scenes were sure fun to write, you know I had to consult my SO at some points to get his own point of view, LOL. The hardest were the emotional scenes. I am an empathic writer so I feel what my characters feel. When they're angry or unhappy, I feel the same and that can be hard sometimes.
Did you have any writing schedule or timetable? Or did you write in a whim?
I didn't have a timetable. I wrote when the muse felt like. Now I'm trying to be more disciplined.
How long did it take you, from the start of writing to editing your first draft, to getting the book out in paperback?
It took about eight months. However, it all started with a short story which I had written several years ago.
So you self-published. What was the principle reason behind your decision to self-publish against shopping your manuscript, either through an agent or by yourself, to established or up-and-coming publishing houses?
I actually tried to sell the manuscript through a couple of agents and several publishers. All came back with rejection letters based on one reason or the other. Most was because it was romance and it was written for more of a Nigerian audience. In Nigeria, I understand that the publishers are even more constrained. I finally decided to self publish because I heard some good stories about the process and how it can be successful if you apply yourself. I felt I could follow the route since I was now a full time writer.
What was your self-publication experience like? And would you go down the self-publication lane for your next book?
The experience has been quite good but maybe it is too early to say for sure. One thing is that I didn't do it just for money. This was a dream that had been a long time coming. Another is that if self publishing is a business, I would hardly expect to recoup all my investment in the first year. And yes, I would go this route again if necessary. I have several more books coming up.
Did you do all your promotion/marketing yourself?
Yes I'm doing it all by myself with some help from my SO, friends, family, and bloggers.
You did a lot of promotion for your book, getting interviewed by different people, how did you get the ball rolling on this? Apart from granting interviews, where there other medium you employed to market your book?
To get started, I requested for interviews and blog features from those interested and that worked well. I also sent out promos to larger websites and forums and it has been growing from there. A helpful medium I found along the way was Freado.com. They help you market the book by putting a preview flip page sample online. I also produced a book trailer which is now on Youtube.
Your book was printed by Author House. Tell us more about them? What was their deal with you like?
Authorhouse is a self-publishing house. There was no deal per se. The author pays for the manuscript to be published either through a package deal or individual services that include proof-reading, in-line editing, book cover design, promotion and marketing. I took one of the simplest packages and it has worked for me.