An Author Journey

My passion is my conscious connection
to my Spirit
while I write.
A deep fulfillment and a feeling of satisfaction
arise from that connection.
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How I Became a Writer and a Published Author

Helena Kalivoda-picI have been writing on and off since the early nineties. There came a time when I questioned my satisfaction with my life, with who I was. I yearned for a change.

Transformation came after I became very ill. Not knowing when and if I would get better, I started writing every day. I wrote about how I felt. I cried, I complained. One day, a voice, the one I now call a ‘voiceless’ voice, came through. It was a wise voice, not my complaining voice. I listened and I typed what I heard.

 

HelenasBookCoverThe messages I had received when I was ill, became my first book, titled AWAKEN, Spirit Is Calling.

Since that moment, I have not stopped writing. It has become very important to my development. Throughout the years, I amassed a lot of material. My realization of how helpful it was to me, and that there were others who could benefit, was the start of my self-publishing journey.

Am I published by a Traditional Publisher?

At the beginning, I thought, just like many other writers, that I would be published by a traditional publisher. I found several I believed would be interested in the topics of my books, and I sent my first book to them. After a dozen or so negative replies, I retreated to evaluate their letters and my options. Some replies were obviously template letters; others were more personal. I also received one reply that stated, if you would write as so and so (a known author), we would consider publishing you. I found it somewhat strange, as I knew that I only could write as who I was. I wonder how many writers have had similar experiences with traditional publishers.

What Happened Then?

I decided to seek out other local writers and connected with a group of self-published authors. I still am a member of the same group and I full-heartedly recommend that writers connect with other writers. Sharing with like-minded souls is always uplifting and helpful.

Gradually, I let go of the idea of being published by a traditional publisher. I realized that I could lose some of my freedom of how and what I write and perhaps even the full use of my books. I naively thought that a traditional publisher would look after marketing but that was not the case either.
The process of evolving into what I am today continues. In hindsight, it would have been simpler if I had found the appropriate assistance or a teacher right at the beginning. If you are a writer, you may like to connect with someone who can teach you about how to become a writer and published author.

Marketing My Books

With the first book, I did the book signings in local bookstores and participated in book fairs. I still stock my books in several local bookstores.
These days, my books are available on-line. I am learning the ins and outs of on-line presence and promotion. One key point I recently realized is that a book promotion needs to start before the book is published. Currently, I am putting a schedule together for my virtual book tour, which is a marketing and promotional tool that allows authors to connect with potential readers of their books through blogging. I seek authors with similar interests so that I can guest blog on their sites and offer to host other authors on my blog.

My Book Distributor

To publish my first book I used Create Space. However, I wanted a book distributor who also distributed to Canada, so today I am with Ingram. They distribute my books to the same venues as Create Space, but also to Indigo and Chapters, the largest bookstore chains in Canada.

For my print-on-demand requirements, I opened an account with the Lightning Source, a division of Ingram. The Lightning Source differs from Create Space. They do not offer packages to edit and format one’s book and to create a cover, or other services. They only accept two ready-to-print files. One is the inside text of the book and the other is the cover.

Learning New Skills

Since the Lightning Source does not offer formatting and other services, I needed to learn new skills. One of them was to find professionals and skilled individuals to provide me with the needed services.

Regarding formatting, I learned to format my books. I used MS Word to set up the book size, chapters and sections, table of contents, pagination, all that which makes the book complete.

Editing is a different story. To begin, I asked my friend and my daughter to help me with editing. My friend is also an author, and my daughter is a great linguist. I have used professional editors, as well. If you are an author looking for editing services, find an editor who understands the ideas in your books. Otherwise, the true meaning imparted by you, may be edited out. I learned that lesson rather early with one of my first books.

Regarding the book covers, for my first two books I hired a professional designer. Now I choose the graphical elements for my covers and my talented colleague takes the elements and creates the covers for me.

Electronic Format or Print?

I use both, electronic and print formats. First, I publish my book on Kindle. I prepare my own Kindle file, using MobiCreator, a free software. My books are not available on other current electronic book formats, however Kindle is the largest electronic platform, and it is easy to create a Kindle file. After my Kindle version had been available for a while, I prepare a PDF version from my formatted Word file, using Adobe Professional PDF maker. Then I upload the newly created file, together with the PDF cover file, to the Lighting Source, for distribution.

What Happens When I Sit Down to Write

I was told by the Spirit: “What you write is a physical interpretation of the signals that your Spirit Self sends you. These signals are translated into matter – visible and readable sentences, through channels of energy transitioning from one equilibrium to another. When you understand the process, it is simple.”

In practice, I have no intent of the topic when I sit down to write. Information comes rapidly, and I type as fast as I can. When I have a feeling of being complete, I know that I am done with my session. While typing, I am aware of about three or four sentences; however, I retain the sense of the overall topic, but not the details.

What My Books Are About

My books are for seekers who are searching beyond material aspects of their lives, for readers who have a desire to know more about themselves.
My books are a spiritual philosophy. Spiritual, in my case, does not refer to religious. The themes of my books are universal principles to live by. The basic premise is that we, first of all, are spiritual beings. The material in the books supports one’s spiritual awakening for increased peace and living with passion from our hearts. I write about renewing our connection with our Spirit Self, conscious creation, intuition, imagination, self-responsibility, that part of us that is invisible, us being an energy of oneness, and more.

My Next Projects

Of course, I am working on a new book. It is based on 52 principles, a medley of esoterical/spiritual and practical tenets to live by, which I have received from my Spirit. The first draft is finished and I put it aside for a while, so I could approach it with new eyes.

One of my other current projects is reconnecting with nature. Writing has become my passion and frequently, I have stayed indoors. However, we are body, mind, and spirit, and it is essential to balance all those aspects of ourselves. I have reorganized my day so that I am able to spend some time outdoors. Nature has restorative and positive influences and when I return to my writing, I feel refreshed and rejuvenated, full of new ideas. All of us, writers or not, need to get out, visit with nature, and benefit from its healing force and its inspiration.

Advice to Budding Writers

Write what your passion is about, because that is what you know best. When you write what you are most passionate about in life, it shows in your writing.
Write every day, even if it is only for a little while. Do not judge or correct what you write. Keep on writing. You can always revise later.

Write for yourself, because of yourself, not because someone wants you too, or because your friend writes. Let’s face it, at the end, everything what we do is for our own satisfaction and benefit, so, write for yourself.

Concluding Message

Realize that we all are different. We all have our unique style. Do not compare yourself with others.

Seek out and join other writers and authors. As they say, the birds of a feather flock together. It helped me clarify my how to's and where’s, and it initiated friendships beyond my writing interests.

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Helena Kalivoda-picAward Winning Author Helena Kalivoda, writes books that are inspired by her Soul. She takes you on a spiritual journey that combines her experience, wisdom and your desire to know more about yourself into books that are a must have for your collection. Find out about Helena and her books at http://www.booksbyhelena.com. Check out her author’s page at http://www.amazon.com/author/helena-kalivoda

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