I am often asked how I came up with the idea for “The Questory” and how I actually made it into a real live published book. Well, it’s a bit of a long story so I’ll try to omit the boring parts.
Hmmmm….Well, I had the idea for DréAmm, the location for my book many, many years ago and because I was involved in live theatre I wrote it as
a musical. But I never really liked the feel of it in this format. It felt limited. Plus, I hadn’t quite come into the ‘hook’ yet, that thing that made me go “yes, this is it!” It wasn’t until years later when I
caught a snippet of that reality tv show “The Amazing Race” that I finally got that ‘aha!’ moment. I loved the idea of teams of kids all
racing against each other in a glorified kind of scavenger hunt to find something very, very important. DréAmm then became a magical land where virtually anything could happen. That’s when the main character, Root Karbunkulus just showed up and toured me around. Of course then the plot got really got good with all sorts of agendas going on, personal
and otherwise. In the end, the name ‘DréAmm’ stayed but everything else was ditched.
Around this same time I was leaving the theatre and facing a new role as Single Mum; the perfect combination for finally doing that thing that you promised yourself that you would do but never did.
As far as getting published, I knew from the start that I wanted to go out on my own first. After years in live theatre where budgets dictated everything and I just couldn’t treadmill out another 6-person musical, I wanted complete freedom to explore this new field on my own. I wanted to write my book and have fun creating the book cover and I wanted to
make an awesome website and book trailer. I wanted to do it all for the fun of it but also to learn the business of books.
I think self-promotion is absolutely necessary. Right out of the gate I was building an amazing website and book trailer. The trailer won awards and took off on the internet, which was great for creating some buzz. But it was also the most important part of my book tour. I played it on big screens before every reading and it was a huge hit with the
kids. You can view it on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIgo1wS_0JI
Or at the book’s website, http://www.rootkarbunkulus.com which is also truly incredible and creates a big impression on my teen readers. I had trendy dogtags made up and used them as prizes for Q and A’s along with props and my signature red ‘Valador’ cloak as a costume. I did a huge book launch, too that really got the word out at the beginning. You can also view it here:
The book tour was by far the most rewarding and successful as it helped me to sell 1000 books in 8 weeks. Since then it has been a steady sell. I also submitted my book for reviews and used them in promotions. The internet was probably my biggest challenge as, after the website and trailer, I just had no idea where to even begin. But I think the internet is a huge, HUGE asset to promoting and so I have been learning as I go along. It has been very worth it to me.
On the downside, wearing too many hats, not to mention the Single Mum Crown began to take its toll. I was doing too much and getting burnt out. But the good thing is that I had managed a fair amount of success on my own, which was a great thing to bring to the tables of agents and traditional publishers.
And now I feel like I’m living the dream! To me there is nothing greater than sharing my stories with the world, knowing my words are making readers laugh and cry and smile and cheer. I love getting emails from kids who have read my book and can’t wait to find out what happens next. It is pure joy!
Kamilla Reid is the author of THE QUESTORY OF ROOT KARBUNKULUS. You can visit her website at www.rootkarbunkulus.com.