Thursday, May 5, 2016

Unpublished/Self-Published Author Profile: Sybil Ward

This post is the latest in a series of profiles featuring currently unpublished and self-published authors. These interviews focus on three areas where both those writers who are looking to find success in traditional publishing and those who are taking the self-publishing path must develop strength: pitching their work, pitching themselves, and creating quality, well-edited work.  None of what is shared in these posts is intended to be prescriptive. Also, a profile is not to be viewed as an endorsement of the author or her/his work. If you'd like to be featured, email your responses to the following prompts to

Sybil Ward (work in progress)


Sybil Ward is a misplaced Tar Heel, hiding away in a small town in Georgia. She’s been (in order of appearance) a baseball player (a woman before her time), a seamstress, a soldier, an electronics instructor, a multimedia training developer, an IT manager, and now the owner of a web design company. She’s been with the same wonderful man for ages, mothered three lovely daughters, and is now elevating the art of spoiling with a brand new, glorious grandson.
And in the seconds between, she writes stories.
100 words or fewer, describe your book or story. This is your pitch. Make it enticing!
Imagine a trunk – an old, decrepit box large enough to hold a body.
Now, imagine gaining the talent or abilities of anyone – author, actor, artist, athlete – just by putting something belonging to that person inside the trunk. Would you kill for that power?
Someone is.
When Cleopatra Gleason is murdered, Tabitha Spencer inherits the trunk with the request: “…use the trunk and figure out who killed me.” This puts Tabitha squarely in the crosshairs of the killer. If she’s going to stay alive long enough to solve Cleopatra’s murder, Tabitha must first learn to think inside the box.

Describe your editing (not writing) process. What steps have you taken to polish your story?
1. I draw a story map, which is actually an outline in pictures, so I can “see” the story. This isn’t a chapter-by-chapter map, this is more a plot point map. It lets me see holes in the story.
2. I read the story backward. Reading backward stops me from filling in the blanks instead of seeing the blanks.
3. One more read/polish from start to finish. Here I concentrate on strengthening the prose, improving the pace. I’m also mindful of the characters, their depth, personalities, etc.
4. Off to the critique group, a few chapters at the time, so I can revise as they critique.
5. If I'm lucky, the ms goes to beta readers.
6. One more serious revision for structure and word count. Here my wish list says professional editor. My piggy bank isn’t quite there yet.

What steps have you taken/are you considering taking to build a social platform to promote your work?
The premise of give-give-give-get – I like. I want to build a following by paying attention to and supporting others, sharing my love of paper crafting, reading good books and sharing that experience, sharing my short stories and the bits and pieces that support my novel-length stories. Social, after all, means making acquaintances, even friends. I believe that will translate into supporters, readers, and customers.
All my social media accounts are in grow mode – slow but sure. I have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. I’m also on Wattpad and WriteOn.

Re: Questions