By: Loni Cameron
Sandy Day, our new Social Media Coordinator is here to tell us all a little about herself. A poet and novelist, Sandy is a dog-lover. Writing is more than her passion and we are happy to join her on this journey.
Tell Us About Yourself
When did you decide you wanted to become an author?
I always knew I was a writer and I always wrote. Well, not always. My life took a wrong turn for about twenty-five years and I didn’t write a word. But as the old Turkish proverb says: No matter how far down the wrong road you’ve gone—turn back. About ten years ago, I decided to spend the rest of my life writing. I have not regretted that decision since.
Do you have another job besides writing?
I have been selling NewTrix dog halters since 2009. I work for the inventor, who is a veterinarian in Toronto. I love my job. I don’t have my own dog so my job keeps me as close to furry creatures as I possibly can be at this point in my life.
How do you research?
My favourite two research beasts are Google and Wikipedia. I don’t know what I would do without them. Every year when they do their fundraising drive, I send money to Wikipedia. I don’t know how writers existed before the internet. (I know, I know, there are these places called libraries. I took out a VHS tape from the library about the history of Uxbridge and my video machine ate it. So there’s that.) When I was doing research on WWI for my book Fred’s Funeral, I watched everything possible on YouTube. I don’t know where I would have got that information so quickly without the internet.
Writing and Critique Groups and Professional Organizations
What so you see for the future of publishing and e-books?
I think there will always be publishers because figuring out how to self-publish is difficult (but not impossible!) I think the days of the traditional book industry are numbered. It’s unsustainable. More and more self-published books are making their way onto the bestseller lists and indie-authors are using their own books and platforms to woo agents and traditional publishers. If the terms are right, some indie-authors sign contracts but even J.K.Rowling held onto her own e-book rights. I think the appetite for reading is as popular as ever and readers will get their books in the way they find most convenient.
The Process of Writing
What’s your biggest challenge with your writing: the beginning, middle, end? Idea generation? Characters? Dialogue?
Because I wrote poetry for so much of my life, and journal entries, I find writing long-form difficult, but it’s what I want to write. I find the protracted effort of writing a novel very challenging. I think my biggest challenge is resistance. Once I sit down and start, I’m fine—it’s the negative self-talk beforehand that keeps me away from my desk.
The World of Publishing
What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?
I find Amazon ads to be the most effective form of promotion. Initially I relied on getting reviews from book bloggers but I didn’t find that it was converting to sales. Then I started paid advertising on Amazon. Wowzers! It’s a learning curve but I have made a profit and I’m on track to sell about one thousand books in my first year of sales. I would never have done that without Amazon advertising.
What seminars/workshops have you attended?
I have only attended a handful of workshops over the years but I always come away inspired. My favourite way to learn is through listening to podcasts. There are so many amazing writing podcasts, I can’t keep up. I listen in the car on the way to and from work and it’s like getting a university education in writing and indie-publishing for free. If anyone is wondering where to start, I recommend The Creative Penn with Joanna Penn. She interviews people from all across the writing world and mentions so many new and interesting ideas. Start with Joanna and then follow the people she talks about.
What have you published/where?
I have a long list of publications going back to childhood, poetry mostly, in journals from all across Canada. In the last ten years, I have self-published a book of poetry called, Chatterbox, and a novella called Fred’s Funeral.
How important do you think writer communities are, considering many of us are solo adventurers?
I love having a writing tribe. No one else could ever understand the crazy stuff we have to do. I worry what people would think if they could see my browsing history. So I Googled, “when was the last hanging in Canada,” so what? I’m a writer, leave me alone!
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
On Reading and Ideas
What book are you reading now?
I just picked up a copy of A Room with a View by E.M.Forster at the drugstore in Jackson’s Point. I don’t know why. It was an impulse purchase. But when I got it home and read the back jacket I realized that the book is a bit of a mirror for the novel I am working on for NANOWRIMO. An unreliable narrator, a young female protagonist, all the social conflicts, a period piece, etc. I’m really enjoying it. I’m also reading Million Dollar Outline. It’s good!
What do you like to read when you’re not writing?
Twitter. Plain and simple I’m addicted to American politics. I had to create an anonymous Twitter account so I could follow and comment on whomever and whatever I want. I don’t want to be political on my @sandeetweets account but I let loose on my other account. I really want this Donald Trump Mini-series to end so I can go back to reading fiction.
We’d like to thank Sandy for participating in the WCYR’s Member Spotlight and we look forward to reading more of her work.
Sandy Day is the author of Fred’s Funeral, and Chatterbox Poems. She graduated from Glendon College, York University, with a degree in English Literature sometime in the last century. Sandy lives in Sutton or Jackson’s Point, depending on the season. Sandy is a trained facilitator for the Toronto Writers Collective’s creative writing workshops. She is a developmental editor and book coach.
Hi Sandy, great stuff. I like that you work with dogs to stay close to them. My daughter and I do that too.
I hope you’ll submit a workshop for the Members-only workshop series next year (submissions will open in January). I know I’d love to hear about your experience with Amazon ads and I’m sure others in the group would too.