Team Member: Shana Raywood
Role: Acquiring Editor/Marketing Dept.
Credentials: Elance Editor ranked in the top 1% for skills (CMOS), Freelance Editor of several mainstream published authors, editor for several since-agented authors, mentee of Sol and Toby Stein, and Bestselling Author.
Shana Raywood, who writes under the pen name Rebecca Hamilton, has taught several workshops on writing, editing, and marketing, and has always been a support to aspiring and already-arrived authors.
Since we don’t have the luxury of professional interviewers at Immortal Ink Publishing, she’s going to interview herself.
Who am I?
I’ve always had a hard time with Bios. The whole idea is pretty daunting—to convey who I am in a few short paragraphs, outside the usual: I’m married, have three amazing children, and a couple cats and dogs. Beyond that, I could say I’m older than I look or act, or that I love sweets—pies and cupcakes especially. My all time favorite movies are Pippi Longstocking (the original), Becoming Jane, and Transporter, and my favorite television shows are Dexter, True Blood, and Make it or Break it. I don’t have a favorite color, other than BRIGHT or EARTHY. I love earthy colors, but I also love bright pinks, greens, blues, purples, and oranges.
And I could go on in this vein forever, listing on and on the things I’m passionate about. I’ve been told I’d be excellent at infomercials. It reminds me of my grandmother and her Home Shopping Network. I remember one product on there they were selling… “It’s a necklace! It doubles over for a bracelet! You can attach it to your lamp if you want a fancy light pull!” I am not sure, but someone somewhere may have eventually used that necklace a noose after spending their life savings on HSN.
Why did I start writing?
My reasons for starting writing, unfortunately, are nowhere near as cool as Rudy’s. I’d always had a heart for the arts. I had an ear for music from an early age, and taught myself some piano and violin. But I was never great at it. I loved art, but my drawing skills amounted to nothing more than a half-decent sketch of Sailor Moon (who wasn’t even my favorite from the show). I had a knack for clay, maybe because it was so forgiving, but when my first sculpture was stolen, I didn’t bother to try again.
Writing found me. I’d always loved reading, and writing a novel had been on my ‘bucket list’. I tried a few times but never finished anything. Eventually, an idea hit, and I wrote my first book. My first book turned into an idea for three books, and then for seven books (all of which will be published under the pen name “Rebecca Hamilton”) and also various ideas outside the series I’m working on now. Maybe it’s all my future endeavors that have inspired me. Imagery. Sound. Feel. Remolding. I get all of this from writing.
And with writing came an awareness of other sets of skills—editing, marketing, and design. But you know what they say: jack of all trades, master of none. You’ll never see me make any claims of greatness. But I do know enough to help and support others, and I have a real heart for doing so. That’s part of how IIP came about. I knew I wanted to publish my own work, and there were some close calls with three of the big six publishers (all of whom had contacted me after seeing samples of my writing online), but I knew that my book still needed work. I decided then I would put the work into my book, and I would do my best to get it out to readers who wanted to read it. It’s not about selling copies—I want people to be happy.
Then I had a thought—if I can figure this out for me, could I help other writers as well? That’s how my writing snowballed into editing. Over the last year, I’ve helped several authors with my editing services. Many have since gone on to find agents or publishers, other yet have found an increase in the requests for their full manuscript based on sample pages and partials. I will say this though: I’ve always chosen to work with writers I believe in. I think their success has a lot to do with that—with the fact they already had an abundance of talent and a great story to tell.
How did I get into publishing?
I’d heard many say that they didn’t want to self publish because they don’t want to worry about things like editing and marketing and cover design. I knew I wouldn’t be able to help every writer under the sun, but maybe I could help just a few more each year. By that point, Rudy and I had already been discussing various ideas. One was an E-Zine (we might still do something with that) and another was a venue to showcase and support other indie writers. Once we were ready to really take off running with one of our ideas, it’d grown into a small publishing house. Eventually, we’ll take on submissions (after we’ve proven ourselves with our own books) and in the meantime, we’ll be supporting and promoting other indie writers.
We’re not your standard publisher. We want to raise the bar for what a small publisher should offer it’s writers. We want to support the author’s vision, we want to make sure they get excellent royalties, we want to make sure their books get max exposure, and we want to make sure they reach the right readers, because that is the point of it all, isn’t it? The readers.
Unfortunately, having these goals means stays small. We won’t be able to help many authors in terms of publishing, but those we do help, we’re going to put everything we have into them. And those who take the indie route may also find our support.
So that’s where I’m coming from. As a lover of the arts, as a writer, and as the co-founder of what will hopefully one day be a very kick ass establishment that gives an entirely new angle to publishing books.
What kind of books do I like?
I love all things paranormal—paranormal horror, paranormal romance, paranormal fantasy, paranormal mystery, paranormal til your head spins. But I ALSO have a huge heart for literary fiction. My favorite authors are Nancy Pickard and Marisa de los Santos, which may or may not really give a clear idea of my favorite kind of stories. Those two authors absolutely have authored some of my favorite books, but, on the whole, the types of stories I like best are a little different than the genres they write in. They are still my faves, though.
If you really haven’t gotten enough of the silly little things about me, below you will find a collage I put together. It’s just bits of pieces of who I am.