E is an active person that channels her passions into multiple activities and likes to stay active. One of those activities is writing.
She has written a book called Hope the Little Fox. This is a fantasy book that shows a strong female character finding out about the world. She is still early in her author career and working on future works.
Today, I’m talking to eolss, about her book, hope, the little fox, he’s been working on her writing career for several years, she has gone through several writings. And this book is the first one she’s published. And she talks about the things she’s learned along the way and the mistakes she’s made, but learned from so come listen to this interesting discussion, and learn some things and find out how she’s done it and gotten to where she’s at. So all right, well, welcome. He, it’s great to talk to you, I appreciate you taking some time on this. So let’s get a little bit about who you are outside of the writing, what do you like to do? What’s your life, like, as much as you care to share? Sure, so
E Ozol 1:32
I’m he ozel. And I’m from Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC, born and raised here, lived here most of my life, except for what I left for school a couple times. When I’m not writing, I like to be active, I’m playing volleyball, I used to dance, that kind of stuff. But the other thing is, I’m always doing something, some sort of project, I need to have a thing to work on. So writing is sometimes that thing, I need to have a creative outlet. And I like to like, over analyze and organize things. So sometimes that’s organizing events, like I’ve organized the big song and dance festivals, anything any excuse I can have to work in like Photoshop, computer graphics stuff, I’ll jump on that. So I even design and sell my own t shirts, you know, that I could put my designs on?
E Ozol 2:20
Yep, there you go. have that on your website as part of your honor. You
E Ozol 2:26
know, I don’t I’ve kept those two things separate so far. I’m not really sure why. But if you want to go look for him, I can tell you it’s a Helga without the H is the is the name of and you can find me on Etsy. That’s my Etsy store.
All right, well, there we go. Sorry, go ahead. Oh, I
E Ozol 2:43
was gonna say the other thing is, if I don’t have another, I can only kind of do one project at a time. And if I don’t have one, I get antsy. So if there’s nothing else going on, I’ll like design my own scavenger hunts, or like, write my own murder mystery, that kind of stuff, I always need to have some something like that. So that’s, that’s pretty much what I’m doing.
So you must be the parent that all the kids like to have helping with the parties at school.
E Ozol 3:08
You know, I don’t have any kids. But I can tell you that my mom was that person. For me. Like if I had a school project, I always had the coolest school project, because my mom would do it for me. And it was always amazing, you know, like, parts would light up, you know, stuff.
So, with all of this, because I think it’s great that you have all these projects you’d like to jump on my wife accuses me of jumping around sometimes. And it’s like, what are you doing now? Yep. So, so why did you get into writing? Why do you want to make that a part of everything that you do?
E Ozol 3:41
You know, that goes way back. Like I remember in first first grade, I won a author of the month of my elementary school. So the aptitude and the interest has just always, always been there. And it’s it’s stayed there. Like all through school, even if I sucked at everything else we were doing and all the other really smart kids around me we’re doing, we’re doing great. I would always still have the best essay, you know, like the writing was always the thing that that just kind of stuck for me to the point that I actually went to film school hoping to be a screenwriter, which I dropped out of because I didn’t think I really needed a degree for screenwriting. So I went to like film tech school. And turns out I really am terrible at film tech. So I dropped out of that. So so that’s just kind of always been there.
Well, that the film writing that’s something that a lot of people writers are really into now wanting to get their books. So if so, let’s talk about your books, we’ll come back to the screenwriting. So tell me about what you have written. What do you have out there?
E Ozol 4:45
So I have two books out technically, my first book was just for fun. I wrote it as part of National Novel Writing Month, if you’ve heard of this, every November, there you go. Every November I had never, I was scared of writing novels. Because I just, I worked very slowly and meticulously on I want to get my words correct. And so anytime I would try to start a novel, I would only get a few pages in and I’d give up. So a friend encouraged me to try National Novel Writing Month where it’s all about quantity over quality, right, and you just kind of write, for the sake of writing and you don’t stop edit, you don’t stop to think about how good it is, and you just go. So I decided to write for this the cheesiest book I could think of, because I wouldn’t worry. And I tried to write this historic romance novel about a girl in like Colonial Williamsburg, it was going to be over the top so that I wouldn’t be scared about the quality of it. And it ended up actually being really good to my pleasant surprise. So then the next step for me was eventually to try publishing that. So that came out like five years ago. But that one was just for fun. That was just, you know, just to say I did it and to learn from it. And I did it. And you know, I learned a lot in the process. And so I said, let’s try this again. So what I’m promoting right now is my second book, which is a lot more polished and professional and, and learn from those mistakes with the first book. So this book is called, yeah, this book is called hope, the little fox. It’s about a little girl, she’s in kind of a fictional medieval type setting. And she learns how she secretly learns how to fight because girls aren’t supposed to fight in her society. That’s a boy thing.
Sounds familiar? Almost.
E Ozol 6:35
Yeah. Well, that’s an interesting thing. I, when I started, it felt like a unique idea to me. Because when I was growing up, you know, the cool fighting heroes were all like, Robin Hood was always a guy, you know, like that kind of stuff. I mean, we had Shira. But like, you know, kind of it. And so when I started, I felt like I was I was filling, filling a void. But I started years ago, and in that time, at least pop culture has been filled with with these characters. So I actually almost gave up multiple times. Because I said, well, there’s no purpose for this this book anymore. Because we, we have these characters, we have Arya Stark, and the little girl and kick ass. And we have Hannah and yeah, yeah, all these guys are out there. So my book kind of morphed, and it became a little bit more than just girl learns how to fight. It starts there, it starts very simply, simple characters. And they all end up developing over the time. So what’s really about is a girl who learns about the world around her and learns about its complexities, and learns about her how her little piece of it this one challenge of first learn to fight, how it how it can have major consequences for everyone around her.
Wow. So do you feel that because it took you a while to do it, you can change the thinking of it? Do you feel the book improved in that better just because of that, that you’re growing with it? Or do you kind of wish it had stayed closer to what you originally wanted?
E Ozol 8:06
Oh, no, I absolutely think it’s the former she the original book would have been, it would been fine. It would have been cute. But I’m really happy with with what happened with it. Because when my my friends and family who have read it so far, they all say that, it starts very kind of one dimensional, the characters are one dimensional, and they’re fun, but the real depth of the book is and how it develops and how the characters all develop. And actually, Oh, go ahead. Sorry,
no, don’t please go ahead.
E Ozol 8:34
I was gonna say I have a pretty cute story about that, to kind of exemplify that, which is when that first book came out, you know, five years ago, my cheesy little, but I didn’t man, marketed it was just friends and family knew about it. And we were doing a fundraiser at my church. So that’s another little project I was working on, right. And we had a raffle. And the one of my prizes in the raffle was that I would write you a character based on you in my second book. And so this really sweet lady from my church lady named inada, she ended up winning, and I’m like, Okay, I’ll put her in as like this throwaway cameo type character, like she’s going to be the woman who who brushes our girls care gives her a little makeover or something. But then over time, that character ended up developing and she ended up becoming like the best character in the whole book. And everyone told me that they they loved that, that it was very similar to my relationship with her in real life where I didn’t really know her that well, I just knew sweet lady from church. That’s about it. And at one point, I was talking with her and I found out that she was a retired chemist, and she was like, the super genius. Yeah. And so everyone has these kind of hidden these hidden strengths and elements behind them that we don’t always see. And so the book kind of goes through the same the book and the characters all go through that same thing. And then because of adding her that’s the reason I bothered to finish writing the book. Like I said, I almost gave up. But I had made this very public promise that I was going to put this woman in a book and publish it. So I had to do it. So that push to finish because of her also pushed me to write a better book overall, I
think, well, that I think that’s a great story. And Has she read the book that she liked her self in it the character?
E Ozol 10:19
I don’t know yet. She is the only person to whom I’ve gifted a copy. I drove it over to her house and gave it to her from a distance assigned it but I haven’t yet heard. Heard what she thinks of it.
Well, she likes it. You right? You should get a T shirt made up of the book cover or like, get her character drawn and give her a T shirt or something?
E Ozol 10:42
That’s she’s, she’s a very refined lady. I don’t know if she’s a T shirt lady. But Oh,
yeah. Okay. Well, so you had five years between the books? Did you spend all that time working on this book? or How long did you spend on your second book?
E Ozol 10:56
No, I was, it came in. Like I said, it kind of came in stops and starts, I would get frustrated. And then I would give up on it for a while, that National Novel Writing Month would come around, and I kind of write the next chunk of it, then and then I’d kind of, you know, kind of step away from it. I was expecting to turn this out very quickly, I picked a story in a genre that I think would be really easy to turn out to go off of the ride the tide from the first book, and then to my shock, you know, five years later, with, with huge gaps, you know, several year gaps in the middle.
So you mentioned people thought the characters were a little more flat at the beginning. And it grew. So is that kind of reflective of your skills? And that growing during that time and the writing process of this book? Um,
E Ozol 11:48
yeah, I feel like the correct answer is supposed to be yes. But no, I don’t really think so. I think I had the skills before it was just I changed how I chose to focus them.
Okay, well, no, that’s fair answer. That’s what I like. I mean, I, you know, who cares about the suppose? You know, let’s hear what really happened. Um, so you do this self published? Or do you go through agent publisher?
E Ozol 12:14
I went self published, I just did it through Kindle Direct Publishing. KDP.
Okay. Are you? Are you feeling like it’s been successful so far? Are you getting good feedback, good sales?
E Ozol 12:25
And no, I, I’m very, very early in the process. And I have no idea what I’m doing with the the marketing here. So sales have been, you know, okay to friends and family so far. And I’m still early stages of trying to figure out how to market it to others. So
it just anything you want to share with that? What are your thoughts? What are you trying to do? Because it is more targeted toward a younger audience? If I’m correct. So what are you doing along those lines?
E Ozol 12:55
So it’s not really targeted towards a younger audience, although I might be apologizing wrong. No. But if it’s if it’s I think it’s definitely coming across that way such figure out a way to change that.
I think I know, I saw the book on reapz. Yeah, and I love the cover I love I’m definitely a sucker for a great drawn illustrated cover, which had
E Ozol 13:16
is an amazing cover. And I’ll interrupt to give a huge shout out to the artists Maria Maya, who I found on fiverr.com. And you should all hire her because she was phenomenal to work with.
I will look her up and put a link in the show notes, then help her out. So that that’s, you know, what? You said? It’s not really for younger audience. But the cover reflects that a bit. Maybe that’s hurting some of the sales in that. What are your What are you working on trying to do whatever you want to share? You don’t want to give away secrets. But what are you thinking you want to try and do to improve this? Or change? Or what’s your thoughts on the direction? You want to go with that? To get the book out there more? Because it sounds like a lot of people do like it, that I’ve read it so far.
E Ozol 14:05
Yeah, I think that’s right. And of the friends and family who read it there. I don’t know if they’re necessarily people who would have picked this book up if they’ve, you know, like, I don’t think I would have picked it up myself. I’m not a fantasy reader. So I think my biggest roadblock I’m running into is trying to figure out Yeah, like who to target and, and, and all that. So the biggest thing I’ve been learning about with this book that I didn’t try with the first book is just how marketing works for indie authors. This is a brand new world to me. And I started by just throwing things at the wall seeing what would stick and also just trying to figure out where to spend your your money. because like you said, and like your previous guests have said, like we’re not living in castles, you know, we don’t? How much are we doing this for fun? How much are we willing to invest in our own hobbies and passions and where should the investments go? So to me a challenge has been trying to figure out how to how to how to manage all that. Who do I pay to do which thing professionally so I invested in the professional cover, it looks different than I think a lot of kind of mainstream covers. And I was I was trying to decide if that was worth doing or not. Time will tell, but I personally love my cover. So I’m happy with that. What I eventually end up doing was paying a marketer for like a one hour consultation to kind of help guide me through because before, like I said, I had, I had no clue. So she kind of walked me through the whole idea of getting like arcs or advanced reader copy reviews, and trying it all the stuff I apparently was supposed to do before I published, I’m learning now. So you know, I’m trying to get advanced reviews, even though the books already out, I’m going to be running some promotions at the end of July to kind of try to get you know, cheaper free copies to people so that I can get that interest in there. And I kind of updated the the professionalism of some of my outlets, right. So I have a website, now easels calm, and I have BIOS on all the websites where I’m supposed to be. So that’s the main thing I’m doing is following her carefully laid out plan for me of where to go to find to be most likely to find these advanced reviewers and, and how and when to run promotions. So all that should be coming up towards the end of the month.
Okay, so, like a lot of authors not really sure what to do and where to go, Oh, no idea what I’m doing. There you go. Well, I think what you just said will probably help others that have been in that same situation are about to be in that situation. But it sounds like this marketer you hired helped define what you needed to do to help with that. And it sounds like you’re hoping that this will help. So these lessons you’re learning? Do you have plans for your next book? And what you’ll do different than?
E Ozol 16:50
Oh, I absolutely do. Yeah, I think each thing you each thing you work on, you learn a lot. So this case, marketing is the big one I’m learning about. So I would start my marketing earlier, I didn’t realize how hard it was to get these advanced readers. So I’m already working on the sequel to my book. So there’s a little bit of a spoiler, I guess that you’ll read the first one, and you’ll want to keep reading. So I’m working on the sequel right now, hoping to turn this one out as fast as possible without losing quality, obviously. And so I’m going to already kind of start planning the marketing for that now even though the books not even written yet. So she kind of direct me towards the the websites where it’s the kind of best place to get the most in the best reviews. But those places also have waiting lists. So I’m already on the waiting list for my next book, to get in there and get my foot in the door a lot earlier. And then the hope is what she explained that I hope she’s right is the first books not going to sell the first book will kind of build an audience and an interest. And then that means those people will then buy the second book when it comes out. Because I’ve already got the built in audience. But when you have zero audience, you know, it’s it’s it’s pretty tough to start building.
So that’s nice. So the next book, so sequel, which was going to ask, and are you then thinking even further ahead? Are you thinking of a third book in this series? Are you thinking of another series or books to come out?
E Ozol 18:17
I think I absolutely. Yes, I am thinking ahead. I think this, this book will, will continue, I think I think this could be a series that I keep going with. But like I said, I’ve had the aptitude for writing kind of my whole life. And that’s not just creative writing. So I think long term, where I think my skills would be most useful is in nonfiction. Because I didn’t discover until I guess somewhat recently like in adulthood, how entertaining and and good nonfiction can be right because as a kid, you only read it in textbooks. You know, it’s it’s not something I want to read. And as an adult, that’s the main thing I read now is like his history nonfiction or current events nonfiction. So I have some ideas for for some nonfiction down the road. But I wanted to kind of get all my, my growing pains out, writing writing fiction, where no one gets hurt if you mess up, right? If you get a fact wrong in your nonfiction book, you could disseminate this information, you don’t want that to happen. You know, fiction is just just fun. So it’s a great place for me to practice.
I find that interesting, because you’re writing fiction, to get used to writing to get used to the industry, the publishing where to go, how to market what you need to do. So that way, it’s kind of your testbed. So when you write your nonfiction, it will come out better, it’ll come across better, it will be marketed better. I find that interesting. Because I did the opposite. I had some nonfiction small books I wrote, and I put those out to learn the industry learn publishing, and so that when my fiction was being worked on, it would be stronger for it. So it’s interesting where our differences lie. But using the same technique and idea. Oh yeah,
E Ozol 20:02
we’ll have to compare notes and see
how it goes for both of us. That would be great. So a little technical what type of software do you use? How do you what do you use to write?
E Ozol 20:14
So right now I’m just using Word. And but this has been a problem. So I, I over time, like I said, it took several years I wrote in stops and starts. So I use different software at different stages, which was I would not recommend doing I ended up kind of copy pasting everything back together at the end. And I didn’t realize how differently different software like treat stuff. So apparently, and I don’t even remember what came from what right. Some of it I just wrote, like Google Docs. So in some places I get it gets, I guess it gives you like curly apostrophes in some places, straight apostrophes, and those all had to be fixed by hand. Yeah. And they did the indentations differently differently. I don’t know. So I definitely am. Right now I’m writing in word because I just kept my final template from the last book once I finally got it cleaned up. And I’m writing in that, but you know, I know there’s like more professional author software out there that I just haven’t looked at yet. So,
right? Well, I’ll give you a quick tip. Yes, please listening. If you are writing in various formats, Google Doc word, using Scrivener using notepad using something on your phone, and you do end up having to do that copy paste to help, like reset all the formatting and get it to the just the base text, the best thing to do is just put it in Notepad, open up Notepad, on your computer, paste everything in there, because it’ll strip out all the formatting, it’ll, it just has one basic apostrophe and quotes and all of that. And then you can copy and paste it into your final processor. And you’ll you won’t have to worry so much about all that individual formatting. That is such an obvious idea that I wish I had thought of four months ago. That’s not coming from my author background that’s coming from my computer tech background. Things I’ve had to do with clients and people before. Yeah, there we go. A hidden tip for everybody out there, they have to listen to the whole interview. You know, maybe we should do that, like a treasure hunt. Everybody I talked to I’ll give a tip too. And they hide it in their book. And then you have to go read everybody’s book to get the full collection of tips. There you go. Yeah, okay. Fox is suddenly going to start using a notepad. Right? Is that right? Well, I, I always say, I’m this type of job. I also do computer programming. But it’s similar that if you really boil it down, you could open up notepad and have nothing else and you can write, it’s the words, it’s what you’re saying. All the other stuff is just helpful, and has reasons to be used in certain ways to make your life easier. But when you really get down to it, you know, pull out a legal pad with a pencil. And you could still write that’s one of the great things about doing this, I think. Yeah. So other than the great things you’ve already said, Do you have any other tips for some new authors or somebody that’s like, right, in the same vein, where you were trying to get a book out a second book, getting it written? Any last words?
E Ozol 23:25
Oh, yeah, I absolutely do. The first one is, it’s quick and easy, but it’s backup your work. I had an entire manuscript almost finished, I had one chapter left. And I, I lost it because for some reason, I even work in tech. So I should know this. I only had it saved on like, my my hard drive, and my computer crashed. And as a senator anyway, the point is, I didn’t realize I was doing at the time, but I threw away my own copy. So definitely backup backup all over the place. 100 copies if you have to.
Yeah, cloud. Yes. Yeah,
E Ozol 24:00
absolutely. That’s Yeah, that’s what I’m doing now much more helpful. But then the other one is, I mean, it’s, it’s kind of cheesy, but just go for it. That’s that’s kind of it because you don’t, don’t worry too much. When you’re, you’re getting started. You know about quality, how’s it going to work, just just go just write and know that whatever you start with, you’re going to be learning from and there will be mistakes and lessons along the way. You know, just now I learned about how I should have been formatting this whole time. But you never really know unless you just you just try. So just kind of start and you know, be ready for some hiccups. But I think if my had a random I can’t remember which part of this I said, but if I hadn’t had a co worker who kind of went Hey, do you wanna try National Novel Writing Month and push me to do that little, just that little step? I don’t I don’t think I would have finished a novel and now I have to so
and that right there. I know a lot. There’s debate people like Oh, I’d never do national news. Novel Writing Month I know. But that’s something I’ve told people is there are so many things out there. It’s because everybody’s different, you can find the one or two things that work for you that help you. Because I’ve heard a lot of people say, you know, all I wanted to write a one to write. So I finally said, Oh, I can devote a month to writing and boom, they get a book done. They’re like, Oh, my gosh, this is better than I thought. And suddenly, they’re writing another one, and they’re out there. So if it’s not for you, great. That’s not a problem. There’s other things that might be for you. You know, some people like to get on the online services, where it’s a group of people analyzing and reading and giving feedback. That’s great for some people, not for others. I know a lot of people go to local groups that do the same thing read and that’s good for some nada. My point is, just try it. Just use the things that work for you. And you know, if that helped you, great, wonderful. And I think novel National Novel Writing Month is, it’s it’s so interesting, because Who would have ever thought that would come about, but I think the people that have discovered it are finding that it’s a fun activity. And like you said, always doing something always having a project. And okay, November’s my National Novel Writing Month, that’s my project right before Christmas. So I think people should at least try it. I my problem is work and family, and trying to get at least 1600 words on average a day. You know, it’s great for a day or two, and then something happens and I fall behind. And by Thanksgiving, I’m like, Oh, yeah, I should have been writing something. Yeah. So
E Ozol 26:45
yeah. All right. I think you’re exactly right, though, that like each person. It’s not for everyone, but each person has their own roadblocks. So whatever your own challenges, you need to find a way to face you know, whatever that fear is, or whatever that challenges and for me, it was just getting the words out. So for me, it was the exact right tool, but I know it’s not, you know, it’s that’s not the challenge for other people. It’s not the right tool for others. I also like graphs, like I said, I like over analyzing, so watching my little status bar go up is fun for me.
I think what I think we said is very true. And I think people get hung up on, you know, oh, I’ve got to be writing today, oh, I’ve got to get this many words. And that’s not necessarily the right thing for everybody. You had five years between your books, and you still got it done, and you still got it out and you got better and improved and you’re still working on it. You know, not everybody knows the marketing and how to make an ad or anything like that. When they start, we’re not born with that knowledge. But you’re working out, you’re learning what you need to do what you want to do. And I think people sometimes get too anxious and too uptight. And and that hurts them more than if they would just maybe explore and look around for some other way of doing it or accomplishing their goal.
E Ozol 28:03
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Cuz I try to encourage friends to join. And they’re always like, Oh, it’s too scary. And I’m like, Why? It’s just, it’s honor system. It’s just you and you know, there’s no winning or losing. You just you try it. And maybe it works. And if not, but if you get wrapped up in being scared by it, thing, you’ll never get anything done. Right that those face those fears?
Yeah, somebody described me as I’m the type of person that likes to jump off the cliff and build my wings on the way down. That’s pretty much a great description of me. So I’ve embraced it.
E Ozol 28:35
So I think my husband would say the same thing about me. But the probably not as a compliment. I’ll shoot my wings.
Not a compliment, just because he’s with you every day. I can understand that my wife kind of rolls her eyes when I say it also. But yeah. All right. Well, he I do appreciate you taking the time today. It’s great talking to you. I’m excited to check out your book more. And I like to possibly talk to people in the future. So maybe in six months to a year, we can chat again and find out what you’re doing at that point how your next book is coming and all of that.
E Ozol 29:11
Yeah, well, you know, presumably, I’ll be in the castle that I bought with the millions that I ran off of my best selling book. So
right. Well, I’ll go watch the movie then. Okay. That’d be wonderful. I appreciate it. Thank you, and have a really great Fourth of July weekend. Thank you very much. Thank you.