About Olga Werby:
Olga Werby, Ed.D., has a Doctorate from U.C. Berkeley with a focus on designing online learning experiences. She received a Master’s degree in Education of Math, Science, and Technology from U.C. Berkeley and a B.A. degree in Mathematics and Astrophysics from Columbia University. She has been creating computer-based projects since 1981 with organizations such as NASA (where she worked on the Pioneer Venus project), Addison-Wesley, and the Princeton Review. Olga works with her husband, Christopher Werby, at their company Pipsqueak Productions LLC in San Francisco. Alone or with her partner, she writes science fiction stories.
What inspires you to write?
Inspiration comes from any sources. I read a lot — fiction books, articles, blogs, non-fiction, etc. Sometimes a science article sparks an idea and I play with it in my mind for a while. If I’m still excited about it a few weeks later, then I write down a few opening paragraphs. I tend to have several opening versions of the same story. I put those aside. When I’m ready to start a new book, I look through my many notes — scraps of ideas, sentences, character names, opening scenes, links to articles or images that moved me, even possible book titles — and then I pick the one story that is ready to be born. It flows from there…
Tell us about your writing process.
I like to find out what happens next — I learn about the characters and the story as I write, as fast as I write! It is almost like reading for me, but much, much slower. I start the day by clearing my mind. I usually look at some images on the Internet, but nothing that has any relation to my story (unless I am actively doing research). Then I reread and edit what I have written the day before. This gets me back into a book. I tend to write a self-contained chunk of story per day — usually a chapter.
Some books I wrote have been fully illustrated: “Pigeon” and “Twin Time”, as of this telling. For those stories, writing and creating art is intermixed — I do both at the same time. If I feel the scene would benefit from an illustration, I work at that and then return to writing. Obviously, illustrating and writing at the same time takes much longer.
When the first draft is done, I read the whole story from beginning to end to get a feel for the timing. Then, another round of editing. After I feel like the story is in good shape, I send it off to my professional editor. David is amazing! I look through his edits and make final decisions. Then comes book design. I do layout and illustration myself (and as a professional, I help other people with book designs and covers).
From the time the book is finished, it takes about a month to two months to get it “out there” via Amazon.
The “ugly” part is next — self marketing and promotion. As much as I love to write, I hate to talk about my books (even when I think they are good). But promotion is now part of the job of an author. So I’m trying to do that with good grace. And I actually enjoy corresponding with other authors and readers.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I watch my characters. They do amazing things…
What advice would you give other writers?
Just write! Do it because it makes you happy. With every story you are getting better!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I started by looking for an agent. But the search was making me sick — I was fretting about wasting time and feeling bleak with each rejection. I don’t write for others. First and foremost, I write because it makes me happy. I love my characters, I love their worlds. I am happy to share those with the readers of my books. I made a choice to self-publish because I could do so. I am self-sufficient when it comes to digital production. I can do it all (I do hire a professional editor to proofread my books). So I went for it. I don’t know if it was a foolish decision or not, but I am happy writing. I have three science fiction stories out and just finished two more. I’m about to start on my next one. I could be waiting for someone to say they like me, or I can keep writing. I chose to keep writing. With each story, I’m getting better. And I know my stories are good and fun to read. Perhaps some day, I will find an agent or a publisher. But I decided not to wait for that day. It is liberating!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I believe more and more people will take the plunge and self-publish their books. Perhaps instead of publishers, there will be a new entity — book promoters. Book promoters will help authors find their audiences. I hope these individuals will be kind and supportive. I hope they would develop a network of readers and editors that help authors produce the best work possible. There will always be readers hungry for more stories. More writers is good for everyone. It’s not a competition, it is a family of creative artists spinning fantastical entertainments for all of us!
What do you use?: Co-writer, Professional Editor, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Science Fiction, Fantasy
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.