Lana Pecherczyk at the Hunting For Witches launch
Lana Pecherczyk at the Hunting For Witches launch

Promotional text for the novel Hunting For Witches (recently launched at The Classroom in North Perth) states “Evolution is the Game. Gods are the Players. Humans are the Avatars, and Witches are the Glitch.” Author Lana Pecherczyk says the idea for the story sparked while she was listening to a Bloc Party song of the same name. 

“The song is actually about the London Bombings, but my mind conjured images of real witches ‘taking our jobs and taking our women’. I turned this into an ‘evil body snatching witches’ concept. Then I thought, what if it wasn’t only witches, but another level of higher beings —gods? What if they were here first and used us to download their souls into, and play a game, masquerading as us to further their own evolution? Then that became, what if witches were the ‘far more sinister thing’ that evolved and there was a secret war going on between the two? The book centres around a girl, Roo, who is caught between both worlds–one hidden and one out in the open.”

Pecherczyk said upon finishing the novel she had to make a choice. “Either submit my book to agents and publishers, wait months, years – possibly forever– for a response, or do it myself. Before I made this decision, I asked myself, what can a traditional publisher offer me that I can’t already do myself? I’ve worked in marketing and design for years so I already have the skills to design my own book, website, and manage my marketing (you have to do most of your own marketing in traditional publishing). “

Self-publishing is becoming more prevalent, according to Pecherczyk. “There is less stigma around the process, and with the younger tech-savvy generations growing up it’s going to become even more popular. These kids don’t want to wait for the end of a two minute you-tube video to finish, so imagining these writers will wait 10 years, like JK Rowling did for Harry Potter, to be published doesn’t sound plausible. Sales on Amazon for self-published authors have eclipsed traditional in many genres—science fiction and fantasy is one of them. I know this isn’t the greatest example, but Fifty Shades Of Grey was originally self-published. When it became wildly popular, the author was offered a publishing contract. This just goes to show that you never know what the public likes to read unless you put it out there. If you fail, so what? You’ve only found one way that didn’t work. Move onto another story and try a different way.”

As well as continuing to write and publish, Pecherczyk plans to share her services with other writers in the same position. “The writing community is large and very welcoming. I got my start joining some of the NaNoWriMo events. This is the National Writing Month Challenge held in November. Everyone is invited, and you don’t have to have writing degrees or loads of experience. I’ve started a business with a friend I met at one of these events and we hope to involve ourselves more in the community and help others realise their publishing dreams too. It’s called Creative Cartel Publishing and we are open for business, from book covers to websites. We hope to make the self-publishing experience smooth and attainable for everyone.”