Friday, 10 May 2013

The exciting, fantastic, terrifying road of self-publishing

Having finally taken the plunge into self-publishing, I'm slowly beginning to realize the challenges that come along with self-promotion.  For that reason, I hope to help other indie authors get themselves out there and possibly find new readers. 

With that being said, I'd like to introduce you to Sarah Cradit, a wonderful, beautiful soul who goes out of her way to help other authors by hosting them on her blog.  Her first book St. Charles at Dusk (The House of Crimson and Clover) has had some great reviews and her next book in the series, The Storm and the Darkness will be coming out in July.

Did you seek agent representation before self publishing?
No...I was planning to, but after researching it I decided self-publishing was a better route for me the first time around.

What made you decide to self publish?
Several years ago, self-publishing was not a very healthy option for most writers. It was expensive, clunky, and the market wasn't really ready for indie authors. All that has changed. Many writers go this route now, so the culture has shifted and so has the market. Print-on-demand makes it a realistic option. The other big reason I made this decision was learning that most traditional publishing houses would require the author to be responsible for all their own marketing anyway. To me, that was the biggest benefit with going the traditional route and, without that, it made self-publishing a lot more attractive.
I didn't know that traditional publishing houses made the author do their own promotion, for this reason alone self-publishing makes much more sense!

It seems like a bit of a daunting task, Did you have any difficulties? Or was it easier than one would think?
Daunting is the right word...but its a good kind of daunting, because at the end the reward is that much sweeter. Editing was obviously a challenge (it took many, many revisions before it felt clean). Formatting was even was a lot of trial and error with margins, font, styles, etc before I finally found one that I went with. The good news is that once you've done it, you know what you're up against and future books are less work.
I agree.  After going through this process with smashwords I feel much more confident in my ability to do this a second time around.
Have you done anything to promote your book?
Not until very recently. When I published it in 2011, my marketing primarily consisted of creating a FB page and sharing it with friends and family. I wanted to do more but it was overwhelming and my job was taking up all my time. It wasn't until the past four months or so that I found the time to start doing more activities- creating a blog, networking with other authors, offering my book in giveaways, etc. I think ramping up your network and fanbase is a slow process, but I've met some awesome folks in the process and I feel a lot more in control of my author image and marketing plan.
I feel relieved to hear that it's a slow process. :)  But I agree it is quite overwhelming.
Would you take on an agent if they offered representation now?
Maybe. It would depend on what my research produced and how much benefit I thought that specific agent could offer. If it wasn't much more than I can do myself, I'd pass. I'm already doing all this work, might as well get the agent's cut of the royalties!
Well said.  After doing all the work oneself, one would feel cheated I would think to have someone earn a cut off all their hard earned money.
Was this your first manuscript?
Sort of. It was my first formal one. I wrote a novel when I was in junior high as well, but never edited it or took it very seriously. As well, I wrote a 10-book YA series with a friend of mine back in 1999. We originally released it online, but its since been removed and we're considering taking the scissors to it and throwing it out as a real series.
Wow!  10 book series!  In junior high!
How long did it take you to write it?
That's sort of a trick question for me :) I think if I were to take the amount of time I spent on it and remove all the breaks and lapses in writing, I would say about a year. But in reality, it was 10 years. I started it as a fun project in 2001, and then would come back to it about once a year and play with it and then shelve it again. It wasn't until about 2009 that I decided it was good enough to do something with, and I started sharing it with close friends and family. I started researching agents and publishers around that time and then determined to go with the self-publishing route. I buckled down on edits in early 2011, and it was out by September.
Did you have it professionally edited?
I did not. I debated this one heavily. I am well-aware of the importance and benefits of doing it- from story issues all the way to technical errors. But paying a thousand dollars for an editor was a deal-breaker for me. It was the difference between being able to do it and not do it. So I did about a hundred rounds of edits and had some friends beta the heck out of it.
This is one of the hardest decisions to make for sure.  The expense of an editor can be a slight deterrent.
How many different critique partners did you have?
I have one formal partner (where we mutually assist each other), but I have a bunch of beta readers. I also use the critique program on
I haven't heard of that program before, I love learning new things.  Thanks for sharing. :)
If you could change the way things have gone with your writing career, is there anything you would change?
I would have networked with other authors sooner. I've learned a lot from other writers and it would have not only saved me a lot of headache, but it would have helped me get my marketing off the ground at an earlier point. It also helps with writer's solitude...its inspiring to know you're not alone!
I agree, the support of other authors is an amazing feeling, they know exactly what you're going through.  Not to mention their eagerness to help each other out is beautiful!
Do you have any other books out?  Can you give us a taste of your book that's coming soon?
The second book in my House of Crimson and Clover Series (title: The Storm and the Darkness) is going to be released in July. I have three other books in the series written awaiting edits, and more to come after that. You can learn more about the series (as well as some fun "extras") here.

Here's a teaser for The Storm and the Darkness:
Ana Deschanel has always been introspective, finding it difficult to share herself with others. She is an only child, and the person closest to her, her cousin Nicolas, is the only person who understands her decision to leave New Orleans for a while in attempt to understand- and hopefully put behind- the darkness that has been slowly creeping over her thoughts for years. Beyond that, there is a darker reason for her she has kept even from Nicolas, because she knows he would never forgive her.
She finds herself spending the winter in an old Victorian home belonging to her family on Summer Isle, a quaint island community off the coast of Maine. The village is small and tight-knit, and it becomes clear to her early on that she is an outsider, but she is determined to make it work.
Her neighbors, the St. Andrews brothers, have mixed feelings about her arrival. The younger, spirited Finn, a fisherman, greets her with warmth and curiosity, and observing her reading on her porch becomes a welcome part of his daily routine. The older, reclusive Jonathan is less enthusiastic and is even rude to her when she seeks out his veterinary services in a moment of desperation.
A month into her stay the first big storm of the season hits. Following a surprising but charming dinner with Finn, Ana finds herself naively braving the storm in order to return some keys to Finn. Along the way she stumbles and falls, and purely by luck the brothers find her and begin nursing her back to health. They save her life, but she remains unconscious, and with a growing storm and lack of resources, the brothers know things will get worse before they get better.
As the brothers watch over her, and the storm only worsens, communication is cut off from the island to the outside world. Things only get worse when their food storage is discovered to be spoiled and they slowly begin to realize that there are other sinister forces at work, involving someone they’ve known their whole lives who is harboring a dark secret. At the same time, Nicolas begins to worry when he hasn’t heard from Ana, and he enlists the help of his friend Oz to investigate the situation. All of these situations begin to escalate as the storm grows, and finally come together in a dramatic conclusion.

Which method did you use to self publish and which avenue do you find sells the most copies.
CreateSpace and KDP. I will definitely be using it for all future self-published books. I've sold most of my books through Amazon, as that seems to be where people trust the reviews the most.
This is really great info!  Thanks for sharing. :)

If you want to find more information on Sarah Cradit and her books, you can check out her Facebook.  I hope you'll take a look at her book and have a read.  Wishing a wonderful soul all the success in her writing career.



  1. Thanks for the useful insights. Very good infor to take into consideration here.

  2. Excellent interview. I didn't know that traditional publishers left marketing to the author. I went with Artema Press for my second novel and they did some early promotional work, including a professional website, press release and giveaways. Youwriteon looks interesting as well. I hadn't heard of that.

    1. I was quite surprised by that too. Perhaps it just depends which publisher you go with???

  3. I have heard a lot of information about self publishing and how hard it is,good luck :)

    Lucy from Lucy's Reality

    1. I thought it would be really difficult and confusing but it really wasn't that bad. It's just time consuming.

  4. It's what I hear more and more about self publishing -- it is a challenge. A writing friend complained that her first two books sold almost nothing, but the third is showing great promise and she doesn't know why. It's from the same series, she's done nothing differently. Maybe she needed to have something out there (the first 2 books) before she built an audience? I don't know, but it seems something is working this time around.

    I'm visiting form the A-Z Road Trip. Nice to have found your blog.

    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

    1. Thanks for the information. :) I have heard about writers tending to do well when they have more to offer, especially if their first book is given for free.

  5. Jessica,

    What an enlightening and energetic interview. It has been recommended that I publish my A to Z posts as a book and I thought I'd try my hand at self publishing with this first offering, just to get a feel for it. Also, after the rigors of keeping up with April's challenge, I've decided to go ahead and write that novel.

    I'm genuinely thrilled that you are so newly published yourself. It looks like a fine, fine piece of work and has a magnetic voice to it. I trust it will do well for you.

    In the mean time, I thank you for all your kind and thoughtful comments on my blog over the past month. Nice people like you have emboldened me to the point that I now have confidence to pursue my writing in force. Thank your for your unwitting but very genuine encouragement. You're a dear.

    And a fine writer too.

    1. Thank you nouveauscarecrow. :) You're message was so sweet you brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad that you've found the confidence to pursue writing, it's such a rewarding feeling. :) Thank you for your kind words and best of luck with self-publishing. :)

  6. Thanks for an interesting post, Jessica. I've passed a Leibster award to you, the details are on my blog.

  7. I am really quite new to the whole frequent blogger scene, but the willingness of bloggers to gush over other bloggers never ceases to amaze me. I love it!

    I am passing on a Liebster to you in the hopes that my link to your blog will help push you over the 200 follower mark! I found your blog on DL Hammons' link up for the Blog Blitz.