Monday, 17 June 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 Ella Medler, author of Blood is Heavier, a really exciting and captivating read.

Blood Is Heavier




Did you seek agent representation before self publishing?  Or do you have an agent now?
Back in the days when I believed in doing everything by the book I did look for agents. I began querying one agent a week and kept going for twelve weeks. Not all even bothered to answer, but of those who did only one saw the potential in my book being contract-worthy. Unfortunately, they didn’t ‘do’ my genre. I lost patience and began querying publishers directly. It took a year, but in the end I had three contracts to choose from.
I've heard of a lot of writers who began querying publishers when querying agents wasn't going so well, most of them seem to have been successful.


What made you decide to self publish?
I’m an impatient person who needs to see the results of my hard work pretty much right away. Traditional publishing tends to work at a very slow pace. To give you an idea, I was offered a contract for my second book end of 2011, and I wouldn’t have seen a pay check from it until sometime in 2014. The contract option was kept open for me throughout 2012, but I never exercised that option. Instead, I re-wrote the book so it developed into a trilogy, published book one, and I’m about to publish book two.
Wow that is a long wait!  Self-publishing seems to have so many positives. 


It seems like a bit of a daunting task, did you have any difficulties? Or was it easier than one would think?
It is a really straight-forward process, much easier than I expected. If you can read a booklet of instructions, you can self-publish. By far the most problems were caused by IRS requests for foreign authors. Jumping through hoops doesn’t even come near! For an American, it should be easy as making a cup of tea.
I agree the IRS forms were somewhat scary to me, I felt so lost I haven't even bothered with them yet.  I'm sure minus these pesky forms the self-publishing process must feel a lot less stressful.


Have you done anything to promote your book?
Nope. I only had a facebook account at the time my first book was scheduled for publishing. I set up a twitter account and I think I had about 20 followers by the time the book became available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. I bought a domain name and a software package and learned how to make a website from scratch. It went live about a month after the book’s release. Later on, I expanded into wordpress, LinkedIn, and a few others, but promo-wise, I still do nothing. Occasionally I post excerpts from my books on my blog. That’s it. Does that count? Some of my fans offered to do interviews, but I could probably count them on the fingers of one hand. Thank you for having me around on your blog, by the way. I appreciate it.
Always happy to help. :)


Would you take on an agent if they offered representation now, or is it something that even interests you?
I am not interested in an agent by their old job description. However, there is space in the market for an agent of sorts, someone who has the author’s interests at heart, and if someone like that came around, and was able to prove their worth to me, show me exactly how they could improve my writing business, so to speak, I would like to talk to them. Just a word of warning: I can smell a fraud a mile away!
It's nice to see that so many authors are completely comfortable with taking charge of their own career and recognizing they have a right to choose a perfect agent if they want.  I like to think that authors are winning the control a bit.


What was your first manuscript?
The first is an un-named teen spy story and it’s gathering virtual dust in a folder on my laptop. If you’re referring to the first published one, it’s Martin Little, Resurrected. It’s a light-hearted fantasy satire which mocks our current way of life. One of my readers described it as complete escapism. I’m ten thousand words into its sequel, Martin Little Takes Epic Action.

How long did it take you to write it?
Oh, I played around with the first three chapters, writing and re-writing to makes sure agents – see the conditioning? – liked the beginning. All the way through the summer holidays, I’d take the children to the beach and keep writing whilst watching over them. Then the new school year started and I completed the rest of it in about a month. I had to! I had sent the first chapters to agents and the book wasn’t finished yet! What if they had asked for the whole manuscript? That was a hell of an incentive!

Did you have it professionally edited? 
Yes, I did.

Did you have any critique partners?  If so, how many?
I gave the manuscript to all and sundry – people I knew and people I’d met only once. Never kept track of them all. Not all the copies I gave away returned to me. I take that as a good sign. I took all the comments seriously and, indeed, I found them all helpful. I’m sure the book is so much better because of all these people’s input.

If you could change the way things have gone with your writing career, is there anything you would change?
Maybe... I remember feeling so high for having written a book, so happy I’d signed a contract... And then I submerged myself deep inside the writers’ community and realised one book is nothing. Promotion takes time and skill. Or a lot of money. Time to write books two, three and so on is limited as soon as you begin to promote book one. If I could turn back time, I’d write ten books, and hit the market with all at once.
That's an interesting thought... makes sense though.  I've seen this so much, the more you have out there, the more likely you are to get noticed.


This is my most touchy question and a lot of authors choose not to answer, but how many copies have you sold?
Enough to pay some bills with the money raised, but not enough to retire. And even when I do retire, I’ll still be writing! My definition of success doesn’t involve figures.
I think it's very important that the definition of success doesn't involve figures.  I personally, and I think most writers would agree, just want to move someone with my writing, I want people to fall in love with my characters and got lost in my world.


If you want to find more information on Ella Medler and her books, you can check out her blog or Facebook page.  The sequel to Blood is Heavier is coming out soon.  I'd be interested in reading it and seeing where the story goes and I hope you'll take a look too.  All the best to a great author on her exciting writing journey.
 


On a side note, IndieAuthorland is helping me do some promoting by featuring me in an interview on their blog tomorrow June 18, 2013.  Here's the link:   http://www.indieauthorland.com/ I hope you'll check it out. :)

5 comments:

  1. Shame you didn't ask me, my experience was somewhat different and not exactly along the same route. I would be happy to do a guest post for you explaining how I found the process.

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  2. The people I've picked for interviews haven't really been planned. They're usually people I happen upon one way or another and I've normally read their book. I would be interested in learning about your experience though. If you let me know your email address, I can send you the interview questions. :)

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    1. Hi Jessica. The reason I pointed this out was that my route was slightly different and not at all what I anticipated. It looks as though Ella's experience is very different to mine. I would be happy to complete a questionnaire my e-mail is jphillipson@rocketmail.com

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  3. You gave some helpful, thoughtful, comments. Best wishes with your literary career, and other endeavors.

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