Hello everyone! Confident Reads is a feature I have here each week and is a way to open communication between readers and Indie authors. This is to help readers feel confident in the books they spend their money on, and for authors to feel confident in the book they publish.
I have decided to do author interviews so we can get an idea of what authors are thinking and going through when publishing their books themselves. Today I have invited Rabia Gale to the blog. Her book Rainbird just released in October. You can look for my review in the near future.
When, and how, did you come to being an indie/self published author?
I self-published my first book Shattered, a collection of three fractured fairy tales, in the spring of 2012. I’d watched the rise of digital self-publishing with great interest for many months and decided to test the waters for myself.
Did you attempt to publish traditionally? What were your experiences?
Traditional publishing was the only game in town when I first started writing fiction. So, whenever I finished a novel, I dutifully queried agents. I never had much luck there, so I started submitting to publishers directly. I was ecstatic when one of my books made it all the way up to an acquiring editor at a respected imprint. It was ultimately turned down, but with an invitation to submit other work–plus I got the ego-boost of having nearly made it.
However, the publishers that accept unagented manuscripts want them on an exclusive basis and take a long time to respond (many months to years). I don’t find that to be fair to writers, and I’m glad that self-publishing is now a viable option.
If you were offered a deal with a traditional publisher, would you take it?
It all depends on the deal. If a publisher offered me the chance to reach a wider audience, if there weren’t any non-compete clauses that would prevent me from writing and publishing other work, if the reversion clause was reasonable, if I was paid fairly for the rights I was licensing… and after working with an IP attorney to vet the contract and make sure there were no nasty booby traps…
…yeah, I’d take it. *grin*
What is the best part of being indie/self published, for you?
Reaching readers! I love that my work is being read by people who don’t know me from Eve. I love it whenever I read a review and realize that a reader got was I was trying to do. I love it when I hear, “I hope there’s a sequel.”
And, of course, getting paid for something I love to do is also a nice side-benefit!
The indie/self published scene is constantly changing. Even quite a few traditionally published authors have ventured into the world of self publishing. What do you predict for the future? How do you think the indie scene is changing and where do you think it will go?
Well, I’m no oracle, but I’ll take a stab at predicting the future.
I expect that the traditional publishing vs. self-publishing debate will not be quite so polarizing in the next few years. Many authors will adopt a hybrid publishing model. There’ll be more micro-presses and publishing cooperatives as authors band together to pool their resources and trade their skills.
I expect other fiction formats, such as serials and novellas, to make a comeback (indeed, I think they already are). The quality of self-published books will improve as indie publishing grows up and there are more skilled freelance editors, book designers and cover artists that offer their services to authors.
As an indie/self published author, what has been your biggest obstacle?
Being found by readers.
Family and friends were responsible for my initial sales, but building a readership beyond those who know me personally is slow work. There’s no one surefire way to gain visibility; rather I employ a multi-pronged approach that includes social media, blogging, getting reviews, and—most importantly!—writing and publishing more books.
In the world of indie/self published not everyone goes about things the same way. Many make mistakes (and hopefully learn from them). What are the biggest mistakes that you think authors are making and how do you suggest they improve?
We should remember that building a writing career takes time. Sure, there are those one-book wonders who hit it big early, but they’re the exception, not the rule. A constant focus on sales can be a real joy-killer (as I can personally attest to). Plus, it can cause us to bombard our Facebook friends and Twitter followers with desperate “Buy my book!” messages that can be a real turn-off.
Expect a slow build. Write more books. Publish regularly. Be flexible and explore other options, like submitting to anthologies and short fiction markets or trying new genres.
We all know covers are important; can you tell us about your cover story?
For my Rainbird cover, I worked with a cover designer I found through DeviantArt. Ravven impressed me with her art, her prompt responses, and her enthusiasm for the collaborative process between artist and author.
The most important thing for me was to get my main character right. It wasn’t so much about the minute physical details (like the length of her hair and the color of her shoes), but about getting her personality across. I spent hours combing stock sites, and while I found the right model, Ravven was the one who found the right pose. When she used “joyous” to describe it, I knew we’d found the winning image.
Because joyful is what Rainbird is–despite being abandoned as a baby, in hiding from an unjust system, despised by one race and considered chattel by the other.
And that aspect of her personality comes across in spades on my cover.
Can you list 5-10 indie/ self published titles that you recommend? Please include genre as well.
My favorite indie author is Lindsay Buroker who writes The Emperor’s Edge series, which are high fantasy books set in a steam-powered world. In the romantic fantasy genre, I enjoyed the duology Herb Witch/Herb Wife by Elizabeth McCoy and The Chocolatier’s Wife by Cindy Lynn Speer.
I totally just went and ‘bought’ (it was free) the first book in The Emperor’s Edge series. It sounds SO good! High fantasy AND steampunk?! Ummm…. yeah, there’s no way I could NOT read this book!
Thanks so much for being on today Rabia! I loved the answers, and especially loved learning about your cover story. :) That is such a GORGEOUS cover!