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.
Once again I'm combining a tour stop with the Confident Reads feature. Why not, right? Make sure you check out the tour page for all the other stops! This tour is hosted by me! Also be sure to check out my reviews of Blood Fugue and Witch's Nocturne because they are GREAT!
Confident Reads is a bit off schedule this week (and doubled up) because I wanted to fit in E.J. Wesley on a free book day. So that's today! That's right, Blood Fugue, the first novelette in the Moonsongs series is FREE for kindle today! (They are only .99 cents other days.)
Let's welcome E.J. Wesley to the blog!
When, and how, did you come to being an indie/self published author?
Though it was a long process, it wasn’t that complex. I’ve been working at my fiction craft for six years or so. I’ve written my share of dead manuscripts (most of them YA) during that time. Basically, I just tried to find my voice and become a good writer.
By the time I finally felt ready to take the next step, publishing (as an industry) looked much different than when I first started down that path. All of a sudden I had a lot of potential options.
Ultimately, I chose to self-publish because it fit the work. The Moonsongs books are short(er), speculative fiction that probably belong in the burgeoning New Adult category. Outside of a few indie-magazines and eJournals, there wasn’t much of a market for that kind of thing. So I decided to hang my own shingle, so to speak.
Did you attempt to publish traditionally? What were your experiences?
All of my writing prior to the Moonsongs books was done with traditional publishing in mind. I read books on queries, wrote practice queries, followed every agent blog I could find, etc. Though I never officially submitted my work to an agent or publisher, my mindset was always to do that. Mostly because, at the time, it was the only way to legitimately publish fiction.
I have no personal tale of woe and rejection. My goal was always to share my work with, and entertain, readers. There are many ways to do that now.
If you were offered a deal with a traditional publisher, would you take it?
I’m honestly open to anything. As I said earlier, I feel it’s a work-by-work situation now. (I’m not comfortable saying ‘author-by-author’ situation, as I can’t say I’d recommend authors limiting themselves in that way.)
Some projects lend themselves to traditional publishing, others to self-publishing. If it fit the work, and I was convinced it would get it in front of the most readers possible, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
What is the best part of being indie/self published, for you?
Well, the independence! I get to pick my cover. I get to decide how I want my work marketed, and to whom. I get to choose my editor. I get the final say on editorial revisions. (Even if I usually do what she tells me to do! lol) There are just so many little steps in the publishing process, and when you pour so much into your work, it’s nice to have input in all of it.
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?
I think it’s going to grow for sure. The Internet has created a market for everything, and I don’t believe there is some imaginary threshold for books (as I’ve seen some people claim). Readers read, and the more we give them of what they enjoy, the more they’ll read. That encourages writers to become authors.
However, I think we’re going to see many authors go the hybrid route. They’ll self-pub some things, and traditionally publish others. I’d say the line between pure indie and pure traditional is going get blurred significantly in the coming years.
As an indie/self published author, what has been your biggest obstacle?
I’d say getting the courage to do it in the first place. There’s a lot you don’t know when you begin, and that’s daunting. Luckily, I’d made friends via blogging, etc. who helped me when I got stuck. In the end, every resource you need to do it is available.
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?
As someone who, I’m sure, makes his share of horrible mistakes, I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer this. BUT, I can probably safely say not investing the time into developing the craft of writing.
Just because people will read poor writing doesn’t ever justify putting it out there. Money is a good goal—it can keep us writing, after all. Just don’t let that be the only motive for sharing your work. You owe it to yourself to put only your best work out there.
How do you approach reviewers? And what has worked best when doing so?
Hire a blog tour coordinator? Seriously, I’m useless when it comes to asking for reviews. I almost can’t do it. I suppose I’d approach it the way I do most things: Be genuinely kind, flexible, gracious, and grateful for their time (even if they say no).
I’m a ‘flies with honey’ kind of guy, I think.
When it comes to sales, what do you think has worked the best for you and had the biggest impact?
It’s tricky, because I’m still in the ‘downloads are as good as purchases’ stage of things. It’s less about making money, and more about building a readership. So with that being said, enrolling Blood Fugue in the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program and utilizing the ‘free’ days was very beneficial. I had more downloads in two days than I’d had the previous three months combined.
If someone tells you they are thinking of publishing a novel themselves and they would like some advice on where to get started or some tips for success, what advice would you give?
Number one: Research. Google self-publishing tips. Very simple, but it’ll keep you reading for a while. Second would be: how many hoops are you willing to jump through to make it happen? If your answer isn’t “as many as it takes” you might want to look elsewhere. Self-publishing is a series of steps: 1) Write something awesome. 2) Have something awesome edited by a pro. 3) Figure out what you’re going to do for a cover---and so on. None of them are impossible, but they must be done if you want to self-publish.
We all know covers are important; can you tell us about your cover story?
So, I’m a big comic book and graphic novel fan. I love illustrations, and have dabbled in drawing most of my life. I chose my cover designer because she was not only gifted doing photographic covers, but also illustrated ones. She gave me several samples/mockups—some illustrated, some photo.
In the end, we decided that the illustrated covers would be distinct, and separate it from the typical paranormal-romance covers that permeate the market (most use models and manipulate photographs). While I can’t say there’ll never be romantic elements in the Moonsongs books, it certainly isn’t the primary theme. Plus, we thought they might appeal more to male readers.
Bad reviews are inevitable; most every author gets at least some. How do you handle things when you get a bad review so you don’t get hung up on it or possibly lash out which could cause more damage in the long run?
Many wise authors have said never read reviews. And they’re right. However, when you’re a brand new author, and you can still count your reviews on both hands, it’s impossible not to see them. (Though, as I’ve gotten more, it’s getting easier to ignore them now.)
I try to make good habits—like never respond directly to a reviewer, good or bad. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve liked a few of my Goodreads reviews, and I’ve sent a thank you note to friends who’ve taken the time to leave me a review (I don’t ask them for them). But in general, I try to leave it alone.
Can you list 5-10 indie/ self published titles that you recommend? Please include genre as well.
Fearless by Christine Rains (para-rom)
Once Upon a December Nightmare by Cherie Reich (horror/novelette)
Alligators Overhead by C. Lee McKenzie (Middle Grade adventure)
Tough Girl by Libby Heily (Mature YA)
The Backworlds by M. Pax (Sci-fi)
It’s your turn! Ask my readers one question that you are dying to know the answer for.
What is one book you’ve always wanted to read, but that no one has written? (concept for a story, etc.) I might just give it a try!
a Rafflecopter giveaway About Blood Fugue:
“Some folks treated the past like an old friend. The memories warmed them with fondness for what was, and hope for what was to come. Not me. When I thought of long ago, my insides curdled, and I was left feeling sour and wasted.”
Jenny Schmidt is a young woman with old heartaches. A small town Texas girl with big city attitude, she just doesn’t fit in. Not that she has ever tried.
Life has pummeled her heart into one big, lonely callus. She has no siblings, both parents were dead by sixteen, and her last grandparent—and caretaker—was in the ground before she turned twenty-one. She’s the last living member of her immediate family. Or so she thinks…
“We found my ‘grandfather’ sitting at his dining room table. An entire scorched pot of coffee dangled from his shaky hand. His skin was the ashen gray shade of thunderclouds, not the rich mocha from the photo I’d seen. There were dark blue circles under each swollen red eye. A halo of white hair skirted his bald head, a crown of tangles and mats. Corpses had more life in them.”
Suddenly, instead of burying it with the dead, Jenny is forced to confront the past. Armed only with an ancient family journal, her rifle, and an Apache tomahawk, she must save her grandfather’s life and embrace her dangerous heritage. Or be devoured by it.
About Witch's Nocturne:
After receiving an ancient tribal journal from her grandfather, Jenny is sent on a mission of discovery in an attempt to unravel clues to her family's monster hunting past. The journey becomes more than academic when she is asked to confront a coven of dangerous witches who plan to cast an insidious spell on the plains of West Texas.
Witch's Nocturne is the second of the Moonsongs Books, a series of paranormal-horror-action novelettes by author E.J. Wesley. These stories contain language and content better suited for mature readers.
About the author:
Born and raised in Oklahoma, E.J. grew up in a land of good earth and better people. He holds degrees in psychology and counseling, but prefers to spend his time in the heads of imaginary people to real ones. He writes and lives in South Texas, and loves to chat about movies, books, music, food, and family.