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 Heather James, the author of Fire (Book One in the Elements of Power series) on the blog for an interview.
When, and how, did you come to being an indie/self published author?I self-published my first novel, Fire, in January, so I’m very new to it.
Did you attempt to publish traditionally? What were your experiences?I sent Fire out to a number of agents and one publisher (I really struggled to find publishers accepting submissions). All of the feedback I received was very generic, so it was difficult to gage whether they didn’t like the idea, or just didn’t have the time/capacity to take a risk on it.
If you were offered a deal with a traditional publisher, would you take it?
I think that the most important thing for me is to have Fire read (and hopefully enjoyed) by as many people as possible, and a traditional publisher with a proper marketing and publicity department would definitely help. I am really enjoying doing everything myself though, so I suppose it would depend on what I was offered.
What is the best part of being indie/self published, for you?
It’s probably the fact that I have complete control over what happens to the series. I have enjoyed getting involved in everything from cover design to promotion.
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 that self published novels are beginning to gain more respect; particularly after the success of novels like Beautiful Disaster and 50 Shades of Grey. I also think we’re going to see a rise in independent services online – companies offering editing, marketing and cover design as separate packages; authors will be able to pick and choose the best service for each.
As an indie/self published author, what has been your biggest obstacle?
Trying to convince people that your book is worth reading, even though it hasn’t been traditionally published. Because bloggers are so busy already, many of the ones I would absolutely love to see Fire reviewed on are unable to accept it. So many bloggers, including those who have been unable to review it themselves, have been incredibly helpful in helping me to market it in other ways though.
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?
One of the first things a potential reader will notice about a book is the cover. It’s also probably one of the most difficult components to get right by yourself. This site is devoted to some of the less successful attempts: http://lousybookcovers.tumblr.com/ The comments are quite funny and give some useful ‘what to avoid’s too. Luckily, the cover for Fire hasn’t appeared on there (yet, anyway!)
How do you approach reviewers? And what has worked best when doing so?
I send out lots and lots of emails, but I always read a reviewer’s policy first and check out their reviews of books that I love, to try and gage whether they’re likely to enjoy Fire or not. I also try to personalize each email and address any points/stipulations they make in their policies.
When it comes to sales, what do you think has worked the best for you and had the biggest impact?
I’m not sure I’ve cracked that one yet! I think exposure on blogs is incredibly helpful though, as well as keeping my own blog active.
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?
Amazon has lots of very helpful tips and information. Smashwords is also incredibly useful as a means of giving copies away and distributing to site like Kobo and Barnes & Noble.
We all know covers are important; can you tell us about your cover story?
I had a pretty clear imagine in my mind of how I wanted the cover to look, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. My brother took the photography and I edited the image on Photoshop to add in the flames and text. It took quite a bit of work and a variety of different approaches, but I’m incredibly pleased with how it turned out in the end.
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?
I haven’t had any horrible reviews yet, but the book obviously isn’t for everyone. However, I’ve read low-scoring reviews of my favourite books on goodreads, which helps me to keep it in perspective.
Can you list 5-10 indie/ self published titles that you recommend? Please include genre as well.
Beautiful Disaster –YA Contemporary
More generally, I really recommend checking out sites like Wattpad and Figment; there’s some amazing, unpublished, writing to be found on them from all sorts of genres.
It’s your turn! Ask my readers one question that you are dying to know the answer for.
On Amazon, do you tend to notice if a novel is self-published or is it not something you actively check for?
That's an excellent question! I usually only grab books that have been recommended by another blogger and no, I don't check if it's been self published. I'm curious to see what the other answers are!
The author is giving away an ebook copy of Fire to one lucky person! This is provided by smashwords coupon so is open internationally.
Ends March 13, 2013
Must be 13 or older to enter.
Easy entry via the rafflecopter below!
Is control over the elements a gift, or a curse?
Roxy thinks that she is in control of everything: with flames flaring at her fingertips and an equally fiery attitude, what more could she need? But then she meets Brae, a prince from a rival Realm, who turns her assumptions of superiority upside down.
Jasmine has none of Roxy’s confidence or intensity. But she does have a secret - and Brae - and she’s not going to give either up willingly.