Hi friends! Remember way back when, in January when I said I was starting a new periodic feature? Well! Today is our second installment! A look at Indie Authors and their publishing journey. Please welcome author R.E. Butler to ALBTALBS!
What made you decide to self publish?
The timing of traditional publishers. I can write, edit, and publish a book whenever I feel like it. I like being in control of my work. For example, my latest book was slated to be out around the 22nd of March. I had a fan ask if I could get it out faster so she could enjoy it on her birthday. Some other fans jumped on the bandwagon, too, and so I buckled down and got the book out in time for her birthday. If it was in the hands of a traditional publishing company the publish date would have been entirely out of my hands.
What do you wish you knew when you started self publishing that you know now?
The resources that are available to self-publishers. With a little research on their part, an author can find beta-readers, critique groups, editors, cover designers, and marketing companies. When I started publishing, it was just me and a friend that was my beta-reader and cover designer. Neither of us really knew what we were doing. When I finally started to make contacts in the industry, I was able to do more by outsourcing my editing and proofing, cover design, and marketing. It freed me up to write more, as well as allow me to put out more professional work.
What are the pros and cons of self publishing?
The pros and cons are actually the same for me. You’re in utter control of your career. That’s a pro because you make the decisions about your book covers, your content, your publishing dates. It’s a con because you’re doing the work of many people all by yourself. It can be as much overwhelming as it is amazing.
How do you find your audience?
I blog, and am on Twitter and Facebook and I’m active on Goodreads. When I wasn’t reaching many fans in the UK, I did a blog tour that focused on blogs out of that part of the world and increased my visibility.
What have been the most challenging issues in self publishing?
For me, the biggest challenge I face is getting books out timely on all distribution channels. I publish to Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords, and all three have their own timelines for when a book is received by them and hits their virtual shelves. Getting everything out in the same day is an art form that I’m still trying to master.
How do you approach editing and marketing?
I take editing very seriously. Even with paid, professional editors, I still read through a finished book several times before I publish it. I have a strict way I proof a final draft and I don’t stray from it. It’s important to me that my books are as clean as possible, so that I can be proud of the work I’ve put out. I never was much of a marketer, but I’m getting better. I’ve been very fortunate to have a number of book review blogs pick up my series and showcase them, and I’ve got the most amazing, loyal fans that support me and my books. I advertise on romance sites, and collaborate with the people that I work with to cross promote.
There is the perception it is faster to get a book to your fans if you are self-published – do you think this is true?
From what I’ve learned in following my favorite authors, I do know that it is true. I can write my book, get it edited and ready to publish, and then publish it whenever I’m ready. I’ve moved books from first draft to published in two months.
Do you read the reviews on GoodReads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble? would you like Amazon to have a rate and/or review system like GoodReads?
For the most part, I don’t really read reviews. I watch them in an overview kind of way, to see how many reviews a new book gets after a certain amount of time, or what the average number of stars is, but I don’t really dig into the reviews unless someone contacts me about a review they wrote, in which case I’ll read it. I really don’t think that reviews are written for the authors, but for other readers. It’s so easy to get caught up with a bad review. When I first published and the first bad review came in, it hovered in my brain like a demon, poking at me, taunting me. I do wish that Amazon would go to a review system like B&N or GR, that would allow readers to simply leave a star rating instead of a worded review if they’d prefer.
Word is that Amazon is starting to delete reviews that say they got the book from the author; what are your thoughts on this as a self-published author? (Especially since most people disclose they received an ARC for review.)
As long as a reviewer states that the book was given as an ARC for an honest review, I don’t see what the problem is with ARCs getting reviewed.
What advice might you have for someone who is considering self publishing?
Do it! Don’t just say you will, but get out there and do it! If I have one regret about my writing career, it’s that I didn’t publish sooner.
Have you noticed changes to self publishing since you started?
I think that self-published authors are finding that they’re not so looked down upon as they were several years ago. Even traditionally published authors are self-publishing, which is a huge nod to the self-publishing industry. When I see self-published authors on best seller lists, it makes my heart sing.
Do you think there are any particular new trends that are emerging?
I’m not the trendiest person you’ll ever meet, but I do read a ton and from what I can see of the new books coming out and the best selling charts, the erotica/billionaire craze isn’t going to die down anytime soon.
So – what questions do you have for Ms. Butler? You can ask about her books, publishing, the weather, anything! And note – she just published her sixteenth book this past March, so you know – one would think she knows what she’s talking about. 😉
As incentive, R.E. has offered a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice), and another person their choice of an ebook from her backlist! Whee!
p.s. At this very moment, two of her books are free on amazon kindle! So you can check them out if you like. A Flash of Fang, and A Curve of Claw – NB I make no guarantees as to price, so caveat emptor!)