Can you guys believe it’s been four months? Time is just flying by – but as you see we’ve got an Indie Author spotlight, and the delightful Rachel Grant was kind and awesome enough to step in at the last minute. (So thank you!)
1. What made you decide to self publish?
My husband is a federal employee and his salary was our family’s sole income. Last January, fear of sequestration—it looked like he would lose 20% of his pay, possibly for as long as six months—pushed me to jump into self-publishing even though my agent still had one of my books out on submission. I could no longer afford to wait for New York.
2. What do you wish you knew when you started self-publishing that you know now?
This is a hard question, because I’ve learned so much—but I couldn’t have learned it without going through the process—so I don’t know if it’s possible to know the ins and outs of self-publishing ahead of time.
3. What are the pros and cons of self-publishing?
Pros – I’m in control of my product. No one stands between the published book and me. Mistakes are all mine, but I can also fix them quickly. In August, when two weeks after publication it was clear my new release wasn’t reaching my existing audience, I was able to call my cover designer and we had a new cover with better branding uploaded at all vendors a week later.
Cons – I’m the one making final decisions, and I’m not a marketing professional. Creating and changing covers is scary, because they are so important. Even though I loved it, I also had a gut-level concern about the first cover for Body of Evidence. I should have listened to that.
4. How did you find your audience? What have been the most challenging issues in self-publishing?
I was amazingly lucky and benefited from some marketing emails sent by Amazon right out of the gate. I have no idea how it happened, but I’m grateful.
Definitely the most challenging issue is to expand my audience and keep the books visible after the 30-day new release period, which is so favored by Amazon’s algorithms.
5. [If you have been previously,] Would you go back to traditional publishing?
I wasn’t traditionally published and ended up being very eager to self-publish the book my agent had on submission, but if I were to receive a good offer from a traditional publisher, I would seriously consider it. I no longer feel the need for validation from NY, but I’d love to reach more of the print audience.
6. 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?
It’s definitely true that I was able to release each of my books far faster than a traditional publisher would have. But it still takes me a few months after a book is written, critiqued, and polished, because after that I go through multiple rounds of edits with an editor and proofreader, cover design, etc. I have my own production process to ensure the quality of the work.
7. Do you read the reviews on site or blogs?
Yes, even though they terrify me. I look forward to the day when I have so many reviews, I don’t even notice when new ones pop up. 😉
8. What advice might you have for someone who is considering self-publishing?
Hire an editor. Be professional. Don’t rush to put out a book that isn’t ready.
9. Have you noticed changes to self-publishing since you started?
(I haven’t been self-publishing long enough—my first book came out in April.)
10. Do you think there are any particular new trends that are emerging?
Fingers crossed the next trend will be for romantic thrillers with an even balance between the suspense and the romance. Also, I want archaeologist heroines to be the next big thing. 😉
Seriously, in romance, the push seems to continually be for books to be hotter. I enjoy a good hot book too, so I understand this. My books are sexy, but there are limits—there isn’t time for more sex when my characters are on the run. But I’m writing romantic thrillers, so my style fits my audience. If I were writing contemporary or new adult, I’d up the heat factor to fit the current market.
11. Have you encountered the sentiment that self published books “aren’t as good”? If so, how do you go about overcoming that impression?
Honestly, I haven’t come across that in the reader community. The only times I’ve heard that sentiment is from other authors—and that has largely been on blogs or news articles that were not directed at me, and the authors are big names who have a lot to be thankful for from traditional publishing, an no reason to explore self-publishing. I ignore them.
Over the last several years, New York stopped publishing debut and mid-list romantic suspense authors, limiting my choices as a reader. The great thing about self-publishing is now I can find amazing romantic suspense at a great price. I’m not limited to the handful of authors that New York was willing to sell me.
More choices is always a win for everyone.
Yay! I hope you found her answers interesting, and educational. If that’s your thing. Do any of you read romantic suspense? Do you have any questions for Rachel? Let’s hear them!
*ETA: Rachel has very generously offered one person who comments her/his choice of one of her books in the e-format of her/his choice!