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!)
THANKS FOR THE GIVEAWAY AND WHAT AND WHEN DID YOU START WRITING?
Hi Shelley! I mainly write Paranormal Romance. My first book came out in November of 2011 and I haven’t looked back. You’re welcome…and good luck!
HEREIS MY EMAIL ADD. I FORGOT TO GIVE YOU. [email protected]
Got it! 🙂
What’s your favorite genre to read?
bn100candg at hotmail dot com
bn, I mostly read paranormal romance now. When I first started reading romance novels, I was all about old west historical. The first paranormal romance book I ever read was Shelley Laurenston’s Pack Challenge, about werewolves, and I was hooked!
Who are your,fav aythorsv u read
Vcingrats on the books,
I read a ton! My current favorite authors are Laurann Dohner, NJ Walters, and JR Ward. But I will honestly read anything with shifters in it, and I especially enjoy finding new authors to check out.
Hello! Thank you for the free books. I downloaded them just now. What is your writing process? (When do you write? How long? Storyboard? Outline? Etc…) Do you have a day job or are you able to write full time? When is your next book coming out? Your covers are gorgeous! Do you do them yourself or have an artist? For your UK blog tour, did you set that up yourself?
Thanks for talking to us today, I’m so excited to find a new-to-me author.
You’re welcome, Shannon! I hope you enjoy them.
I am lucky enough to be able to stay home full time, and now that my kids are both in school, I have plenty of time to write during the day. I try to write four to six hours every day, except for weekends which I reserve for the family. My process is not really a process at all, I sit down and I write. I don’t storyboard, but I have gotten into doing a rough outline so I know where I’m going. And I’m always working on more than one book at a time, so if I get stuck in one book, I just switch over and start in another.
My next book is the sixth in my Wolf’s Mate series and is due out in mid-May. I have a cover designer that does all my covers now, and I love her. She and I spend a ton of time going through stock image sites to find the perfect models and backgrounds to fit the stories.
My UK blog tour was set up through a blog tour company that handled everything for me. It was my first time doing something like that, and it made me feel like a real celebrity.
Good morning! I was just wondering if you ever thought about writing a different kind of book besides paranormal? I’m just curious because I love your work!
Thanks so much, Denise! I have considered writing something besides paranormal, but I haven’t gotten bit by the comtemporary bug yet. The closest I came to non-paranormal was my first time travel book (which in and of itself is paranormal, but the people were all humans), The Tribe’s Bride. Otherwise, I stick to the furry and fanged. 😀
That’s just fine with me because I really do enjoy your books! Thanks for taking the time to answer and for everything you do! Happy Writing!
You’re very weolcome!
hi i was wondering what made you decide to become an author or is it something you have always wanted to do?
Hi Susan! I have always enjoyed writing, but I didn’t decide I wanted to be an author until I read SE Hinton’s The Outsiders, and found out that she wrote it at age 14. It made a whole world of possibilities open up for me. It took me a long time to get to the point of publishing, but that was the point in my life when I said, “I can do this, too”.
What took me from just writing for myself to publishing, was a dear friend who asked to read something I’d written. I’d never let anyone see my things, so it was a big step for me. With her encouragement, and a very serious, “I will be published in 2011” vow on New Year’s Eve, I moved forward and published two novellas in 2011 and never looked back.
Thank you so much for your reply it means alot and I wanted to say I love your books and can’t wait to read many more x
You’re very welcome!!
I love all her books I can not get enough of them waiting for her othe2 books to come out
Hi Lisa! Thank you so much for the love ‘n support! I appreciate it, and I promise I’m writing as fast as I can. LOL.
Thank you for the books I really enjoy. Did you always love paranormal books?
Thanks, Dawn! I didn’t always love paranormal. When I first started reading romance novels, I was into western historical. When I got my first kindle and found a whole world of inexpensive and/or free books at my fingertips…that’s when I discovered paranormal books. Once I started reading about alpha males and shifters and vampires and other supernatural beings, I didn’t want to stop. I pretty much read paranormal romance exclusively, although I do read contemporary from time to time.
I have read all your books and was wondering if you are going to start any new series?
I really enjoyed The Gigolo’s Bride, and wanted to know if you will be revisiting that world in future books?
Kimberly, I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my books! I do have a few other series percolating in my brain at the moment, including one about the tigers from A Twitch of Tail. I’m not certain that any new series will come out this year, but I never say never.
I also love the world from The Gigolo’s Bride, and I am planning to write at least two more stories in that world to revisit the characters from the first book.
I’m happy to hear that more stories from The Gigolo’s Bride characters are coming. 🙂
Thanks! I’m looking forward to visiting that world again, too!
Hi R.E.! I was going to ask if you’d considered writing in another genre, but I guess that’s already been asked! Is there a specific type of shifter that you’d like to write then but haven’t yet?
On the side of the publishing – how did you find your editors? And how does that process work? What experience do they have and do you always use the same ones?
Hi Aliquis! I haven’t written about dragons yet, and that’s a creature I’d like to tackle in a book sometime.
I have three editors that I use regularly, along with two beta-readers. I found one of my editors at Goodreads, where she left an “ad” about her services. My other two editors came from recommendations from other authors. When I contacted the editors, I asked for recommendations from their current clients and spoke to them first. When I decided to go with an editor, I made sure that we were both on the same page about cost and what their services entailed, their turn-around time, and payment schedule.
Each editor is different, from the way they edit to their cost and experience, and it’s just a matter of finding what works for you. When I contacted them, I explained what kind of books I write and what I was looking for in an editor and asked if they were taking on new clients. But yes, I do use the same three consistently because I like their quality of work. It’s a business relationship, and I look for editors that treat me like a valued client and respect my work.
What is your favorite book out of all the ones you have written so far?
I’d have to say that Every Night Forever is my favorite. I just fell in love with the characters when I was writing. 🙂
I know I’ve said this before but again I LOVE all your books! The questions I had were already asked, it was nice to get to know you better from your answers. I too used to mainly read contemporary romance but got into paranormal when i got my nook tablet. Now I can’t get enough :-). As always keep up the good work.
Thank you so much, Takisha, you’re so sweet!! I honestly feel the same way – I can’t get enough of paranormal romance!
I love your stories! I have all of the Wolf’s Mate series and I have your Hyena Heat story. My introduction to your work was the Wiccan-Were-Bear series. Now I need to get your other stories. Which one to get first?
Tiana, thank you so much! Hmmm….what to read next? The spin-offs of the wolf books are a great place to start…. Hyena Heat or Ashland Pride. But whatever you choose, Happy Reading!!
Hay R E! Thanks for the tips on self publishing! I have been thinking of doing it myself. Do you get your work copy righted? If so, at what point in the process do you recommend doing this? Do you have any good suggestions on web sights or search topics to help me, and other rookies like me get started? I could pick your brain on writing all day but I will pause here for now. Thanks for all the info and help. It means the world to me.
Hi Wendy! I’m really happy to share what I’ve learned!
I’m definitely very, very glad I finally took the step and self-published. I’m happy to hear that you’re interested in it!
I’m not a lawyer, so my opinion about copyrights is just an opinion and not based on any real training. When I researched the issue, I went straight to the source: http://www.copyright.gov and made my own decision.
If you’re looking for websites to help you write, I would suggest Kristen Lamb’s blog, http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/, because she is just amazing and is full of insights into writing, as well as marketing and other things that authors have to think about. I also am a member of http://www.shewrites.com/, which is full of really helpful people. Besides those two, I belong to a few groups on GoodReads that are for indie authors, as well, which can be found with a simple search of “groups” under the topic “indie authors”. As I mentioned above, I found one of my editors (and two of my cover designers) on GoodReads.
When it comes time to publish, I use Smashwords.com, PubIt by Barnes & Noble, and KDP by Amazon. All of their sites have easy-to-follow publishing guidelines to take you from finished document to published book. The scariest moment for me was when I pressed “publish” with my first book. All my fears came rushing to the surface – what if it never sold, what if it did sell but sucked out loud – but I kept going because I’m passionate about writing and sharing my books with the world. Good luck to you!
Thanks SO much for the great info! I will joyfully use this!
You’re very welcome, Wendy!
Thanks so much for visiting with us, R.E.! <3 Please feel free to stop by any time! 😀
Thanks so much for having me!!!
16 is impressive. I’m just wondering if you organize your own blog tours or not?
Hi Mary! Thanks! I’ve only done one tour and I used a tour company that another author recommended. I really enjoyed it and am considering doing another one this year.
If you do I hope you come close enough that I can come see you! I know we all feel the same way!
Thanks, Wendy! That’s so sweet!!!
Hi, RE! Thanks for the fun interview and congrats on 16 books! Do you do anything special to celebrate each release? I know some authors frame their cover flats, or get a little charm to represent each book… Do you have any special way of commemorating yours?
You’re welcome, and thanks back to you!
Whenever a new book comes out, I go shopping. I’m a jewelry hound and a shoe hound, and there’s nothing I love more than picking up something new to celebrate another book on my virtual shelf of releases.
With my last book, I picked up an amazing Ed Hardy watch. The February release – a pink sapphire ring. In January it was a gorgeous pair of Steve Madden boots. They don’t necessarily have anything to do with the content of the books necessarily, but they’re things that I can look at and remember fondly what prompted me to hit the mall.
I actually really like the idea of charms, though. I could definitely get on board with that.
Would love to be entered in this. I am also on Goodreads and post lots of reviews on there. I also review on Amazon.
Hi Jane! Good luck! I love goodreads, not only because I love to read and review, but because I get to chat with other book lovers and reviewers!