Today’s post is another great author and blogger interview. Yvette Carol is a good friend of mine from New Zealand, and she was kind enough to share her experiences about her writing and self-publishing.
Can you tell us about yourself and your writing?
Yes, thank you for asking, and thanks for this opportunity. I write for fantasy fiction for the ‘tween reader, the 9 – 13-year-old
How long did it take you to complete your book?
It is a little hard for me to answer that question, as The Chronicles of Aden Weaver series started out life as a single volume in 2005. However, along the way, it got chopped into three stories, and the first book, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta’ has been my work-in-progress as a single entity for probably the last five years or more.
Why did you take the self-publishing route?
When I was younger I did a lot of submitting to publishing houses and contests and the like. As I said in the speech at my book launch a month ago, ‘I set a glass ceiling for myself, that I would get that traditional book deal.’
Now that I’m older, the clock is ticking, there is no more time for waiting. I see other authors being intrepid and beating the Indie path and I hear the positive feedback returning from the front line, and my views are changing. I’ve stopped seeing the traditional book deal as the ultimate prize.
To my surprise, when I did let go of the trad. Publishing route idea, it was an instant relief. I’m not a gal who handles competition and the pressure of submitting and being rejected very well.
Also, it felt empowering. I was so glad to finally at last take up the reigns fully into my own hands and accept full responsibility for my “creative intelligence” and to own rights to my own work and success.
Which company did you use, which services did they offer, and how much did it cost you?
Carol J. Amato, of Stargazer Publishing, was the proof-reader I hired first, as she came highly recommended by my friend, author, Maria Cisneros-Toth. I spent the best part of a thousand dollars on this stage but then the exchange is brutal from the New Zealand end. Friends have recommended two kiwi proof-readers since then. For the second round of editing by a professional, I chose a local business called ProofPal. I highly recommend Katrien’s services. She was punctual and thorough. Nevertheless, it would seem $1000 is the going price for editing services on a full 60,000+ word manuscript, as in the end, I spent more or less the same amount.
Who did your cover for you?
People keep asking me about the cover art. Well they should do. I love it!
Once I had taken on the mantle of publisher, I began some serious investigating into the different options available today for digital online cover artists, many I found through Facebook. The going rate for that seemed to be from $5 – $400.
I had gone to various people asking questions. I really wanted to feel confident of the jacket. My story while set in the wilds of the planet Chiron is in reality based on earth, and while a story about shape-shifters in a time many centuries ago, reflects who we are today in a lot of ways. The cultures depicted are at once advanced and yet simple. It is a complex world and I felt the cover needed to be created with great care and precision. Let us just say it was not a book that could have stock art on the cover.
Luckily, I had the courage to throw caution to the wind and ask my nephew. Simon used to be a gifted artist in his youth, yet had not done any art since he left school. I asked would he create an image for the cover. He said yes. The rest is history!
Next, I hired the services of the guys at local printing outfit, BookPrint to do the formatting and layout.
Tim gave me files ready for upload onto CreateSpace and the Mobi file for Kindle Direct. These guys did a superb job with the digital side of things and everyone said the paperback they produced was top quality also. So a big “thumbs-up” for them!
Do you recommend them to other writers?
How are you marketing your book?
Between the kids and Christmas, I haven’t yet found the time to do the marketing. I made a comprehensive list and have failed to do any of it. Today, I attempted to get an “Author Page” on Goodreads, and that’s the extent of my marketing so far. However, this is one of three posts which blogging friends have offered to post for me, so I guess I’m taking steps in the right direction at last.
One of my writing mentors, Bob Mayer once said, ‘Focus on craft; not marketing and promotion. You can’t promote crap. The best marketing is a good story; better marketing is more good stories.’ I, too, adhere to this approach!
Do you have tips for writers who can’t decide between self-publishing and traditional publishing?
Yes. One of the successful kiwi authors I admire and now also call a friend, Donna Blaber, had some sage words on this very topic. She’s had thirty or so books published, traditionally. She published her last book herself.
Donna told me, “Now, that I’ve self-pubbed once, I’m never going back. With trad. Publishing, someone takes their bite of the pie all the way down the line, until there’s nothing left and they haven’t done anything! Whereas, when you publish yourself, all the profit is yours.”
Also from the amazing Bob Mayer again. “The gatekeepers are readers. While traditional publishing is still a viable path, they no longer control distribution. This is such a fundamental change in the business paradigm, I truly believe very few people grasp the implications. New York is hanging on to its antiquated business model instead of embracing change.”
These are people I look up to in the business at the moment.
Which blog(s) and social media accounts can we follow you on?