I first wrote a novel 20 years ago, but knew it wasn’t good enough to ‘do anything with’, so I set to work on the next one… I wrote around 10 in a space of 7 years. In 1999/2000 I wrote two I was really proud of and sent sample chapters to agents, two of whom liked them enough to ask to see the whole manuscripts but that was as far as I got! Then life got in the way and I didn’t write again until 2010, when I wrote You Wish. I tried an agent again – same thing, she liked it enough to want to see the whole thing but not enough to beat a path to my door offering representation! Then someone told me about self-publishing on Amazon Kindle, since then I have concentrated only on that.
Are you a structured writer or a see-what happens?
Definitely structured – I think that not having a plan leads to continuity errors, loose ends, unfeasible plot lines, characters having personality changes mid-story, rambling and irrelevant detail, to name but a few of the problems…! I don’t do detailed plans but I do know how the basic story pans out and will have written out a chapter plan, even if just a few lines per chapter. I deviate from this as I go along, if I think of a better way of developing a sub-plot, for instance, but I always have notes written for the next part before I finish each day. Obviously you need to have talent to write stuff that people want to read, but I think novel writing is a craft, too, and one that you get better at the more you do it.
The theme is about whether or not we are in control of our own destiny, or if we can influence it by such things as making wishes; or if, once made, we make those wishes come true by ourselves. It’s been described as a ‘quirky contemporary drama’, which I think is about right. The main characters are Ruth, a 40 year old hippy mum who tells fortunes, Petra, who has never been able to fall in love, and spoilt, selfish, weight obsessed Sarah. It’s told from each of their points of view in turn.
When you first put ‘You Wish’ out there, did you get the response you hoped for?
I didn’t have any hopes or expectations, I just put it on Amazon because someone told me you could do so. It wasn’t the first novel I’d written so I knew I could write in a way that would appeal to some people, thank goodness! Lots of my friends had read and liked it (phew!) – I would give it to them in instalments and they would nag me for the next one! When I first published it I hadn’t got a clue how to promote, so once all my friends had bought it, it just sort of sat there, selling about one a week. Then I did a free promotion, which got me off the ground. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, obviously, but the reviews for it are many and mostly excellent, and it’s won a minor award, too – I was so pleased about that!
What inspired you to write it?
I just wanted to write a book about the subject I described in the first question. Then I thought of different ways by which I could illustrate it. It’s a hard question to answer – people always ask ‘what inspired you to write such and such’ and I never have a very good reply – I just think up stories.
Tell us about your latest novel (or what you are working on at the moment).
I am working on a contemporary drama with a historical twist to it, which is all I’ll say right now as I’m keeping it under wraps! It’s a much longer book than my others, and is a more ambitious project altogether. Other than this, I want to do some more short stories soon, as my first collection went down well (again, thank goodness!)
What motivated/inspired you to become an Indie Author?
I don’t think of myself as ‘an indie author’ and dislike the term. I’m just a writer who happens to be self-published because no-one’s offered me a publishing contract yet!!!! As for what motivated/inspired me, I’ve just always found that writing fiction is something I love doing and do well enough to entertain others; I’m just lucky that now there is the facility to self-publish so easily.
How do you marketing your books? Do you have a process? (I understand you said in one of your questions your free book helped, but I just wondered if there was any tips you have on marketing your books)
This is a huge subject and one which requires more than an answer to an interview question. I have written several articles on self publishing dos and don’t on my blog on the UK Arts Directory; if you scroll down some way you will find posts entitled ‘The Truth about Self-Publishing’ and ‘Author Pitfalls’, about reviews, free promotions, the lot!
Here is an article I did on Molly Greene’s blog about mistakes not to make:
And here is Rachel Thompson’s blog, which has loads of good articles:
You might also like to read a book called My Way by Dave Perlmutter; which is good for complete beginners, though some of the advice he gives is a little out of date now because the market is so flooded.
Most of the books you can buy on the subject are pretty useless, though; you can find most of the info you need on blog posts. They all make great promises, but if you look at the fiction works written by the same authors they rarely sell. Thus, their tips don’t work; the books are mostly money-making efforts. The other one that’s good is Jeff Bennington’s An Author’s Guide to Publishing Success.
What advice would you give to any writer wanting to do it the ‘Indie Way’.
See the above! In a nutshell:
Don’t expect to make a lot of money
Don’t expect overnight results
Get your work properly proofread
If you’ve never written a novel before, get someone to read it who will give you an honest opinion, ie, not a friend or family member
Read and take in the advice of those more experienced than you
Make sure you are writing because you want to WRITE, not because you want to ‘be a writer’
Expect to do a hell of a lot of work for hardly any return, at least at first.
Don’t use apps to schedule posts on social media – be there in person and interact with people.
Tell us what you are reading at the moment.
Mostly research material for my current WIP. Other than that, a crime thriller called Doppelganger by Geoffrey West.
Can I just say a big thank you to Victoria for asking me onto her blog to talk about myself!!!! I hope the links I’ve given above will be of help to anyone who’s quite new at self-publishing, or writing in general.