1. How did you come to self-publish? Did you try to get published traditionally?
When I was a teenager I started writing short stories and did not think about getting published until I was about 18. I studied up on the principles of publishing and sent my first manuscript off to an agent. After that I started getting rejections, but real life got in the way and I put it aside. I spent about 20 years doing something else, which never made me happy. Then I started writing again when I joined a fan club, and have been writing ever since. Having already tried three times to submit to a plethora of agents, all of whom had perfectly plausible reasons for not taking me on, I published a series of fan magazines with short stories and finally my first self-published novel in 2006.
2. What self-publishing service did you use? Happy with the service?
Lulu, then CreateSpace, then Lightning Source, then Lulu and CreateSpace again. I was happy with Lightning Source but it burned a hole in my credit card; I didn’t like the idea of accepting returns of unsold books and did not give me the option of selling direct through them. With Lulu the cost of printing was higher but I could print on demand, and with CreateSpace I could reach Amazon and sell direct from my site.
3. What avenues have you taken to market the book? Have you gotten reviews, interviews, TV, print media coverage?
I have gotten some reviews, published blogs, done social networking; did limited print media in the beginning, but did the math and changed my mind; published videos, posted my book covers all over creation, and so on. It’s a 24/7, 365 day job.
4. What drove you to write this particular book?
Since I started self-publishing I have published 11 with 4 more in the hopper. My first book, “Destiny’s Forge” was based on all the short stories I had written for the fan club. I did not want all that hard work to go to waste, and I had it in mind to write a series.
5. Is the book in any one particular genre? Is it a genre that’s familiar to you?
Science fiction and fantasy is my cup of tea, and adventure my bread and butter.
6. Who are your greatest writing influences?
Too many to name here; suffice to say that I participated in a survey asking me to check off the best selling SF/F authors I read and the list jammed up when I started to check them all. I also get a lot of ideas and inspiration from films and television.
7. What’s your writing regimen? Any tips for keeping focused?
I write when the muse strikes me, when it’s quiet in the household, and I jot notes and ideas as they come and do historical research when I can. After a long day of looking for more places to market my books, checking on sales, and the rest of the drudge work.
8. Would you self-publish again?
Absolutely. I can’t see myself doing it any other way for the rest of my life.
9. Any final words of advice for those looking to self-publish?
Apply yourself with the same discipline as you would with a 9-5 job. It doesn’t pay well enough to quit your day job or retire early, but with perseverance you will succeed at getting by with a modest income. It takes time and effort, and you can’t afford to sit idly by and expect the checks to start rolling in, because they won’t. Ignore the jibberjabber about how self-publishers are “amateurs” and “hobbyists”, because that comes from traditionally published authors and publishers who are running scared about the competition. Be proud of your creation because it comes from YOU. Seek improvement and criticism while remembering that perfection is not your goal but an aspiration. The value of the process is in the journey, not the destination. It’s like any other profession, and you deserve respect for your hard work.