Hi Terry, thank you so much for taking part in this week’s Indie Spotlight and for putting me in contact with some of the other participants. I am looking forward to hearing what you have to say about life as an Indie Author.
What made you decide to publish your books independently?
I can’t imagine not having complete control over what and when I write, the advertising budget, the pricing, etc. That’s all it’s about, really. I had some interest from agents for a book I wrote in 2000, and later for You Wish and Kings and Queens, but on each occasion I received what amounted to the same answer: ‘Yes, we like it. Now can you rewrite it according to our specifications so we can sell it to a publisher.’ I’ve never been very good at doing what someone else thinks I ought to do! I sent Kings and Queens on a whim, in 2013, because I thought I’d hit on a rather novel idea; that was the last time, and it made me realise that trad pub probably wouldn’t suit me.
Yes I can see how it must be preferable to be in control of the process if you know what you are doing. It must be somewhat daunting for first time indie authors though. What are the most attractive benefits of being an indie author?
As above, and you get to keep all the royalties. I like being able to decide which book I pay to promote each month, on which sites. Aside from this, my books are exclusive to Amazon, which would not be possible if I had a publisher; Amazon exclusivity means being able to take advantage of Kindle Unlimited, which acts like a library – readers pay a small amount a month (I think about a tenner) and can read all the books they like. The author gets paid by the page, as long as the reader reads more than the first ten per cent. The royalty rate works out about the same as a sale. I do better on Kindle Unlimited than sales, so it’s not something I’m prepared to sacrifice.
Kindle and other e-readers seem to be the way to go these days, although personally, I still prefer physical books.
What challenges do indie authors face?
It’s all on you – that’s the other side of the freedom! Depending on your circumstances, you may have to pay for editing, proofreading, formatting, cover design, the preparation of the paperback, and advertising. For new authors, finding good editors and proofreaders can be a problem, as is getting your books ‘out there’ in a saturated market.
So there are a lot of different processes to learn about and manage. What advice would you give to aspiring indie authors?
Where do I start?! Here’s a (very) brief list, though there are lots of advice articles on my blog; I can point anyone who wants to take a look in the right direction.
Make sure you really want to write, and don’t just like the idea of being a writer. If you’re constantly seeking motivation, it might be that you don’t want to do it as much as you think you do.
Don’t rush to publish – your first attempt should not necessarily be your debut. Most successful writers have stacks of unpublished novels, novellas and short stories.
Get recommendations from established writers before handing money over to editors, proofreaders, manuscript assessors, social media promoters, writing mentors – any of these. There are thousands of people trying to make money out of writers these days, and some are just cowboys with great websites.
If any publisher asks you to ‘contribute towards the cost’ of publishing, run a mile. These days, vanity presses often call themselves ‘hybrid publishers’, and will flatter you and tell you how much they’re looking forward to working with you, then hit you with ‘because we’re taking a risk on a new author, we ask for a contribution towards the cost’. The reason they’re looking forward to working with you is because they want your money. They will publish almost anything, as long as the £££ are being handed over.
Here is a list I made of helpful articles for new authors: https://terrytyler59.blogspot.com/2019/02/stacks-of-useful-articles-for-writers.html
I’m sure other authors will find your tips very useful, thank you for sharing them. What have you learned from being an indie author?
That you never stop learning, about writing itself, reaching readers, promotion – all of it. I’d just like to say here, too, that having to do all the promotion myself (almost solely via Twitter) has led to the making of many lovely writer and blogger online friends, quite a few of whom I now know in real life, too.
It is hard to believe that 2020 is finally coming to an end, but something of a relief. What can we look forward to seeing from you in 2021?
I am currently working on Book #3 in my dystopian Operation Galton series. It is called Megacity, and is the final book to follow on from Hope (which was meant to be a stand-alone) and Wasteland (which was meant to be the conclusion of a two-book series!). I aim to have it ready for publication by May or June, but I’m giving it as long as it needs, because it’s a multi-faceted story that will take time to develop and think through.
After that, I am not sure. I may write a sequel to The Visitor, if I arrive at a story worthy of telling; a sequel should always have the potential to be better than the first book. If not, I will move away from the post-apocalyptic and dystopian, for a while. I have a few more stories taking shape in my head.
About the Author
Terry Tyler is the author of twenty-two books available from Amazon, the latest being The Visitor, a post-apocalyptic murder mystery set in the same world as her popular Project Renova series. She is a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team, and likes to read historical fiction (12th-16th century), most stuff about the collapse of society and bleak dystopian futures, and non-fiction based on travel, sociological and anthropological subject matter.
This interview with Terry Tyler was first published by Sue Bevay on her website. You can check out the full interview HERE.