1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book. Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.
If my book Forbidden Love and Other Stories were to be reborn as a curry, it would be hotter than a korma, but not as spicy as a vindaloo. It would probably be something like a Chicken Tikka Masala! The four short stories in this collection have nothing in common except romance, and a touch of humor.
In Slippery When Wet, Maxine has to decide if she’s living a dream come true or a nightmare when the man of her fantasy turns up unannounced in a swimming pool.
In the title story Forbidden Love, rock star Jake Lee is drawn back to his roots and the girl who first inspired him. But has he left it too late to go home?
In The Great Pretender, a tale of love and retribution is played out through the ages – but not unobserved.
And in Melissa and the Cowboy, lust can happen along at the most inopportune moment.
2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?
I love the independence of it. It’s not an easy option – far from it – but I relish the opportunities and the freedom it affords to the writer. I’m aware that this freedom is open to abuse by those who are content to publish sub-standard material and so it’s up to those writers who genuinely love their craft to produce the very best work possible.
3. Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?
Yes – I had nine books published by Mills & Boon under the pen-name of Rachel Elliot and I’m very proud of that. I hope the rights will soon revert to me so that I can publish the backlist, though I’m quite keen to rewrite the books to some extent to make them fresh and up to date.
4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
I think self-publishing is very hard work – and calls for massive discipline. The first reward lies in simply managing to get the job done, but that’s only the very start of the story. Self-published writers need to be multi-skilled and pretty tough-skinned.
5. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been the most successful?
I’ve done all the usual things – Facebook, blog, Twitter, visiting other people’s blogs, joining various writers’ groups. I also use the more direct approach, such as selling books at local markets, and while giving talks to groups such as the W.I.
I think the direct approach is the most successful at this stage, but I would hope to see the social media investment paying off in the future.
6. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
I haven’t tried paid advertising.
7. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
That it’s very hard – and demanding – work!
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
If I could go back and do things differently, I wouldn’t leave such a long gap between my Mills and Boon books and my return to writing.
9. Independent authors face the obvious challenge of marketing their books without the resources of traditional publishers. What advice do you have for an indie author just starting out?
Be the best writer you can possibly be – and make your book the best it can possibly be. So actively seek constructive criticism and don’t be offended when you get it (so long as is constructive). Read, read, read, read, read – and then read some more. Don’t be shy about your work – you have to let people know it’s there as they’re highly unlikely to come looking for it! Try to find new ways of letting people know about your books – innovation can be key to getting the word out there.
10. What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on two books: the first is another collection of short stories, called The Best Afternoon Ever! This will be more to the korma end of the curry scale, because I wanted a book for those who like their romance sweet instead of saucy. My second book is a full length novel, which I started during National Novel Writing Month last year. It was the first time I’d ever done NaNo and I absolutely loved it. I’m proud to say I completed the required 50,000 words, but still have a lot to do to turn them into a novel. This book will be different than anything I’ve done before – it’s more serious and less romantic. It’s called Dark Tide.
11. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
Wow that’s a tough question! With more than a passing nod to Carrie Bradshaw, I’d say, “Gilly Fraser knows good books and isn’t afraid to write them.”
12. How can readers learn more about your books?