Janice Nye began in traditional publishing but moved to self-publishing. Find out why she prefers the latter and how she uses social media to promote her work.
1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
User Hostile is the book nearest completion. It started as a short story about 30 years ago. There were a lot of things having to do with computers then which were described as “user friendly,” which were about as “user friendly” as a crocodile with a toothache. The story began with the main character arguing with a computer. It woke her up to a room that was cold and dark, when it should have been bright and warm. The story is what happened next.
Originally it was a short story, about 7,000 words, but I returned to it last year and thought I would post it on my blog in parts. While doing this, I edited the story and it grew. At the moment I am working on the cover.
2. How have your sales been?
I’ve had a few, but not enough to give up the day job.
3. You’ve gone the self-publishing route. How have you liked it so far? Talk about some of the positives and negatives you’ve encountered
I have gone down the route of self-publishing because I realized that I like to be in control of every aspect of the book. The thought that someone might go through my book and start telling me to change things isn’t one that I like. Self-publishing means that you make all the decisions. Of course it means that there isn’t anyone to tell you when you have made a stupid mistake.
4. About 30 years ago you tried traditional publishing, but have not returned to it. Why not?
When I wrote my first book, The Poly and Anna, self-publishing wasn’t an option. So I went through the routine of trying to find a publisher or an agent, sending my work off, waiting several months and having it returned with a little note saying it wouldn’t fit in with the other books they had published. No comment on whether they liked it or not, whether it well-written; no real proof that they had even read the book. A very disheartening process which takes a long time because publishers and agents don’t like you sending your work to more than one person at a time. When my husband asked about publishing, I found out about self-publishing and it seemed the way to go when I re-edited The Poly and Anna.
5. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?
I have a blog and I post regularly, though I am still trying to work out what is the best thing to put on it to attract people to my website so that they buy my books. I am also on Facebook, I answer questions people post on the writing pages and try to be helpful and encouraging.
6. Talk a little about the sort of marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been most successful?
I think marketing is one of my weak points, so I need to find the right market to aim them at. Though having said that, my husband sells books at canal events and I have taken mine along as well and managed to sell them.
7. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
The work doesn’t end when you finish writing the book. It might sound daft, but when I started I didn’t think about what happened when you typed “The End”.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
I started writing over 30 years ago, but life got in the way and my book got put to one side. Perhaps I should have persisted.
9. New authors face the obvious challenge of marketing their books, whether they go the indie or traditional publishing route. What advice do you have for an author just starting out?
A new author starting out will probably be more social media aware than I am, so they will be starting with an advantage as far as the self-publishing route goes. I would not dismiss the traditional route as publishers are good at publicity. It is not a one or the other choice, you can use both. I would probably suggest to a new author that they try both ways and see which produces results first, but be prepared to change; what works for one book might not work for another.
10. What other projects are you currently working on?
My current project is User Hostile, though I do have another story which I will probably be posting on my blog. It is called Dead People Don’t Make Coffee. There is another Anna book which is at first draft stage and two others which need editing.
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?
The ordinary world is not always as ordinary as you would think.
12. How can readers learn more about your books?