Indie author Todd Shryock has been writing and editing for over 20 years. He recently told me a little about his book and experience as an author.
1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
The Fly Guild is about perseverance. The general idea is looking at what happens to good people when they are continually put in bad situations. The main character, Quinton, is an orphan in a fantasy city where there is no social safety net. He ends up in a brutal gang where part of his daily routine is stealing and doing the gang’s bidding. His reward is usually nothing more than he gets to live another day. He’s a good kid at heart, but is in a very difficult situation. I thought it would be an interesting story to follow him as he tries to do the right thing, often with unintended bad consequences. In the end, he spends his time trying to escape the madness of the city and the brutality of the gang.
I’ve had the idea of a story based on this theme for some time, but with the rise of e-publishing, I thought the time was right to jump in and get it done.
2. How have your sales been?
The book launched in August of this year, and sales have been steadily building. I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon, but being an independent author is challenging. It takes a very long time to build a reputation and a following. I’m happy with the current pace.
3. You have not chosen to go with traditional publishers. Why?
I tried to go that route many years ago. I got some “close” or “almost” comments, but nothing beyond that. To find a publisher, you really need an agent, and getting an agent is just as difficult as finding a publisher. I also found that the whole system seemed to be a closed loop of people-who-knew-people and I didn’t know anyone in that loop.
As I watched e-publishing rise, I liked the idea of going it alone and not wasting a bunch of time trying to convince someone that my book was viable. I wouldn’t have the support of a publisher, but I wouldn’t have anyone telling me to rewrite the story with a different plot either. I published my collection of short stories, Tales of the Sword, as a trial run in e-publishing. Once I saw how easy it was, I set out to work on The Fly Guild as a full-length novel.