September Gray is the author of Chasing Dolphins, a story she was inspired to self-publish when the traditional process took too much time. In this interview she explains why she thinks indie authors should support one another and discusses the importance of good editing.
1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book. Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.
Here is an excerpt from a customer review on Amazon. This reader sums it up as well as I could: “I liked this. It’s not often you have the (pleasure?) of finding a readable main character who is a great deal less than perfect. Charlene comes across as flawed, battered by life, but believable. Her background has made her needy, malleable, and low on self-worth. She drinks too much, smokes too much, isn’t much of a mum, picks up hordes of unsuitable men, sleeps around, etc., but is nevertheless likeable.”
2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?
I’ve had a few short stories published in magazines. I also have friends who have been traditionally published and I watched them spend literally years mailing out query letters before they finally made a sale. The last straw for me came when I heard from an editor who claimed to love the story I’d sent her. Three months later she sent me a rejection slip stating she couldn’t find a hook for the story, but would love to see more of my work. I’m not always a patient person, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.
3. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
I just want to get my stories out there before readers. It doesn’t matter to me how I do it. I think a lot of writers are divided right now: go indie or go traditional? For me, it isn’t one or the other. If a publishing house offered me a decent contract I’d consider it. I’m just not willing to put my writing career on hold until that happens.
4. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been the most successful?
I enjoy being active on Goodreads and Twitter. I promote others as much as possible. If you are helpful to others, you are going to get noticed faster than if you come off as self-serving. I’ve had other writers give me back links or a mention on their blogs as a thank you for doing the same for them. This doesn’t have to be a competitive business. It works best when we are all scratching each other’s backs. On the other hand, I don’t promote anyone’s work unless I believe in it.
5. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
I would have someone other than myself do the editing. It’s hard to be objective about your own work. No matter how hard you try to catch every typo, you are likely going to miss something. Formatting is a nightmare for me, so fixing those mistakes once they’re published can be a real problem.
6. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
I write about somewhat disturbing, yet sympathetic, characters with a dark sense of humor.
7. How can readers learn more about your books?
Check out my Amazon author’s page here.