Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Indie author love Part 2

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Today I'm featuring Part 2 of 3 parts on indie authors.

Samantha Stroh Bailey is the author of Finding Lucas, which she self-published in 2012. Unlike Lydia Laceby, who I talked to yesterday, and many self-published authors who love the freedom and control self-publishing offers, Samantha has experienced the self-pub route and come out on the other side preferring to have a traditional publisher. Here's why.

Q: Why did you decide to self-publish?

SSB: I have always wanted to get “The Call” and see my novels on the bookshelves. But my first novel is chick lit, and at the time I was originally trying to land a publishing deal was at the moment chick lit had saturated the market. I quickly realized that though people believed I had talent, that book wasn’t going to make it to a shelf. After my first child was born and I got back into writing, self-publishing had exploded onto the scene and some incredible authors were doing it themselves. I have never been a risk-taker, but I had to give it a shot.

Q: Did you try to go the traditional route first - agent, publisher - or did you prefer to self-publish?

SSB: I have always wanted to go the traditional route and still do. I love writing, editing, promoting my work, and connecting with other authors, bloggers, and readers, but I do not want to be a publisher. Some authors are very good at it and enjoy it. But I find it very daunting to hire a formatter, cover designer, upload my books, etc, and I think it is so important to have these things done if you can’t do them yourself, which I cannot. It is a great deal of time and work I would so rather spend writing and promoting.

Q: What site did you post it on?

SSB: I started with Amazon’s KDP program and then also put it up on Kobo.

Q: Did you do everything yourself or hire someone?

SSB: I truly believe that if someone is going to go the self-publishing route, they should do everything they can to create as professional a book as possible. Though I am a professional editor, it is so hard to see my own mistakes. So, I hired an editor, a formatter, and a cover designer.

Q: What was the hardest/most frustrating part?

SSB: For me, anything technical makes me freeze. I have learned so much about how to use technology, but invariably, I mess up something. I had some glitches occur when uploading Finding Lucas, which was quite stressful and caused a few sleepless nights. But the other hard part of being an author, whether indie or traditionally published, is promoting. I have been so lucky to connect with the most supportive authors, readers, and bloggers, and without them, I don’t think Finding Lucas would have reached the audience it has. But it does require a lot of time on social media to let the world know about my work, and there was a huge learning curve when I started.

Q: What was the most rewarding part?

SSB: There are so many rewards, but the day I saw Finding Lucas in paperback, I bawled like a baby. I was so happy. And when people all over the world read it and write such lovely reviews, I am in awe and so very grateful.

< strong>Q: How did you decide how to price your book?

SSB: I read a lot of articles about pricing and looked at the successful self-published books. The best price point for me right now is $2.99.

Q: What is something you wish you'd known before starting out?

SSB: I wish I’d sent Finding Lucas out for review before I published because ARCS are so important.

Q: Knowing what you know now, would you self-publish your fist book again?

SSB: Absolutely. I do want a traditional deal, but being able to self-publish has made my dreams come true. I have wanted to be a published author for as long as I can remember, and knowing that I can live my passion is one of the most incredible feelings in the world. And the people I’ve met have become so important to me.

Q: What's next for you?

SSB: I have written two women’s fiction books in the last two years and hope to have one or both published in 2015/2016.

Q: What's your advice for aspiring writers on the world of self-publishing?

SSB: If you want to be an author and have a story to tell, don’t let the work ahead scare you because it is a dream that is possible to achieve. Look at your writing as a career and do everything you can to produce the most professional work. It can be expensive to hire an editor or a cover designer, but it is such a worthwhile investment. Also, connect with writers in your genre because being an author can be a lonely business. I am so lucky to have a network of people I love and who understand what I’m doing.

Q: What would make you go with a traditional publisher in the future?

SSB: If they offer. :) Seriously, though, I would love to work with people who believe that I have marketable talent and who see the potential in my work. That would be everything I dream of.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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