{Q&A} Emma Gray

#WeekOfIndieAuthors

And when I say, “week”… I mean 10 days.

Emma Gray has self-published one book, but also has made a name for herself with her commentaries on political blogs. Her brilliantly written article about e-publishing is what brought Gray to my attention. She’s opinionated about independent publishing, and below she was gracious enough to answer my questions about the indie author movement. (And she’s a Brit, so there’s lots of fun and different spellings!)

Learn more about this indie author on her blog | Buy her book “Party Games

JULIE CHICKLITASAURUS: Tell a little about yourself. How many books have you published? Any awards or mentions? What is coming up next for you?

EMMA GRAY: I have only published one book, my political thriller “Party Games,” but it is the first of a trilogy and I am currently battling my way through the first few chapters of the sequel. I have also been writing articles for political blogs and websites about my book and politics.

JC: In your opinion, are more authors publishing independently than before?

EG: Yes – and that, of course, is fact, not just my opinion. There has been a boom in independently published books, especially since the “50 Shades” phenomenon, which of course started out as fan fiction, then as an e-book. I think that more and more independently published e-books will appear, and it will be up to the reader to sort the wheat from the chaf!

JC: What obstacles did you run into when you tried to be published through a publishing company?

EG: In a word: rejection! I looked for an agent for a while, but got nowhere, the main reason being they didn’t publish my kind of “thing.” So I then got my book looked at by a professional critic, made huge changes, shortened it, re-wrote massive chunks, and eventually I was happy. Which leads neatly onto your next question…

JC: What made you decide to publish independently?

EG: I had been through the mill of trying to find an agent, but then I discovered that more and more authors were turning to e-publishing and by-passing traditional publishers altogether, even if they had secured a book deal, so I gave up looking for a publisher and thought I’d try out doing it on my own. That’s not to say, however, I won’t try to go down the traditional publishing route in future.

{There is e-book snobbery, whereby professional reviewers (magazines, newspapers, well-known websites) won’t touch you because you haven’t got a publisher behind you}

JC: Why should others publish independently in today’s modern culture?

EG: Well, it cuts out the heartache of agents and publishers for a start, and it gives authors freedom for marketing, for pricing and for cover design. The book can be whatever you want it to be, not whatever the publisher wants it to be.

JC: What can indie authors do to support each other?

EG: Twitter is obviously the biggest online resource available to meet new authors and to get yourself a following. I would have been lost without Twitter, and all the new people I’ve met! I only wish I’d started using it a year ago and built up a following before I published “Party Games.” There are plenty of other ways, of course, including helping publicise Facebook pages, blogs, interviews etc. There will always be new and innovative ways to help each other out, which is great news for the independent author community.

Click on the cover to buy Gray’s book for $1.59 on Amazon

JC: What pros are there to being an indie author?

EG: I refer to my answer in “why should others publish independently.” “Independence” is the key word!

JC: What cons are there?

EG: The obvious “cons” are the lack of a traditionally published book, and the promotion a publisher can give you. Although having an e-book on Amazon, Smashwords, etc. is brilliant, it is still limiting. Many times have I had people say “Oh, the book sounds great – where can I buy a paperback copy, as I don’t have a Kindle…” And, of course, there is e-book snobbery, whereby professional reviewers (i.e. magazines, newspapers and well-known websites) won’t touch you because you haven’t got a publisher behind you. If you had the exact same book published traditionally by Macmillan, then those same reviewers might very well have lavished you with praise!

Doing your own promotion is also, of course, very time-consuming (as you will know!) and can sometimes be a lot of work for little reward, but when you do achieve something with your hard work, it can feel great.

JC: What does it mean to you to be a part of the indie author movement?

EG: I feel that my answer above makes me sound far too cynical. I’m very proud to have got this far on my own, and very much value the support of other independent authors, without whom (especially on Twitter!) my promotions wouldn’t have been as successful! And I have met some great people, made new contacts, and realised with hard work and perseverance I can achieve what I set out to achieve.

JC: What advice would you give to those who are thinking about self-publishing?

EG: Research it first, especially ways to market, and get yourself on Twitter! Being prepared is important, and I only wish I had been better prepared a long time before my book launch. I know better for the sequel!

{I have met some great people, made new contacts, and realised with hard work and perseverance I can achieve what I set out to achieve}

JC: What advice would you give publishing companies so that they can adapt to today’s changes in publishing?

EG: Find ways to adapt to the e-book market. The merger of Penguin and Random House shows just how publishers are beginning to worry about their still massive corner of the market. I don’t have much knowledge of the publishing business, but the biggest thing is not to dismiss e-books as a fad. They are the future!

JC: Do you think indie publishers will evolve literature over time? If so, can you predict how it will change literature?

EG: Yes – I certainly do. I recently wrote an article on this very issue, which you can find on Back Bench.

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About julieschicklit

My book blog is dedicated to finding books, stories & ideas that redefine women's literature to be something smarter & funnier. More RAWResome lit for ladies. I am remaining some-what anonymous because I have a day job. My Man-Beast and I are soon going to live abroad in China, so that's why I'm a reblog-aholic.

2 comments

  1. Enjoyed reading this interview. Good work from both people–interviewer and interviewee.

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