{Q&A} Teri Heyer

#WeekOfIndieAuthors

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

Click the picture to connect with Teri on Goodreads

Teri has a big heart and a lot of passion for the indie author movement. With four books that have been self-published, Teri has great advice for why authors should choose the indie route and what perks and obstacles they can expect to experience. Teri also has more books that will be released soon (I am really looking forward to her series of beach short stories!) so she is an indie who is here to stay.

Learn more about Teri on her blog | Buy her book “Outback Love” here

JULIE CHICKLITASAURUS: Tell a little about yourself. How many books have you published? Any awards or mentions? What is coming up next for you?
TERI HEYER: I must have been around eight or so when I decided I wanted to be a writer someday. My mother had taken me to a book signing for “Island of the Blue Dolphins” by Scott O’Dell. He was the first author I ever met and after listening to him talk about being a writer, well, I knew that’s what I wanted to be too.

Some dreams take a lot of years to reach fruition. I wrote short stories and poems all through my school years and into college. I had a lot of starts and stops along the way, garnered way too many rejections and even stopped writing for a number of years. The result is boxes full of writings that may or may not ever see the light of day.

Through the years I belonged to writing groups, RWA and even started my own writing group, Desert Rogues, with a couple friends. I attended writers’ conferences, met published authors and even met with an agent. All of it was a great learning process.

{Indie authors work just as hard as traditionally published authors and, in fact, probably work harder… Believe me, it’s not for the lazy or faint of heart.}

I have a very dear friend, Ruth Kerce, who is an author published by Ellora’s Cave and Changeling Press. She also has some indie published short stories. Anyway, Ruth kept encouraging (nagging?) me to get back to writing.

In August of last year I finally gave in and ePublished my romance novel, “Outback Love.” I quickly followed that with “Jetting Away,” a short story prequel to “Outback Love,” which can also be read as a stand-alone. Before the year was out I added two more books, “Moon Over Madness,” a paranormal romantic comedy novella, and “Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows,” a collection of eight short stories and eight poems.

The only writing contest I ever participated in was RWA’s Golden Heart. I didn’t place, but I did okay. I’m not one to do contests, so I’ve never submitted any of my writing to other contests. However, I do think that’s a worthwhile forum if you have the time and patience needed to do it right. I have to admit that it is a good learning process. I was also a judge for the Golden Heart contest a couple times and that was an excellent learning process too. Basically, anything you can do to learn about writing will help you in the long run.

Click the cover to buy Teri’s book for $2.99 on Amazon

I have a terrible habit of working on more than one project at any given time. So I have several works in progress. One is a romantic suspense novel set in Las Vegas that should be available early next year. I’m also working on a series of beach short stories which I’ll be releasing one at a time and then will put together as a collection. The first of those stories should be available before the end of the month. I also have a Christmas short story sequel to “Outback Love” which will be out there before Thanksgiving. I already have the covers for both books and am excited about the way they turned out.

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

TH: I believe there’s been a definite increase in indie authors. Through the years it’s become more difficult for writers to get published via the traditional route. For this reason, aspiring authors have very limited choices. It could take years to garner the attention of an agent and publisher. For those willing to wait those years, it may still be a viable route to publishing. For those of us who have already waited those years and still aren’t published, or those who chose not to wait those years, indie publishing is a great way to go.

Though indie publishing is a short-cut of sorts, it doesn’t necessarily mean that indie books are inferior to traditionally published books. Yes, some indie books aren’t up to par, but many more are extraordinary reads. Indie authors work just as hard as traditionally published authors and, in fact, probably work harder. Indies write, edit, re-write, edit, edit again, edit again, you get the picture. Once the book is published, indies have to do all their own marketing. Believe me, it’s not for the lazy or faint of heart.

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

TH: Basically, getting traditionally published is equivalent to winning the lottery. Some authors make it and some don’t. It’s more the case of writing the right book, being in the right place and making the right connections all at the right time.

The four books I’ve indie published have never been submitted to a traditional publisher. I chose not to go that route with these books. I do have another novel that went the rounds of publishing houses and agents and garnered a fair number of rejections. That novel still lives in a box in my guestroom closet. Will I ever indie publish that novel? Maybe yes, maybe no.

I will say the-novel-a-box received a variety of responses, namely being that it was too long, at 899 pages. I was told by publishers that they didn’t publish a long novel by an unknown author, only short novels. One publisher actually said they would consider my long novel if I was already published. So for me, it was a “Catch-22,” I couldn’t get published without first being published.

JC: What made you decide to publish independently?

TH: As I already mentioned, my girlfriend, Ruth Kerce, convinced me to give indie publishing a try. I’d written “Outback Love” and could spend years sending it out to agents and publishers, box it up and put it in my closet with the other novel, or indie publish. Well, that was an easy choice to make. I gave indie publishing a try. In my case, it was a positive move from the very beginning. Though sales were slow at first, I received some wonderful responses from readers. That was enough to make me stick with it. I won’t say it’s easy to be an indie, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

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

TH: If you’re young and feel lucky, then I’d suggest you try the traditional route to publishing. As I’ve already said, it’s a great learning process, so I recommend it for that reason if for no other. I don’t believe anyone should rush into publishing. Join critique groups, attend writer’s conferences, read everything you can about writing, study your favorite authors’ books, study your projected market and write, write and write some more. I don’t believe there’s any fast route to being a successful author.

When you’ve written a book that you believe readers will love, then it’s time to decide about publishing. The indie route is certainly a viable way to go. It does provide an instant response. If your book is lacking in editing, formatting or content, your readers will let you know. My suggestion is to polish the book to the best of your ability, have others read it, get it professionally edited if you can afford to do so or edit the heck out of it yourself and then indie publish. Unless you’re extraordinarily lucky, don’t expect immediate financial rewards. That said, it’s incredible to see your books out there and know that others are reading your books. In spite of all the hard work, the overall experience is nothing short of awesome.

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

TH: Now this is one of the best parts about being an indie. There’s a big group of us out there and most are more than willing to support one another. That means buying and reading each other’s books, encouraging each other along the way and often profiling each other on our blogs. As an indie, I’ve found some wonderful friends in other indies. Overall, indies have a remarkable team spirit. So perhaps one of the best things an indie can do is to be part of that team.

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

TH: Being an indie means you can be the author you want to be. Indies have more leeway in their writing. Indie books can cross genres, be of varied lengths and don’t have to fit a cookie-cutter pattern. There’s a lot to be said for writing the books you want to write and not something to fit a specific genre and publisher. As an indie you also design or purchase the covers you want, pick your own titles and decide when you want to publish. Being an indie is the freedom to be you. In the publishing industry it doesn’t get much better than that.

{Overall, indies have a remarkable team spirit. So perhaps one of the best things an indie can do is to be part of that team.}

JC: What cons are there?

TH: If your book isn’t formatted correctly or is poorly edited, as an indie you get immediate negative feedback. The choice then is to ignore the negative comments and watch your book die a slow death or fix the problems asap.

If you’re an unknown when you indie publish, well, the road to being known can be long and a bit rough. It takes a lot of stamina, perseverance, a thick skin, and faith that you’ll eventually get there. As with most accomplishments in life, being an indie is not easy, but in the long run it is rewarding.

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

TH: I think it’s awesome to be a part of the indie author movement. Being on the cutting edge of something new is incredibly exciting. Someday e-books and indie publishing will be old hat, but I’ll be able to say, “I was a part of that.”

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

TH: If you have a burning desire to be a published author then self-publishing, the indie route, might be the best way to go. It is a viable way to be published. Don’t expect immediate riches, though you might very well be one of the few who shoot right up to the top with your very first book.

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

TH: I’d suggest that traditional publishers try e-publishing indies. There are some great indie authors out there and I believe it would be mutually beneficial to endorse those who stand out from the crowd. It’s the “take a chance on me” concept. The cost of e-publishing a new, unknown author would be considerably lower than publishing that same author in print. The authors that are the most popular could then be traditionally published in print.

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

TH: Yes, definitely. I think the indie movement will, in the long run, encourage the traditional publishers to take a risk on cutting edge, less traditional books. In addition, I think readers will find that they love the variety of books provided by the indie industry and will grow to expect that variety in the books they read. Literature is always evolving, but the indie industry will pump new blood into the publishing world.

If I had it do over again, would I indie publish? Absolutely. It’s been a great experience. I love it! I’m in this for the long haul. I have so many stories I want to write and I have readers out there waiting to read them. I have readers from all over the world. I must say, being an indie is awesome!

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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.

4 comments

  1. Thanks, Julie. It’s simply awesome to be a part of your Week of Indie Authors.

  2. Congrats, Teri, very good interview. It is exciting to know that you have other books coming and I can’t hardly wait to read them!

  3. Great interview, Teri. Here’s to more books and more success. You’re an inspiration for those of us just starting out.

    I have to admit I love the freedom of doing my own covers and formatting, not to mention picking my own editor.

  4. Great interview, Teri. Here’s to more books and more success. You’re an inspiration to those of us just starting out.

    I have to admit that I love doing my own covers and formatiing, not to mention picking my own editor.

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