{Q&A} Qwantu Amaru

#WeekOfIndieAuthors

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

Qwantu Amaru has one book under his belt as of now (“One Blood,” which will be free on Amazon from November 23 to 24!), and he’s such an articulate and smart guy, I think there will be many more novels to come from this author. He’s also behind the scenes, developing tools for indie authors to help them in the self-publishing process. If anyone is thinking of becoming an indie author, Qwantu Amaru is a good person to have as a resource.

Learn more about Qwantu here | Buy his book 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?

QWANTU AMARU: My name is Qwantu Amaru (pronounced kwan-too-a-mar-oo) and I’m happy to be participating in this interview! As an author I’ve published just one book so far, but my independent publishing company, The Pantheon Collective, has published three other books as well: “Sellout” by James W. Lewis, “When Love Isn’t Enough” by Stephanie Casher, and “A Hard Man is Good to Find” by James W. Lewis. My debut novel, “One Blood,” about a supernatural curse tormenting a group of people unaware of their hidden connections, has received a Kirkus Star as a novel of remarkable merit, a Global eBook Award, 2 International Book Awards, a National Indie Excellence Book Award, an Indie Reader Discovery Award, a Next Generation Indie Book Award, and a Reader’s Favorite Awards Silver Medal.

I am launching a website focused on helping authors get found by more readers called AuthorDiscovery.com, writing a new short story called “Bath Salt Babies,” and continuing work on my second novel, “The Uneasy Sleep of Giants.” My publishing company will be releasing the story of how we became independent publishers, “From Authors to Entrepreneurs,” later this year as well.

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

QA: There are definitely more authors publishing independently than ever before. There are just too many success stories powering the movement at this point. At the same time, technology has made it easier and cheaper than ever before to do it yourself.

{If it weren’t for the traditional publishing process, I would never have produced an award-winning product.}

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

QA: My story is no different than many other writers aspiring to become published. “One Blood” was rejected over twenty times by literary agents. But the process of dealing with rejection and taking feedback only made me hungrier and made my book better. I was able to cut the story down from 164,000 words to 107,000 words over this time and really sharpened the story. If it weren’t for the traditional publishing process, I would never have produced an award-winning product.

JC: What made you decide to publish independently?

QA: I realized that my book was on par with traditionally published books by authors I respected, but because of the process, I would not be published for many more years. I have always had an entrepreneurial bent, and just wanted to take my destiny in my own hands, for better or worse.

Click on the cover to buy “One Blood” for .99 cents on Amazon

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

QA: I think it really comes down to how much you believe in yourself and how hard you are willing to work to make it. There are many authors out there who are not willing or are uninterested in marketing, promotion, social media, etc. Independent publishing is not for them. It is for the authors who want to maintain control of their product, brand, and image, and are enthused about the prospect of being their own boss and investing in themselves.

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

QA: There really is a vibrant indie author community that authors can and should tap into. Sharing everything from best practices around book marketing, social media, etc., can help other authors save time and elevate all of our efforts. I think the most important support I have received from the indie author community is in the discussions around what’s working and what’s not in terms of book marketing. Other indie authors can also help you find author services like cover designers, content and copy editors, typesetters, book bloggers, reviewers, etc., that we all need to be successful. I want to help define who the best of the best author services providers are for indie authors so that we are constantly improving the overall quality of the collective indie author product, which will allow us to command higher prices and garner more respect for what we do.

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

QA: There are a lot of pros. From having complete control over the publishing and promotional process, to being on your own schedule, to making more money for your efforts; there are tons of benefits to taking this road.

JC: What cons are there?

QA: The cost of entry can be a con – it’s not cheap to publish a book on your own. Also the amount of time promoting versus writing your next projects can be seen as a con.

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

QA: I look at myself and my publishing company as trailblazers, opening up a clear path for all those coming in behind us to follow so that we can all be more successful. I love being an indie and take my responsibility very seriously. I get discouraged when I still see authors in 2012 taking shortcuts in their writing, editing, cover design, and marketing efforts. I am following the standard bearers of the indie movement like J.A. Konrath, Melissa Foster, Carolyn McCray, and many others, while at the same time elevating the standards moving forward.

{I want to help define who the best of the best author services providers are for indie authors so that we are constantly improving the overall quality of the collective indie author product.}

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

QA: Give it a good hard look. Do your research before you decide to jump in. Understand exactly what you are getting yourself into. And get yourself organized to become your own boss.

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

QA: The biggest mistakes traditional publishers have made is not creating a direct relationship with readers and differentiating their brands. Everyone is talking about how to change the content to justify the prices of ebooks, but I contend that publishing companies need to do a better job to earn the dollar from readers by providing enhanced services and reasons for readers to support their books by their authors. Traditional publishers forget that they have the authors! They need to find creative ways to give readers more access to their favorite writers. Otherwise, Amazon is going to put them all out of business.

{We are going to see more and more sub genres and unique story telling methods come out of the indie movement.}

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

QA: There has been a lot of talk recently that the indie publishing movement is denigrating the quality of literature overall. This is built on the idea that readers need curated content by respected experts and arbiters of quality such as literary agents, editors at traditional publishing firms, large bookstore chains, and book critics. I contend that readers require no such arbitration to define a good book from a bad one. The traditional publishing model has been more focused on publishing sure things and me-too products than expanding the literary range. I see so many unique genres being created by indies and embraced by readers as well as an overall increase in the amount of literary voices being heard. This cannot help but to evolve literature.

As to specifically how it will change literature, I think we are going to see more and more sub genres and unique story telling methods come out of the indie movement. We are far less risk averse and can bounce back from failure faster than the big guys. I think we are going to see far more regionalization of stories of all sorts. At some point in the future, you will be able to find a full set of genre fiction from every city and state in the US – from the most well-known to the most obscure. The range of character types will expand as well as more unique voices enter the space. I am very excited for the future of literature!

JC: Feel free to add any other thoughts and insights.

QA: Readers reading this article, I hope you understand your crucial role in defining the future of publishing and why you should support indies. We work harder for your dollar than anyone else and will give you greater access to the authors than you have previously ever had. You have the opportunity to really know who is behind the books you are reading which should enrich the overall experience. Give an indie a shot and I promise you will not regret it.

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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.

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