Kris Tualla‘s first book, A Primer for Beginning Authors came out in April of this year, and her first novel, A Woman of Choice was released earlier this month. A retired high school teacher, Tualla is pursuing her dream of becoming a multi-published author of historical fiction. She started in 2006 with nothing but a nugget of a character in mind and absolutely no idea where to go from there. She has created a dynasty – The Hansen Series – with six novels currently in line for publication. Norway is the new Scotland!
1. What is your latest project?
I am finishing the editing on my trilogy; “A Prince of Norway” is coming November 8, and “A Matter of Principle” releases January 8, 2011.
In between, I am writing “Loving the Knight” – the sequel to “Loving the Norseman” – which is currently waiting on traditional publishers’ desks.
2. What made you decide to buck tradition and pursue independent publishing?
Traditional publishers did. “We don’t do American historicals… no one can sell Scandinavia… write Scotland BUT Scotland is a very crowded market… cut 15,000 words then I’ll look at it… publishers LIKE their boxes…” I’ve heard it all.
3. What response do you have to those who feel there’s not enough money and exposure in self-publishing for the amount of effort, and that the quality of self-published books is poor?
It’s true: indie-pubbed authors have to work twice as hard or more at promotion. That is one heck of a lot of effort, make no mistake.
On the other hand, indie-pubbed authors make 35%-70% in royalties per book, not 10%. And sales numbers never determine whether or not another book is released. And indie-pubbed books never go “out of print” creating a perpetual backlist.
As for the quality, it often IS poor. Ignorant authors charge into publishing without 1) learning how to write well, 2) learning to format professionally, 3) researching their options. It’s sad, really.
But there are plenty of us who ARE doing it well. I have to believe that the cream will – eventually – rise to the top. I’ve got time. Years.
4. How do you see the publishing industry changing (if at all) in the next five years?
- E-books, e-readers and used bookstores will continue to grow.
- POD is the only print model that is viable.
- Big-box bookstores and traditional publishers will need to rethink their business plans. Jobs will be lost.
- National writer organizations will have to accept indie-pubbed authors, setting a bar of either total copies sold or royalties earned to qualify as “official” – or lose new authors.
- New business models (such as my Goodnight Publishing) will appear to support the indie-pubbed author.
5. Tell us about your process of preparing a manuscript for publication. (Choosing a print method, editing, etc.)
I use CreateSpace by Amazon because there is no contract, no required purchases, and fabulous distribution. I print completed books and give them to readers to be edited (this costs no more money than printing manuscripts at Kinko’s and is so much more productive!).
I go through 4 rounds of printed-book edits until 12 sets of eyes have picked the books apart. When I’m done I publish through Amazon, Kindle and Smashwords. Still waiting for Nook’s PubIt! to go live…
6. Do you think there are projects that aren’t well suited to independent publishing?
Yes – anything that should be in hard back like big, glossy coffee-table books. Or children’s books that have cute quirks like shapes, holes, fuzzy stuff, etc. Or little, cheap, series books like Harlequins.
7. How do you define success for yourself?
In baby steps:
A book signing with 30 people. A good review here or selling six more books there. An interview on internet radio. Buying an ad in RT that leads to a promised review. A request to speak.
I can’t look too far ahead, I only look at what I can do NEXT. And if I do the next thing well, then I’m succeeding.
8. What three qualities or behaviors do you think an author needs to have to achieve success in publishing today?
No saying, “I can’t.”
Never turning any opportunity down.
9. Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Sometimes I think I should have submitted to e-publishers that would have taken me in a heartbeat. Then RWA would consider me “published”…
But I LOVE being able to write what I want and having control over my product. And working at my own (quick) pace. And problem-solving. And learning SO much through the process. And promoting myself. And helping other authors who want to indie-pub. I’m having a blast.
So, I guess the answer is “no.”
10. What advice do you have for authors considering independent publishing?
DO NOT DO IT IN A BUBBLE! Find a mentor who has walked this path and done it well. You must have both input and editing from readers and other writers on EVERY aspect of the process.
Thank you Kris, for taking the time to share your experience with us!