Happy weekend all!
Excited to share with you today an interesting guest post about self publishing in the US versus the UK. 🇺🇸🇬🇧
Beyond the Margin
Is living on the edge of society a choice? Or is choice a luxury of the fortunate?
Joe, fighting drug addiction, runs until the sea halts his progress. His is a faltering search for meaningful relationships.
‘Let luck be a friend’, Nuala is told but it had never felt that way. Abandoned at five years old survival means learning not to care. Her only hope is to take control of her own destiny.
The intertwining of their lives makes a compelling story of darkness and light, trauma, loss and second chances.
Author Bio –
Jo Jackson reads books and writes them too.
Having worked with some of the most vulnerable people in society she has a unique voice apparent in her second novel Beyond the Margin.
She was a nurse, midwife and family psychotherapist and now lives in rural Shropshire with her husband. She loves travelling and walking as well as gardening, philosophy and art.
Her first novel Too Loud a Silence is set in Egypt where Jo lived for a few years with her husband and three children. Events there were the inspiration for her book which she describes as ‘a story she had to write’.
Social Media Links – Facebook; JoJacksonauthor Twitter: @jojackson589
Giveaway to Win signed copies of Beyond the Margin and Too Loud a Silence by Jo Jackson. (UK only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Simone Paradis Hanson lives in Georgia, USA and is the author of two self-published novels, Leave a Crooked Path, a literary novel and The Disappearance of Rachel Stirling, a psychological thriller. She is currently working on a third book.
I met Simone online through a book forum three years ago.We have continued to share our experiences and literary journeys since then.
In conversation with Simone
Jo I have found the indie community of authors to be generous and collaborative. How would you describe the state of self-publishing in the U.S. and people’s attitudes towards it?
Simone In the U.S there is a stigma attached to self-published work. Most, if not all, writers try to find a literary agent from a strong agency who will land a publishing deal with one of the big five publishers. Next best would be finding a small press publisher, of which there are many good ones. They don’t have the financial strength of the Big Five, so the author would do more marketing and there would be little or no advance. Most self-published work is unvetted and therefore readers will not take a chance on these books, and bookstores don’t carry them.
Jo That’s interesting. The picture in the U.K. is mixed. On the one hand self-publishing is becoming mainstream and is an accepted way of publishing books. On the other, as more books are self-published so the competition for readers increases. There has been a rise in the number of companies offering services thus making the process easier, though costly for the self-published author. Bookshops will stock self-published books, but only if they are well written, edited and professionally produced. The stigma that once existed is disappearing, I recently attended what was believed to be the first Book Fair in England solely for Indie authors. There was a waiting list of writers wanting to participate. The fair was busy with customers throughout the day. Clearly there is a need.
The appeal of self-publishing is that publication remains in my control and I can design the cover and choose the paper colour and quality. I would only publish if I could be proud of the product. I have my books professionally edited, copy edited and always have a quantity of books traditionally printed. Marketing a self-published book is where the hard work lies but increasingly the large publishing houses are expecting authors to undertake much of their own marketing unless it is a book that the publishers have chosen to put their money behind.
The popular genre here remains the psychological thriller and crime. It is hard to find agents interested in literary novels. Is that the same in the States?
What do you feel needs to happen to change attitudes?
Simone I don’t think the attitude in the States will change. To be honest, a lot of self-published books aren’t very good. Occasionally you hear about an Indie author who gets a huge following or manages to get an agent because the self-published book did well. I have a friend who did that – she had published a Romance trilogy herself and got a book deal with Macmillan. There was also a recent article in Book Life (a publication for Indie presses and authors) featuring a writer whose first book was published by an imprint of Penguin, and he self-published his second book. Some writers can get the recognition they deserve even if they self-publish, but the general rule stands – there is a persistent stigma attached to self-publishing.
It is costly to self-publish a book; I agree. I pay artists to design my covers and I purchase templates for the interior design. I don’t spend money on advertising though, so my marketing is limited to social media and a lot of networking. I’m invited to two or three book clubs a year through friends’ persistence, so I have a small but relatively steady stream of sales.
Again, since most bookstores in the States won’t stock self-published books, I worry about wasting my money. It would be much easier for me to get to the next level of marketing if I had a publisher to back my work.
I find the idea of a Book Fair for Indie authors very interesting and promising. We have a large Book Fair here in Georgia – The Decatur Book Festival, and they do feature Emerging Writers, though that program was put on hold in 2019 because they were working on “giving it a well-deserved facelift.” So maybe they will jazz it up a bit and lend a stronger show of support to Indie authors. That sort of thing will need to happen if the stigma surrounding self-published books is going to change in the US. Until that happens, Indie authors will continue to put their energy into finding a literary agent or small press publisher.
The psychological thriller is surely the most popular genre in the States right now, especially if the featured psycho is a woman. If a book has the word ‘Girl’ in the title, it will sell. Crime and spy fiction are popular as well.
Coincidentally, my next book will feature a psychotic woman bent on revenge. I feel like a sell-out for writing a book based on marketability and not a book that reflects what I do best as a writer, which is literary fiction. What do you think of writers who choose a genre based on what sells?
Jo It’s what they tell you to do. Write to the market. I’m not sure I could or want to. However the difference is I am not trying to make a career out of being an author. Writing in retirement I have the luxury of writing because I love it.
I have recently read that women writers are dominating the best seller lists in the States in 2019. I’d like to talk more to you about that and your thoughts on the influence of violence and particularly sexual violence in literature. Perhaps we’ll save that for another time.
Simone Thank you for inviting me on your blog tour. I would love to continue the conversation.