To celebrate the publication of my novella, Christmas with Mr Darcy, I’m hosting a special ‘Indie Month’ on my blog where bestselling authors will tell you about their latest book and share the secrets of their indie success.
Today, I’m delighted to welcome romantic novelist Janice Horton.
Tell us about your latest indie book.
I’m excited to tell you that my latest indie release How Do You Voodoo? is out now. It’s a romantic novella for Kindle, officially launching on Friday 26th October. On launch day, I’m hosting The Spellbindingly Fun Blog Party and everyone is invited, so please do check out the party page on my blog to find out more!
‘How Do You Voodoo?’ is a humorous contemporary story about a loveless fashion model called Nola Nichols, who thinks being beautiful is a curse; that is until she is cursed and her looks begin to fade just a week before the most important photo shoot of her career. Nola rejects all rational explanation on what might be causing her lost looks and decides she has to find a way to get uncursed. This imaginative quest takes her from the Caribbean to Glasgow’s own City of the Dead. Along the way, she finds herself taking part in a rather unconventional funeral, involved in a voodoo ritual, reveals one or two unrests in her own past and falls madly in love with a doctor. Erm, that would be a witch doctor, right…?
What made you decide to go indie?
I’ve always been independently-minded and have been self-employed for many years so, when the small traditional publisher of my first novel went out of business, it didn’t occur to me to find another one. I now publish my contemporary romantic and humorous novels as ebooks through Amazon as part of their Select programme. At the moment I find that’s the best way to reach my readers and, excitingly, both Bagpipes & Bullshot and Reaching for the Stars are Amazon bestsellers.
Do you design your covers yourself and write your own blurb etc?
I write my own blurbs and I do all my own marketing, but I also have a support network of enthusiastic, capable and talented people. I’m part of several writers’ groups who offer friendship, advice, moral and practical support with the writing, as well as the marketing and promotion of my books. I do employ an editor and a cover designer to help me produce a totally polished and professional end product and I’m continually striving to develop my brand and adapt to industry changes. So, by the time one of my novels reaches my reader, it might be independently published but it’s very far from being ‘self’ published.
What are the pros and cons of going indie?
The Pros: For me, the pros are that I can set my own writing and publishing schedules. I have full control over cover design, pricing and marketing of my ebooks. I can get up to the minute data for my online sales and quickly adapt my marketing and promotional efforts to suit changes in the industry. Last but not least, I get regular royalty payments. That’s a lot of pros!
The Cons: For me personally, it’s not having my books available in paperback format as I don’t have the logistical networks in place to justify producing them.
How do you publicise your books?
I reach readers through my own blog and also by guest blogging on other writer’s blogs, like yours, Victoria! I have an author Facebook page and I’m on Twitter. I’m also a featured author on the magazine style website Loveahappyending.com and for them I edit a feature called ‘Bookshelf Reviews’. I’m a full member of the wonderful Romantic Novelist’s Association and, this summer, I was one of the Scottish authors asked to take part in the first ever Edinburgh Ebook Festival.
Do you think Twitter and Facebook really help in getting word out there?
Yes, I do. Social networks are great fun and I have met some lovely people on Facebook and Twitter. Through networking, particularly on Twitter, I’ve been offered some interesting writing ventures over the past year, including writing magazine features and speaking at writing events.
Do you read any indie authors yourself?
Absolutely. There are some fantastic indie books and talented indie authors out there. I do try to remember to leave reviews on the books I’ve enjoyed – as I know how important they are to authors and to readers on Amazon, Goodreads, etc.
Would you accept a traditional publishing deal now?
Yes, I would if the publisher could offer me the things I can’t get access to as an indie – like good paperback distribution and foreign translation sales.
What advice would you give to writers thinking of going indie?
Be professional. Write the best book you can and then get it professionally edited. Join writing groups and surround yourself with supportive people. Offer your work to reviewers and book bloggers in exchange for an honest review. When you put your book up for sale, host a Blog/Facebook/Twitter launch party and invite everyone to celebrate with you, and then start writing the next book. Good luck!
Find out more about Janice and her novels: