What to ask indie publishers who want your book

So you’ve sent your book out all over the place and that includes independent publishers and small presses.

For the sake of this article I’m not talking about smaller factions of one of the bigger publishers, I’m talking about presses which are totally their own brand.

I wanted to share my experience of an indie press because they are not all created equally.

Yes- it is incredibly exciting to have someone get in touch who loves your book and wants to publish it for you. I get it. I’ve been there.

Your stomach flips, finally someone gets it!

There are some crucial things to consider on entering into any contractual relationship and I want to share these factors within the indie press realm. There are four main areas;

  • The Book
  • The Deal
  • Value Added
  • Their Reputation

Lets start with the book. Your book, the one you’ve worked on for years.

Things you need to know are;

  • How much editing does it need?
  • Who is doing the editing?
  • What changes do they want to make?
  • The cover, title and design? Again who is doing it and who has final say?
  • When would they like to publish?

Then there’s the book deal.

Things to think about;

  • Is there any cost to you, the writer?
  • How long is the contract?
  • How many books it it for?
  • How and when will you be paid?
  • Is there an advance?
  • What distribution set up do they use?
  • What rights are they buying?
  • What is the royalty spilt?
  • How do they plan to market the book?

Value.

This is crucial and the answer is different for everyone.

  • What value are they adding?
  • What are they offering that you cant do yourself? (Imagine you were self publishing)

Their reputation and accountability.

You need to do due diligence here, this is a big deal. This is your book!

  • Who are they?
  • Can you find the names of the people behind the publishing house?
  • What is their track record like?
  • Can you talk to other authors that have been published by them?

These are broad brushstrokes of the things you should be thinking about before signing your book away to an indie press.

I have created a 20 question checklist you can download and use when you need to. I would also take the time to check out Writer Beware as part of your due diligence.

If you would like the checklist I use when thinking about working with a indie publishing house – click the image below.

Or click here .

Tap the image to download the checklist

How to Write a Book- FREE Guide!

Hello! Today I’m sharing another FREE resource I’ve created exclusively for subscribers of my email list.

Have you always wanted to write a book? Don’t know where to start?

I’ll give you a clue, its not at the beginning.

I’ve got you.

I can help.

I’ve written two novels and the question I get asked the most is; How did I do it?

I’ve created a five page guide full of advice and real talk about how YOU can write YOUR book and fit it into YOUR life.

I know you can do it!

Subscribers can access this guide using the password in my latest email and heading to the LIBRARY.

If you aren’t yet on my list then please consider this your invitation!

Click here to sign up and get your instant guide and pep talk on how to start writing your book.

Happy Birthday to ME!

Grab a cuppa and strap in.

Two years ago I made a promise to myself that I would be well on my way to having my novel published if not by the time I was 40, then soon after.

Today I am 40.

I never thought I was one for milestone birthdays, but it turns out 40 is a bit different.

Three weeks ago I turned down an offer of publication. Yes, you read that right; I turned down achieving my goal. The offer was from a small publisher, and my book could have been out in November.

It was one of the hardest choices I’ve ever had to make. (In my hugely privileged life).

I know it was the right one though, I could feel it in my body. Leaning into my intuition is becoming my Go-To state, and a way of making decisions which I can live with.

When I made this promise to myself I didn’t think I’d have;

  • Written another book.
  • Had poetry published in an Australian Anthology.
  • Had my fiction published in a feminine surrealist journal.
  • Had the first page of my novel in a writing magazine.
  • Turned down a deal to have my debut published.
  • Had short fiction published all around the web.

This journey isn’t a straight line, and isn’t the same for everyone. It’s as individual as every book and every author.

Going through some homeschooling papers the other day, on a tidying mission with my daughters, we came across a treasure map that I’d drawn to use as an example for them creating their own.

I nearly threw it out and then as I looked at it, I felt like this was my map of my path to publication. In a broader sense, this could also be a map of 2020 and the crazy amount of obstacles and terrain we have all found ourselves in.

Map of 2020

I want to get to the northly point of the island and stand by that lighthouse watching the mermaids, before I even get to the X marking the spot where my treasure is buried.

What about you? Where are you on the map of 2020? What is at your personal X? What about the collective X?

I’m sure many of you in positions where you are filled with uncertainty. Our situation has been turned upside down this year too. There’s A LOT of stuff going on that I don’t want to share just yet. I need to process things first. I need to look after myself and those around me.

Going back to my manuscript, it has attracted some more attention. Please keep your fingers crossed.

Okay- I’m off for a socially distanced birthday meal with my husband whilst the kids go back to school on their first day post lockdown… Nope, nothing to see here, just a regular birthday… ARGH!

I hope you and yours are well. Let me know what you think of my map.

If you sign up to my mailing list you get access to my resource library which I’m currently creating more content for. You also get a lovely note from me once every month!

Recent Reads- More lockdown books

Hello! I hope you are well? I’ve been reading loads recently so it is time for another Recent Reads video.

Libraries here are still shut so I’ve been reading lots of books I already own. Some of them for YEARS!! Its sort of like shopping your wardrobe, but I’m shopping my To Be Read pile instead.

Included in the video is a Netgalley ARC (advanced reader copy). This is my first NetGalley book, but I just wanted to make sure I’m disclosing it as such.

  1. Motherland by Tetyana Denford
  2. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  3. Finding Dora Marr by Brigitte Benkemoun – a Netgalley review copy
  4. Blitzed by Norman Ohler
  5. Defying Hitler by Sebastian Haffner
  6. You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
  7. Magical Beasts by Marie Bruce
  8. Art and Symbols of the Occult by James Wasserman
  9. Sealed by Naomi Booth
  10. One Million Followers by Brendan Kane
  11. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Instagram Experiments (and a mini rant)

I wanted to write a little about what I’ve been up to over on Instagram for the past few months and share my findings.

I’ve actually been MIA lately because it turns out trying to write another book whilst homeschooling, the mental load of all that is happening in the world, and doing all the other stuff I normally do is just too much. Something had to give and that thing was Insta. But I digress.

I had a “Normal” looking grid for months, years even- and I enjoyed it. I like taking photographs but I found I had succumbed to the pressure of The Curated Instagram Feed. Each shots placement would be planned to balance out the grid as a whole. This could be with regard to content, colour, texture or whatever, something that my artist’s eye was satisfied with. This all became very tiresome.

I wanted to have less head-space taken up with Instagram and a more dynamic feed. I didn’t want it to look like everyone else’s, and I was probably a bit bored. I started to research jigsaw, or puzzle feeds. Where all the images are linked with one another to create a whole composite piece of work, as opposed to having each individual square a piece in itself.

I was sold on the idea that I could literally plan my next 12, 16, 21 images – basically multiples of three. I could plan the whole thing out and have months of content ready to go at my fingertips. This would depend on how often I wanted to post, of course.

There are so many tutorials for this, but I used Canva to create mine making sure I had the right pixel dimensions so I could then use another app to slice my large image into 9, 12, 16 or whatever smaller ones.

So, what did I learn?

Well, I’m going to be honest. I had SO MANY compliments about how great my grid was looking. But my engagement went down, other than when I posted quotes. Sometimes the individual image was so abstract that viewers just couldn’t understand it and would scroll by.

I think in essence, it took my personality out of the equation. Yes, I spent less time thinking about Instagram, less time on it too. But the problem is with these apps is that they reward you for spending time on them. They reward you for posting the same type of content- even the same image that your audience loved last time. It becomes an echo chamber of the same stuff.

In the end, it is a tool, one that I want to still use but in a more mindful way; political, inspirational, vocational and educational. A place where my readers can find me and engage with me if they like. But we must remember it is an app in our phone, there’s a whole life built around the outside of that phone and the idea of conforming to the taste-makers and algorithms that control Instagram leaves a sour taste.

I need to wash my mouth out and get on with doing the creative work, because “if it’s not on Instagram, did it really happen?” is more like, for me anyway- There is so much happening OFF Instagram that needs my attention, if I want to achieve my hopes and dreams.

Always remember, you only see a slither of someone’s life on there. NOT their whole world.

This has turned into quite the Insta Rant! Thanks for reading. Catch up soon, creativity is calling and it doesn’t look like Instagram.

Further Reading – Balancing Writing & Instagram