Briefly describe your journey in writing your first book. How long did it take you to finish that manuscript?
My first published book, Courtesan, took approx. 8 years from first word to publishing. That, however, doesn't tell the real story as I put everything on hold for about 5 years. 'Courtesan' came about from a throw-away line in my book 'Pelgraff', where one character looks up a reference and comes upon the name Jaswinder Saroya, who discovered the 'J-Channel' in hyperspace. Then I started wondering just who this Jaswinder was. So I wrote a short story. But Jaswinder wasn't satisfied with that and kept bugging me to finish what I'd started. It took about half a year to turn the short story into a novel, but I did it – just to get her off my back. Then another six months doing revisions. My hiatus followed that, then I came back to my novels (5 altogether) and began revising/editing them. When I discovered Amazon's Kindle Store, I took the plunge and published in June 2010.
Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, I queried a few agents and publishers. They, quite correctly, turned me down. At that time my books weren't ready for publishing, though I thought they were at the time.
What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
My age, for one. Given the time it might take to get an agent and a publisher, wait a year after acceptance for the book to actually hit the stores and I could easily be in my 60s before getting published . . . if ever. I also desire to write what I want to write without the necessity to be very commercial. Some books have a very small niche market and a regular print publisher would, rightly, not consider it a good decision to publish for that market. Yet, that market deserves to have its needs met. Amazon Kindle can do that. Finally, I see the publishing industry undergoing a revolution and I want to be part of that. Right now, though not on the 'ground floor', I'm pretty close. I wish I'd known about Kindle a year earlier.
Did you design your cover art? If not, would you care to share your graphic designer’s information? How involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
Yes, I designed my own cover. I'd rather have had someone with more talent do it, but I couldn't really afford it.
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
I don't think there's a 'biggest thing'. There are a whole lot of small things. I came into the game knowing very little. For one, I very much underestimated the energy and time required to promote a book. This is, in my opinion, the biggest downside of self-publishing. Although you get to control everything, the corollary is that you have the responsibility to do everything yourself.
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Two of my other books are for sale at smashwords.com.
What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I am an active member of Kindleboards and post to some Amazon forums.
What’s next for you?
I have two other books that are nearing their publishing date as well as another that needs some revision. I'm also writing two new novels at this time, one being a sequel to Courtesan. I would have preferred to say that 'Fame and Fortune' are what's next for me, but I don't see that coming in the near future. I hope I'm wrong. Nonetheless, I've gained a great satisfaction from having published Courtesan and Pelgraff. Though my readers aren't legion, I'm happy that I've pleased some and intend to please many more throughout my career.