Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Interview with Amy Saunders

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
My debut novel, Dead Locked, is a mystery/adventure featuring a young woman working with a small team of underwater archaeologists in the midst of a high-profile expedition. After one of her colleagues is murdered, Imogen Bell finds herself in the middle of a life-or-death hunt for a legendary pirate jewel .

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Not this time around. I’ve always gone that route in the past with little success so after mulling over my choices, I decided I wanted to try something new and give self-publishing a whirl.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I don’t though I’ve considered it. My sister has been the biggest help in giving me solid criticism. I owe her for helping me to get Dead Locked off the ground.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
A big part was my lack of finances, but it was much more than that. I have always been a bit independent, going my own way, and self-publishing is all about that. The more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea of taking charge of my own publishing fate. Fortunately, for people like me who don’t have money to drop on traditional self-publishing routes and who favor doing the work themselves, Amazon has made self-publishing possible.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
That would have been nice but it was not in my budget at the time. I have a lot of writing and editing books and I try to read as much as possible, analyzing how everything is done and then applying it to my own work. I’m still figuring things out but I did the best I could at the time.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
So much! I’ve learned (again) that I love doing things on my own. I discovered that I have more drive and self-discipline than I ever imagined. And I definitely realized that what I’ve always wanted to focus on is what I’m meant to do.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Dead Locked is also available through other major retailers like Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Sony as well as Smashwords and for mobile readers via Scrollmotion.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
My core marketing program is the triple threat of blogging, Facebooking (I’ll just make up my own word for that), and tweeting. Marketing is a constantly shifting project and I’m always open to new ideas and methods as well as improving what I’m already doing. I’m also a part of the BestsellerBound forum for indie authors, which has proved to be a helpful community. I love online marketing but I try to seek out local opportunities too and along that line I was a part of a library’s local author day back in January. I’ve tried book trailer contests, posting ads on various sites, and promoting on different forums. With most of these methods, you only have some time to lose so I figure it’s worth trying at least once.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Absolutely! Rhys Bowen, a mystery author I follow, once tweeted something to the effect that she needed a device to turn back time to fit everything in. Somehow that made me feel better. If a prolific, established author feels that way, it makes sense that I would.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Stay positive and focus on your achievements, however small. Most importantly, have fun! You’ve worked hard to get this far so enjoy it.

What’s next for you?
 My next novel, The Jester’s Apprentice, is underway and I’m aiming for a summer 2011 release. I’ve also released a free short story delving into the romantic background of my two main characters from Dead Locked. And my short story, Stained, is featured in the first BestsellerBound Anthology. I also have other short stories in the works that I plan to release between novels. I’m keeping busy!