What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
My decision can be summed up with one word–control.
Traditional publishing is all about losing control. Submitting queries, sending out manuscripts, landing an agent who believes in you, finding a publisher that trusts your creative vision–an author has little influence over any of these. We keep hearing about the outliers, the fortunates, but for most authors that get published the traditional way, the route is fraught with risks. I did not want any of that.
Self-publishing is no bed of roses, I admit. But here, starting from how I want my book to look like, to where I want to distribute them, to deciding what royalties I will receive–I am the one in charge. There’s nothing better than being in control of your destiny, is there?
Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
Being part of a critique group is absolutely necessary for any writer, especially for the ones seeking publication. I belong to a multi-genre group–Rockville Writers’ Group. We meet once a month and review each others’ works, work on collaborative marketing, attend conferences together.
It has been a tremendous experience being part of this group–I have picked up new skills, found out about my writing strengths and weaknesses, found support and I can keep on going forever. In short, my critique group is invaluable and a crucial part of my writing life.
Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I do both. I need to outline every novel or short story because I need an overall framework on which I can base my thoughts and imaginings. Although, I do not enforce the outline too tightly, but only to maintain a logical flow of things. Very often than not, my muse carries my in directions away from said framework and I happily follow it, as long as it retains the basic premises defined within the structure of the outline or adds to it in a logical enough fashion.
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Absolutely. I know I am terrible at spell checks and grammar checks. Another critical aspect for a “series” book like mine is checking continuity, and I realize the value an editor can bring into that. So, hiring an editor to do those things for me was never a question. Over the years I have worked with quite a few editors, but my current editor, Allison Itterly, has been a favorite. Allison does both substantive and copyediting for my books–we go through two rounds of reviews before I consider a book ready to be released.
What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
That being a self-published author takes an immense amount of work. An indie or self-published author needs to wear a lot of hats–writer, creative director, publisher, marketer, seller–to name a few. Needless to say, they have to fit all that into a 24 hour day, besides having other jobs and a family to tend to. It is an extremely difficult enterprise. At the end of it all though, it is an extremely rewarding enterprise as well.
For the last year, my books were Amazon exclusives. Starting this year I have decided to give up the Amazon exclusivity and distribute them across platforms via Smashwords. I have already published the first book, Maia and the Xifarian Conspiracy, on Smashwords. The second one will soon be distributed via Smashwords on B&N, Kobo, iBooks and continue to be on Amazon as well.
What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
You can find me at my website “sgbasu.com,” where I post interesting tidbits about my books, as well as write on a variety of topics my blog everyday. I am also working on a “VIP Readers” email list on my website–all subscribers to this list will have early access to all future books. They will also be privy to special teasers and free offers and contests.
I’m also on Twitter (@fromsgbasu), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thelightboundsaga).
What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
First, writing a book is the easy part. Making your book get noticed is much, much harder, mostly because writers are solitary persons who are by nature not the marketing kind. Be prepared to cross that bridge.
Other than that, keep on improving your craft. Keep on writing new books. Keep on experimenting.
What’s next for you?
I have a lot of my plate for this year, besides promoting my two already published books.
● I am working on book #3 of The Lightbound Saga–I am in the middle of my third draft after which it goes to my editor. Hoping to get this book out in December 2015.
● Next in line is Population Morpheus–a book of short stories set in futuristic, dystopian Earth. The tentative release date is in May of 2015.
● I have just started researching and outlining Prophecy–a novella set in a distant galactic empire. This book will be full of adventure and intrigue, assassins and space pirates, humans and cyborgs, and all sorts of fun stuff. Shooting for September with this one.
● Along with these projects I am also working on yet unnamed anthology–a multi-author, multi-genre anthology project with my fellow writers at my critique group.
Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?