Indie Interview: Suzanne Rogerson

Yesterday Rebeccahowiebooks kindly featured my Indie Interview as part of The Lost Sentinel’s blog tour. Thanks for having me again, Rebecca.

A long, long time ago (last year) I started this Indie Interview series, and one of the first authors I talked to was Suzanne Rogerson, the then author of Visions of Zarua, a standalone epic fantasy novel.

Suzanne’s been spending the past year promoting her book, so when I heard she was publishing a new novel, I was pleased when I was asked to be a stop on The Lost Sentinel blog tour.

You can check out the other blogs Suzanne will be visiting this month below.

Hi, Suzanne. Welcome back to Read A Lot.

Thank you, it’s great to be here again.

Q: Tell us a bit about your new book, The Lost Sentinel.

The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel. With the Kalayan people turning their back on magic, can Tei help the exiles find their new Sentinel before it’s too…

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Indie Focus: Interview With Self-Published Author Suzanne Rogerson

It’s day 4 of the blog tour for The Lost Sentinel and I’m really pleased to share this indepth interview over on Another World Book Blog. Please come over and join us.

Another World


BACK FOR THE SECOND OF THREE VISITS

SUZANNE ROGERSON PROVES SHE’S MADE OF HIGH FANTASY HEROINE MATERIAL BY AGREEING TO BE INTERROGATED ON ANOTHER WORLD

ImageThe Interrogation Room here at Another World has remained unoccupied for far too long. Today, for your viewing pleasure, this oversight will finally be rectified as I have secured my latest victim interviewee.

To mark the imminent publication of her new novel The Lost Sentinel, Book One of the Silent Sea Chronicles, I have brought in indie author Suzanne Rogerson to face twenty probing questions to gain some insight into her new book, herself, as an author, and (of course) to examine his geek credentials.

Enjoy the interview, and be sure to keep an eye out for the review of Suzanne’s book this coming Friday.

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#Mondayblogs My 10 tips on running a book stall/signing #indieauthors #writingtips

I ran my first book stall at the local Christmas fair the other day. I was nervous about it during the weeks leading up to it, but I knew it was time to start putting myself out there. It felt a bit like coming out of the closet ‘My name is Suzanne Rogerson and I am an author.’

I did sell some books, which is wonderful, but most importantly it was a big step in building my confidence. For those of you who are nervous about trying it, I say go for it! Here are a few tips that might help you make a success of your own event.

My Tips

  1. I had a sign stating ‘Local Author’
  2. Display your log line big and bold to draw some interest.
  3. My posters of the book cover could be seen from a distance and were eye-catching.
  4. The boards were great for displaying everything a potential reader might want to know without having to ask.
  5. Have readers quotes on display so the browsers can see others have enjoyed your book.
  6. Have different forms of information on display. I had posters, picture quotes that I used in my blog tour, quotes from readers with star ratings and my author photo.
  7. Display the price so you don’t have the embarrassing discussion of money
  8. Be approachable, but not pushy. I was happy to talk to anyone who wanted to, but I didn’t throw myself at them.
  9. I had a sign to show where the book is available and the prices. I also mentioned it’s free to read for Kindle Unlimited readers.
  10. Don’t go over board with stock.

 

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Things I wish I’d done

  1. I would have had a sign that said please take a card.
  2. I could have walked around handing out cards – but I didn’t want to force myself on people. I don’t like that approach in the street, and it’s just not me.
  3. I didn’t mention the magical words ‘If you like it, would you consider leaving a short review.’ Some were bought as Christmas presents so that wouldn’t really have applied anyway, but it’s still a missed opportunity.

 

I haven’t made any money, but I didn’t enter into it for monetary gain. It’s all about getting my books into readers hands and getting exposure. I’ve already had some lovely feedback and that is what matters. People have been really supportive – friends and strangers alike.

My final advice to any shy writers like me, don’t let it hold you back. Go for it and see what happens!

#WWWBlogs My top ten tips for New Writers #indieauthors #writers #amwriting

I’ve been writing novels for over 20 years and as this is the anniversary of my first year of self-publishing, I thought it would be great to go back and revise the advice I had for new writers at the start of my own journey back in November 2015.

1. Online courses

I’ve completed both novel writing and short stories courses. You learn as you write and having your assignments critiqued by experienced tutors helps you improve as you go along. Online course can fit around your work and family.

2. Go to writing workshops and creative writing classes.

I’ve attended several adult education classes over the years, and a couple of one day workshops. Meeting like-minded people was a real turning point for me. Critiquing and editing others work helps you look at your own work more objectively. Also having others critique your work helps you develop that famous thick skin all writers need.

I’ve made writing friends from classes too. It’s so important to have people in your life who understand the struggles of a writer. Now with online forums, and blogs etc. it’s easier to connect with other writers, but I still think the workshops can play an important part in the learning process.

3. Enter competitions, especially those offering critiques

There’s nothing worse than sending your story into a competition and never hearing anything again. Not knowing where you’re going wrong. The critiques can help you grow as a writer. And if you follow the suggestions made, next time your story may just get placed.

4. Don’t rush. Don’t pitch too soon.

I’ve made this mistake many times. Thinking the book is ready and contacting the agents I would love to work with, or the publishers that accept unsolicited submissions. Once they’ve turned your book down, there’s no going back. It’s the same with some novel competitions; once they’ve seen your entry you can’t resubmit when you’ve made a better version. If you do it looks unprofessional.

5. Start building your online profile now.

I’ve been blogging since July/Aug 2015. A lot has happened in a year and a bit. I’ve gained followers and made many online connections with writers and bloggers. I’m close to reaching 4K followers through the various platforms – Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads. I’d say that’s not too bad for a year, though the time involved has taken me away from my writing. Challenges like the April A-Z blog challenge and running my own my blog tour in Jun/July were very time-consuming, but lots of fun and well worth the effort. 

6. Beta readers can make a huge difference.

Especially beta readers who are writers themselves, who understand the structure and techniques of writing. I’ve been lucky enough to have made some really good friends from writing classes. We’ve kept in touch and still occasionally meet up to critique each others’ work. They’ve offered honest criticism about where I’m going wrong, but also shown me my strengths as a writer and their encouragement has been a big boost to my confidence.  

7. Join a book group

I’ve been a member of several book groups. It’s really interesting listening to readers critiquing books you’ve read, and to imagine how your own book might be seen from the readers’ perspective. They also force you to read outside your comfort zone, which can help you grow as a reader and a writer.

8. Get all the professional help you can afford

This is in the form of critique companies, professional editors, paid for beta reads if you don’t have writing friends you trust to be honest with you, cover artists, proof readers. The list of help available is endless and you need to work out what is most important to you and where you need to invest the money most. My first choice would be a good editor every time.

9. Know when it’s time to let go and move on

This is probably the hardest part; to tell yourself it’s finished, and let go of your book as you hit publish.

This is also true once you’ve been published for a while. You need to stop obsessing over your sales, book ranking and the amount of reviews you have or haven’t got. There is only so much marketing you can do, and as I have been told by many professionals, the best thing to do is get another book published.

10. Enjoy the journey, and celebrate being a writer

It’s an amazing feeling creating worlds and characters, and not everyone can do it. It takes hard work, dedication and an absolute determination to succeed.

Now that Visions of Zarua has been published a year, I look back and think wow. All that hard work has paid off. I’ve gained over a dozen wonderful reviews in that year and that is proof enough that it was worth taking a chance on self-publishing. 

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What is your advice for new writers?

#WWWBlogs My review of the self-publishing summit #indieauthors #selfpublishing #indiepub

On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a self-publishing summit at Kings College London run by New Generation Publishing.

It was a very informative day. There were 3 Q&A / talks with panels of industry professionals and self-published authors. I’m still processing much of the information  but I wanted to share an overview of the day and what I feel I’ve gained from it.

Start

The day didn’t start well. It was pouring with rain, and during a dash across Waterloo Bridge I got soaked twice by vindictive bus drivers. It took until lunchtime for my trousers to dry! My map got so wet I couldn’t read it, but thankfully Kings College was easy enough to find, and everything improved from there.

The talks

As I mentioned there were three scheduled talks with Q&A’s. The first talk focused on the two guest authors experiences and advice for new authors. The second was about marketing and how to sell your work. The third discussed the future of self-publishing.

I found the talk about marketing the most interesting and helpful to my current situation.

Some nuggets of advice from the talks

Look at marketing as fun and be creative.

Think local news – Create an angle for you / your book. Local interest for radio and newspaper could lead to bigger opportunities.

Say yes to any publicity.

Contact book shops – prove to them they can sell it, who will buy it, what you are doing to market it. Remember they like to buy in advance of publication.

Publicity timelines – Differ for bookshops, radio and magazines.

Think about your ideal reader – where do they shop and how can you find them.

Cover Design – think audience, create a buying impulse.

Elevator pitch – Think how you can grab someone’s attention and make them want to buy your book. Be able to talk about your book and sell it!

ISBN’s – Buy your block of 10, rather than 1 at a time. You can’t sell in a book shop with the Amazon ISBN’s and they won’t accept the createspace paperback.

Pitching sessions

The best part of the day for me was the pitch sessions with individual members of the panel.

I spoke to an agent, Kate Nash, who unfortunately doesn’t represent fantasy but provided a lot of interesting information in her talk and great advice to the other authors in the group. I asked whether she would be more likely to consider a self-published author if they had gained a following on social media. She said any decisions would be based on the book submitted.

I spoke to Ben Galley, a fantasy author and self-publishing consultant. He is about to publish his 11th book, so it was great to get my book in front of him for some advice. I asked him what I could do to get more readers to find and purchase my book.

His Tips:-

Buy your own domain name to look more professional.

Don’t lower the price.

Use a professional typesetter to make the interior of the book really stand out. This can help the search inside feature really sell your book to the browsing reader – make the experience a pleasure.

Consider a UK company for the UK printing of paperbacks. It will be cheaper and better quality than Createspace.

Join genre forums and facebook groups and get involved.

Have a newsletter.

I also spoke with the two self-published novelists, Roz Morris and Toni Jenkins, who were both lovely ladies and happy to discuss their experiences within the industry. Among other things we talked through ideas on how to get more readers, reducing my social media output to really focus on those that count, and a website called MEETUP where I could advertise to start my own local writing group.

I spoke with David Walshaw the publishing exec of New Generation Publishing. He was happy to talk me though the options of self-publishing with his company, but there was no hard sell or pressure in any way. It’s great to know there are other options and that I don’t have to do everything myself. I still need to research whether I can afford this for my next book though.

Downside to the day

For me the coffee breaks, and in particular lunch break were painfully awkward as I wasn’t comfortable mixing and chatting in large groups.

Things I wish I’d done differently

I didn’t hand out my card to anyone or swap contact details with other authors as I had hoped to have done.

I didn’t mingle enough / at all!

I didn’t have a proper pitch prepared for the pitching sessions

Value for money

At £59.99 I thought it was great value for a day of immersing myself in the world of self-publishing. The food could have been a bit more varied, but it was fresh and tasty. And there was a constant supply of drinks, although it did arrive a little later and after the soaking I received from the bus, I needed that hot drink!

Overall view

It was a very worthwhile experience. I gained some knowledge and had my book looked at by others with more knowledge of the industry. It was generally felt that I’d done a good job for a first timer! So I came away proud of my achievement and buzzing with ideas for what to do next.

If you get the chance to go to a summit in the future, I recommend you try it out for yourself.

 

Help, I’m going to a self-publishing summit! Any advice? #indieauthor

I’ve finally decided to put myself out there and attend a self-publishing summit next week. I haven’t been to any network events before and I hope this will be the start of me gaining confidence as a writer.

It’s easy enough to sit at home and think you’re a writer (I still cringe when I state that’s my occupation), but to actually physically go out into the world is a gigantic step for me. I don’t know how much I’ll get out of the day, but I’m nervously excited about the opportunity and looking forward to meeting some like-minded authors.

I have my notebook and pens ready, business cards to hand and I plan to have some book blurbs prepared to share. The trouble is I’m the world’s worst at selling myself. Whenever I hear the words ‘So what’s your book about?’ my brain freezes and my tongue disappears inside my head.

Have you been in this position? Do you have any tips for being more confidant, or advice to make the most of this networking day?

I look forward to sharing my experience with you and hopefully I’ll have lots of new ideas to put into practise for my current self published novel, and the book I hope to publish early next year.

Indie Interview: Suzanne Rogerson #indieauthor of #epicfantasy Visions of Zarua

I’m really pleased to share my interview over on Rebecca’s ‘Read A Lot’ blog.

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Since I’ve missed a whole week, I got right on to getting this interview uploaded for you. Suzanne Rogerson kindly agreed to take part in the Q&A, and there are even some graphics with qu…

Source: Indie Interview: Suzanne Rogerson

Results of the poll ‘Are book trailers worth it?’ #indieauthors #writers

Last week I ran a poll to see if it was worth my time and money investing in a book trailer (original post). As promised here are the results.

40% stated it’s a waste of time.

40% stated they would consider buying a book if it had a good trailer.

20% voted other – (waste of money, don’t know what a book trailer is)

0% have sold books because of a book trailer

0% find books to buy that way.

I’ve had some interesting comments from other bloggers who mention other options available to people wanting to make their own trailer. As well as Fiver, there is iMovie, moviemaker and an Animoto app. I’ll be looking into these in more detail when I get the chance.

I still haven’t decided whether to go ahead with the trailer idea. And if I do, will I make the trailer myself or pay for a trailer to be made for me. It’s an extra marketing tool, but there’s still no saying it will encourage people to buy the book.

I like the idea of having a trailer to add to my Amazon page and post on YouTube. Plus there’s the option to get people to watch the trailer for entry into Rafflecopter and Amazon giveaways. These would be great for the trailer’s exposure, but yet more expense.

As one blogger said; ‘While I’ve watched a few book trailers out of sheer curiosity, I’ve never *wanted* to see one. They don’t tell me anything the blurb doesn’t tell me, and I have other things I’d rather watch.’ Lilyn G of Sci-fi & Scary.

So, after this little experiment, I remain undecided.

My thanks to those who took part in the poll, and to those who’ve taken an interest in the post.

Have you anything to add to the discussion? Has this poll encouraged or discouraged you to make or pay for your own trailer?

Is this the end of my #Indieauthor dreams? #indiepub

I had hoped to post a very positive update today, but Amazon’s new ruling on reviews has left me feeling depressed and concerned for the future of Indie Authors like myself.

I’ve not been affected as yet, but many of my reviews are from book reviewers who’ve kindly given their honest opinions in exchange for a free copy. Those reviews mean everything to me, to know that all the hard work and dedication have been worth it. Will these reviews disappear overnight?

And what about winning copies? I try to review the books I’ve won, and have plans to run my own giveaways to celebrate Visions of Zarua’s 1st anniversary in November. If these do result in any reviews in the future, will they be allowed? How far will Amazon take this new rule? And aren’t they going to damage their own profits if they push Indies out?

Yesterday I read a post that Amazon were celebrating Indie Authors throughout October. Today I read they are stripping them of their reviews. It’s a mad world.

I’ll still be running my giveaways starting with a Goodreads one launching next week. And I want to try out Rafflecopter too – I have six copies to give to loving homes!

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I suppose the Amazon thing is hitting my harder today as I’m about to meet my lovely beta reader and hand her the finished draft of my next book, The Lost Sentinel. I’m at the stage where I should be thinking of covers and blurbs, not if I should even bother.

I want to be excited at the prospect of another self publishing venture, but this news has taken the shine off it all. How can indies get discovered without reviews? Will this change the world of blog tours and ARC’s?

Is it time to start the process of looking for an agent or publisher?

I’ll stop moaning now and hand it over to you. Am I panicking about nothing? Do you have any advice or news to share?

#Bookreview Why does my book not sell 20 Simple Fixes – Rayne Hall #writers

Why does my book not sell? 20 Simple fixes

Author – Rayne Hall

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First thoughts – I saw a review of this book recently and thought great, this is just what I need to give my book sales a boost. I had high hopes it would show me what I was doing wrong and how I could sell more.

Summary – Each of the 20 stages is relevant to indie authors. The book covers topics like the blurb, know your reader, targeting your readers and social media.

Writing style – It’s very easy to follow, down to earth and not condescending. I especially like the lessons learnt section at the end of each chapter, where Rayne Hall shows us examples of her mistakes.

Issues – It seemed at times as though the book assumed you were already selling some copies, so it was a bit depressing on that front. I’m doing pretty much everything she suggests, so there are no miracle fixes for me. But it’s all still great advice and it doesn’t hurt to go over everything now and then to see how you can improve.

Final thoughts – The book was short and sweet. I read it in an evening and made plenty of notes. For me the best section was probably about the blurb. As she states its the biggest factor when a reader chooses to buy your book.

I’ve picked up a lot of my knowledge over time, but I wish I’d known about this book at the start of my self publishing journey and had read it much sooner.

Recommend to – Every indie author will benefit from this, especially if you are just starting out or preparing to self publish for the first time.

Rating – 4 stars