When Mopsa discovers the secret that lead to the death of her father, she runs away and finds herself late at night in the doorway of a mysterious shop on one of York’s ancient streets. She tries the door handle and tumbles inside, only to find herself banished to the strange and inhospitable land of Lethe.
Pursued by hidden enemies, and in a desperate race against time, she attempts to discover the whereabouts of a missing girl and unlock the magic within her amethyst necklace. On her journey, she meets Tom, a boy as lost as she is, and together they try and find their way home.
What made you decide to self-publish, and had you tried to traditionally publish (or been traditionally published) before going the self-publishing route?
I am ashamed to say that I didn’t really try very hard at the traditional route. I say ashamed because I spent two long years writing it and then when it came to submitting it to agents I didn’t really try very hard at all. I can’t even tell you why I didn’t try hard either, I left it languishing in my desk drawer. (Forgive my poetic license as I don’t actually own a desk, I write in a cubby hole surrounded by chocolate wrappers and general paper debris. To ruin the illusion further, my book was in reality stored on my c: drive.) Anyway, earlier this year I got my first eBook reader and had an epiphany! I could self publish – how exciting was that?
Is your book published as an e-book, Print on Demand, paper book, or all three?
Just as an ebook currently. Though I do intend to look at Createspace when I have time.
The criticism of many self-published books is the lack of editing and proof reading. Did you use an editor to polish your book before self-publishing, and if so, how do you feel this helped?
I didn’t use an editor though did many revisions myself. I believe myself to be a good proofreader, but also know that it is difficult to proofread your own work. The tendency to read what you intended to write as opposed to what you actually wrote.
Did you use a designer for create a book cover for you? If so, what difference do you feel this has made?
Ah, now you are just making me feel bad for being so completely DIY. No, I designed the cover myself. Here, I am sure a real designer would have done a better job, but I don’t think I did too badly. I am hoping it gives the book a spooky atmospheric vibe without being too amateurish.
How did you decide which self-publishing option to use? What were your reasons for your selection?
I rather stumbled into I think. I had my Eureka moment on the Thursday night that self publishing on Amazon was a fabulous idea and by Monday I was published. I am a little bit ‘bull by the horns’ like that. That was in May, and since I have been reading and researching and learning every day about all the other possibilities too. When something interests me I like to know everything about it.
How do you feel about the less than complementary remarks so often made about self-published books vs. traditionally published books – and do you think this perception is changing?
How do I feel? Truthfully? I feel insulted, annoyed and unjustly treated. But most of all I feel insecure and wonder if in fact ‘they’ (that ghostly mass of reproachful, finger wagging ‘they’) might be right and I am indeed second rate and should take my book and hide it back on my c: drive where no-one will be subjected to it’s rubbishness (yes, Word, I realize that’s not a real word) . Then I feel mad for having been made to feel that way. I still, however, feel it.
With self-publishing, you carry all the risk – the onus is on you to create as “perfect” a book as possible and to market it. How have you found the process of being your own publisher, and what have you particularly learned?
I can’t profess to having a perfect book, but at least I have control over the writing and cover design. What is really hard, and I am sure most indie writers will attest to this, is marketing. It is just not something I have ever done in relation to something I have created. I don’t have any power and I have little knowledge. I will try my best and learn, but I still feel uncomfortable selling my book as a product. I think I must have a fundamental lack of self belief. I even feel guilty when going through ‘Nothing to Declare’ at customs, even when I have nothing to declare. I think, and this relates to the previous question regarding those ghostly finger-waggers, that I feel a fraud.
What marketing platforms are you using to promote your book(s), and how much of your time does the marketing take?
I am on Facebook and Twitter, and have my own blog. Marketing takes too much time and is a complete distraction from writing but I do enjoy certain aspects of it, like interacting with people who have read my book.
It’s a personal question, but do you feel you’re making, or are able to make money by having self-published your book? Do you feel you are making more than you would be being traditionally published?
No, I am not currently making any money, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to. I do want to make money, certainly enough that I can devote more time to the writing I love rather than the work I don’t! I am hoping that over time the balance will shift and I will begin to earn money through my writing work.
Are you happy with the level of your sales? Do you think there is more you could do to improve your sales?
The advice that crops up most frequently is to keep writing, and that to succeed you need more than one book published. So that is what I am doing, writing a second book currently. It’s not easy though between real life (running a business and looking after two small children) and marketing the current novel.
Will you continue to self-publish, or do you want to be traditionally published (and self-publish), and why?
I intend to continue being self published as I am enjoying it! At this point I would not rule out traditional publishing, though if I became more successful as an indie writer then I may reconsider that stance. Either way it would be nice to have the quandary!
Would you recommend self-publishing to other writers?
What do you see as the pitfalls in self-publishing?
I think the main thing is that too much time can be eaten up promoting when it would be better spent writing. Also, self imposed deadlines are easier to let slip than ones given by a publisher!
Do you have any tips for writers thinking of self-publishing?
Read as much as possible round the subject. Visit forums and blogs and ask questions. Get the best story, cover and blurb you can. But mainly – don’t procrastinate, just do it!
Thanks to Nixie for participating!
To find out more about Nixie Turner, please visit her website.
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Kit-in-the-Candlestick can be purchased as an ebook on Amazon.com or Amazon UK
A detailed review of Kit-in-the-Candlestick can be read Evelyn Connor's blog
Nixie Turner's new book, The Dragon Girl, will be released later this year.