Today we have Jo Bissell sharing her thoughts on the publishing world. To learn more about Jo, visit her website, blog, Goodreads, or Amazon.
What made you decide to go Indie and self-publish?
I chose to self-publish for two reasons. 1) I wanted to keep complete control over each step of the process 2) I don't see the point of the multiple middle-men involved in the traditional publishing industry.
What do you think is the biggest challenge an Indie author faces?
Getting quality exposure. You may have written the best book ever produced in the history of history, but if you can't find people willing to give it a try, it will go no where. There seems to be many book bloggers, book reviewers, newsletter, book websites, and other places indie authors can access, but finding the right ones that will give you exposure to the readers most likely to want to read (and hopefully therefore buy) your book, is very challenging. Adding in the limited budget with which most Indie Authors start out with, it becomes even more difficult to choose wisely so that your resources can go the furthest.
My debut novel is a paranormal romantic tragedy called Beyond the Reach of Judgement. It is the story of Ruth and Julien who are brought together by unfortunate circumstances beyond their control. In each other than find hope which then becomes something more despite their secrets, fears, and enemies.
I hope to complete a sequel in the near future, but currently I'm working on something a bit more Urban Fantasy set in Iowa City, IA featuring a real mysterious black angel grave marker and the urban legends which surround it.
What advice can you share with other Indie and aspiring Indie authors?
Try not to get distracted and stay focused primarily on your writing. Worry about the rest after!
Which authors inspire you?
I find something inspiring in almost everything I read. Sometimes it is a character or a situation or even a certain phrase or setting. Some of my favorites are Kurt Vonnegut, JK Rowling, Madeleine L'Engle, and Ursula K Le Guin, I also enjoy beta-reading for other authors when I have the time.
How much research do you do when you write?
Research is one of my favorite parts about writing. I research much more than necessary for most projects because I don't want to just skim the surface, I want to feel like an "expert" in whatever I am writing so that it feels real. When the premise of the novel involves paranormal, supernatural, and fantastical ideas, I feel there needs to that much more depth and strength to the research.
Do you work to an outline or plot, or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I create a very rough outline as well as a list of themes and character sketches before I start on a new project. I also try to do the major research prior to starting. Then I just dive in and see where things go. Often I am surprised and the outlines and theme change as I go.
What’s your views on social media for marketing?
I think social media is for connecting with readers and other indie authors. I'm not sure how successful it is for actual sales.