Today we have Merry Farmer, author of Historical Romance and Women's Sci-Fi novels, sharing her experience with us.
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What made you decide to go Indie and self-publish?
I’ve been writing since I was ten years old, and through the years I’d toyed with the idea of publishing. I even started sending one manuscript out on submission to agents the old fashioned way about ten years ago. But the whole process left me cold. Then I discovered Indie publishing, and I knew in an instant it was exactly the publishing method for me. I am a self-starter who likes to set my own schedule and write the things that I want to write. I love the freedom Indie publishing gives me to construct my books the way I want to see them constructed. I also love the fact that as an Indie author, I own my work and no one else has rights to it.
What do you think is the biggest challenge an Indie author faces?
Fortunately, I think the challenge that existed when I was first starting out—to be taken seriously as a writer—is long gone. The problem all writers have these days is being discovered by readers. It’s particularly hard for Indie authors just starting out because often being discovered means paying for promotions that reach readers. There are a lot of resources to be discovered though, from working with your fellow writers to approaching bloggers about being featured to hiring a publicist full-time or for specific campaigns. But any Indie author just starting out needs to take a deep breath and accept that once you’ve clicked “publish,” then the real work begins! And it is a lot of hard work. Rewarding, but hard.
What are you working on right now?
Well, today is release day for my latest, Trail of Hope! I'm currently working on the next book in the Hot on the Trail series, Trail of Longing, which is coming out on January 5th.
What advice can you share with other Indie and aspiring Indie authors?
Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.
Why do you write in the genre that you do?
I write historical romance because I absolutely love and adore history. No, seriously! I’m a total history nerd, with not one, but two degrees in History. More importantly, through all my study of history, I’ve learned that people who lived decades or even centuries before us really weren’t that different than we are now. They got stressed out, they fell in love, they had disappointments and crushes and trouble with their parents. In my historical romance, I try to bring out all of the similarities between modern life and the lives people lived in the past. I sort of fell into writing western historicals accidentally, though. I always thought I would write Victorian novels set in London. But the West called to me, and I answered!
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
I write every day. EVERY day. I feel like you have to do at least some writing every day to keep the juices flowing. I am pretty disciplined about how I write too. Monday through Friday, I get up at 5:30am and write for about an hour before getting ready for work. When I get home from work, after supper, I write for another hour and a half or so. And don’t tell my boss, but when things are slow at the day job, I do a lot of plotting and outlining. On the weekends, I work for an hour or two when I get up and in bits and pieces throughout the day when I can. The funny thing is, as disciplined as I am about writing, I max out on creativity after about an hour, an hour and a half, and need to take a break so I come back fresh.
Do you work to an outline or plot, or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I used to be a big-time pantser and just write where the story wanted to take me. But then I got serious about publishing on a schedule, and I realized that I had to impost at least a little structure. I switched from pure pantsing to plotting out a few major points that I knew I needed to reach in each story, but pantsing in between. I guess I was a plantser then. But this past summer, I had a sort of revelation about my writing process. I started using an extensive outlining plan put together by my fellow writer Patti Larsen. Her method works really, really well for me. Now I outline each book in detail before writing. The difference is that now I can finish a first draft in under three weeks! And since that means I can publish faster, who knows where it will take me in the end.