Today I'd like to welcome my fellow author Stuart Wakefield, celebrating the release of his new novel Body of Water. I met Stuart this year at the UK Meet - maybe a baptism of fire! - where we swapped news of our books and route to publication. And I'm very glad I have an opportunity to "meet" him again today.
Now over to Stuart himself:
When I told people at this July's GLBT UK Meet that I was going to self-publish my debut novel, Body of Water, most of them looked at me in shock.
"You're brave. Publishers will buy pretty much anything."
Up until then I'd thought that being an Indie Author was cowardly.
I first drafted Body of Water during National Novel Writing Month in 2009. Prior to that I'd only written down an idea or a few pages of dialogue. Even then I left it alone and didn't pick it up again until I co-founded Writebulb in December 2010. Writebulb is an open, supportive community of writers in Essex, England. During our January session each writer was asked to state their writing goal. I cleared my throat and said that I'd finish Body of Water by September. The pressure was on. Although I didn’t have a publisher's deadline I knew I had made a public statement and I was going to be damned if I was going to miss that deadline.
Penelope Fletcher visited Writebulb to talk about her experiences as an Indie Author. Penelope is selling shed-loads of YA ebooks and she convinced me to give self-publishing some serious consideration. To keep me inspired I designed my book cover. Although I do love a bit of naked flesh I wanted something more representative of the dark and gloomy setting so went through thousands (and I'm not kidding about that) of images looking for one that I had an emotional reaction to. Once finished, my novel seemed more real and I picked up the pace of my editing.
When I split up with my partner in late June my editing ground to a halt but a month later it was the creation of my book trailer that got me going again. Five hours sweating over my iMac and I had a ninety second trailer that even made me excited. Guy Saville, author of The Afrika Reich, later told me that my trailer was better than some of those produced by the traditional publishing houses.
And, like so many men, I suffered from premature release.
I published last weekend instead of September and went straight to number two in Kindle's Gay Fiction chart. I'm selling on Amazon in the UK, Germany and US, and everywhere else on Smashwords.
Better still, as soon as some typos were noticed I corrected them and re-uploaded a new ebook file.
Now I have the satisfaction of knowing that Body of Water is my baby. I had full creative control. If it fails it's my fault. If it flies I'll have the satisfaction of knowing that I did it all myself.
And I'm on 70% commission. Not bad, eh?
I'm proud to call myself an Indie Author. As Penelope Fletcher says, "Do your own damn thing and do it well."
If you read the book and would like to chat about it with Stuart direct - he's a very charming, welcoming chap - he has a new Goodreads Group where you can discuss all sorts of things! :).
And if you'd like to read more of Stuart's writing, he has a story in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group's "Hot Summer Days" project. The Elements of Love is a marvellously romantic, sexy and haunting fantasy tale, and available to read for free :).
(The M/M Romance Group requires membership as it's an adult group, but it's free to enter HERE).
And look, I have a new Red Carpet icon to celebrate LOL.