Why did you decide to forgo traditional publishing?
To be honest, traditional publishing was never even a question for me. I always knew I wanted to self-publish my work. With all the self-publishing resources available today, it’s becoming much easier to bypass the middleman and publish yourself. It would have taken a great deal of my time to reach out to publishers and hope someone actually responded. Who knew how long it might have taken to actually get the book out there? By self-publishing, I could control what I write and when I write without having to take any kind of direction from a publisher.
Did you encounter any challenges in self-publishing?
Of course, the challenge with forgoing a traditional publisher is the author has to do all the work themselves and doesn’t have access to the expertise a publisher might offer. As someone completely new to this industry, there are things I didn’t even think about like how to format my ebook as an .epub file, how to set up a print ready PDF, building a website and how to get people to sign up for my email list, and even simple things like what cost I should price the book at. While I found some help through Facebook author groups, the decision was ultimately up to me and I definitely made a lot of mistakes before I learned how to correct them.
What have been the rewards of being an indie author?
I can’t say I’ve ever worked with a traditional publisher, but being an indie author gives me the freedom to really own my work. I write for me (and of course, my readers). I can sell on whatever websites I want to, write about whatever I choose, and do it all on my own terms. The indie author group is also very tight and they’re great people to work with. We support each other and do what we can to help out when something is needed.
What advice would you give to other writers thinking about self-publishing?
Some great advice for any new indie author is to keep in mind that writing the book is the easy part. It’s selling it that will be your biggest challenge. There are millions of books out there and for the majority of us, the book unfortunately isn’t going to sell itself. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to promote it, and it’s not something that happens over night. Don’t get discouraged if your book isn’t flying off the shelves. I know many authors struggle with their first book, and the more they write and publish the better they get with it. If you do get stuck on something, don’t be afraid to join a Facebook group or ask some fellow indie authors on Twitter for some advice.
Tell us a little about your book, How to Hunt a Menacing Magical Shadow.
My debut novel is a young adult, urban fantasy called How to Hunt a Menacing Magical Shadow. It takes place in a fictional city on Earth where magic is like a new evolving technology, making it pretty unpredictable and unknown. Not to mention the main character, Adrian Cotter, has a knack for making it do exactly what it’s not supposed to. He’s wrongfully accused of murder and is now running from a mysterious shadow trying to kill him and a voice playing games in his head. It’s filled with humorous dialogue and a ton of fun scenarios.
When I came up with this idea, I was inspired to do something a little different. Most fantasy stories have a strong male character protecting a female or a strong female character who needs to prove herself to everyone else. I thought, what about a male character whose best attack wasn’t throwing fireballs from his fists, but shooting an insult at someone instead? His personality is driven a lot from my own. I’m pretty stubborn. I like to think things don’t bother me, but when someone needs help I’m always the first to jump in. The rest of the characters are derived from people I know, whether just in name or also bits of their personality. I even included my dog! There’s a talking pug named Porky who will definitely make you laugh.
Where can our readers find out more about you?
Readers can visit my website at christineschulzwrites.com and sign up for my email list or to become a beta reader. They can also connect with me on Twitter using @CSchulzWrites. I encourage everyone to check out Book 1 in the Black Sheep series now available on Amazon, free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. I’m also working on Book 2 as we speak, hoping for a release date some time this winter!