When Cindy Young-Turner finished her first book, Thief of Hope, she did what most authors do. She wrote query letters in search of an agent and was thrilled to find one. A few years later (yes, it can sometimes take that long) she found a publisher.
The excitement of hearing from your agent that you have a publisher is indescribable and can only be comparable to the day you open the box and hold your first book in your hands. It’s an awesome feeling and never gets old.
Unfortunately, not all publishers are created equal. The decision to break your relationship with your agent or your publisher, is a tough one, but one Young-Turner made, and she hasn’t looked back since.
I sat down with her to talk about the decision that changed her writing world and ask her about the status of her second book.
Q: What led you to decide to move from working with a publisher to publishing independently?
Unfortunately a lot of small presses seem to have problems of one sort or another. My contract was up and going indie seemed like the right move. I spent a while submitting my book to publishers the first time around and I just didn’t want to go through that again.
Q: Now that you’ve finished the process, do you think it was the right decision for you?
So far it seems like the right decision. Time will tell in terms of sales! Despite a learning curve, the process was easier than I thought it would be.
Q: What’s the one piece of advice you would you give other people considering self-publishing?
Do your research. I went with Amazon Createspace and KDP and once my KDP Select period is up I will also be going through Smashwords for other formats. There’s lots of information and helpful tips out there. I was fortunate enough to have several author friends (including M.L. Doyle!) who had recently self-published and were willing to share their experiences and answer my many questions. It’s not hard to self-publish, but you need to spend some time into putting out a quality product. Invest in a good cover designer and if you don’t know how to format, hire someone to do it for you. That’s more than one piece of advice, but I think self-pubbed books get a bad rap because a lot of them are just slapped together–on the other hand, a lot of them are also very high quality, with good formatting and good writing and editing.
Q: What’s the thing you like most about self-publishing? And the least favorite thing?
I love having control of my work. It felt so gratifying to press the publish button and know that I was responsible for putting out a professional quality book. My least favorite part is the marketing, but sadly that’s required whether you are self-published or traditionally published these days. I’d much rather spend my time writing.
Q: Tell us about the project you’re working on now.
I’m currently working on book two in my fantasy series, which is titled Thief of Destiny. It continues the adventures of Sydney, who was introduced in book one, Thief of Hope. My goal is to have this book finished in late spring 2015. I am hopeful!
Q: This is your second book. Is writing the second one a different process than you used for the first?
It’s a bit easier because I know so much more than I did when I started writing the first book (eons ago). Now I understand how to structure a novel and I think I’m a much better writer. I still don’t use an outline, so my writing process is interesting and sometimes scary because I don’t always know where I’m going, but I enjoy it. And this time I already have the world set up, although you are seeing much more of it than you did in the first book and meeting some fun new characters.
Q: You still work with two writing groups. How does that help your process?
My critique groups keep me motivated more than anything else. Having a deadline for writing and knowing I have to finish something to submit it for critique really helps. Plus their feedback is invaluable. I’ve been with these groups a long time and both have talented and committed writers. We aren’t afraid to tell it like it is to each other. And it’s also great that we are very supportive of one another and celebrate our successes.
Q: Do you have any writing resolutions for 2015?
Just to write more and publish another book!
Q: is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just that you should never give up on your dreams. Write because you are passionate about it.
Thanks so much for your time Cindy. I just want to mention, that anyone, like me, who read the first book, Thief of Hope and can’t wait for book two, Thief of Destiny, Young-Turner has released a prequel you don’t want to miss. Pick up a copy of A Journey to Hope.