I was talking to my friend Penny recently (no, not the Penny in my head! An actual other person named Penny) about indie authors, self-publishing, and why we do it. I thought it might be enlightening for some self-published novices/writers who are considering self-publishing as an alternative to traditional publishing so I’ve arranged it into an interview format for your edification and perusal… enjoy!!

A. Why did you decide to self publish?

1. I had a heart attack. (And lived. Clearly.)

2. I wasn’t too keen on writing after that.

3. My friend recommended I write about a big, hairy lumberjack for fun.

4. I decided that was a good idea.

5. It was fun! But I knew that it was not a mainstream story, more of a
“niche” story for folks not massively offended by big, hairy, bearded
lumberjack guys.

6. I decided to self-publish it as an experiment, figuring if no one bought it/liked it, it was still okay, because I

assumed all the risk and it reinvigorated my love for writing.

7. Surprise! Surprise! Other folks liked reading about a big, burly, hairy, bearded lumberjack. Cool!


8. I learned a ton about self-publishing, including pricing strategy, promotion, formatting.

9. I got shingles from doing the Create Space print version. So, I learned to hire someone for that business!

10.I made more money in one month with self-publishing a single novella
than I did in years with my other books that were traditionally
published. And it was fun!
B. Are there any circumstances under which you would sign with an agent/publisher?
I am considering getting an agent/publisher for my children’s book LUCY
THE WONDER WEENIE. Print is totally different than digital. Folks do not
buy children’s books (they don’t know) on Amazon. They need to see
them, touch them, check them out before they purchase, and browsing
on-line is not the way to do that. Also, the cost for a print children’s
book is higher for a self-pubber than a big publisher. For these
reasons, I am considering going the traditional route for the kiddy

C. What do you love about being self published? What do you not love about being self published?


I seriously love EVERYTHING about being self-published. It’s all
about control, baby! (Pretend I am using my Janet Jackson voice.) I love
writing about anything I want to, writing any length I want to,
releasing the book when I want to, deciding how to promote it, how to
price it,  and what cover art to use. I have no deadlines, except the
ones I self-impose, which is good since I have to put my heart health

Things that are not my favorite: formatting (I hire
someone), cover art (I hire someone), editing (I hire someone). I have
amazing and talented professionals to do my formatting (print and
digital), editing and cover art. I love running my own business. I can
hire folks to do the best possible job with those tasks, but ultimately
the decisions about what to do fall to me.

In your opinion/experience, what type of person is most successful at
self publishing and what kind of person should stick to traditional
This is a great question! I have a critique
partner who is NOT interested in doing anything other than writing. She
has another part-time job, two kids, a cute hubby, and an adorable dog.
She is busy. She wants to focus on her writing, and let someone else
take care of all the other tasks. She has an agent and a publisher, and
she is happy as a clam.


Folks who like creative control, are excited and
interested in learning all about the publishing industry, and are
willing to put the time and hard work into learning about it, will be
successful with self-publishing.

Indie Author? Or Super Hero? (or both?)
I am super excited to be co-hosting an Independent
Author Symposium with Marie Force this November. We put together a
two-day conference that covers all the important topics for indie
authors: cover art design, formatting, distribution, pricing,
promotion/branding, and managing multiple titles and series. For writers
who want to take control of their careers and embrace the business-side
of this industry, our conference offers a unique educational
opportunity. Here is the registration link for anyone interested in

The Independent Author Symposium is being held November 1-2, in Warwick, Rhode Island.

E. What are you working on right now, and can you give us a sneak peek?
like quirky. I write quirky. (Which is why I love YOUR books, Penny
Reid!…quirky rules!) This is the single-most important reason why I
love self-publishing. I can write about ANYTHING I WANT TO, and NO ONE


Case in point: Here are some WIPs I’m working on at the moment….
1. Holiday series set in the North Pole, with Santa, his sexy sons, elves, and Yeti The Abominable Snowmonster.


2. Old people in love. (Old people fall in love, too! Can you believe that craziness?)
A romantic-comedy-wallpaper historical-botanical mystery-erotica. (When
you self-pub, you can mix genres. A LOT of genres). (By the way, the
beginning of this story won first place in a writing contest. Just goes
to show. Mixing it up can be a good thing, regardless of what the
traditional publishing world might say).

Botany can be sexy too!
4. Botanical paranormal fairy story with a big, hairy, bearded farmer hero.
5. Reality cooking show story with a big, hairy, bearded chef hero.
6. Any book with a big, hairy, bearded hero.
7. A children’s series about a weenie dog super hero who has magical licking powers.
Okay, I think you get the point. In particular, the fact that I might
have a wee little beard fetish. And that I’m in love with weenie dogs.
And plants!


Penny Watson… self-publishing expert extraordinaire!
Penny Watson, in case you don’t know her from her review blog (http://pennyromance.com) or her books (http://pennywatsonbooks.com) or her inappropriate tweets (handle @PennyRomance), she is also planning a An Indie Author Symposium with author Marie Force (you know, that Marie Force) on successful indie author publishing.