Friday, 25 May 2012

Sun, Sea and Kindles

The sun is out, the weekend is here and I've got a cocktail in my hand.  It's guest post time and this week we have the lovely Lacey Dearie, author of #1 best seller 'The Tangled Web.'  She tells us the advantages of being an indie author, take it away Lacey...

Hi!  I'm Lacey, L K's friend from Ayrshire.  Thanks to L K for allowing me to ramble here.  And best of luck to her with her new novel, ‘The Policeman Who Was Afraid of The Dark.’  I hope you've all downloaded it!

Now... sunscreen, crisps, bottle of water, iPod...anything missing?  Ah, yes.  My Kindle, loaded full of novels by L K Jay, Jeremy P Bowen, Joanne Clancy, Amanda Egan and K J Bennett, to name but a few.  All my favourite indie authors are there, their books ready to be devoured as I lie in the sun in Cyprus.  I'm not trying to make you jealous (well, maybe a little).  I have a point to make.

I've always been the quiet one - never one to push myself to the front of the crowd or make too much noise.  So when my Dad recently described me as, "one of the punks of the writing world," I laughed until my drink came out of my nose.  Ewww.   But it's actually true, in a way.  I love being an indie author.  I did the same thing lots of would-be writers do: researched and wrote a novel, then sent it to an agent or two.  After my first rejection I resolved to keep trying and never give up.

Then came the turning points.  While reading a fashion magazine I realised:

1) Given that I was looking at the fashions and thinking "My God, that lassie must be freezing!" I was actually too old to be reading it,

2) An article about a bestselling author who made less than 10p per £6.99 book showed me that writers who have book deals are getting seriously ripped off, and

3) The articles were all witty and sharply written but in the same cookie-cutter style.  I am not your traditional writer, or reader.  I am flexible with style and I appreciate writers who can offer something different.  The articles bored me, but that was what publishers wanted.  I couldn't offer that.  And I didn't want to.

I'd met a girl called Michelle Betham on Twitter, and she was an indie author.  I thought to myself, I can do that.   Yes, self-publishing seemed like a lot of hard work, especially for a working mum like myself which is time consuming enough, but the rewards would be far greater - the financial rewards AND the ego boost you'd get from knowing you did it all yourself and cut out the fat-cat publishers.  All my favourite bands were self-released, and my favourite poet self-published.  Ok, so I'll never be as cool as those bands or as talented as that poet, but if they could all do it and still be credible, I wanted to have a go too.

Self-publishing HAS been challenging and exhausting.  I feel as far from a punk as possible.  Especially when my multi-coloured hair is just from the baby food that's been thrown on it by my son and my moody exterior comes from seeing a big fat zero on the European Amazon store sales but as I'm sitting here writing this piece for L K Jay's blog, I feel a deep satisfaction.  Two years ago, I was here in Cyprus researching a novel I never truly believed would be a success.  Now I'm here with a Kindle which has MY novel on it.  I haven’t made millions or had that seal of approval from a publisher but I've made loads of new friends while networking to promote the book, had 13,000 downloads, been #1 in the Amazon UK free download chart and received two royalty cheques.  It's been so worth it!

If you're writing a book, seriously consider cutting out the publisher and do it yourself.  Maybe in two years time it could be YOUR novel someone is reading on their Kindle on a sun-lounger by the pool.  Now...I think I'll start with L K's The Policeman Who Was Afraid of The Dark...

You can download Lacey Dearie's novel The Tangled Web from Amazon.

Click here for Amazon UK

Click here for Amazon US

Follow her on Twitter @LaceyDearie


  1. Point 3, you are so right!
    I left full time journalism for a variety of reasons, comfort and money being two. But I also noticed that it was a cycle thing, i.e. stories following the seasons and the same bad news happening to a different victim, year in, year out.
    When I become a best-selling author (in probably less than a year...) I shall write one book a year from a different country until I've used them all up and have exhausted my imagination. :)

  2. This was a great post, and it is very interesting that authors with traditional contracts aren't making as much as we think. Makes you wonder if sending your work off to agents is really worth it when you can make as much being an indie.

  3. That writer from the article had 6 bestsellers and yet she was living in a one-bedroomed flat in New York with a shared toilet. She was advising any would-be writers to give up if they're in it for the money, because you don't make any. Incredible!

    Mick: I look forward to reading all of your books once they are written, especially if you write one about Scotland or Cyprus!

  4. Unfortunately royalty rates that low are waay too common in legacy print deals.
    It should be more like 7 or 8% of cover which is still a tiny chunk, but publishers often sublicence by region - to their own subsidiaries, which lets them pay a fraction of the payment they made to themselves to the author.
    i.e. Mean Publisher agrees 8% but if they sublicence it to foreign markets it's 8% of net income from that sublicence.
    Mean Publisher then sublicences to Offshoot of Mean Publisher for peanuts.
    Author gets 8% of peanuts instead of 8% of cover.

    Throw in remainders, returns, witholdings against royalties, basketing for advances in multiple titles, loss of e rights and movie rights... then another 15% off the top for your agent... Indie makes so much more sense. No loss of rights, a quick and simple 70% minus delivery of a few pence. All rights intact.
    You totally made the right move.

  5. Julia Hughes (@Tinksaid) tried to comment but couldn't cause blogger is a nonce.
    Below is her would have been post from twitter:

    'Great Post! Found myself nodding my head in agreement - every word resonated.'

    Ofc she copied you all in on the tweet, so I'm just talking to myself.
    Hello Sean, how are you today?
    I'm wonderful, how are you?
    Not bad, I've had a really busy day.
    Me too!