In the return of Takeover Monday I welcome Merry Farmer to share her thoughts on self-publishing versus mainstream and historical romance! Be sure to welcome her with your comments for the chance to win an ebook copy of the first book in the Montana Romance series, Our Little Secrets!
Thanks so much for inviting me to write for your blog today, Sarah! I’ve been enjoying talking about my Montana Romance series now that the second book, Fool for Love, is available. There are a couple of questions that people have been asking me that I’ve had fun answering. The first is “What made you decide to switch from writing Medieval Romance to Historical Western Romance?”
Actually, it wasn’t so much a switch as a gentle slide. The thing is, I love History. All of History. There are so many lives that have been lived. Sometimes they look a lot like ours and sometimes they seem entirely different. But that’s what draws me to them. I’ve always been fascinated with finding the similarity in things, and what could be more universally human than falling in love? It doesn’t matter what era those love stories take place in, the course of true love never does run smoothly. And it makes for the best stories.
The Medieval era and the era of the American West have a lot of things in common though. Both were times of great change when civilization was advancing so fast that older generations could hardly recognize the world. Did you know that most of the countries of Europe were sending eager pioneers into the unsettled areas of their countries during the Middle Ages? Sounds a lot like the American West, doesn’t it. There were frontier towns and new ways of thinking and revolutionary new inventions in both the Middle Ages and the Old West.
Beyond that, I’ve always wanted to be the kind of Historical Romance author, like Julie Garwood, who writes about many times and places and many kinds of people. I want my readers to await each new series with the excitement of “Ooo! Where are we going next?” Plus it means I get to do a lot more research, and I love doing research.
The other question I get asked a lot is “Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?” I like this question because so often there are other writers out there who are asking themselves which type of publishing is right for them. Maybe my logic can help others make the decision.
The publishing world is changing by leaps and bounds every single day. No one really knows what’s going to happen, but at this point we can all pretty much agree that both traditional publishing and indie publishing are here to stay. And that’s fantastic! I keep toying with the idea of testing the traditional publishing waters now that I have self-published five books. I also keep coming back to the same conclusion: I self-publish because it feels like the right decision for me.
I love the self-accountability of indie publishing. I need to feel the urgency of being responsible for creating the best book possible, for seeking out the best freelance editors to help my writing to grow, and for finding the right cover designer for me and working with them to create the most professional book possible. I like the challenge of pushing myself to create novels that are so good no one would guess they were self-published. That’s my goal and my motivation. I didn’t come to self-publishing because I tried to go traditional and “failed”. I chose to self-publish from day one and I’m so pleased with the way things have played out.
Granted, the idea of gaining the respectability inherent in traditional publishing is tempting, as is the idea that traditional publishing could help me market my novels. But I hear more and more stories of traditional publishers putting all of the marketing impetus on the author’s shoulders anyhow while collecting the lion’s share of the profits in the end. I wish indie authors had more respect from the industry in general – and respect would be a key factor if I ever do decide to test the traditional waters – but again, things are changing so fast that and that respect is growing. Besides, in the end readers don’t look for the mark of the publisher on the cover of a book, they look for a good story.
So what advice would I give an aspiring author just starting out in the publishing world? That’s the other big question I am frequently asked, and here’s the answer: Write. Yep, write. If you feel that self-publishing is the choice for you, then choose it proudly and follow that path. If you would rather go traditional and search for an agent and publisher, then put your whole heart into that. But either way, you need to write, first and foremost. My writing has improved with each book I’ve finished, and I know it will continue to improve because in the end my goal is to write better and better books. How they reach readers is secondary.
I’m very happy with my latest novel, Fool for Love, and I think it’s the best thing I’ve written so far. Of course, the first book in the Montana Romance series, Our Little Secrets, has a special place in my heart, as does my medieval Noble Heart’s series. I hope you get a chance to check them out! Let me know what you think when you do.
Thanks Merry for joining me today and thank YOU for reading. Be sure to comment to win an ebook copy of the first book in the Our Little Secrets (Montana Romance) (Volume 1).