IAM15 Guest Post…How I Became an Indie Author

IAM 2015 - TopperToday’s guest is Hannah Harvey, author of several contemporary YA fiction novels. After a chance meeting via Twitter, Hannah has previously taken part in our regular Sunday Write-Up creative challenge, and was invited to join this month’s event from that 🙂

So, that’s enough from us, let’s hand over to Hannah for her guest post on how she became an indie author…

How I became an indie author

I’ve always loved writing. I was home educated my entire school life by my mum, and growing up, I’d always loved English the best. I’d love it when my mum would set me the task of writing a short story. This led pretty quickly into me writing not just for school, but for pleasure as well.

Hannah Harvey - Author I started to fill notebooks with stories, and even started a few novels. My main problem, was that I couldn’t finish a novel. I found it too hard to stick to one idea, because I had just so many running around in my head. This is where National Novel Writing Month came in. I started taking part and before long I was finishing full novels. My love of writing grew.

At the same time, I’d started college and I had the plan of becoming a nurse, however I was diagnosed with a condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Basically meaning that I I was collapsing all the time. I couldn’t attend college anymore, and I still have the condition now over six years later. So I couldn’t go to college anymore, I could hardly stand up in those first months, before I got onto the right medications and got a small amount of control.

So plans had to be reworked. I was at home a lot of the time, and I had my laptop so naturally I started writing. I poured myself into writing, and I had so many finished first drafts, that I just decided it was time I did something with them.

It was round this time that I discovered Kindle Direct Publishing. This seemed like an amazing chance for me, because breaking into the publishing world is so tough, so I thought if I could do it myself then that would be amazing.

It’s hard work. I’m in charge of writing, editing, promotion, the whole lot. It’s also a lot of fun, and I love having the freedom to set my own deadlines and write exactly what I want. I’m learning so much about writing, editing, cover design and promotion, and it’s been incredible.

Currently I’ve published four novels and one novella, and I hope to have another book out in the not too distant future.


Between Now and Goodbye final - CopyThree friends. One eventful summer.

Libby finally has the settled life she’s always wanted, and never before had. She has a happy family, two best friends Julie and Charles, and loves her home.
This summer will be the best of her life. A summer spent learning in a culinary camp in New York, but when something happens at home and she’s forced to return, how will her summer turn out?

Charles had big dreams for his future, college, medical school, and spending as much time as possible with his girlfriend Julie. This summer will change all of that. His mom’s sick, his dad’s gone and he’s left trying to hold his family together. On top of that, Julie’s pulling away from him. Will he be able to fix things before they fall apart?

Julie is bored. She’s bored of her private school. Bored of always doing the same thing. Bored of having plans cancelled by her boyfriend who’s always busy. She’s bored and she wants a change. When she attempts to liven things up with some of her school friends, she ends up making a mistake. How will that mistake end up shaping her summer?

Follow Libby, Charles and Julie as they fight their way through an emotional summer, as they learn that sometimes theirs no escaping goodbyes, but that they aren’t always bad things.


Want to know more? Check out the links!

Hannah Harvey is a 23 year old self published author, blogger and avid reader from the UK. When she’s not writing or editing novels, she’s working on three different blogs, and reading a tonne of books.

Amazon     Website
Goodreads     Read First Chapter Free
Twitter @booktowerblog

IAM15 Guest Post…Marie Landry

IAM 2015 - Topper Today’s guest author for the second day of Indie Month 2015 is our lovely friend Marie Landry! Over the last few years since we started the blog in 2012 Marie has featured with us many times, sharing her writing and blogging experiences as well as her books. (You can check out previous features here).

Today she joins us sharing her thoughts on how she became an Indie Author.

Marie-Landry-AuthorHow I Became an Indie Author

I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer. I’ve had a vivid imagination my whole life, and I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. Even when my path went in various different directions during and after college, I always kept writing and hoped to be published someday. I always assumed it would be traditional publishing, because that’s all there was. I was willing to query agents, have my books sit in slush piles, and persevere until my work was out there for the world to read.

Several years ago, I began writing with a partner. We started out with fan fiction (my lips are sealed about which fandom!) and short stories, and eventually wrote a novel together that we hoped to have published. Self-publishing was quite new at the time, and after a bit of research, we knew it wasn’t the path for us. It had a horrible reputation at the time – the general consensus was that only people who could never get published traditionally were self-publishing. We sent out query after query with no success, but we kept writing.

When we parted ways as writing partners, a friend encouraged me to pull out a story I’d written after college and polish it. I spent months rewriting it while researching publishing options. This was around the time Amanda Hocking was blowing up the indie scene. I read countless articles and blog posts, and realized self-publishing was a viable option. It wasn’t that I wanted to rush the process, but I liked the idea of having complete control over editing decisions, cover, distribution, etc. I also really just wanted people to read my books and I knew with self-publishing it would be a matter of months rather than the years it can take to get published by a publisher, even once your manuscript has been sold.

I published my debut novel, Blue Sky Days, in January 2012. Over the next three years, I published five more books, and I’m currently working on my next novel, which I hope to release late this summer or early autumn. I haven’t regretted my decision to self-publish for a minute. Would it be nice to have someone else do the marketing for me? Yes. Would it be nice to have an advance or have a decent budget for marketing? Heck yeah! But does that outweigh the freedom of being my own boss and being able to get my books into the hands of people who love to read? No. Is self-publishing for everyone? No. But it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.



Take-Them-by-Storm-Marie-Landry  Sadie Fitzgerald has always been different, and not just because she makes her own clothes and would rather stay home watching Doctor Who than party with kids her age. When it’s time to leave Angel Island for college, Sadie is eager to put her old life behind her. Small-minded people and rumors have plagued her for years, but with the love of her adoptive family, the O’Dells, Sadie has learned to embrace who she is. Now she’s not afraid to admit the rumors about her are true: she’s gay.
For the first time in her life, Sadie feels free to be herself. She dives into college life and begins volunteering at the local LGBT center, where she discovers her small-town upbringing left holes in her education about life outside Angel Island.
The world is a bigger and more accepting place than Sadie ever imagined. She’s finally found where she belongs, but with the reappearance of someone from her past, an unexpected new friendship, and a chance at love, Sadie soon realizes she still has a lot to learn about life, friendship, and love.


Want to know more? Check out the links!

Marie has the best job in the world—one where she gets to make stuff up for a living and shamelessly eavesdrop on everyone around her. She writes happily ever afters while dreaming about the day she’ll have her own epic love story to tell. Most days you can find her writing, reading, fantasizing about traveling the world, listening to U2, watching copious amounts of TV on DVD, or having grand adventures with her nephews and niece.

For more on Marie and her books please visit http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca. She also loves to chat with fellow book lovers, so feel free to tweet her @SweetMarie83 any time!


Blog: http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarieLandryAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SweetMarie83

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Take-Them-Storm-Angel-Island-ebook/dp/B00PBA7KNE/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/take-them-by-storm-marie-landry/1120852304?ean=2940046432121


IAM15 Guest Post…My Writing Journey

IAM 2015 - Topper    My second post of the day as ‘guest author’ – I can’t talk about myself in the third person too much on this blog as it leads me to feeling slightly unhinged 🙂 Anyway, as a guest of myself, I thought I’d use my post this year to talk about my writing journey, like some of our other guests are doing. These are always some of my favourite posts to read because everyone has a different tale and experience to share. It has been quite a while since I last did a ‘writing journey’ post – around this time of year in 2012 to be exact – and so there was a lot for me to take in when I came to writing one this time.

(The two previous posts can be found on my author website [here] and on Ramblings of a Daydreamer blog [here], if you are interested in how my journey started).

The main difference between then and now is time (obviously!) and practice. Back in 2012, I was new to the whole promotion, Goodreads, blogging, social media cycle, side of things with writing and releasing a book. Before then, it had been me and a laptop, my scraps of paper and notebooks and my story – I was writing what I wanted, when and how I could manage it and more than anything, I was just writing stories for myself very occasionally sending them off to an agent or publisher, but not really thinking about publishing what I was doing.

When I got the time to finish the book in late 2011, was when self-publishing was starting to become a ‘thing’. I had my precious Kindle and had picked up some Indie books and when I saw what was being done, I just figured ‘why can’t I do that’? I was never organised enough for repeatedly ploughing through the Writers and Artists Yearbook, marking all the agents and publishers that might accept an approach for my book and then seeing it through to sending the required synopsis, excerpt manuscript, cover letter… I did it a few times for some children’s books I’d written and each time changed my approached or went away and did months of re-writes and adjustments when I got a response back. To say that the traditional process was slow, was an understatement: up to 12 weeks to wait for a reply each time you submitted, only submitting to one at a time (which is professional courtesy) and then whatever I did after that.

So, for Hope’s Daughter, I researched some companies and looked at how Amazon were doing things at the time. The formatting for submissions wasn’t as easy as it is today – now that they are well on top of their game – and so I went via BookBaby, who was also just getting started and did all the conversion to various formats, collected your royalties with removing commission and made it very easy to put the book out there. It was only after I’d released the book and I’d promoted to friends and family, I realised that I wasn’t about to set the Top Ten book charts on fire with such a small readership.

So, as with any new project, I went off to learn about how I could market my book. Early days I shared excerpts on sites like Scribd and then discovered Goodreads and reader blogs… Two things I had never even heard of before, but which have become central to how I look at the writing – reading – publishing triangle these days.

From here, I went into the promotion side of things wholeheartedly setting up the various accounts, starting my blogs, including this one, as I found myself enjoying engaging with other authors as much as readers. I also spent that much time on Goodreads I became a Mod for quite a large group, as well as trying to get reviews for Hope’s Daughter and some promotion via blogs. I also took up reading again, cramming a  huge 52 books into the year, alongside trying to write more and promote as well (did I mention I have a full time job?) all in the interest of networking with readers and bloggers.

2012 was a crazy merry-go-round if you like, one focused on all the new stuff I was learning about being an author. By the end of the year, I realised I’d done very little writing, just promotion of one book and ALOT of blogging about books. So, for 2o13 I set myself the target of completing book 2 and cut back on blogging and reviewing for others. I did the same in 2014 and have been trying to do the same this year, to get more writing time in, because if I don’t write any books, it doesn’t matter if I  can find people to read them 😉

It is hard to find the balance, although three and a bit years in to the indie publishing scene I think I am getting there. At the moment, I’m getting up earlier each day to squeeze in an hour of writing, editing or blogging, with the idea of little and often keeping things moving on. The drafting and editing side of things also gets easier as you become more practiced at it, so overall, I’m hoping to get more productive as I go along…well, that’s the plan anyway 🙂