Lily Harlem Shares Her Experiences in Self-Publishing
Self-publishing, which used to be the kiss of death for a writer, is now coming into its own in ways no one would have thought possible even five years ago. It’s my pleasure to have a writer who has had success in both traditional publishing and now in self-publishing. Please welcome the very talented Lily Harlem.
KD: Lily, you have critically acclaimed works out by multiple publishers, what inspired you to try the self-publishing route?
LH: Hi K D, first of all thanks so much for having me here today, it’s always great to come and hang out with you.
Self-publishing, okay, well I got the initial idea from a lecture at Eroticon 2012 – http://writesexright.com/eroticon-2013/ given by the very lovely M K Elliot – http://www.steamyspice.blogspot.co.uk – (I’m still lusting after the fantastic scarlet stilettoes she wore that day. Wow!). She talked about self-publishing at Amazon and the success she’s had with this way of telling her stories. Yes, there are ups and downs, positives and negatives, and certainly there’s a lot of work involved. You, as the author, have to do everything, but still, she didn’t put me off and I decided to have a go. I should say at this point that M K was a wonderful help during my first steps and completely okay with me firing off emails with ‘silly’ questions. Thanks M K 🙂
KD: Tell us how the experience has been for you.
LH: Fun, stressful, liberating, worrisome, rewarding, hard work and incredibly satisfying!
KD: Now that you’ve experienced both traditional publishing and self-publishing, can you give our readers a comparison of the two.
LH: I’m definitely glad that my introduction into the world of publishing was through a traditional publisher who held my hand every step of the way. All I had to do was write, they did the cover art, worked with the edits, sorted out the copyright jargon and did a big chunk of the marketing. They took me on the wild ride that is publishing your first book without any of the stress!
Self-publishing is definitely not for the faint hearted. You have to be brave and just go for it! Certainly you have to believe in the story you’re publishing, which is where some great beta readers, who are honest and critical, become worth their weight in gold! With self-publishing there’s no editor saying “you can’t write that” or “this would never happen”. To these points sometimes I agree, other times not so much, self-publishing is all your own choice—every single word, action of the characters and twist in the plot. So yes, confidence has to play a part in self-publishing, and I don’t think I would have had the confidence if I hadn’t gone down the traditional route first.
KD: Who would you recommend self-publishing to, as far as writers go?
L H: Writers who’ve already been published traditionally so they have an understanding of the process. Plus if you already have a name as an author, and people have read and enjoyed your books, they’re more likely to pick up your self-published one.
KD: With the rise in ePublishing the stigma that was always attached to self-publishing seems to be rapidly disappearing. Why do you think that is?
LH: It’s great that the stigma is going, it means everyone gets a chance to not only tell their story, but everyone also has a chance to read it. In regards to why that stigma is lifting, I think it’s because some really good quality authors are putting work out there, M K Elliot being just one who springs to mind. At one time self-published books were regarded as poor works, badly edited, things no traditional publisher would touch with a barge pole. But not any more, established authors can use self-publishing as a way of cutting out the middle-man and being free to write what and how they want to. I don’t think it will ever take over, but it is certainly establishing its place in the world of publishing.
KD: What’s the hardest part of self-publishing? The best part?
LH: The hardest part, definitely the editing process. Despite having my latest release The Glass Knot beta read by two separate partners, I still found a few spelling mistakes/misplaced words on my last read through, and then I thought ‘I better read it again’ and I found another two! ‘Damn, better read the whole 60,000 words over’ – I send myself slightly nuts doing that! But eventually I have to hit that publish button! I’m sure the fact that I switch between the US dictionary and the UK dictionary, depending on which publisher I’m writing for, sends my brain a bit squiffy sometimes!!
KD: Now that you’ve experienced traditional and self-publishing, could you share with us your insights. What stands out about the experience?
LH: One of the most useful things I’ve been able to do with self-publishing is offer readers a chunk of another one or even two of my books at the end. Rather than just an excerpt I’ve added full chapters. This way they can see if they fancy reading it. Also if the book that’s just been read is of a particular sub-genre, ménage a trois for example, I’ve been able to list and link my other ménage books. I’ve found this a really useful part of the experience and I hope readers like it too.
KD: What about sales? How do your self-publishing sales compare with those of your works that have been traditionally published?
LH: The amount of books I sell is pretty much the same, the main difference being with self-publishing, because the royalties are higher, I can sell a book cheaper and make the same amount per book as I would if it was being sold through a publisher. I can also track my sales easier with self-publishing, so I know if any promotional work I’ve done that week has had a direct result on the book selling.
KD: Any advice for people who are considering self-publishing for their own works?
LH: You need to have a good set of people around you to help out with cover art, editing and beta reading, I’m incredibly lucky to be good friends and write with Natalie Dae who, in her day job is a cover artist and has edited in the past too. If you’re not a US resident you have to sort out a tax-exempt number with the IRS which can be a bit of a fiddle, but well worth it. Plus be patient with yourself, know that it will take time, but when it’s all done, the feeling is great. M K was good enough to help me on the first time round, and I’m happy to pass that on and answer any questions either here or through my website.
Thanks so much for inviting me, K D, it’s been great 😉
Facebook author page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lily-Harlem-author-page/200182030094568
The Glass Knot
What’s a girl to do when the guy she falls for is married to another man?
This is exactly what happened to me. Seeing Josh Kendal stroll out of the Mediterranean Sea wearing tight navy swim trunks and looking like a hot new James Bond was a truly delicious moment. Catching sight of his wedding ring was like a kick in the shin and meeting his gorgeous husband, phew, that was enough to make any girl groan at the cruel joke God was playing on her.
But all was not as it seemed, and when Josh needed a woman to sort out a ‘delicate predicament’ I was the one for the job – heck, what did I have to lose? Certainly not as much as him, literally.
Trouble is, emotions always get tangled, loyalties can’t help but be divided and with a night of memories so hot they’d have the devil sweating, there was only one thing for it—it was time to get honest, fight for what I wanted despite society’s constraints and open my heart to the people it needed most.
Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009OR4LDW
Okay, so I eat, sleep and breathe football and reporting the beautiful game is my dream career. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have time for a major crush on the England captain, Lewis Tate. The bloke is sex on legs, hot with a capital H. Add in his awe-inspiring talent, his brooding good looks and what’s not to lust after?
So my excitement is sky-high as I set off with the official press team to cover England’s battle for the European Cup. But when a series of unfortunate, or as it turns out fortunate events, attracts Tate’s attention my way, who am I to say no?
Add in a misogynistic manager, an over-zealous colleague, two blue silk ties and some incredible ball-handling skills and it becomes clear the road to victory, for me, will be an intensely erotic journey. Determined to savor every moment, I hang onto my sanity as best I can while living the fantasy and wondering if it can ever become reality. Because once Lewis Tate has taken me to heaven and back, its clear no one else will ever compare.
Good Cop, Bad Cop
Fame and fortune is a blessing that, for me, has changed its taste from sumptuously sweet to murderously bitter. Leaving me no choice but to look over my shoulder at every turn and question the scruples of even my most faithful friends.
I would give up all the glowing adoration from my fans in a heartbeat in exchange for not running for my life. But fate doesn’t deal cards that way, and instead I find myself far out at sea and being bounced between two hot cops—one so chilly just his glance gives me frostbite, and the other showing a kindness that barely covers his own demons.
So with nowhere else to turn, quite literally, I have to trust two men I hardly know with my life and cope without the luxuries my status usually affords me. But it’s not long before I discover when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Turns out these cops are not only the wrong guys to mess with, they also have partnership skills above and beyond the requirements of their day job. And for once, while just being me without the frills, I get to discover that they are as sinfully bad as they are dreamily good in every department, and it seems, I am the one they want cuffed and controlled at the same time as they are protecting and serving.
An erotic short story. When a woman wants to experiment, how does she ask for more?