Good morning, Lindsay, thank you for agreeing to a guest blog post. It is a pleasure to have you here.
Thanks for inviting me to appear (virtually speaking, of course) on your blog, Valerie! It’s always fun to chat with fellow fantasy authors.
You have some really great posts on your site regarding self-publishing. Tell me what your experience has been going this route.
It’s a very cool time to be an author. As little as three years ago, the only way to get your book out there for a large audience was to query agents (a process that can take months or even years) and hope and pray that something would come of it. Some lucky people got book deals that way. Most didn’t. If you did, you’d then sign a contract for a pitifully small cut of the earnings, and you’d have to wait up to two years before your book was in print and people could buy it.
I bought my first Kindle a little over a year ago, saw the independent authors in the Amazon ebook store, and started looking up information on e-publishing. Within a week, I’d read enough success stories to get excited and realize that I wanted to try things this way (I’d actually been about to embark on the agent-querying process, and, let me tell you, I’d been dreading it!).
I wasn’t an overnight hit by any means (I’ve put a lot of work into marketing, and I’ve tried lots of different things, from creating a free podiobook of The Emperor’s Edge to doing videos on YouTube, to giving away free ebooks -- in case someone wants to try me out at no risk, people can listen to the audiobook or grab one of my free fantasy stories on Smashwords). Today, almost a year later, I’m not breaking any sales records, but I’ve been lucky enough to do reasonably well. Slowly but surely, I’m building up a readership, folks who are kind enough to buy my books and email me to let me know they want more!
With my latest release, Deadly Games, I made back the upfront costs of editing and cover art design (about $1200) within the first week and a half that the ebook was out.
If any of your readers are interested in taking this route, they can check out my self-publishing blog for more information.
I know that, for me, creating fantasy worlds and characters is an obsession—an experience like no other. What do you love about writing fantasy?
I love that I get to make everything up! It’s true that there have been plenty of fascinating time periods in our own history, but I’ll often find myself intrigued by the political system of one society, the technological advances of another, the mythology and religious beliefs of a third, the climate and geography of a fourth, and so on and so forth. If I write a story set on earth, I have to base things on the actual society it’s set in. When I make up my own world, there aren’t any restrictions.
That’s just fun. ;)
In the Emperor’s Edge series, you write about Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon. Let’s just say she is a take-no-prisoners kind of character. Your inspiration for her?
I knew I didn’t want to do a heroine that was an uber sword fighter or a powerful sorceress. There are just so many of those types of characters out there in fantasy. But at the same time, I’ve never been that into reading about the “everyday man” as a protagonist. At the end of the day, I love to read about heroes, people who are driven to achieve great things.
With Amaranthe, I decided that her gift would be dealing with people. She has a knack for winning folks over to her side, and for choosing the right man for the right job. She’s still young, and she’s figuring things out as the series progresses, but she has it in her to be a great leader.
I’ll admit that sort of talent isn’t quite as easy to show on the page as butt-kicking with swords or spells, but it’s been a fun challenge.
You are an author, but also a professional blogger, and I appreciate the humor and candor of your blogs. What made you decide to share all of your thoughts and opinions with the world?
Back in 2003 or so, I’d gotten out of the army and was finishing up a degree when I started to have a bunch of health problems, including horrible pain in my hands that made typing and mouse-clicking torture. I’ve since figured out that hidden food sensitivities were bugging me, and my life is a lot more normal today, thanks to dropping gluten and dairy from my diet, but at the time, I had to figure out a way to make a living that didn’t involve sitting in a cubicle somewhere, using my hands all day. Bad news since my background was in computers!
Using Dragon Naturally Speaking (voice recognition software), I started surfing the web and learning how to make money online. I got into blogging (I wrote about everything from home improvement to ergonomics to fitness) and learned how to bring traffic to my sites and make money from advertising and affiliate programs.
By 2005, I was making a full-time income (I even had a couple of six figure years), but my first love had always been writing fiction. In 2008, I decided to “get serious” and sold some of the blogs and let others lapse while I joined the Science Fiction and Fantasy Online Writing Workshop and ran The Emperor’s Edge through it. I still have room to grow as an author, but I learned a lot about writing that way.
I wrote Encrypted soon after, and, in 2010, I was ready to do the part of “getting serious” that I dreaded: querying agents. But, as you already know, that didn’t happen.
Now I’m blogging to attract readers and sell my books. It’s less lucrative (so far anyway!), but I’m finally following my passion and not simply trying to find a way to make a living. One thing I’ve figured out along the way is that it’s not money that makes us happy but the freedom to do what we want, when we want.
What is next for Lindsay Buroker?
I’m finishing up the rough draft of my next Flash Gold novella (these are steampunk adventures set during the gold-rush era in the Yukon), and I’m about to start writing the fourth Emperor’s Edge book. I know I left people hanging a little with the third, so I don’t want to delay in getting the next installment out!
Thank you, Lindsay, for stopping by and sharing your insights. Continued success to you and happy holidays!
Thanks for having me, Valerie! Best wishes with your new writing career. :)