Born in Ottawa, Ontario, journalist (reporter, editor, and freelancer) Wayne Clark calls Montreal home. The first time author shares with us challenges both indie and traditionally published authors are facing today, and his experiences and views on indie-publishing.
“I spent about seven months trying very hard to find a publisher or agent,” Clark told me. “I got only one bite from a Canadian agent, but that was probably because I knew somebody who knew somebody. Because my book is literary fiction and also includes some elements of BDSM I knew it wouldn’t be a fit with many publishers, based on their catalogues, but I contacted just about everyone else. Several agents elsewhere showed various degrees of interest. A publisher wanted to read the manuscript, but after four months they hadn’t gotten to it, so I withdrew it. It was then that I decided to self-publish. In my case it was impatience with the process (of traditional publishing). I knew from reading about the experiences of even acclaimed authors what that process was like before diving in, but like many older authors and readers, I confess to having felt at the time that traditional publishing offered more of an imprimatur than indie-publishing. That is no longer my view.”
Mark Edwards said in an interview with the Guardian: “I spent 15 years trying to get a deal before self-publishing. When I finally got a deal it was a disappointment so I returned to self-publishing, which rescued my writing career. Lots of writers are seeing other writers having success via self-publishing and deciding to try it themselves. I would encourage any mid-list author to try it. A lot of writers who’ve got back the rights to their novels are now self-publishing them and having a lot of fun in the process.” His self-published thriller landed a deal with HarperCollins. (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jul/11/traditional-publishing-fair-sustainable-society-of-authors)
“This may be a stretch,” Clark continued, “but I see the opportunities provided by indie- publishing as something democratic in the same way I think smart phones enabled ordinary people all over the world to shoot videos of their reality and communicate that reality to the world. I’m thinking of things like scenes of police brutality or military suppression of civil rights, injustices that they could never have proved prior to the existence of those phones. The fact that anyone can publish these days is good in itself. I think it’s great that somebody’s grandmother can tell the story of her family in a self-published book that generations of her family will be able to enjoy. A lot of people are publishing their stories without the expectation that the general public will be interested.
“A woman in the U.S. wrote me to tell me she used self-publishing to teach her little step son to write. She started illustrating his first efforts, which were just scenes, not full stories. In time the boy was writing little stories and she continued to illustrate them. Eventually she self-published them and the boy now has a passion for writing. Can you imagine the boy’s reaction to seeing his books on Amazon? That was a private experience, not intended to make money. I was quite touched by that.
“One of the downsides to indie-publishing is that brilliant books (such as yours and mine) end up buried in a pile of millions of books, many, and perhaps most, being to some degree poorly written, poorly edited, or poorly conceived. I had no idea how big a task it would be to try to capture attention for my book. I don’t have money to buy that attention through ads in major publications, or pay a PR company. As far as the indie-publishing options being offered by some traditional publishers, I’ve read horror stories about how they end up making indie authors pay a small fortune for their services and the authors get next to nothing in return. As a writer proud of his work, you think, “It will be wonderful to have Random House behind me.” But they’re not behind you. They don’t do much, if anything, for you that you can’t do yourself.”
Q “Can you tell us about your book?”
A “My protagonist, a middle-aged man, finds himself increasingly bogged down in the quicksand of aging, which he compounds by drinking far too much. Relationships have become few and far between. He has only one friend left. What haunts him most is realizing he could never make love to a woman again. Nothing about being alive excites him anymore, work, playing his sax, even eating. What scares him more is that he is not yet truly old. If life was this pointless now, how awful will the remaining years be? By chance, while aimlessly roaming the internet one night, his eyes fall on an exquisitely beautiful young woman. Only later does he notice the words at the bottom of the screen indicating she is a dominatrix. Regardless, a voice tells him he must meet her, even if it means abandoning the life he has known. He senses this might be the last chance he’ll ever get to feel truly alive one more time.”
“The story builds upon itself aggressively, never veering away from the gritty conclusion that barrels ahead as the final pages come to an end. All in all, this is a delectable novel about a man exploring his unknown sexual fantasies at the price of possibly losing his true self along the way.” –Red City Review
“Clark’s perceptive descriptions of New York and Montreal and jazz and nightclub cultures, as well as his nonjudgmental view of BDSM, make he & She intellectually engaging throughout.” –Blueink Review
For those of us, perhaps, a little unfamiliar with the term BDSM, the initials stand for ‘Bondage and Discipline, Sadism and Masochism.’ And hey, as it turns out:
“People who are into kinky sex may be psychologically healthier than those who are not, says a new study. Researchers found that people who were involved in BDSM — bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism — scored better on certain indicators of mental health than those who did not bring kink into the bedroom, reported LiveScience.” (The Huffington Post 2013)
Q “Do you have any advice for fellow self-publishers out there, or those thinking about self-publishing?”
A “Absolutely essential: hire a professional editor and make sure that person has experience editing books, especially if your book is fiction. You might be wise as well to hire a professional proof-reader once your book has been edited. If you can publish an error-free book with a professional-looking cover you stand a chance of having your work taken seriously. Consider your genre categories carefully and drill as deep as you can for sub-categories because each one puts you in a list that may be much smaller than the main category, therefore making your book that much easier for potential readers to find. In a small category, it might not take many sales to make you a best-seller there.”
Q “What would you say is the biggest disadvantage of self-publishing?”
A “Trying to get your book noticed when you are an unknown. At least with traditional publishing you have the initial advantage of being associated with a known entity, one that professional reviewers are comfortable dealing with. If you’re planning a series of novels, for example, a mystery series involving a returning character, get busy writing your second book despite the time you have to spend promoting your first. A second book becomes great leverage. By doing things such as promoting it in advance you can point potential readers to the first book in the series, which you can heavily discount or giveaway free to gain new readers. If they like it they jump on your upcoming book.”
For more information on Wayne Clark’s International Award Winning Novel, check out:
About the Author
Ellen Schoeman (pen name E. L. Schoeman) is the author of the award winning YA Historical Romance novel, Isabel. All in all I’m a YA writer. My second novel, Vienna, will be released in EBook November 2014. Apart from writing, I love to travel, ride horses, read too many books, and meet interesting people with interesting stories.