Author Advice, Case Study, Self-Publishing Author Case Study

#WritingCommunity #SelfPublished author Emma Miles joins me to share her publishing journey today … @emmamilesShadow #CreatingPerfection #amwriting #amediting #fantasy

I am over the moon to welcome one of my favourite people in the publishing world to Creating Perfection to share her writing journey.

Who are you and when did your journey begin?

I’m Emma and I’ve been writing since I learned to hold a pen! I wrote a lot of poetry as a very young child and invented stories for my many cousins. I knew for sure I was a writer when I was ten and read the Lord of the Rings.

Tell us about where you are on your self-publishing journey right now in terms of books published, where you publish etc.

I’ve just published my fifth novel and my sixth should be out around May this year. I originally self-published through but moved on to Amazon. My latest novel is the first one for which I have been able to employ a professional editor and cover designer. (NB. I’ve heard the editor you chose is pretty spectacular!)

Why did you choose to self-publish?

A long story so bear with me. I started, many years ago, by submitting to agents for traditional publishing. The third agent I submitted to ask to read all of my manuscript. After about three months she wrote back to say that she was sorry to have taken so long, but she’d asked a few of the others in the office to read it also, but that they’d decided that my work needed more editing and wasn’t quite ready. At the time I didn’t realise how fabulous a response that was. I decided to complete the trilogy before re-submitting and then go back and re-work the first book. I was in a bad relationship with an abusive alcoholic during that period and so my writing became very hit and miss. By the time I finished the trilogy, any kind of professional editing or cover design was a dream well beyond my means. I escaped my abusive partner but had to sell belongings to even afford to eat. I did make a few attempts at submitting my work, but I had no confidence in myself and was appallingly bad at writing cover letters to try to sell myself and my work. Sadly, when I felt I was ready to re-submit to the same agent, I discovered that the lady who had founded the agency had recently died and I felt it would be inappropriate to bother them about my book. It was not long after that period when I was introduced online to a lovely man who wrote and self-published horror books. He encouraged me to go for self-publishing and I did.

What’s best thing about self-publishing?

Ha ha, not having to write a synopsis! Seriously, I would say it’s having control over my work and not having to be restricted by word count or publication dates.

And the worst?

Not seeing my books on the shelves in bookshops and having to do all the advertising, promotion, and networking myself.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known before you published your first book?

Self-publishing was in its relatively early days when I first did it and I myself very naive. I foolishly thought I could just publish my book and people would find it and love it; I didn’t realise that to get anywhere I’d have to do a huge amount of self-promotion. It was lack of resources really that I wish I could have changed and most importantly lack of a support network.

If you could change one thing about your self-publishing journey, what would it be and why?

I wish I’d had the money to get professional edits and covers done.

Do you have any advice for those who might be looking in to self-publishing?

Find yourself a support network of other writers, bloggers, beta readers etc. There are great writing communities on Facebook and Twitter where you can get help and advice, encouragement, recommendations, and the benefit of other peoples’ experiences. Also build yourself an online presence and following, you need to start promoting yourself and your work before your book is available.

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Emma. What an incredible journey. You are such a talented author and have a wonderful way with words and deserve so much success!

Readers, if you’d like to share your journey, click here.

Emma’s first book in her Fire-walker series is The Raven Tower

Here’s the blurb …

The Raven Tower: A captivating fantasy adventure (Fire-Walker Book 1) by [Miles, Emma]

What price will Kesta and the fire-walkers have to pay to keep their people from enslavement? The raids were more ferocious, more desperate and much earlier in the year. When Kesta sees in the flame who is really behind the attacks the Independent islands of the Fulmers seem doomed to fall. Their only hope is to cross the sea to seek the help of the King of Elden and his sorcerer, the Dark Man.

You can keep up with all Emma’s news by following her on social media:

Twitter: @emmamilesShadow

About the author …

Emma Miles

I presently live in the stunning county of Dorset where I’m a cat slave to Wolfe and Piglitt I spend as much time as I can outside in nature and love exploring and learning about new cultures and languages. I’ve visited Greece, Serbia, Transylvania, Sicily, and Norway as well as making several road trips around our beautiful United Kingdom. I paint, sculpt, dabble in photography and do a little archery but most of all – whenever I get a chance – I write.
My writing started from a very young age when I often found myself being the one taking charge of and entertaining all my younger cousins. They loved to hear my stories and although they mostly called for ghost stories it was fantasy I fell in love with when I read The Lord of the Rings when I was ten. I went on to write stories and short ‘books’ for my friends through school and college; then one evening whilst I was waiting for my aunt and uncle to visit an image came to my mind of a boy sitting beneath a bridge. I didn’t know who he was or why he was there, but from exploring those questions The Wind’s Children trilogy blossomed and grew with roots going back into his far history as well as stretching out to his future.

The boy’s name was Tobias. I have since left Tobias’s world of ‘Naris’ to explore the Valley with Feather in the Hall of Pillars which is now available through Amazon. I am now presently finding my way through Elden, the beautiful Fulmer islands, the ravaged Borrows and haunted Chem with Kesta Silene; a shamaness of sorts with a big journey ahead of her. I hope you come along to share her story and join her adventure; she needs you and you won’t regret it.

Case Study, Self-Publishing Author Case Study

#WritingCommunity Beth Duke joins me today to share her self-publishing journey #CreatingPerfection #AmWriting #AmEditing @bethidee

I am delighted to welcome Beth Duke to Creating Perfection today to share her self-publishing journey.

Hello, Beth, please tell us a little about you and when your journey began?

I’m Beth Duke, and I’ve been a dedicated reader pretty much since I opened my eyes. I’ve always loved words, and specifically, putting ideas and stories into words. I began writing fiction around 2007.

Where you are on your journey right now in terms of books published, where you publish etc.?

I have three published books and a tiny mountain of short stories in magazines and journals. I publish paperbacks and e-books through KDP and paperbacks for wholesale distribution through IngramSpark.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

There is no greater agony that the query process. I have been embraced and whirled around the dance floor, only to be left alone by the punch bowl, too many times. This was particularly heartbreaking with my third novel, which an agent adored and kept locked up over a year. I was eventually offered a fairly crappy deal with a small house, and it wasn’t for me. I realized at that point I could start over and hope my book would be out within eighteen more months…or I could publish it. I’m thrilled I did, because it’s been atop an Amazon Best Seller list for well over a month solid and earning all the money I wish I’d made over the last eight long years or so. I still could’ve made more overall by grilling burgers, but I am thrilled so many are enjoying my work.

What’s best thing about self-publishing?

I love having control over my content and cover. I love having a much greater share of royalties than trad pub even more!

And the worst?

There were long years (2011 on) of trying to scale my sales and gain a wider audience, years in which I hadn’t the vaguest idea what I was doing.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known before you published your first book?

It matters not one whit if you’ve written a brilliant novel: if your cover isn’t professional-looking, it will never sell on a big scale. People *do* judge books by their covers!

If you could change one thing about your self-publishing journey, what would it be and why?

I’d have sought out a reasonably-priced, talented cover designer like Rachel Lawston, and hired her for my first book. She might have still been a teenager in 2011, though…

Do you have any advice for those who might be looking in to self-publishing?

Never, ever pay someone to publish your book. Educate yourself on book promotion. Join ALLi (The Alliance of Independent Authors), ask questions, and listen to the answers you receive. There are many great resources for indie authors these days. Make yourself available for book club discussions (via FaceTime or whatever if necessary). Have a strong social media presence. Be a nice human, help other authors when you can.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m grateful for this opportunity to share, and hope there may be one small thing that may help someone. Please feel free to contact me if you’re starting out and want to commiserate by the lonely punch bowl. I’m always happy to talk to fellow writers. We all learn from each other!

Thank you so much, Beth. Self-publishing can be a lonely place if you don’t know others are in the same boat.

Authors, if you’d like to share your journey, click here.

Now, here’s her book …

Alabama, 1947.

War’s over, cherry-print dresses, parking above the city lights, swing dancing. Beautiful, seventeen-year-old Violet lives in a perfect world .Everybody loves her.

In 2012, she’s still beautiful, charming, and surrounded by admirers. Veronica “Ronni” Johnson, licensed practical nurse and aspiring writer, meets the captivating Violet in the assisted living facility where Violet requires no assistance, just lots of male attention. When she dies, she leaves Ronni a very generous bequest―only if Ronni completes a book about her life within one year. As she’s drawn into the world of young Violet, Ronni is mesmerized by life in a simpler time. It’s an irresistible journey filled with revelations, some of them about men Ronni knew as octogenarians at Fairfield Springs. Struggling, insecure, flailing at the keyboard, Ronni juggles her patients, a new boyfriend, and a Samsonite factory of emotional baggage as she tries to craft a manuscript before her deadline.

But then the secrets start to emerge, some of them in person. And they don’t stop. Everything changes. Alternating chapters between Homecoming Queen Violet in 1947 and can’t-quite-find-her-crown Ronni in the present, IT ALL COMES BACK TO YOU is book club fiction at its hilarious, warm, sad, outrageous, uplifting, and stunning best. In the tradition of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and Olive Kitteridge, Duke delivers an unforgettable elderly character to treasure and a young heroine to steal your heart.

About the author …

Beth Duke

Beth Duke is the recipient of short story awards on two continents and is eyeing the other five. Her novels DELANEY’S PEOPLE, DON’T SHOOT YOUR MULE, and IT ALL COMES BACK TO YOU have earned a great deal of critical praise, including ‘Beth Duke is a wordsmith of the best kind and her stories rank with the best in classic Southern fiction’ from Dan Brown, Author of Reunion. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and literary digests. Beth lives in the mountains of her native Alabama with her husband, one real dog, one ornamental dog, and a flock of fluffy pet chickens. Baking is a hobby, with semi-pro cupcakes and amateur macarons a specialty. And puns-she is a proud punslinger. Travel is her other favorite thing, along with joining book clubs for discussion. Please visit for more information and photos of the most beautiful readers in the world.

Author Advice, Case Study, Self-Publishing Author Case Study

#WritingCommunity Andrew Barrett joins me today to share why he thinks #writing is easy … or not @AndrewBarrettUK #AmWriting #CreatingPerfection #IndiePub

Andrew Barrett was one of the first authors to share his writing journey with us (you can read that here) and I’m delighted to welcome him back today to share another piece about his writing journey today.

Being a Writer is Easy…

Back in the fifties, long before I was born (no, much longer than that!), my dad was pretty good with cars. He wanted to set up his own garage fixing, and maybe selling, them. He approached the council who agreed to sell him a plot of land, and even agreed to move lampposts to improve vehicular access.

And then he had second thoughts and backed out. That decision haunted him for the rest of his days. What if…

I’m pretty sure there’s nothing quite so corrosive as regret. So I try my best not to have any. I still do though: I don’t speak in public (too shy); I don’t hang-glide (scared of heights); I made the wrong choice in women (now corrected); I started smoking (now stopped); I began writing.

What? Writing is a regret?

Yes, of course it is. Well, let me qualify that. The word writing, in this instance, refers to the whole ensemble: writing; editing; making covers; organising beta readers; sorting out the website (or not, as the case may be); taking the plunge with an Audible book; sorting out the accounts; paying the business bills; and a thousand other things. That’s ‘writing’.

And I regret writing because I have become obsessive about it. Truly, I have. I have just put the finishing touches to my latest novel, CSI Eddie Collins’s fifth outing: The Death of Jessica Ripley. Well, I’ve just re-organised some of the chapters this evening, after spending every spare minute over the last two weeks making the corrections suggested by my editor (two whole weeks!). And now it’s out with a special reader to make sure it’s not total shit. Fingers crossed. I won’t settle until it’s back. In the meantime, I should be doing some marketing because I’m skint. But I don’t want to. For the last month or two I’ve had a new story circling inside my head like a buzzard waiting for Ripley to pass away. And I’m mad keen on making a start – itchy fingers.

All this and I have a very full time job and a family.

While I’m at work, I’m thinking about the story, and I’m thinking about writing (see the definition above), and although I still give 100% to the victims I work for, I possibly give a little less to the other office-based aspects of my job.

And my family? We went to the flicks last week to watch How to Train Your Dragon 3. Great film, but I was thinking about my new story through most of it.

That’s why I regret being a writer. If I was normal, i.e. – not a writer, I’d give 100% in the office at work, and I’d have understood why the dragons in the movie left town (sorry if that was a spoiler). If I was normal, I’d be downstairs right now watching Hunter Killer – it’s a DVD that I bought almost three weeks ago. It’s unopened on the shelf along with D-Day, a Steptoe & Son box set, and the three Formula One races I haven’t been able to watch this year.

So, you feeling sorry for me yet?

Don’t. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love writing. Let me say that again – I LOVE WRITING, and all the peripherals too (except marketing, urgh!).

And while I play a full role in this alter-career of mine, you’ll remember that I dipped into becoming an author for a publishing house of note a few years ago. The relationship didn’t last, and I’m back doing it all by myself, and have been since January. In the three months since I returned to the soft bosom of indie-land, I’ve re-uploaded six books not only to Amazon but to Kobo and another distributor; I’ve taken the plunge and had a wonderful narrator (Collen MacMahon) bring The End of Lies to life; I’ve published The Lock, and have all but finished The Death of Jessica Ripley. I have been seriously busy. But I still haven’t got back on the marketing bike yet – it’s why I’m skint.

So although it might look to some as though the publishing house excursion was a disaster, it wasn’t really. You see, I can tick it off; I can shove thoughts of publishers so far to the back of my mind that they’re in danger of falling off the edge. I built my garage and got the council to move the lamp posts. The partnership might have failed, but guess what – that’s fine, because now I know how that chapter in my life turned out instead of wondering, instead of regretting.

Now, onwards and upwards.

Someone recently asked me how I manage to overcome the shite and become a successful author.

Firstly, I don’t know what their definition of successful is, but it’s not me. I’m just an average arsehole, and likely as not will stay that way until I curl my toes up. But it’s not for the lack of trying. Let me be honest with you here; remember that bit in the paragraphs above where I growl about being obsessive about writing when my inner self wants to go downstairs and watch Steptoe & Son, but can’t? Sometimes I wonder why I bother with the struggle. Why don’t I just watch the damned film, enjoy the movie, participate at work? Why must I battle all the time?

There’s probably a good job for a psychoanalyst in me somewhere.

Sometimes I really give serious consideration to packing it all in – because it is a hell of a lot of work, and it’s a hell of a lot of work consistently. It never ends. And it wears me down. And the guilt I feel for foregoing all the other things in life, as well as neglecting the kids, the wife, the lawn, the friendships… constantly, makes me think that I have given it my best shot and I’ve still come up short; that it’s time to bow out gracefully, pull the Facebook plug, and turn off the Amazon light.

I’d be no worse off if I did. In fact, with all the monthly bills this little empire of mine costs to run, I’d probably be better off, and I’d get my life back, and the kids would get a father who was focused on them instead of staring off into the distance thinking about story and character development.

I guess about now you’re waiting for the punchline or the fairy-tale ending, the motivational slap around the face, or the ‘Aha, I got you!’ line. Well, there isn’t one.

I was writing stories long before making money on Amazon was an option – at least 15 years before, actually. I was writing them to become an author for Hodder Headline (or whoever), and when that bit the dust, I was writing them for me. I loved writing (and I still do), and I’d given up on the dream of ever earning money from it. Back then I did it because I enjoyed it, and I was okay-ish at it. That is the mark of a pure writer*. All the Amazon stuff is sparkly bollocks – but don’t get me wrong, I’d still like to make a million or two like some authors have – and if I did, I’d bin the day job and spend even more time neglecting my family (d’oh!).

If I made no money at all, and I’m quite close to that particular target just now, I would still write.

So perhaps those words ‘successful author’ do apply to me after all: I have written books, and I have enjoyed writing them. Maybe this is where my true happiness lies; maybe this is what I was born to do. Yeah… I’ll take that, thank you.

*Though aiming to make money by selling books does not make you an evil person!

Thank you so much, Andrew!

What a brilliantly honest piece this is and I’m certain it will help other authors realise that they aren’t alone when it comes to all those things we have to give up just to find the time to sell one book.

You can find out lots more about Andrew by following his social media accounts: @AndrewBarrettUK

Want to know about his latest book?

The Lock: A CSI Eddie Collins Novella by [Barrett, Andrew]

I’m Eddie Collins, a CSI. This is the story of how I saw a dead man die.

I was finishing up at a sudden death in an old house, waiting for the body snatchers to arrive, when I heard a noise from the cellar.

I had time to kill, so I went to investigate.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one with killing on his mind.

If you like fast-paced crime thrillers with a forensic slant, raw emotions, and characters that reach out of the book and grab you by the throat, you’ll love Andrew Barrett’s CSI Eddie Collins series.

To find out what’s in that cellar, buy The Lock today.

About Andy … 
Andrew Barrett
Do you like your crime thrillers to have a forensic element that adds to the realism? Do you like your lead character to be someone intense and unafraid to take on authority?

Andrew writes precisely that kind of crime thriller, and has done since 1996, about the same time he became a CSI in Yorkshire.

He doesn’t write formulaic fiction; each story is hand-crafted to give you a unique flavour of what CSIs encounter in real life – and as a practising CSI, he should know what it’s like out there. His thrillers live inside the police domain, but predominantly feature CSIs (or SOCOs as they used to known).

Here’s your chance to walk alongside SOCO Roger Conniston and CSI Eddie Collins as they do battle with the criminals that you lock your doors to keep out, fighting those whose crimes make you shudder.

This is as real as it gets without getting your hands bloody.

Find out more about him at where you can sign up for his newsletter and claim your free starter library.

Author Advice, Case Study, Publication, Self-Publishing Author Case Study

#WritingCommunity Author Sarah O’Neill joins me today to share her self-publishing journey @soneillauthor #AmWriting #AmEditing

Thank you so much for joining me, Sarah. Can you introduce yourself and tell us when your journey began?

My name is Sarah O’Neill and my journey began almost ten years ago when I studied Creative Writing in college and it became more than just a hobby, it was something that I wanted to make a career of.

Tell us where you are on your self-publishing journey right now in terms of books published, where you publish, if you’re yet to press the publish button etc.

I currently have one published novel and I’m working on my second which will be ready for editing and publishing later this year. I currently publish primarily online via Amazon and Kobo. I publish paperbacks via Createspace which are available at Barnes & Noble and The Book Depository.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

At the time, it was the best option for me because I had tried other routes and was unsuccessful. I researched self-publishing and found that it suited me more than any other option.

What’s best thing about self-publishing?

The full control that you have over every aspect of your book. You are totally in control of editing, cover design, etc. The book is still 100% yours at the end of the process because you’re responsible for everything.

And the worst?

The responsibility of every aspect. Especially as a new, emerging writer that no one has heard of because you are the sole person responsible for getting your book into as many markets as possible, for promoting your book, and for selling your book. It’s hard work but at least you know that you’ve done everything you possibly can.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known before you published your first book?

I wish that I had researched the market before I published so that I was more prepared. My book was published in December 2017 and I’m still learning how to market, promote, and sell. This is very important information to have before you publish.

If you could change one thing about your self-publishing journey, what would it be and why?

I wish that I was more prepared for every aspect that comes with selling and promoting your indie book. If I could change one thing it would be that I had researched before I hit that publish button.

Do you have any advice for those who might be looking into self-publishing?

Research, research, research. Have all your information ready before you decide i.e. editing services, cover design, selling portals (and the difference in formatting for each one), marketing plan, book reviewers, and budget. You don’t get an advance from a publisher so you need to invest your time and money and be prepared that you may not earn that money back or barely break even.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Believe in yourself. Self-publish if it feels right for you but always make sure that you’re publishing work that has been edited. Readers spend their hard-earned money on your book so you want it to be the best it can possibly be. Most of all, have fun and enjoy the experience.

Some wonderful advice here, Sarah, thank you.

Sarah’s debut, Deadly Obsession, is out now, folks.

Here’s the blurb …

Lilly Mason has always run from her problems, this time, she’s running for her life…
When word of a family bereavement reaches Lilly, she flees an abusive relationship in California and returns to Kansas to face her fears – the family she abandoned and the man she ran away from four years ago.
Donnie O’Malley knows that Lilly is hiding something. She’s terrified, on edge, and she’s got bruises she can’t explain.
Lilly’s new chance at life is threatened when her past refuses to let her go and she and her family are forced to fight for their lives against the enemy that threatens to end them all…

You can get your copy now:

And you can keep up with all Sarah’s news by following her on social media:


Twitter: @soneillwrites

Instagram: @sarahoneill23


Sarah O'Neill

Sarah O’Neill lives in South Wicklow in Ireland with her fiancé and their dogs. She is a college graduate with a B.A in Humanities. An avid bookworm and animal lover, she is happiest with a good book and her beloved dogs. Deadly Obsession, her debut novel, is the first in the new Mason Investigations series.

If you’re a self-published author who’d like to share their journey, please follow this link.


Author Advice, Case Study, Self-Publishing Author Case Study

#IndieAuthor Lee Sherred joins me to share his #selfpublishing journey ~ @LeeSherredAutho #AmEditing #AmWriting #CreatingPerfection

I have Lee Sherred joining me today to share his self-publishing journey!

Hi Lee, could you tell us who are you and when your journey began?

Lee Sherred, I’m a former British soldier and police officer and my writing journey probably only really began at the beginning of 2016 when I was injured on duty (although I’d considered writing on a number of occasions over the years before but, for one reason or another, I never took the next step).

Tell us about where you are on your self-publishing journey right now in terms of books published, where you publish, etc.

I currently have one book published through KDP, Lines of Justice: Azdaja, which was published in June 2017 and it’s the first in a series of dark thrillers I’m working on. It’s also available in paperback through Amazon, something I delayed doing for quite some time. I’m currently working on the next in the series which, I hope, will be in some semblance of order in time to publish in the next few months (I’m still undecided on a cover or title at present).

Why did you choose to self-publish?

Simply because I had no idea of how the industry worked (I’m still finding my feet now). I went into this, more or less, totally blind. I’m certainly not an academic and I have zero writing pedigree or experience. I chose to self-publish because it seemed to be the most easily reached, obtainable rung on the writing ladder for me at the time.

What’s the best thing about self-publishing?

Probably not having to meet strict deadlines. I still work a full-time job at the same time as writing so real life often throws a spanner in the works for me. Committing to the strict deadlines required by a traditional publisher isn’t achievable … at the moment.

And the worst?

Erm … also, not having deadlines to meet. I find that I can get easily distracted and fall into the “put it off until tomorrow” frame of mind because there’s no one badgering me for the finished product. That and marketing I guess.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known before you published your first book?

That actually writing the book is the easy part, getting people to want to read it is much harder! Had I known that at the time, I would’ve probably started marketing myself and my first book long before it was ready to be published. I had zero online presence as a writer until I was finished, which in my opinion now was too late.

If you could change one thing about your self-publishing journey, what would it be and why?

I wish I’d joined some of the Facebook groups earlier. The whole process has been a steep learning curve for me, especially after publishing in June last year. A lot of that could’ve been researched and learnt before publishing.

Do you have any advice for those who might be looking in to self-publishing?

Only as above really, join some of the writing groups early because there’s a wealth of useful knowledge and information in them and, if not, then there’s always someone to ask if you have a problem or query.

Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us all, Lee! You can keep up with Lee’s news by following his social media accounts: Lines of Justice: Aždaja

Lee’s debut is out now, here’s the blurb … 

Lines of Justice: Aždaja by [Sherred, Lee]

Bound by honour. Driven by revenge. Two men with a score to settle.

Kosovo, 1999:
Sgt Dean Samson and his team of British soldiers are well aware of the dangers they’ll face and the things they’ll see in a country that has suffered years of oppression and ethnic cleansing. But nothing could have prepared them for Aždaja, a sadistic, mythical, serial killer with a penchant for vile humiliation and unimaginable torture.

Present day:
Since leaving the Army, Samson now a Police Officer, has struggled to erase his darkest memories of Kosovo. When he receives a devastating medical diagnosis, his nightmares come flooding to the surface, forcing him to face up to what he did….and what he didn’t do. With nothing to lose and no one to stop him, he’s at a crossroads. But is he prepared for what lies in wait? Will the horrors of Kosovo return with a vengeance?

You can get your copy over at Amazon now:

If you’re an indie author and you’d like to share your journey, click here.

About Lee … 

Lee Sherred

Author Lee Sherred has led a full life that, in many ways, rivals those of the heroes and anti-heroes he creates. A skilled martial artist, fighter, British Soldier and Police Officer, Lee has amassed a wealth of knowledge in many areas.

A lifelong reader, Lee knew long ago that he’d one day pen his own novels. After a long career serving his country, a significant injury left him with unexpected and unwanted downtime. For the first time in his life he finally found the motivation to put pen to paper, turning his firsthand experiences into absorbingly dark and humorous stories that readers will love.

When not writing, Lee can be found at his home on the South Coast of England, enjoying family time with his wife, kids and a trio of unruly family pets.


Author Advice, Case Study, Self-Publishing Author Case Study

Isabella Muir joins me to share her #selfpublishing journey ~@SussexMysteries #Sussex #CrimeMysteries #indieauthor #selfpub #amwriting #amediting #CreatingPerfection

It’s been a while since I last featured a self published author case study so I’m delighted to have Isabella Muir share her journey with me today.

Thanks for joining me, Isabella, could you introduce yourself and tell us when your journey began?

I am Isabella Muir and my writing journey began in earnest about four years ago when I completed my MA in Professional Writing

Tell us about where you are on your self-publishing journey right now in terms of books published, where you publish, etc.

Towards the end of last year, I published two novels and I have just completed the first draft of the third in the same series. My novels are in the crime/mystery genre, set in the last 1960s in Sussex.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

I love the independence it gives you.

What’s the best thing about self-publishing?

As an indie author I get to determine my own timescale for publication, my cover design, title and author name and price. I can also decide which routes I take to market – e.g., eBook, print, audio, etc

And the worst?

The hardest part for me is the marketing! I love to write but am not very good at telling everyone about my books, which means there are bound to be readers out there who would like my books, but who don’t know about them.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known before you published your first book?

This is a tricky one to answer! I see my writing journey as an apprenticeship. I think that with each novel I write I am honing my style.

If you could change one thing about your self-publishing journey, what would it be and why?

I’ve loved it all so far, so I don’t think there is much I would change, except maybe to have free access to some excellent marketing guru!

Do you have any advice for those who might be looking in to self-publishing?

Create a support network. This might be one or two close writing buddies, or a larger group of writers. It’s great to have at least one person to share with as writing can be an isolating pursuit. And keep reading! That might be novels in the same genre, or other genres. Also, there is a mass of great advice on the internet for the indie author – writing tips, blog posts, podcasts – reading about other people’s experiences will help you avoid some of the pitfalls early on.

You can keep up with Isabel’s news by following her social media accounts:

My website is at:

My Amazon author profile is at:

I am also on Facebook:

And on Twitter at: @SussexMysteries

The Tapestry Bag is the first in her new #SussexCrimeMysteries series featuring mobile librarian, Janie Juke … Here’s the blurb …

The Tapestry Bag: A Sussex crime, full of twists and turns (A Janie Juke mystery Book 1) by [Muir, Isabella]

A young woman, Zara, goes missing, one year to the day that her boyfriend, Joel, was killed in a hit and run. Is Zara in danger? Is she still alive? What really happened to Joel and who is to blame?

In the quiet seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, the police appear to be doing little to find Zara. Her friend Janie decides to make it her mission to track her down. It’s the ‘swinging sixties’ and Janie fears that Zara may be mixed up with drugs, alcohol, or worse. As Janie explores the strange circumstances of Zara’s disappearance, she starts to question the truth about Joel’s death.

Janie runs the mobile library and has a passion for crime fiction, especially Agatha Christie. Can Poirot help Janie solve the mystery of Zara’s disappearance?

As she looks for clues she comes across some unsavoury characters who each have a reason for wanting Joel dead. Can Janie untangle the web of lies and find out the truth?

I LOVE the sound of this one! If you do too, pop over to Amazon and grab your copy, it’s ONLY 99p!!!

Thanks so much for sharing your journey with me today, Isabella, I wish you all the success in the future and I’ll be keeping my eye on this series!

If you’re an indie-author and you’d like to share your journey, click here!

About Isabella … 

Isabella Muir

Isabella Muir is the author of Janie Juke series of crime mysteries – all set in Sussex. ‘The Tapestry Bag’ is the first in the series, followed by ‘Lost Property’. Now – ‘The Invisible Case’ – the latest in the series is available for pre-order from Amazon. The ‘Janie Juke mysteries’ are set in Sussex in the sixties and seventies and feature a young librarian with a passion for Agatha Christie. All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries. Isabella has also published ‘Ivory Vellum’ – a collection of short stories. She has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working for twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional Writing – she was inspired to focus on fiction writing. Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in Sussex. They are ably assisted by their much-loved Scottie, Hamish.

Author Advice, Case Study, Editing Assistance, Self-Publishing Author Case Study

#IndieAuthor Trevor Lince joins me to share his #SelfPublishing Journey @Room119tflince #CaseStudy #IndiePub #AmWriting #AmEditing #Writing

I’m shining the spotlight on indie author Trevor Lince today.

Who are you and when did your journey begin?

I’m Trevor Lince and believe it or not I have only ever read eleven books in my life. About three years ago I had a series of dreams and after banging on about them over dinner to anyone who would listen, in Jan 2017, I decided to write a novel.

Tell us about where you are on your self-publishing journey right now in terms of books published, where you publish, etc.

Published Room 119 in December 2017. The Funicular is almost done should be out by June.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

Did I have another choice? To be honest, I have a good job so a spare time thing really which appears to have taken over my life.

What’s the best thing about self-publishing?

Freedom and making your own calls.

And the worst?

The constant self-promotion on social media to even get one sale.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known before you published your first book?

Great question, I would have done lots different not the book, but I would have been a lot more active before the launch and had a bigger social media presence takes ages, growing now though.

If you could change one thing about your self-publishing journey, what would it be and why?

Nothing really, better description and subtitle to use keywords to target amazon searches I suppose.

Do you have any advice for those who might be looking in to self-publishing?

Maybe a bit about getting reviews, look after your bloggers and get on fab sites. And interact, people like you to join in their stuff too. It’s not all about you.

Nothing more, really. I quite enjoyed it … I am an IT geek though.

You can keep up with Trevor’s news by following his social media accounts:

Twitter @room119tflince

Huge thanks for joining me, Trevor! Best of luck with the rest of your journey.

If you’re an indie author and you’d like to share your journey, follow this link.

Trevor’s debut novel, Room 119 is out now, here’s the blurb …

Room 119: The Whitby Trader: A Gripping Mystery Thriller by [Lince, T F]

High-flying trader Dean Harrison has it all – the London penthouse apartment; the fast car; the beautiful wife. But when the threads of Dean’s life start to unravel, they do so with alarming speed.

Following the advice of a frail stranger, Dean sets off for Welnetham Hall Hotel and is plunged into the mysterious world of Room 119 – a world where nothing makes sense. How does everyone in the hotel know his name? Why does he travel there on a train line that shut down over fifty years ago? And who is the sinister man in black who pursues him wherever he goes?

As he gradually pieces together the puzzle of Welnetham Hall, Dean is forced to re-evaluate his life and realises that nothing is more important to him than his wife and daughter. Desperate to get back to them, he vows he would lay down his life for the people he loves.

It’s a promise he may have to keep.

About the author …

Trev Lince originates from Marske-by-the-Sea on the north-east coast of England, but now lives in Darlington with his wife, Claire. Their daughter, Annie, is a very good guitarist and is setting up a band, playing every pub in the north-east that she can. She’s so rock and roll, living the dream while her father is approaching his mid-life crisis. A keen golfer and frustrated Middlesbrough FC fan, Trev gets to as many matches as work and leisure time allow. He writes in what little spare time he has, when not working as an IT Consultant for a major oil company in Surrey. Room 119 – The Whitby Trader is Trev’s first book and he really enjoyed the experience of writing it. Who knows? He may have a few more stories bursting to get out of his head. He would like to thank you for reading his debut novel.

Author Advice, Case Study, Editing Assistance, Self-Publishing Author Case Study

#IndieAuthor David McCaffrey shares his #selfpublishing journey today #amwriting #amediting #selfpublishing #indiepub

Who are you and when did your journey begin?

My name is Ben Affleck … sorry, David McCaffrey. My journey began in my mother’s uterus and propelled me towards a writing career that started officially in 2014 (I pretended to start it in 185, 87, 204, 2012…)

Tell us about where you are on your self-publishing journey right now in terms of books published, where you publish, etc.

My debut novel was picked up by the crowdfunding publishing house, Britain’s Next Bestseller. They thought it was about 2/3 grams so decided to take a chance on me (cue the Abba music). After Hellbound was published to little/ no acclaim, I decided to try a different approach to my next book and went with indie publishing house 6e Creative. I then self-published on KDP the e book of the same novel.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

You have a great deal more control over your work that with traditional publishing… unless you buy the publishing house. Which we did.

What’s the best thing about self-publishing?

You have a great deal more control over your work that with traditional publishing… unless you buy the publishing house. Which we did.

And the worst?

Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I think I should go and eat worms. No, seriously, it takes a lot of learning and effort to market your own book. I would always advice other authors new to writing not to jump in; learn what is required and build up your brand slowly.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known before you published your first book?

Marketing strategies and promotion!

If you could change one thing about your self-publishing journey, what would it be and why?

I honestly don’t think I would change anything. It has all been an amazing experience.

Do you have any advice for those who might be looking in to self-publishing?

Learn your craft, research about marketing using social media. You don’t have to spend a lot, but it needs to be tailored to your audience. And listen and learn from bloggers, they know all and are extremely wise!!!

You can keep up with David’s news by following his social media accounts:

Twitter – daveymac1975

Website –

Thank you so much for joining me, David!

If you’re an indie-author who’d like to share their journey, please click here.

Hellbound, David’s debut novel, is available now, here’s the blurb …

His crimes – unforgivable. His death – inevitable. His suffering – just beginning. Obadiah Stark aka The Tally Man, is executed at ADX Absolom, his death sentence watched by the world’s media, victim relatives and one investigative reporter, Joe O Connell. Penning an account of Stark’s personal history and subsequent crimes in the hope of determining what elements make the sociopathic mind tick, Joe discovers clues and inconsistencies which cause him to investigate Stark’s execution. While this is happening in the real world, Obadiah Stark awakens to an afterlife where he has a wife and daughter bound to his childhood hometown. Following his natural predatory instinct, Obadiah proceeds to torment the town, committing multiple murders before being gunned down by the police. He awakens to find that everything has reset, with no one recalling his murderous spree a reality which offers no escape. As the scenes repeat, he is forced to submit to emotions he has never experienced before … and with it, a poisonous dose of morality.

About the author …

David lives in Redcar in the North East of England and works as an Infection Prevention and Control nurse in a local Acute trust. He has a Kelly, a Jake and a Liam.
A huge fan of Steve Alten, John Grisham and Lee Childs, David loves reading as much as he enjoys writing. Hellbound was his first novel, all thanks to Britain’s Next Bestseller and the aforementioned Steve Alten who took a chance on him as a writing coach client and taught him so much about what it takes to be a writer.
Hellbound was voted by W H Smith readers as one of 2014’s most underrated crime novels.
His second book, the novella prequel to Hellbound titled ‘In Extremis’ is currently available on and on both Kindle and paperback and is a Semi finalist in the Kindle Book Awards 2016. ‘In Extremis’ is also available as an audio book on Audible, Amazon and ITunes; Hellbound is due out as an audio book before the end of the year.
He is currently working on Nameless, the next book in the Hellbound Anthology which is due for release before the end of the year.
His project with Stephen Sayers, “By Any Means Necessary” is due out 15th November 2016. 
A self professed geek, David loves Doctor Who, Arrow, Supernatural, Batman, Superman, D.C Comics, Person of Interest, Continuum, Gotham, Star Wars, The Flash, The Walking Dead, The Blacklist…beginning to see a pattern here?
He also knows he only exists as an author because of you, so thank you very much.
Join David and learn more about Hellbound and upcoming projects at:
Facebook –
Twitter – @daveymac1975
Blog –

Author Advice, Case Study, Editing Assistance, Self-Publishing Author Case Study

#IndieAuthor @ChristinaEPilz ‏shares her #selfpublishing journey #amwriting #amediting #writer #author #indiepub

I am delighted to welcome indie author, Christina E Pilz to the blog today.

Who are you and when did your journey begin?

Christina E. Pilz; my journey began when my 4th grade teacher liked a story I handed in for a class assignment.

Tell us about where you are on your self-publishing journey right now in terms of books published, where you publish, etc.

I’ve been writing forever, but decided to take it seriously in 2014, when I put up a website, and finished writing my first book, hired an editor and cover designer and started doing all of the work that goes into self-publishing.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

Because traditional publishing had such high gates to scale, and as an unknown, there was no chance of my getting into the Big Five, no way, no how. I knew I wasn’t a bad writer, that people liked my stories, so I wanted to get them out there. Self-publishing had come into its own by then, and so since the gates in that direction were wide open, with readers being the gatekeepers, I decided to try it.

What’s the best thing about self-publishing?

That I control all the aspects of my book, from the kind of story I’m telling, to the way it’s edited, to the timeline of publishing, and the care of my readers. Plus, the indie author community is amazing and welcoming; I’ve learned so much just by talking to other authors, and along the way, I’ve done my best to pay it forward.

And the worst?

Being in charge of and responsible for the whole thing! It’s a lot of work, but I like learning new things and watching my backlist grow.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known before you published your first book?

To write more, to put more books out is key; keep writing all the time, even when I don’t feel like it.

If you could change one thing about your self-publishing journey, what would it be and why?

To have reached out sooner to other indie authors; I kind of thought I was the only one, for some reason, who was just starting out. People start out on this journey every day.

Do you have any advice for those who might be looking in to self-publishing?

Just start writing, if that’s your dream, and don’t ever let anybody tell you it’s impossible or a foolish waste of time. It’s your time, and you get to decide how to spend it.

Anything else you’d like to share?

The world keeps changing; the only thing I can control is what I’m doing amidst that change. Writing is the most fun for me, so I’m committed to doing that every day. Readers are the heart of what I do; if they like what I write, that’s my reward.

Thank you for joining me and sharing your journey, Christina! If you’re an indie author and you’d like to share your journey, please click here.

You can keep up with all Christina’s news by following her social media accounts:

Christina’s debut novel, Fagin’s Boy, is available now, here’s the blurb …

Fagin's Boy: The Further Particulars of a Parish Boy's Progress (Oliver & Jack Book 1) by [Pilz, Christina E.]

In 1846 London, respectable young men do not fall for street thieves. This is the love story of Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger.

Oliver Twist has one desire: to own a bookshop and live a simple, middle-class life as far as possible from his workhouse-shadowed past. One thing stands in his way: Jack Dawkins–The Artful Dodger–who’s just returned to London and is seeking Fagin’s old gang.

Jack’s visits cause Oliver nothing but trouble, but he finds himself drawn, time and again, to their shared past, Jack’s unguarded honesty, and those bright, green eyes.

Oliver craves respectability, and doesn’t think he will find it with a forbidden love. Can Jack convince Oliver that having one doesn’t mean losing the other?

Fagin’s Boy is the first book in Christina E. Pilz’s Oliver & Jack series, a gay historical romance. If you like Dickensian tragedy, suspense, crime, poverty, and hope, as well as a slow-burn forbidden romance, then you’ll love Fagin’s Boy: The Further Particulars of a Parish Boy’s Progress.

About the author …

Christina E. Pilz was born in Waco, Texas, and grew up in Boulder, Colorado. Her love for historical fiction began when she read Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She has an M.A. in Linguistics, and an M.S. in Technical Communications. She loves coffee shops, mountain sunsets, prairie storms, the smell of lavender, and is a staunch supporter of the Oxford comma. Passionate about what she writes, her stories will transport you.

Author Advice, Case Study, Self-Publishing Author Case Study

#IndieAuthor Julie Stock @wood_beez48 shares her #selfpublishing journey #indiepub #amwriting #writing #amediting

Today I’m joined by indie author, Julie Stock who is sharing her self-publishing journey.

Tell us about where you are on your self-publishing journey right now in terms of books published, where you publish, etc.

I have self-published two novels so far, and I plan to self-publish two novellas and hopefully, another novel next year. I self-published my first novel in February 2015.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

I started writing in my late forties and wanted to publish my first book before I turned 50 – I didn’t want to hang about waiting for agents and/or publishers!

What’s the best thing about self-publishing?

Being in control of everything.

And the worst?

Ditto! There’s so much to do that sometimes, it feels like you’re never doing anything really well.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known before you published your first book?

I wish I’d known about writing a prequel novella to help me build my email list with a perma free book. Before publishing my first book, I couldn’t even see that far ahead!

If you could change one thing about your self-publishing journey, what would it be and why?

I wouldn’t have wasted a whole year submitting my second book to agents and publishers.

Do you have any advice for those who might be looking in to self-publishing?

Believe you can do it, and you will! It really is possible for anyone to master self-publishing and to make a decent income from it if they write good books.

Anything else you’d like to share?

If you write a little every day, you will end up with a book, but you have to commit to doing that first. Then, if you publish and start making money from your sales, it becomes a business not a hobby, which is so important for your mindset and for your confidence.

Thanks for allowing me to take part!

You can keep up with all Julie’s news by following her social media accounts:

Julie’s first book, From Here to Nashville is available now, here’s the blurb …

From Here to Nashville (Rachel's Story) (From Here to You Book 1) by [Stock, Julie]

Can Music Really Bring People Together?

Rachel Hardy dreams of being a successful country music singer in Nashville’s Music City, four thousand miles away from her lonely life in Dorset.

When Jackson Phillips, an independent record label owner, encourages her band to audition for a nationwide ‘Open Mic’ competition, she decides they have nothing to lose.

But when she starts to fall in love with Jackson, the stakes suddenly get higher and she finds herself with a great big dilemma on her hands. Should she abandon her dream and take the easy way out or should she leave the life she has always known behind and take a gamble on a man who has personal demons of his own?

Follow Rachel and Jackson as they learn to trust in love again and to see whether music really can bring them together.

About the author …

Julie Stock is an author of contemporary romance novels, novellas and short stories. She’s also a proud member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. She blogs about her path to publication on her website, ‘My Writing Life’ You can also connect with her on Twitter, Goodreads and via her Facebook Author Page. If you would like to be the first to hear about her new releases and other news, you can also sign up to receive her occasional newsletters via her website. When she is not writing, she works part-time for a charity. She is married with two teenage daughters and lives with her family in Bedfordshire in the UK.