Indie Author Of The Month – Richard Dee

It’s been a while since we highlighted a fellow indie author on the blog, but that’s more to do with how little time I have for reading at the moment, then the quality of indie authors I’m coming across! Please welcome sci-fi/fantasy author Richard Dee to The Glorious Outsiders today. Richard has just launched a brand new novel, We Are Saul, which I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing recently. Here, Richard tells us about the inspiration for the book, the research needed to write it, his writing process plus his tips for aspiring indie authors! You can find links to Richard’s social media pages and books at the end of the interview. Here is the blurb for We Are Saul, followed by the interview.

When Saul is paralysed in an accident, he thinks it’s the end of his life. In fact, it’s just the beginning. While trying to come to terms with his injuries, the mysterious Dr Tendral offers him a way to make a difference. All he has to do is join his project. There are no other details until he agrees, he’s either in or out. What choice does he have? Agreeing is just the beginning. Saul undergoes drastic surgery, only then is the full depth of the project revealed. Or is it? As time goes on and he learns more about Tendral’s scheme, Saul’s new life becomes increasingly difficult. In the end, he has to abandon everything as he learns the truth. All second chances come with a price.

  1. Congratulations on the release of We Are Saul – tell us a bit about the book!

We Are Saul is my eighteenth novel and a stand-alone story. Although it may get a sequel one day, a lot of my series have started with the intention of being stand-alone stories, so never say never. Basically, it explores the life of a man (Saul) who is given a second chance, after things go horribly wrong. Circumstances force him to face and relive his past mistakes and he learns that second chances come with a price.

  1. Where did the idea for We Are Saul come from? What inspired it?

The idea grew from research that I did when writing the sequel to my earlier novel, Life and Other Dreams. I’ve been trying to write that particular sequel since 2017, every time I think I’m getting close to completing it, I get side-tracked by some part of the science that I’m researching or a part of the plot. Before I know it, a new story suggests itself. We Are Saul is the third (or fourth) such side project.

  1. Did you have to do much research to write this book and if so, what did you research and how?

I had to research nanotechnology, robotics, wireless communications, advances in liquid batteries and a lot more besides. I also needed to look at medical ethics and emotional responses to certain situations in quite a bit of detail. Some of it was only for a short paragraph in the book but it all needed to sound right.

  1. What are you working on right now? Tell us about any upcoming releases

I have about ten, part-finished novels, one or two of which I’m hoping to get finished this year. Most of them continue series, which I get most of my ideas for. I also have a new stand-alone project, a psychological thriller, that’s earmarked for NaNoWriMo 2022.

  1. What are your preferred genres to write in and why?

I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as an amateur detective series set in space. I’ve also dabbled in High Fantasy and psychological thrillers and have written a textbook. They are the sort of thing that I always loved to read.   Most of my work crosses or blends genres, which can make them hard to place in marketing.  

  1. What about reading? Which genres do you prefer and why?

I’ll read just about anything, although, as I said, I do prefer the sort of thing that I like to write. Never to pinch ideas but to get a feeling for where others are taking the genre. Often, it’s more a case of what someone hasn’t written. That’s the thing that will plant the seed that leads to my next idea.

  1. Name your top 3 favourite books of all time

My first choice is a bit of a cheat, The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov (I know it’s more than one book but it all fits together as one story). Next is The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke. Lastly, The Hobbit. From a single line, Tolkien created a world. It shows what can be done.

  1. What is your writing process? How does an idea become a book?

I get an idea and see a film of the story in my head. I just write down what happens. I can slow the action or pause it for a better look, I can even rewind it but I can never fast-forward. This means that I see the end at the same time as the reader does. It’s usually as much a surprise to me as it will be (I hope) to them.

  1. What are the best things about being an indie author?

I have complete freedom of expression, no deadlines to stress over and more importantly, nobody telling me to change anything. I can employ my own editors (and ignore them if I want to), design my own covers, set prices, control distribution and special offers. I have a network of beta readers who give me honest opinions about new projects.

  1. What are the worst things about being an indie author?

Marketing is the thing that gives me the most grief, although I hear that’s a familiar refrain from the trad side of the publishing world as well. I think the worst thing about the Indie scene is the assumption (from some parts) that, as Indies, we’re somehow not proper authors or that our work is not very good, because we don’t have the endorsement of agents and publishing contracts. I submitted my early novels to agents but never got much feedback, now I rely on the reaction of my readers to validate my efforts, which I think is a much more accurate indicator of my ability.

  1. Who is your favourite character from one of your own books and why?

My overall favourite is my amateur detective, Andorra Pett. Purely because she is an amalgamation of the traits and personalities of my wife and my three daughters. It makes her fun to write, as her adventures bring back memories of the life events that inspired them.

  1. What comes first for you, the characters or the plot?

As I said, I get the whole package in one, so I don’t have to agonise about setting the scene, building a world or even working out a plot. It’s all done for me. All I do is watch what happens and copy it down.

  1. What advice would you give to anyone considering the indie route?

First, don’t be afraid. There are so many generous people in the Indie community. They have helped me by sharing their knowledge and experience as I’ve progressed on my journey. You don’t need to spend much to get started, just about everything you need to produce words and pictures has a free version. The one thing you do need to spend money on is a good editor, remember that everything you produce will be scrutinised and must be of a professional standard. The most important thing is to be patient and not to get discouraged.

Thank you so much to Richard for joining us here to talk about We Are Saul. Here are the relevant links!

Purchase: http://mybook.to/We_are_Saul

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60304988-we-are-saul

About Richard Dee

I’m Richard Dee and I’m from Brixham in Devon.

I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as chronicling the exploits of Andorra Pett, a reluctant amateur detective.

I spent forty years in shipping, firstly at sea, then in Port Control and as a Thames River Pilot, with adventures to match anything you could imagine. When I retired, I just moved them out into space, changed some of the names and wrote them down.

When I’m not writing, I bake bread and biscuits, cook delicious meals and walk the Devon coast.

My first novel, Freefall, was published in 2013, my eighteenth, We Are Saul, will be published in June 2022

I also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection of alternative history stories. I’m currently working on more prequels, sequels, and a few new projects.

I’m an active member of Exeter Authors Association, attending events and giving talks on World-building for speculative fiction. You can keep up with me at https://richarddeescifi.co.uk/ where you’ll find free short stories, regular features on writing, book reviews and guest appearances from other great authors.

There’s also an offer for a FREE novella, when you join my subscriber’s newsletter. I can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RichardDeeAuthor

Richard can be contacted at: mailto:richarddeescifi@gmail.com

Guest Post: Anthony Morgan Clark

Hello lovely followers, it’s time for another guest post! This month please let me introduce you to British indie horror and sci-fi writer Anthony Morgan Clark. Anthony  has just recently released a spine chilling short story collection The Soul Bazaar, (cover designed, incidentally by the wonderful Justine at Jakeart1 who has also designed some of mine!) and he is also the author of the epic The Complete Tor. Here he talks about why he chose the indie path and why it’s what works best for him at the moment…

 

“So when are you getting a book deal, then?”

Many people to whom I’ve spoken about my writing assume that writers fall into two categories: the ‘serious’ writer who spends months or years slaving over the perfect manuscript to use as a tool to pursue a publishing contract; or the hobbyist who writes occasionally, is more interested in self-expression than success, who publishes their work on their website or Facebook page and throws out a Kindle book every so often because, well, what else do you do with all that writing – and who knows, it might even make a few quid. The digital equivalent of vanity press authors.

Of course, the advent of the e-reader and print-on-demand services has thrown this reality (if not the perception) into disarray. Self-publishers now exist in a mixed-up spectrum rather a single category, ranging from the aforementioned hobbyists to the top-level pros who essentially constitute small presses themselves through their outsourcing of editors, proofers, cover designers, formatters and advertisers.

Me, I sit somewhere in the middle of that. I’ve learned to proof and edit my own work, though am happy to take feedback from beta readers. I possess none of the artistic skill needed to create the visuals on my book covers, but do assemble them myself using paint.net (a free Photoshop equivalent) or Canva. I have a very limited marketing budget at present, but use my writing and copywriting knowledge to draw attention to my books. I am far from being a hobbyist. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but my goal is for my writing to be my main source of income. But does that mean I would welcome a publishing contract? After all, I have four titles already published. All of my published work has received strong reviews. I’ve two further horror novels outlined and am working on a third. As a horror author, I have an existing market a well-funded and well-connected marketing department could tap into.

So, given that my existing releases have not garnered the sales I’d like, it would make sense chase a contract with my upcoming manuscript, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Aside from the hurdles involved, from finding an agent to the insistence of some agents and publishers that a script is ‘professionally’ edited (whatever the hell that means), to the unbearable turnaround times, there’s also the amount of control I’d need to give up.

More often than not I’m a horror author. Any publisher would market me as such. Given the content of The Tor and The Soul Bazaar, that would be sensible. Even more so, if they asked to see my unpublished outlines for Swarm or my current untitled WIP, a supernatural horror. The problem is, I’m not just a horror author. Reformed may have horror elements, but it is mostly a sci-fi. The same is true of The Graveyard, another plotted WIP (that will be having its title changed!). I also have enough short stories for another collection, covering a range of styles from sci-fi to comedy to social commentary to literary/speculative fiction. The entire publication will be a tangential sequel-of-sorts to the final short story in The Soul Bazaar.

How many publishers would be comfortable marketing a collection of shorts, none of which crossover but are still collectively a sequel to a short story which is itself an offshoot of a trilogy of novellas? Or would be happy to spend time and money promoting non-genre (or different genre) works by someone they’ve pegged as a horror author? Even those that would are likely to insist on a pen name. Which I won’t do. Because all my works are interlinked. For example, several characters from The Tor appear in other short stories in The Soul Bazaar, including Symeon. Symeon is an archivist and a collector of stories, and it is this idea which binds together all the stories in my as-yet-unpublished collection. The Krahe family from The Tor appear in Tremere, a novel existing only in a notebook on my shelf. The Rutenger Corporation own the technology driving the majority of Reformed, but also run the vivisection clinic from Swarm, the deep-space tech of Graveyard, and the AI tech in some of the stories from that future collection. In addition, there’s ‘5304’, a code that crops up more than once in Reformed, The Soul Bazaar, The Tor, Swarm, and a number of other short stories. I can’t even begin to tell you what that’s about… Then there’s the length of the product.

I enjoy working quickly, and after the four hundred pages or so of The Tor I’m looking forward to working through all those ideas and outlines I constructed whilst editing The Tor. A few of them (Swarm, Graveyard) I expect will run to the length of shorter novels such as Herbert’s The Dark, or King’s Salem’s Lot. Other ideas, such as my story about a female serial killer, or the sequel to Reformed, I’d expect to become novellas. How many publishing houses market books of that length anymore?

As an author, I want to push and test my writing abilities. I want to experiment with different genres, styles, and techniques. If I fall on my face doing so, then so be it. I want to choose what I write, how much I write, when I release it. I want to choose how long I spend promoting my release before moving on to the next project. I want to choose who does the art for my covers. I don’t want to be a manufacturer, penned in to my own little niche, making product after product for the marketing department. So I choose to self-publish. Ultimately publishers are gatekeepers. And who needs gatekeepers now there are no gates? I may have started out as an indie by default, but I think I’ll choose to remain one for a long while yet.

Thanks Anthony! You can find out more about Anthony and his books by following him on Twitter  and Facebook

Over to you! Writers, have you chosen the indie or the traditional path, and what has led you to this decision? Perhaps you have tried both? What do you think are the pro’s and cons of each publishing path?

Don’t forget I am always looking out for new guest posts on my blog! If you have something to say that is related to writing or your writing journey, then please get in touch. Alternatively, if you have something to say which relates to my theme of glorious outsiders, then let me know! I am happy to consider blog posts, poems, short stories, novel extracts and more!