I love hearing different stories about someone’s journey into self-publishing. I met Marie Landry through the WLC Website. And it’s always nice to meet another diehard U2 fan!
Marie Landry has always been a daydreamer. She has created imaginary worlds for as long as she can remember, so it only seemed natural that she would become a writer. With a passion for words that started in early childhood, Marie has written a varied range of works, and has been freelance writing since 2009. She resides in Ontario, Canada, and most days you can find her writing, reading, blogging about writing and reading, listening to U2, or having grand adventures with her two precious nephews.
1. Tell me about your book.
Blue Sky Days is a contemporary young adult romance and coming-of-age story. It’s about Emma Ward, who’s spent her entire life trying to live up to her mother’s impossibly high standards, and has never lived for herself. At nineteen, feeling lost and unsure of her future, Emma decides to leave home to live with her Aunt Daisy, an eccentric, free-spirited artist, who Emma hopes will be able to teach her how to lighten up and really live. Between Daisy and Nicholas Shaw, Emma’s new love interest, Emma’s life changes completely. She learns how to enjoy life, and discovers for the first time what it feels like to belong somewhere, and to love and be loved. When Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer, Emma’s whole life changes again and she has to use her new-found strength, courage, and knowledge about life and love to help Nicholas through.
2. Who was your favorite character to write?
I had a lot of fun writing all the characters, but I think the most fun were probably Daisy and Nicholas, because they’re both slightly eccentric, and they completely took over so that I never knew what they were going to do or say next. They both had such a positive outlook on life, and saw the world the way most people don’t. I had to try to see things the way they would, and that was interesting.
3. Describe your writing career in five words or less.
A crazy roller coaster ride.
4. What made you decide to self publish?
There were a lot of factors. It wasn’t an easy decision, nor was it one I took lightly. I spent weeks researching and trying to figure out whether it was the right path for me. Ultimately, I liked the idea of taking my own future into my own hands and running with it. Writing is my passion, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, and I want my stories to be read. I knew that if I really wanted to be traditionally published it would happen someday, but I wasn’t interested in ‘someday’, I was interested in the present. I knew it could take years to find an agent and a publisher, and then for that publisher to actually get my book onto bookshelves, and in the meantime, the only people reading my book would be editors. I just wanted my stories out there so people could (hopefully) enjoy them.
5. How many hours a day do you devote to marketing?
At least an hour every day, but sometimes it feels like I spend the entire day doing nothing but marketing. Between Facebook, Twitter, my blogs, and different groups, I can easily spend the majority of the day working on marketing and promotion.
6. What is your favorite aspect of being a self published/indie author?
The freedom. I get to make all my own decisions, from editing to formatting to cover design to book trailers to price and promotion. I had several beta readers, proofreaders, and an editor for Blue Sky Days, but in the end, the decisions were up to me. If I wanted to cut something, or not cut something, it was my decision. If I wanted my cover to look a certain way, I was in charge of that. There’s a whole world of possibilities in indie publishing and you’re basically the boss.
7. What is your least favorite aspect of being a self published/indie author?
My least favorite aspect is like the flip side of the same coin. The freedom and independence are great, but everything is up to me. I couldn’t afford to hire a bunch of people to help with design and promotion, so it was – and is – all up to me. I enjoy it for the most part, but there are days when I wish I had someone else to do it all for me so I could concentrate on writing.
8. As an indie author, how do you find readers?
I started out as a book blogger, so I made a lot of connections in the book blogging world. When I finished Blue Sky Days and was looking for early reviewers, I started contacting the bloggers I knew, and asking if they’d be interested in reviewing the book. I talked about it on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter, and actually had people approach me asking for ARCs, which was great, because it saved me a lot of time. Other than that, I just blog surf, check people’s review policies, and email them if I think my book would be something they might enjoy.
9. What advice would you give to writers aspiring to go indie?
Put out a book that is the absolute best quality possible. There’s still a stigma attached to indie authors because of the people who write books, don’t edit them, and then publish them immediately. The appeal of instant gratification makes people impatient and careless, so they put out bad writing that then gives all indie authors a bad name. Go through the process of writing, rewriting, revising, and editing (and editing and editing again) – don’t skip any of those steps, because they’re all vital to a finished product that’s polished and looks professional.
Also, find support – I’ve found the indie community to be incredibly helpful and supportive. I feel like I asked other indie authors dozens of seemingly stupid questions, but they were always patient and kind, because we’re all in the same boat. One other piece of advice: do your research – read articles, read blogs, follow other indie authors on Twitter. Don’t go into it blindly because it seems like a good idea.
10. How do you come up with deadlines?
I set daily and weekly goals to write a certain amount each day or by the end of the week. I’m sort of fanatical about the goals I set, so I tend to get things done that way. As someone who’s self-employed, it would be really easy to let deadlines slip past because there are (usually) no huge repercussions, but it would be a dangerous habit to get into, and I’ve seen too many other people do it and then wonder why they never succeed.
11. What non-writing activities do you enjoy?
I’m an avid reader. Usually if I’m not writing, I’m reading. Other than that, I love music and movies, I’m a reality TV junkie (mostly wedding shows and home reno shows, which is strange since neither apply to my current life), and I’m an amateur photographer. I also knit scarves for charity – something my Grama got me into a year or so ago.
12. Where can we find you?
I’m everywhere! You can find me on Facebook at my main page Marie Landry, Writer, or my book page Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry. I also have a book blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer, and an author blog, Marie Landry, Author, and I’m on Twitter, GoodReads, and YouTube, too.