Snapshot 2014: Andrea K Höst

Andrea K Höst writes what she likes to read: stories about worlds where magic is real, women aren’t relegated to the background, and expectations are twisted slightly out of skew.

1. You’ve given a (worth reading) breakdown of one of the reasons you decided to self-publish your work on your website, so I don’t want to go into that here. However, I would love to hear about your process for getting your books out there – what are the best and worst bits of being a self-publisher?

The best bit is the readers: I get some lovely fan mail, and it brightens my day every time.  Though that’s something to be found in all forms of publishing.  For the self-publishing aspect, I’ll cite the standard ‘control’ and also freedom from the submission-go-round.

The mechanical parts – getting covers, working out how to create an ebook – are fun (or can be out-sourced, if you don’t find that kind of thing fun), but the first year, before you’ve built any form of audience, can be extremely daunting.  Self-publishing works in a very different way from trade publishing.  There is none of the pressure to make a big debut, to get out of the gate with a bang so as to be able to sell the next book.  But there’s also no-one firing you out of that gate, no advocate going around hanging superlatives off your work.  You’re a drop in the ocean and shouting will get you nowhere.

Fortunately, I’ve found the ‘set and forget’ method of promotion (with occasional freebies and a couple of judicious ads) works quite well for me.  Self-pub is definitely a path that fits with a five year plan outlook, rather than attempting to shoot your first book into the stratosphere.

Huntingmed2. You have had two novels shortlisted for the Aurealis Awards in recent years. In fact, I think you may have been one of the first self-published writers to achieve this, which is fantastic. Can you tell us why you think your work hit that milestone?

There’s no real answer to that question. The more books and reviews I read, the less I believe in a “best”.  Every single person has their very own taste, and standards of excellence, and I was enormously fortunate that those three books happened to work for the particular combination of judges in their respective years.  It’s an amazing compliment, though, and I still remember the walking on air feeling for when Medair was nominated.

3. What’s coming up next from you, and what are your goals as an author?

I’m currently working on a kitchen-and-the-sink alt-history series called The Trifold Age.  More mythology mashed into one monstrous mass than my ability to alliterate can maintain!  The first volume, The Pyramids of London, will be out either at the end of this year, or early next year.

My goals as an author are fairly straightforward.  Keep writing books.  Keep growing my fan base.  Have fun.  Hopefully write full time some day.  [That last is problematic, as my absolute most productive time to write is on the train during the morning commute!

4. What Australian works have you loved recently?

The last Australian books I read were Malaysian-Australian author K S Augustin’s Check Your Luck Agency series, which hit my sweet spot for both narrative voice and for a fun trip into both supernatural and everyday Singapore and Malaysia.

Pyramids_medium5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing in five years from now?

The most direct impact on my writing has been what I call the positive circle – I have a more positive attitude toward my writing due to fan feedback and encouragement.  This leads me to write more, and to push myself as a writer.

In five years, I expect to be finishing up The Trifold Age, and probably mired in half a dozen other partials.  One thing I’m not short of is ideas. 🙂

SnaphotLogo2014This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and archiving them at SF Signal. You can read interviews at: 

http://benpayne.wordpress.com/tag/snapshot2014/

So you’ve written a book… What now?

Screen shot 2013-04-13 at 8.43.51 PMToday I presented for CBCA Tasmania on the topic of publishing. It was a well attended session and I thoroughly enjoyed both the preparation of the presentation and the talk itself. I spoke for nearly an hour and a half (thankfully there were questions too!) and was followed by Nella talking about the nuts and bolts (things like ISBNs, CiP application, legal deposit and so on) and Richard, who gave a brief overview on copyright for authors. My part focussed on the various options authors have for getting published, focussing on traditional, boutique and self-publishing routes. My presentation is made available to download here, for the purposes of the participants, but I don’t mind who else reads it (and it is licensed under Creative Commons, so you are welcome to use it under the licence conditions).

Obviously I spoke a lot more than what is contained on the presentation but you get the gist.

I didn’t really talk a lot about the specifics of marketing your book (whether you self-publish or not, you still need to market!) but did mention that it’s always useful to have ephemera such as bookmarks or postcards to pass out to potential readers and that Vistaprint has been having some excellent deals (you have to be patient and wait for free upload combined with discounts/freebies for the best bargains, but these do happen!). It also occurred to me that I might have spoken in more detail about social networking, but I think that’s a whole other session!

Thanks to all the participants who seemed to find the information useful, and particularly to Nella, both for inviting me and for practising her grandma skills so successfully with the baby I had in tow!

ETA: A couple more useful links that are relevant!

10 ways self publishing has changed the world

A contractual obligation (looking at contracts and what you are signing)

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.