Roz Morris is a best-selling ghostwriter and book doctor in the UK, but when it came to publish her own work, she decided to go the indie route because what she wanted to write wasn’t what publishers wanted to sell. She talks about her choices, including a decision to serialize her literary novel and what it takes to make that concept work. She mentions further down, the differences between British and American spelling, usage and punctuation make it difficult for her to feel comfortable editing an American work, so as an example, I’ve left the British elements intact.
Tell us a little about your indie book or books, for readers who aren’t familiar with your work.
I’ve indie published two titles. One is non-fiction — Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence. The other is a contemporary literary novel — My Memories of a Future Life.
After ghostwriting so many books for traditional publishers, what made you decide to publish your own work?
Both my self-published books were accepted by agents and sent to editors. But although I was known as a ghostwriter — indeed a bestselling one — my own books were very different.
With the novel, the ghostwriting opened doors. I had Big Six editors querying me, in fact. They knew I’d ghosted thrillers and were hoping I would write them something that was easy for the marketing department to sell. When My Memories of a Future Life was ready they liked it very much, but said it was too original — marketing departments wouldn’t want to promote an unconventional novel from an unknown debut author.
Some of them said that if I made it more like a conventional thriller, or a timebending murder mystery they might take a punt. However, I wanted to explore deeper questions and take the story in unexpected directions, so I stuck to my guns. And the feedback told me that if those editors had bought my novel in a shop, they’d have told their friends it was a good read. Going indie was the obvious choice.
That may seem unjust, but it’s the state of the industry. Writers sell either by publishing in a genre or by having a marketable name. If you don’t fit either of those categories, you’re a risky proposition. And you find when you try to sell your kooky novel by yourself under your obscure name what a hard job it is. Indie may be easy to start, but it’s not easy to make a success of.
I would never have self-published my novel, though, if Continue reading