About Me

My photo
I read, write, craft and home educate. My debut novel Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase was published in 2014. My second novel, A Life Between Us, was published in 2017. I live in Northamptonshire. My website can be found at louisewaltersbooks.co.uk

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Paris Mon Amour by Isabel Costello

Today I'm thrilled to welcome author Isabel Costello to my blog. Isabel cuts quite a dash in the book world with her wonderful blog, The Literary Sofa. I've twice been a guest on the sofa, and felt it was about time I returned the hospitality!


Isabel is now also an author, with her debut novel Paris Mon Amour, published in ebook and audio in June 2016 with Canelo. Isabel made the decision to self-publish the print version of Paris Mon Amour, and that's what we're talking about on my blog today. Here she is...

Could you tell us about your decision to self–publish your novel Paris Mon Amour in print?
There are two sides to this.  Firstly, from the very start (even at the launch!) there was something about this novel that made people want a print version.  That’s largely due to the stunning cover by Dan Mogford, which we kept for the paperback. And like most authors, my dream was always to hold a book I’d written in my hand!
What actually made it happen was one of those random strokes of luck.  The Fiction Buyer from WH Smith Travel read the novel, loved it and wanted to stock it. For that, there obviously needed to be a print edition and when my and my agent’s attempts to find a print publisher didn’t succeed (the tight timescale didn’t help), I couldn’t let the opportunity pass and decided to do it myself.  It was a daunting prospect, but I really believe in this book and it would have felt like unfinished business not to.

What are the advantages of self-publishing?
It’s fantastic to be in control – you hear so many stories about authors being less than happy with their covers, blurbs, marketing efforts, etc. and I got to make those decisions and have everything just the way I wanted it, right down to the font size. I was lucky to have the support of everyone I needed to make it work: my agent, my digital publishers Canelo and the very impressive indie publishing team at Clays printers, who specialise in guiding the uninitiated through every stage.

And the disadvantages?
I suppose it’s the flipside of the above.  When you’re in charge, the buck stops with you. It was a massive learning curve and I worried about making some terrible mistake that wouldn’t come to light in time because nobody was looking over my shoulder. (It wasn’t until I’d read the finished paperback that I was fully convinced I’d sent the right version to print, despite checking a hundred times!) There’s so much to stay on top of and it’s hard work, but fortunately I’ve always enjoyed project management and collaboration and am fairly organised by nature. Finally, although the printing costs per unit are surprisingly low, overall it’s an expensive and risky venture.  Let’s just say I am not on the waiting list for any yachts!

As a self-published author, did you feel that any doors were closed to you? For instance, press coverage?
No, I have been pleasantly surprised - it was far more of an issue when my book was digital only. However, I’m not sure how representative my experience as a self-published author actually is.  This is a very unusual situation with the novel having first been commercially published in digital and audio a year ago. Wearing my marketing hat – I used to work in that field – I was able to make a virtue of the novel’s track record and the response from readers. Over half of the independent bookshops I approached individually with my Advance Information Sheet got back to me showing an interest – I was delighted.

Did any aspects of self-publishing surprise you?  (I found the marketing to be more work and more time consuming than I’d imagined…!)
The thing that surprised me most was how tricky typesetting still is.  Like many people, I na├»vely assumed that in the digital age you just run the text through a programme and it comes out looking lovely. In reality it’s an art requiring patience and painstaking attention to detail; solving one issue (such as crazy hyphenation) often causes another (‘widows and orphans’, anyone?). I am so grateful to Simon Collinson of Canelo for bringing his talents and sense of humour to the task. 

You set up your own Literary Sofa imprint to release the paperback. Do you think readers care who a book is published by?
In a word, no. I think readers mostly care about two things: whether a book appeals and whether it is any good, both in terms of content and presentation.  One of the biggest challenges self-publishers face is ‘discoverability’ – getting it onto readers’ radar in the first place.  Once that’s achieved, it’s down to us to prove we can compete.  One thing that seems to have surprised a lot of people is that the quality of my self-published book matches traditionally published ones, and I’m really proud of that.  Self-publishing has come a long way and is now an important part of the industry; disparaging it is an easy way to look out of touch.

What’s next for you?
When things calm down, I am really looking forward to making a start on my next novel, also set in Paris.  I have a detailed outline but bringing Paris Mon Amour out in print has taken over my life these last four months; it’s certainly true that self-publishing has a major impact on writing time. Otherwise, I am busy preparing for my new Perseverance and Motivation for Writers workshops with psychologist Voula Grand.  Without those ‘resilient thinking’ skills, I might not have had the nerve to tackle my paperback project, but I’m already very glad I did!


Many thanks to Isabel for joining me today. Her route to publication is a fascinating story in itself! Paris Mon Amour is a fabulous novel, which totally deserves to be available in print as well as in ebook and audio.  I wish her every success and can not wait to get my hands on a copy. 

Published on Monday 22nd May, you can buy it on Amazon, and of course in all good WHSmiths Travel bookstores. It is a perfect holiday read!

Next time I'm returning to my From the Other Side series of posts, in which I interview book bloggers. See you then! 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

I'm taking a short break from my "From The Other Side" feature to chat instead this week to fellow author, Rebecca Mascull. 

I got to know Rebecca back in 2013 when we had both been signed to Hodder with our debut novels (Rebecca's The Visitors and my Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase). We became online friends, and soon met in real life. I was thrilled to go to Rebecca's launch party for her second novel, Song of the Seamaid, where we found a few moments to hug and say "Hi"! 

Rebecca's third novel, The Wild Air,  is out this Thursday, 4th May. (May the force be with her!) Let's hear from her now...

The Wild Air is your third published novel. Tell us how that feels please!?
I feel like a proper author now. One could be a fluke, two a coincidence, but three? Well, it’s a magic number, innit!

How did you come by the idea for The Wild Air?
I saw a documentary on the Wright Brothers and loved the idea of it. Once I started researching it, I discovered about all these Edwardian female pilots I’d never heard of. I fell for all of them! I wanted to tell their story, especially since it was so unknown.

Your level of research is legendary! How much did you do for this novel?
Bless you! I did the usual obsessive amount. Dozens of books, documentaries, films, unpublished letters and diaries at the Imperial War Museum and even a flight in a light aircraft! That was the best bit and really made the novel. It became real at that moment, up in the air.

Wow, that is research extreme! How did the flight go? 
I was really nervous before, then frightened to death in the first 5 minutes, which then dissolved into absolute, unalloyed joy. To see the earth like that, to be at one with the air…It was utterly magical and it changed my life. I’ll never forget it.

All your novels have been historical. Are you considering writing anything contemporary? Do you think that would lessen the research workload?!
I do, I do! I’m thinking about it now, actually. Watch this space…

Now that you have written several novels, do you have a favourite among them?
I don’t actually. I love them all in different ways, for their beautiful bits and even their faults. A bit like children! The three heroines are all very dear to me, though very different women from each other. I’m so fond of all of them and each time I’ve finished the drafting, it’s been a terrible wrench and I’ve missed them awfully. Lately I really miss spending time with Dudley Willow, who’s in The Wild Air, and based on my grandfather.

You’re having a third launch party. Will you be as excited and/or nervous at this one as you were for the first?
I was sick with nerves at the first one and only very slightly less at the second one. So I hope this time to actually try to enjoy it a bit more and remember that everyone’s there because they are interested in the book or because they’re supporting me, so why be nervous? I’ll tell myself that on the day, anyway!

What’s next from you?
I really don’t know, is the honest answer. I feel like The Visitors, Song of the Sea Maid & The Wild Air are a kind of historical trilogy about the hidden histories of determined women. So I’d like to do something completely different, I think…

Finally, what are you reading at the moment?

I’m a teacher presently, so I’m reading very little except mock exams and homework! I haven’t read a novel for months. I do miss reading terribly, but I can’t find time for it in my head. I’m sure it’ll come back some day, maybe in the summer holidays, when I have a bit more space in my mind. And then it’ll be all my author friends’ books, with yours at the top of the list! Can’t wait. I’ve heard such great reviews! 


Rebecca blogs at Tumblr

And she tweets @rebeccamascull

Big thanks to Rebecca for joining me today. I've now read all three of her novels, and they are splendid reads. The heroines are all fighting in a man's world to live the life they want to live, and do the things they want to do. Adeliza, Dawnay, and Della are a trio of inspiring heroines, and I'm sure you will enjoy spending time with them. The Wild Air can be bought here

Next time on my blog I'll be chatting to another fellow author, Isabel Costello. After that all will be resumed with From the Other Side...!