My 2020 guide for becoming a (successful) indie author –

I’m often asked about my route to publication. I thought I’d update some of that information and share with you as I head into 2020 and finish my 6th novels. I hope you find the blog post helpful and informative.

 My latest novel – Take Me, I’m Yours

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India Buchanan plans to set up an English-Style bed and breakfast establishment in her great-aunt’s home, MacFarlane’s Landing, Wisconsin. But she’s reckoned without opposition from Logan MacFarlane whose family once owned her aunt’s house and now want it back. MacFarlane is in no mood to be denied. His grandfather’s living on borrowed time and Logan has vowed to ensure the old man sees out his days in their former home. India’s great-aunt has other ideas and has threatened to burn the house to the ground before a MacFarlane sets foot in it. There’s a story here. One the family elders aren’t prepared to share. When India finds herself in Logan’s debt, her feelings towards him change. However, the past casts a long shadow and events conspire to deny them the love and happiness they. Can India and Logan’s love overcome all odds? Or is history about to repeat itself? You can read an extract.

2.This is the first book I’ve set outside of the UK. Here’s why . . .

Back in the day I trained a teaching student from Oshkosh University for two terms. We became great friends and I had a standing invitation to go over to stay with her in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. I did just that for five weeks one summer and when I flew back from Chicago I promised I would write a romance set in Wisconsin. Last year I learned she has Parkinson’s Disease and that galvanised me into action – this book is for her.

3. I like writing about sexy, highland lairds. I hope you like reading about them.

#3c

I am a dyed-in-the-wool romantic. For some women, it’s Regency Rakes, Cowboys or Navy Seals, but for me it’s a man-in-a-kilt. If he’s a highland laird or the heir to a highland estate so much the better. Not because of wealth or  belonging to an aristocratic family but because I love a hero who isn’t afraid to shoulder responsibility, care for his tenants and who has a strong connection with the land. Those attributes, allied with a sharp mind, a sense of humour and a willingness to care for the heroine wins me over – every time. 

4 and 5 My writing journey prior to New Romantics Press being founded

I bagged an agent (the late Dot Lumley) and HM&B were showing interest in my writing.  In 1990 I reached a crossroads, continue with my writing or accept a deputy headship of a large primary school. Because of the demanding nature of teaching, I knew I couldn’t do both and chose the latter. In 2006 I took early retirement from teaching joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted and submitted it for a critique. I was told it was ‘almost ready’ to start sending out to agents but needed more polishing. In the meantime, I co-founded NRP with other members of the RNA/NWS. Then, over lunch in my garden, author Amanda Grange advised us to consider self-publishing on amazon. The algorithms were changing and . . . well, you can read more about it here –  That was in 2012 and we’ve never looked back. I only wish I’d had the chutzpah to self-publish a year earlier because terms were more favourable on Amazon at that point.

New Romantics Press is keen to find new readers and share our work with them. Over the last six years we have published fifteen books between us and are currently working on new titles. Our motto is: Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves and you can read more about us on in this blog

6 The benefits of collaborating with other authors?

I love working collaboratively with others. That means I’m never more than a phone call away from a good mate who will listen to my writing woes, meet for coffee and offer sound advice. As being a member of New Romantics Press and the RNA I can tap into a wealth of knowledge about publishing, social media, PR – and what one of us doesn’t know, the others will find out! I couldn’t imagine being without my support system.

#5b

We try to make our events sound fun . . . Most readers and bloggers mention how much fun we have promoting our books. Writing can be a lonely occupation. As authors, we spend most of the time hidden away in our studies/offices tapping at the keyboard. When we do get out, we like to let our hair down. Warning: our events involve laughter and prosecco, so only like-minded writers and readers need apply.

My husband Dave - Roadie, supporter and all round wonderful guy
My husband Dave – Roadie, supporter and book seller in a kilt

In 2019 I offered a series of workshops for novice and intermediate writers, sharing my knowledge and giving writers the confidence to finish their WIP. In November of 2019 I attended the Narberth Book Fair where I outlined my 10 point guide, met readers and sold books.

Here endeth the first part of my talk. Do join me next time when I will be covering the following aspects of writing:

My planing method being explained to fledgling authors
  • the difference between self-publishing and indie publishing
  • advice for writers considering self-publishing/indie publishing
  • my thoughts about taking a hybrid approach
  • plotters vs pantsers
  • top tips for finishing a novel 
  • choosing and researching the location of my novels
  • why I write happily ever after novels 
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Bliadhna Mhath Ùr – Happy New Year


 

About Lizzie Lamb

I write contemporary women's fiction mostly based in Scotland with hot heroes, feisty heroines and always a happy ending. Along with three other authors - Adrienne Vaughan, June Kearns and Margaret Cullingford - I formed the New Romantics Press under which our books are published. I have published five books since 2012 and am currently writing #6 - check out my Amazon page: viewAuthor.at/LizzieLamb

Posted on January 5, 2020, in Lizzie's Scribbles and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Great to get an insight into your successful writing journey. As you know, I always seek advice from you. It is wonderful how you fly the flag for the indie author. Did you establish a strategy before you started the journey, or did you simply respond to the opportunities as they presented themselves?
    Best of look with your latest book.

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  2. Thanks for commenting Jessie. Believe it or not, I only planned on writing ONE book and here I am on number six. I didn’t really have a strategy because everything was in its infancy and, in the beginning, so few authors were self publishing it was easy to stand out in the marketplace. Then changes started to happen – Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited, more publishing companies sprang up who would publish your book (for a price) until, as a result, we find ourselves in an overcrowded market in 2020. Am I looking for a publisher? No. I don’t want to spend my time working to some else’s schedule. I relish my freedom as a writer – however, the quote 007, never say never.

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  3. Reblogged this on New Romantics Press and commented:

    Happy New Year to all our followers and fellow authors. Time for a retrospective as I hunker down to finish number six and get it out there before the summer’s over. I hope you enjoy reading my take on how self-publishing has worked for me.

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  4. Fantastic post, Lizzie. So helpful and engaging, it gives a brilliant insight into becoming an indie author and each step you’ve taken along the way. Nobody could fail to be inspired by what you’ve written both fictionally and factually. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and tips and for being so supportive and encouraging to us all. Can’t wait to read Book 6 xx

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    • Hi Jan, thanks for commenting and for your support since day #1. I’m really excited about finishing #6 but as usual there’s all the peripheral ‘stuff’ which gets in the way but which has to be done. I’m glad to help anyone and I’ve learned quite a lot about self-pubbing over the years. Looking forward to reading your new one this year, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Very interesting, Lizzie. Having come to a crisis in my own career, I’m looking at all options, which is a bit terrifying… Wish I lived in the Midlands and could be part ofthe Belmont Belles!

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    • Hi Lesley, its safe to say that the publishing industry is undergoing yet another sea change. Digital first publishing, POD, cut rice books expected by readers, publishers only willing to publish within certain niches: WWII, Regency, Psychological Thrillers, Christmas Novels etc. None of which I fit in to. However, there readers are out there looking for something different, the trick is finding them (!) I could go on forever, but I won’t. Good luck with your change of ‘direction’. It would be great to see you are the BBs one day but travelling is a problem, isn’t it?

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  6. Great post, Lizzie, as always. You were definitely one of my big inspirations when I decided to try indie publishing. Reading the novels of you and the other New Romantics was enough proof for me that indie books can be every bit as good as traditionally published books, and gave me the confidence to push ahead with my own publishing plans. It’s definitely getting harder to be noticed and make an impact these days, because there are just so many books out there. Even so, I enjoy being an indie author. Sometimes I think I would like a publishing deal, if only to discover what that feels like, and to get my name “out there” and build a bigger audience. The difficulty is, I like working for myself and taking control. I’m still undecided about the future, but, for this year at least, I’m pressing ahead as an indie author all the way. I know I could never be fully traditionally published, although hybrid sounds attractive and the best of both worlds … who knows? Anyway, thanks so much for being the generous, supportive author you are, and for sharing your story and tips with us. I’m so looking forward to your sixth book! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon, you echo my feelings exactly. It would be nice to have someone else do the formatting, proofreading and cover design and allow me to get on with writing. Less promoting would be wonderful, too. You have carved out quite a niche for your books and found your audience. I would have to be convinced, like you, that things could be better if I handed over control. As things stand at the moment I can have paperbacks and play around with the price. I wouldn’t like to end up being on permanent 99p promotion and not have any paperbacks for talks and workshops etc. Looks like we’re staying as we are for now – but who knows what the future holds? Thanks for commenting and being a great support, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post Lizzie. You’re a great example how girls (and fellas) can do it for themselves. Looking forward to reading your next book later this year x

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    • Thanks very much, Jo. now that Christmas is over I’m working hard on a piece for the RNA’s 60th Anniversary celebrations and a separate guest blog post. Once they’re out of the way I’m getting down to working on those final chapters. I hope my characters haven’t taken on a life of their own in the interim.

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