Rebecca Forster is joining us today from sunny California, where they don’t have snow storms on the first of May, to talk about her decision to go from a USA Today Best Selling Author to self publishing, and why this has been the best choice for her. Rebecca’s “Before Her Eyes” is one of the strongest most intelligent books I’ve had the privilege to read in a long time. And I can’t wait to read the next in the “Witness” series. Josie defines the modern woman I like to read about.
Monica: The question all writers are asking is whether to self-publish or not. After a 26 year career why are you now self-publishing?
Rebecca: First, thanks for that great introduction. I love Before Her Eyes – for a lot of reasons but mainly because I pushed the ‘craft’ boundaries a bit. When New York balked, I didn’t want this book to languish. My writer’s gut told me it was viable and thankfully readers have really liked it. Sales have been great and the response to both the format and the characters has really made me realize that, sometimes, an author should take matters into their own hands.
Monica: You took your entire back list digital. Are you planning on publishing through New York again?
Rebecca: I’m not going to rule it out but the last year and a half has been focused on making my books available for digital access. Amazon, Smashwords. com, Barnes & Noble are making it easy for authors to post their work and begin building an audience.
Monica: What’s the drawback to taking this route?
Rebecca: First, new writers must realize that digital readers are as discerning as traditional readers – in fact, most of them continue to be traditional readers. They are expecting quality books even though the self-published do not have the advantages of New York’s editors, marketers, cover artists etc. I work with a freelance editor because I know my self-published work needs to be of the same quality as my traditionally published. Also, marketing is difficult. No one is quite sure how to go about getting their name out there. Social media is critical to this step so it’s not just enough to write a book, an author needs to have the social media set-up to promote it.
Monica: Do you advise new writers not to approach New York?
Rebecca: No, definitely not. Who doesn’t want to hold their book in their hand? Plus, there is no training ground better than working with a New York editor. For me, the consideration was that digital seems to be the way of the future and I did not want to sign away my digital rights. I would caution new writers to look at their traditional contracts and see what the publisher is asking for in terms of digital rights. I understand the contracts have questionable benefits for the author in terms of e-rights. The other thing that struck me was that bookstores are becoming few and far between. Borders is in bankruptcy, independents have gone by the wayside. Distribution channels are drying up. So I had to ask what is best for my career. For me, the digital route seemed appropriate but there are times I would kill to get a call from my agent, pop in to see my editor, walk into a bookstore and see my book. I say go-for it with traditional publishing but keep your eyes wide open. Not only are times changing – they are changing by the minute!
Monica: What projects are on the table now?
Rebecca: I have one script, a romantic comedy, in development and we are still looking for a couple of ‘angels’ to round out the funding but we have incredible talent already signed. I also have a request for a script based on one of my thrillers and I’m working on Expert Witness, the fourth book in the Witness series.