Thursday, August 25, 2011

Interview with Susan Ee, Author of "Angelfall"

With our new short story e-book getting ready to be published, we've been a bit obsessed with self-publishing e-books.  A month ago I read an indie (independent) published e-book on kindle and was instantly taken with the quality of this book.  I knew that we would all want to know how she did it.  Luckily, Susan Ee agreed to do an interview on our blog.  Be sure to give her a nice warm welcome!

1.    Your indie-published e-book, “Angelfall” is beginning to have great success.  As most that read this blog are aspiring authors we are all curious about what it takes to write a successful book.  What would you say are the important parts of writing one?

Thank you so much for having me on your blog!

I highly recommend that you work with characters that you want to work with for at least a year. Same with the world they populate. If it's a series—several years. 

Write the story you would love to read, not the story you think will sell the best. If the story and characters draw you that strongly, then there's a good chance that others will feel the same way. It's also a way to ensure that you get something out of that writing time regardless of the sales. If you enjoyed your time inside your story, then it's roughly the equivalent of spending time reading a bunch of good books. So if you love developing and writing your book, your time investment is guaranteed to pay off at least a little, even if it takes awhile for your story to find an audience.

2.    How many drafts did you write and how long did the writing process take you for this book?

My beta readers received draft #10. The version that's on sale is draft #16. It took me about a year to year and a half from start to sale. There were several months total when I didn't touch the story for various life reasons and to give myself a little space from it so that I could "see" it again. I expect the next book to take less time.

3.    I’m really impressed by how well edited and polished “Angelfall” was.  Did you do all your own editing or did you hire an editor to help?  Would you recommend that someone who is indie-publishing look for an editor?  (If you edited yourself…are you for hire?  LOL!)

Thank you! An indie author should definitely work with at least one editor. There are two distinct types of editing—story editing and copyediting. I had six beta readers in two rounds of feedback to help shape the story—that was effectively my story editing process. For copy editing, I went through three passes. I had a volunteer copy editor who did the heavy lifting. Then another volunteer reader caught some inconsistencies and errors. By that time, I had had enough time away from the manuscript to be able to see the sentences again without my eyes glazing over, so I combed through it a final time. 

4.    Right now, it looks as if you only have your novel out in e-book format.  Are you looking into indie-publishing bound books as well?  What made you decide to start with e-books first?

The e-book market is what prompted me to try out indie-publishing. It's the new and exciting area that I want to explore. Yes, Angelfall will be out in print soon, but that's a secondary consideration for me, since there really isn't a special indie market for print books the way there is for ebooks.

I hope to have Angelfall out in print (as well as in the iBookstore) within the next couple of months.

5.    When indie-publishing, all the marketing and promotion responsibilities lie with the author.  What aspects of self-promotion have you found tough or intimidating?  What parts have you found to be fun or easier than you thought?

There was not a single aspect of self-promotion that I didn't find intimidating! But author chats and interviews are actually pretty fun. It's interesting to see what readers are curious about. It's also a fabulous feeling to see a blog review of your book by a blogger who absolutely loved it!

6.    Did you make your own cover or did you hire someone to do that task for you?  

I hired a cover designer. I held a contest for the best cover design and picked the one I liked best. I knew it was perfect for Angelfall as soon as I saw it. :)

7.    What advice would you give to writers who are considering indie-publishing their own e-books?

Make sure your book is as professional as a book released by a big publisher. Make sure your cover, your blurb, your formatting, your story editing as well as copy editing all meet professional standards. Sometimes that may mean you need to hire a professional to do that for you, otherwise, you'll have to make sure that you and your team of volunteers take the extra time and effort to present it in a package that readers are used to seeing. Then, test it out by asking people what they think.

Most importantly, take the time to polish your story. Get feedback. Revise. Repeat as needed. Do this until you can't stand it anymore. Then let it sit on the shelf for a bit to give yourself some distance before you read it again.

8.    Do you have any other published works?  How many books are in your e-book series?

I have short stories that have been published via traditional magazine publishers such as Realms of Fantasy. I also have a short story in an anthology (The Dragon and the Stars) that is currently a finalist for the AuroraCanada Awards in

Angelfall is part of a series that is at least a trilogy. It is undetermined at this time how many books will be in the series. I'm looking forward to finding out myself! :)

9. Tell us about your novel, "Angelfall".

The super short blurb is: 

A warrior angel, a kick-a** girl and the end of the world—a dark fantasy adventure.

The book description is:

It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

Recommended for ages 16 and above.

Thank you so much, Susan for stopping by on our blog!  I'm confident your book will continue to be a great success!
To read about Susan's decision to self-publish click here


  1. I LOVED "Angelfall"! IT. IS. AWESOME!!! I can hardly wait for the next book.

    Great interview, Nikki.

    Susan, I have a question: One reason I love Indie books is because the cost can be kept so low. How do you look at this, as a writer? Do you plan on keeping the sequels priced low as well?

  2. Thanks, LisaAnn! I'm so happy you enjoyed it so much!

    The sequel will also be priced low, although it may be a bit higher than the first one. The original plan was to price the books at $4.99 but I started with a "friends and family" sale of $0.99, then quickly moved it up to an introductory rate of $2.99 to give readers a better chance to discover Penryn & Raffe. So far, I haven't gotten around to raising the price to the intended $4.99. I may continue to "forget" to do that since the readers seem to enjoy the $2.99 price. :)

    One of the reasons why I chose to go indie is that the price of an ebook should be low. As a new author, my goal is to get as many people reading Angelfall as possible. That won't happen if a publisher charges $14 for my ebook. So as a writer, I love that indie ebooks can be priced low.

  3. This was amazing. Perfectly written and drawn out. I wish I could say more but I'm stunned. It's been much too long since I've read a book that came even close to being this good.

    Highly recommended Bellevue Janitorial Services outfit



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