Thursday, October 9, 2014

Interview with Cassie Mae: Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing

by Katy White

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to interview the brilliant Jolene Perry about the differences between self and traditional publishing. Today, I'm excited to share another interview with another brilliant author, Cassie Mae, who has oodles of experience in both forms of publishing! Cassie is the author of a ton of adorable books, including the adorable Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend and her new release, Secret Catch, which she cowrote with Jessica Salyer!

Without further ado...

Cassie, you’re a successful author with loads of wonderful books that you've published both traditionally and self. Yet, I've seen enough cute pictures of your family on FB to know you’re also a wife and mother. How do you do it all?

You have to come out with the hardest question first, lol.
I don’t.
Or I do.
I don’t know, lol.
Mainly, I prioritize. I write 1000 words a day (or try to) and if I set aside a half hour-45 minutes a day to do so, then I get it done.
But sometimes, I don’t write, and I make it up later. Honestly, I just make time for it.

How did you get started writing? In which type of publishing did you get your break?

I got an agent in 2012, but while I was on submission I decided to self publish in January 2013. Also in January, I signed two deals (a two book deal with Random House and a two book deal with Swoon Romance), so it kind of all happened at once. I can’t say which one was my big break, haha.

What have you learned about publishing since then?

It’s hard, lol. Lots of pressure and deadlines and if I thought I was crazy before, it no way compares to how I am now. But I’ve also learned when the best time to release a book is, what works marketing/promotion wise and what doesn’t, and also when to run from a contract and when to sign.

Where would you tell someone interested in self-publishing to start?

Focus on your book. The quality of your book is more important than any other thing in self publishing. Once you have had the thing through several critique partners, beta readers, and an editor, and you are 100% satisfied in its quality, then you can start looking at the other stuff. Whether or not you want it exclusively on Amazon or not, cover designers, stock photo sites, formatters, if you want a publicist, etc.

Why do you pursue both types of publishing? Do you have a preference between them?

I actually wrote a blog series on the pros and cons of self publishing and traditional publishing :) I’ll put the links right here:

You publish several books a year. How do you write So. Many. Words?

I’ve seen people write 4-5K words a day. I can’t do that. On a good day, I write more than 2000. So I’m not a big chunk word writer. I do a little bit at a time and in sprints. Half hour of nothing but writing. Sometimes I get 1000 words in that half hour, sometimes 200, but I do it every day. Sometimes twice a day.

How do you keep your ideas and characters fresh?

I read a lot. I see what’s out there and what’s missing or less of and I say, I want more of that! Then I write it :D

How important is editing in self-publishing versus traditional publishing? Do you recommend hiring an editor in either/both?

Editing is the most important in both aspects. Not everyone can afford an editor, so I understand not hiring one. If you choose not to, you better make sure you have kickbutt critique partners, and some who are experienced in working with an editor.

I don’t know why you’d hire an editor for a traditionally published book, because the editor is given to you. Hopefully you’ve got yourself a good agent who got you a credible publisher. Those editors have been doing this a long time.

Everyone talks about the importance of covers in publishing, but especially in self-publishing.  Do you agree? Where do you go to find your adorable covers?

Yes. As much as I hate that people judge books by their cover, they do. Your cover sells your book, your words keep people coming back.

Some of my covers are stock photos, some are original photos. Because I can afford to do it now, I try to get original photos for every book I self publish. (I also try to talk my publisher into those as well ;))

What are the advantages/disadvantages to traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?

Oh! I’m just going to point you to my blog series again :D

Any last words or advice for authors looking to publish in either format?

Do not slack on research.
Know what your contract says before you sign it.
Have fun :)
Writing a book in a month and publishing it the next is not the way to do it.
Edit a lot.
Have fun :)
Do not get discouraged.
Keep comfort food within arms’ reach.
Have fun :)

Cassie, thank you so much for your fabulous help and your fabulous, smoochy books! We appreciate your time and perspective. Now, to read Secret Catch...

You can find more books by Cassie here! For now, though, if you have any questions or comments about either form of publishing, please sound off below!

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