Interview with Sibel Hodge: The gift of rejection!
The internet is filling up with inspiring tales of writers who have found an audience on the Kindle through embracing the power of direct publishing and todays author, who followed HP Mallorys advice to never give up, is Sibel Hodge, a British writer of romance novels (Im not sure if Im allowed to call it chick-lit!) who is selling like pink cupcakes (I think thats more apt than hotcakes) in the States.
I havent read any of Sibels books myself the only romance I read usually involves one of the couple killing the other one! but theyve had some fantastic reviews and shes building up a devoted following. If you want a fun, entertaining read this is another chance for you to support another talented indie author.
Enough preamble from me over to Sibel!
Can you tell us about your own experiences before you went indie? Did you have an agent and what was the closest you came to getting a deal?
I queried 200 agents and publishers before I went indie! Agh! I spent 2 years doing it, but I dont consider it a waste because I learned so much in the process. I did come close a couple of times to being traditionally published, but it never quite worked out. It was either, “one group of editors liked it but another didn’t”, or “the chicklit market is saturated”, or “we love it but…” But through my indie author journey I went from 200 rejections to Amazon top 200. The gift of rejection!
Your book sales are hugely impressive do you have any golden tips for other authors?
I wish! What works for one person wont work for another, but I think the main thing is you have to participate in your author/reader communities – writing blog posts, interacting with others on social media sites about a wide range of topics (not just constantly plugging your own books). If you’re a genuine person who takes the time to help others out, you’re going to attract good things back.
But success doesnt happen overnight. It takes time to create interest in you and your books. And first and foremost, I think you need to write a good book with a good blurb and a good cover. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising.
Do you find now that your friends and family give you more respect as a writer?
No! Im going to cross them off my Christmas card list!
Are you addicted to checking your sales stats and how many hours a day do you spend promoting your books?
Oh, yeah! *stands up* My name is Sibel, and Im a sales-checker-aholic!
What do you find easiest: plot or characterisation?
Characterisation, definitely. I HATE plotting. Hate it, hate it! Unfortunately, its a necessary evil. If I get too hung up with working out the plot in advance I tend to lose my creativity. On the other hand, I lurrrrve creating characters you can make up anyone you want, even the perfect man!
What is your favourite book of all time?
Too hard, theres sooo many! Hang onnope, absolutely too hard.
Now that JK Rowling is going to start publishing ebooks and more traditional publishers are starting to drop prices and get more interested in e-publishing, do you think it will get even harder to make an impact as an indie?
I think good quality writing will stand out no matter what, and there are some fab indie authors out there. Oh, and a good cover helps, too! The ebook revolution means its time for the readers to choose what they want to read, and if they find a great indie read, people will get to know about it.
Finally, which one of your books would you advise my readers to try first as the best introduction to your work?
People who love a light, fun read should enjoy any of them. The Helen Grey (romantic comedy) series starts with Fourteen Days Later, and the sequel is My Perfect Wedding.The Amber Fox (chicklit mystery) series starts with The Fashion Police, and the sequel is Be Careful What You Wish For. They can all be read as standalone novels, though.