Ten years ago I read a short story in a magazine and thought, I could do that. So I sat down and I did, and wrote a contemporary novel. This was the start of my journey. I had no idea at the time where that journey would lead me.
The first thing it led me to was a fellow author, Val Wood. From there I discovered the Romantic Novelists Association (RNA) and their New Writers Scheme (NWS). Having joined the NWS I was able to have a novel critiqued and discovered that somebody (my reader) actually believed I could write. The reader said I had the tenacity to succeed. That pushed me on to try my hand at an historical novel, which gained me a contract with a publisher. It was also nominated for Historical Novel of the Year 2016 by the RNA. This journey was gathering pace, but I still had no idea where it would lead.
Several years later having had 7 books published by two different publishers, I gained the rights back to all of my books in 2021. This was when I made the decision, something that had been in the back of my mind for some time, to go independent. So my journey took a slight turn in the road and now I have everything under my own control. Is this a good thing or bad? Time alone will tell me, but it’s exciting.
Most of my books were originally published in e-book format but with the help of my lovely husband we brought them out in print by self-publishing through CreateSpace, so I had some experience in the independent field. CreateSpace is now Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Whilst there are a number of ways to publish independently, I chose KDP as I already had some experience from CreateSpace, although I did have to learn the new system for independent publishing in both e-book and print.
It was all a bit hectic to start with. Whilst I was aware of the rights to one of my books reverting back to me as the contract had expired, and the publisher no longer published my genre, what wasn’t expected was the sudden closure of my other publisher, due to ill health. So I had 7 books to re-edit and re-publish in a matter of weeks. It was a very quick learning curve. The journey had a few hiccups but with the help of my husband we managed it.
I’m very lucky in that my husband is a keen photographer and very good with Photoshop, so he does the art work for my book covers. It’s quite scary taking everything into your own hands but up to now I have found KDP fairly easy to work with. It has helped that we set up a template for the layout of the books so I can type direct into the correct settings. This means you need to look at the different type sizing offered by KDP and decide which one you want for your books. It takes time to set the template up, but once it’s done, that’s it for all future book sizing and layout.
I mentioned above that my husband prepares my book covers. Even when I was working with one of my publishers he prepared the covers for the print books which we brought out. KDP have a choice of covers but if you are confident working with Photoshop you can prepare your own. You do need to look at the KDP guidelines to see the perimeters you have to work within. But it’s fun to do your own. My Saunders series which is set in Banff, Canada has book covers taken from our own holiday photos. The cover on book1 is taken across the Vermilion Lakes toward Mount Rundle, Book 2 is Bow Falls, Banff, and book 3 is taken from the Parks Canada Head Quarters looking along Banff Avenue. I also took out a really good plan with Deposit Photos, which has no end date, so I do get models/backgrounds from there as well. So working with KDP is all about checking their guidelines for both content and cover. Another choice you have is the colour of your pages, I went for a cream background and I also have my covers in matt format. I found that matt is preferable to gloss. But it’s all down to personal choice, and that is what you have with independent publishing, choice.
The one helpful thing I have found about indie publishing is that you can correct things. In the past I have had books published, having gone through editing, but then when I’ve read the published book I’ve spotted a typo. Oh, that’s a horrible feeling, because there is little chance that a publisher is going to go in and correct it. But as an indie author, you can. You simply amend your original copy, then go to your bookshelf in KDP, go to the book in question and click on the box at the side and select, amend content then re-published the manuscript. Yes, those books which have already sold will have the typo in, but all new sales will not. I know there should be no typos but it happens. Being an indie author you have a solution.
Being independent means that you are working for yourself. If you don’t publicise/promote you won’t get any or many sales. So I now need to set aside a certain time each week to deal with promotion. But I am doing this for myself, whereas before all promotion was being done for a publisher as well as myself. Effectively by becoming independent I have cut out the middle man. The money I receive is more than it was, but I don’t do this for the money, I do it for the love of writing. If one person enjoys my books that’s good enough for me.
As this new journey was gathering pace I came across a problem when I realised that I could only access 3 of my books on my bookshelf with KDP. After some investigation with hubby we realised that there were two accounts with KDP, the other published books were on an account under hubby’s name. For a moment there was panic, what do I do about this? Then I looked carefully at the KDP help site and discovered that I could merge these accounts. It took a few e-mails back and forth between KDP and hubby and then KDP and me, but the accounts were merged under my name. That was great I could now manage all of my books from the one account. Or could I? There was a print book missing. So back I went to KDP and after some checking they discovered that there was a further account under my author name. Oops!! I didn’t realise that. But again KDP were happy to merge the accounts, so they did. Now I finally have everything under one account. So going independent can throw up problems, but there is so much information on the KDP site that there is an answer for everything, if you just take the time to look.
Do I have any doubts about going independent? Certainly. I had a publisher who was prepared to offer a contract for one of my historical novels, which was the first book in a series of four. They were also interested to read the second book in the series. Did I do the right thing in putting that to one side? I honestly don’t know. Again, time will tell but up to now I’m happy with the way things are going. If I feel the need to review the situation in the future, I’ll do so, but for now I’m one happy independent author.
If you’re thinking of taking the independent route, don’t be afraid of KDP. The system takes you through everything, from first creating your account, then starting to enter details of your book on your Bookshelf. You can choose the percentage of royalties you want, and the system shows you a “starting” price for each Amazon site your book will be on. You can increase the price, but you need to remember to keep it realistic. This can be done by looking at books already published in the same genre, with roughly the same amount of pages. It may sound scary but once you have published your first book, you will soon come to realise how easy it is.
Now you are published you will need to publicise and Facebook groups are good for this. I can also now see where my books are selling. I’ve had sales in India, Canada, USA, Australia, Denmark, and of course the UK. It was a pleasant surprise to see where my books get to. I’m already looking to publish my second independent book, details of which are still under wraps. It will be a contemporary novel and the longest I’ve written at just over 109,800 words. But I can chose my publication date, and when to release information about the book. As an indie author I’m in control of what happens and when. So I’m looking forward to 2022 with a positive attitude, and a little bit more money from Amazon to keep me in lattes.
Lesley Field is an award nominated author of Romantic Novels and should not be confused with any other writer of the same name.
Lesley lives in North Yorkshire, often described as "God's own county." Before retiring she spent her working life pursuing personal injury claims. Now at a time when she should be thinking of early nights and cocoa, she finds herself writing somewhat "hot" novels. Her first published novel "Dangerous Entrapment" was her first historical novel. She also writes contemporary novels which are usually based in Canada, which she calls her "heart home." Having achieved publication so soon after starting to write she hopes that, "Dangerous Entrapment,"(1st book in the Duchess in Danger series) is just the beginning.
And it was the best beginning as "Dangerous Entrapment" was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists Association RONA Awards 2016 in the Historical category.
Now in 2021 Lesley has taken a step into the world of independent publication. All original books have been re-edited and will be re-published, together with all future books by, Wild Moose Publications. This is a new venture one she hopes will be successful.
"Dangerous Entrapment," Historical romance (Book 1 in the Duchess in Danger series)
Lady Isobella Rothbury believes herself to be on the shelf at 21 having suffered the humiliation of being cast aside in her coming out season. Now needing to help her cousin she seeks assistance from the Duke of Carlisle.
Richard Duke of Carlisle was intending to take a new mistress but is intrigued by Isobella’s approach and finds himself developing a growing interest in her. How he moved from considering a mistress to contemplating matrimony comes as some surprise.
Harry Duke of Exmouth was duped into marriage and plots to capture the virgin he let go. He will bed and breed from the un-named lady he boasts to his friends.
Overhearing the plan Richard realises that the lady is question is Isobella and he has no intention of allowing the lady he desires to end up as mistress to a scoundrel.
If he saves Isobella will he discover the passion she can bring to his bed? And will Isobella find out that to prevent the man you love from seeking a mistress, you should take on that role yourself?
"Dangerous Deception," (Book 2 in the Duchess in Danger series)
was released on 29th November 2016. This is a story that will make ladies thankful for women's lib. This is darker than "Dangerous Entrapment," but it shows how a woman had little or no control over her life.
Lady Caroline (Callie) Sutton has known Nathan, heir to the Dukedom of Craven all of her life. His family’s estate borders that of her own family and he is best friend to her brother, James. Her childhood has been idyllic brought up away from the restrictions and trials of society.
As she grows from child to maiden, the feelings between herself and Nathan change. A touch, a smile and a kiss, promise future happiness. When he leaves to tour the Americas with James, there is an unspoken agreement between them.
Follow Callie as her idyllic life is turned upside down. When heaven turns to hell, there is only one thing to do...survive!!
"Dangerous Desire," (Book 3 in the Duchess in Danger series) was published as an e-book on the 12th November 2019.
"A chance encounter when she was lost on the moors brought Hannah into the world of Nicholas, Duke of Trenton. Although she is still a child he is struck by her beauty, but before he is able to discover more she flees his home, leaving him with a sense of loss and a feeling that his life has been touched by something he has yet to understand."
Book 4 in the series, "Dangerous Encounter," is due for publication in 2021/22
Betrayal - a contemporary romance set in Canada has been re-edited and re-released in September 2021.
Betrayal tells the story of Jessica a disillusioned and betrayed lawyer who abandoned her inhibitions in a one night stand with "Grey." A night of passion where she discovers a connection between them that can’t be denied. But she leaves before he awakes, knowing she will never see him again. But then her one night stand turns out to be more when Grey comes back into her life, offering her a new start, but a discovery threatens to destroy any future happiness. She must make a choice. Can she trust again, and can she save the man who has stolen her heart?
The Saunders series.
Book 1, "Saunders-Lies and Deception," has now been re-edited and re-released in August 2021 and is available from all Amazon sites. This is the first book in a trilogy/family saga about the Saunders family and is set in the beautiful township of Banff in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Book 1 follows Sarah and Jeff as secrets buried within the Saunders family are unearthed. Secrets that change the family forever.
Book 2, "Saunders-Endings and Beginnings," has also been re-edited and re-released in September 20212. This follows the Saunders family and mainly Corey Saunders as his perfect life begins to fall apart.
Book 3, "Saunders-Sisters and Lovers," is also now re-edited and re-released in September 2021. This follows the expanding Saunders family and is the last in the series.
(Books 1, 2 and 3 are available in print from Amazon.)
Time Travel novel "Duchess Thro Time," was published independently on the 8th November 2021.
This tells the story of Kate Thornton who suddenly finds herself transported from 2009 back to 1811. Accused of being a French spy she finds herself under the protection of Marcus Welford, 6th Duke of Halford. As they become close danger forces Marcus to extend his protection to marriage. A marriage of convenience that soon turns to more. But can this marriage work, or must Marcus send her back to her own time? (Available as an e-book and in print)
Website – https://lesleyfield.com
Author Page Lesley Field @lesleyfield2author
Personal - https://www.facebook.com/lesley.field.79
Twitter - Lesley Field @lesleyfield2
Amazon Author page link for all books
Lesley can also be found on Instagram and Goodreads