This month, author Dianne Blacklock spoke with Independent Publishing about self-publishing her latest book, after having nine novels traditionally published.
Describe your latest book in under 50 words.
Jack and Kate is a story of first love and second chances, set against the backdrop of Sydney in the 1980s, the fashion houses of Paris, strife-torn Ethiopia, and all the way back to a house overlooking the beach on the picturesque south coast.
I had nine novels published traditionally, and while I’m grateful for that experience, I wasn’t enjoying the relentless cycle of producing a new title every year, preferably even more! I have friends and family in the industry—therefore plenty of ‘insider’ insight—and it was definitely much less of a risk for me as I already had a readership. So, it felt like the right time to take the reins myself.
What year did you start and where are you based?
I was first traditionally published back in 2002, but after having my rights reverted, I self-published my entire backlist in January 2018.
I’m based in Sydney.
How many people did you contract on your book and what did you do yourself?
So, I am in the lucky position to have sons in publishing! This was a major factor in my decision to self-publish, because I had seen first-hand how it could be done professionally. My eldest son, Joel, runs Critical Mass Consulting, a one-stop shop that provides editing services, designers and typesetters, distribution and marketing—so while I had access to all these services, I only had to deal with Joel. Another son, Patrick, is a graphic designer with Red Tally Studios, and he did all my amazing covers.
What makes your book unique?
The 1980s setting is something that seems to have really resonated with readers. Apart from that, I hope it’s unique because I wrote it! Like any author, I bring my own unique voice to the story, which has helped me develop a loyal audience.
What has been your biggest success?
Having the rights to all nine novels reverted—that effectively gave me my own ‘small business’, and a solid base from which to launch Jack and Kate a few months later.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Without question—self-promotion. Having started my author career with an assigned publicist and a whole marketing department at my disposal (or my publisher’s disposal at least), I still find it very unnatural to promote myself, yet I understand how vitally important it is for a self-published author.
What would be your top tip for those starting out in self-publishing?
Get professional help, and be prepared to pay for it. ‘Self-published’ does not necessarily mean ‘DIY’.
What will you publish next?
I have a pretty solid idea for a story set in the Hunter Valley, exploring intergenerational relationships, but I’m so busy as an editor, and I love that so much, that it’s difficult to make the time to write. However, the good thing with self-publishing is that I can work to my own schedule, and when I do write another book, I’ll be able to release it as soon as it’s ready to go.