Welcome, Sandy. Tell us about yourself. First of all I’d like to thank Anna for inviting me here today. My name is Sandy Loyd. I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, but left after high school to see the world. In my earlier life, before I started writing, I was a sales rep for a major manufacturer and I traveled a great deal. I was able to live and work in some fabulous places in the US, including South Florida. I’ve met a lot of people and have seen a lot of places, which is a good thing because I now have a million stored memories to draw from for my novels. I currently live in Kentucky and am able to write full time since I’ve recently become an empty-nester. But I’ll always be a western girl at heart, so I try to get back to the Wasatch Mountains every year to renew my muse.
I never wanted to be a writer. It seemed like a lot of drudgery. But I’m an avid reader and according to my family, I’ve always got my head buried in a book. Or did have until I started writing. Now, I’m always on my laptop. What got me writing was that I didn’t enjoy the books I was reading. So, I challenged myself. Rather than complain, I decided to do better. Of course, that’s when I realized how extremely talented and gifted writers are. I’ve worked harder at writing than I ever did selling, and the drudgery just disappeared. I love everything about writing now. Well, almost everything. I hate revising.
You and me both! How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
To date I’ve published eight books: four contemporary romances and four romantic mystery/suspense/thrillers. My favorite is my latest release, A Matter of Trust. I love the romance in the story. I love the plot and the characters. It’s a fun book to read and even more fun to write.
How has your experience with self-publishing been?
It has been an awesome experience. I’m filled with energy to do what I love doing. My muse has been lifted up with writing and promoting. I have no time to devote to querying for something I no longer need, thanks to Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iTunes and Smashwords.
I feel the same way.What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?
Do your homework and make sure your book isn’t one of those poorly edited stories. There are a million places to go for help if you’re thinking about doing it.
And my experience has been that it is a sharing community with lots of people willing to offer advice and expertise. What was the deciding factor in self-publishing your books?
I was at a conference two years ago that focused on going it alone and I realized that it was a fit for me. But, my books needed much work before I put them out. In the meantime, epubbing exploded and is still exploding.
The process for self-publishing is extensive. That’s one of the negatives of going it alone. You have to do everything yourself. Fortunately, there are writing loops like Indieromance@yahoo.com, Selfpublish@yahoo.com, & Authornetwork@yahoo.com. They provide a fountain of necessary information such as references for editors, cover designers, and formatters. I belong to several RWA chapters and within those chapters and the above loops I found what I needed. I used KelliAnn Morgan’s Inspire Creative Services for my first three covers and I used Judi Fennel at www.formatting4u.com to format them. I learned how to upload them myself because with eight books and more in the works, having someone do it for you can get expensive, especially when it takes time to recoup the expenses. I use Bulletproofing for my editor, but like most good editors, she’s booked more than a year in advance. I think Judi and KelliAnn are really busy too. Don’t let that stop you. There are others out there just waiting to help and the resources are there to help find them. Once a book is ready to publish, the true work begins because then you have to sell it.
Great advice. All self-pubbed books are rumored to be shoddily edited. What do you say to that?
I say that’s totally misleading and wrong. Too many self-pubbed authors are hitting best sellers lists and the people who put them there don’t buy shoddily-edited books. On the other hand, there are plenty of traditionally pubbed that books are shoddily-edited for sale. Good and bad writing is everywhere. Newspapers are notorious for bad writing. I’ve recently started reading more self-published authors and I’ve found many I love and will read anything they write. In the long run, readers decide what they like. Poorly-edited self-pubbed books won’t sell any better than traditionally published works.
What advice can you offer readers of self-pubbed books in making a decision on what to read?
Read the blurbs first. It that interests you, then read the first few pages. A poorly-written book is usually obvious from the first page. What I find interesting is that too many people who don’t like the subject matter or how the author presents the work might consider it poor writing, when in reality it is voice. I haven’t clicked on an eBook yet that didn’t let me know in advance whether or not it might be something I’d enjoy.
Do you have critique partners?
Yes. What makes a critique group work is to have a well- rounded group of writers who are at a similar skill level. Other writers can help with all those things that make up bad writing – like plot holes, no character development or a story that doesn’t flow. They will also tell you if your characters are likable or not and if their actions and thoughts make sense.
Do you belong to a writing organization?
Yes. Writing organizations are a writer’s salvation and joining one is the best thing any writer can do. I belong to RWA, Louisville Romance Writers, Utah Romance Writers, Kiss of Death, From the Heart Romance Writers and Central Ohio Fiction Writers. I love them all and have met life-long friends. More importantly, I have learned the craft of writing through them. I’ve taken at least a hundred on-line courses that all RWA chapters offer. I attend my local chapter’s monthly meetings. LRW is a small chapter full of talented people who are willing to share their knowledge. This year LRW can boast of a RITA finalist and a Golden Heart finalist. Conferences (both national and regional) are also a great place to learn about craft and the business of writing. I try to go to at least three conferences every year. If you surround yourself with writers and continue writing, your skill level can’t help but improve.
Where can readers find your books?
I’m available at most online retailers for both eBooks and print copies of my books.
Author page at Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/author/sandyloyd
My website URL is www.sandyloyd.com.
Links to A Matter of Trust:
Amazon at http://amzn.to/XWJsZ1
Barnes & Noble Nook – http://bit.ly/14bVJxe
iTunes – http://bit.ly/XuM9OS