Indie Author Day Interview with Laurel Heidtman
About the Author
Name (real and/or pen):
I write under two names: Laurel Heidtman and Lolli Powell.
As Laurel Heidtman, I write mysteries and thrillers, and as Lolli Powell, I write romances (and soon cozy mysteries).
Name(s) of the book(s) you’ve published and link(s) to purchase:
Books I’ve written as Laurel Heidtman:
The Eden Mystery series:
Catch A Falling Star
Books I’ve written as Lolli Powell:
The Wrong Kind of Man
The Boy Next Door
How long have you been a published author?
I published my first book in 2014.
1. What made you decide to become an indie author? What do you like to write about?
I didn’t start seriously pursuing fiction writing until I retired from outside work, and I decided to go the indie route primarily because of my age. At a writers’ conference I recently attended, an older indie writer on a panel said he chose that route because he was afraid he’d “fall off the perch” before he made it traditionally. I feel the same way.
2. How did you publish your first book?
I’ve published them all myself—the first two or three through KDP, CreateSpace, and Smashwords. Since then, I’ve made them all exclusive to Amazon and published only through KDP and CreateSpace.
3. Did you ever try to submit to traditional publishers? If so, what was your experience like?
Back in the mid-nineties, I submitted two romances to Silhouette (or Harlequin—hard to remember which now). I got rejection letters, but they were personalized ones—one over a page long—which the conventional wisdom said is a good sign you’re almost on the right track. I was a nurse then, but soon after took a technical writing job. Big mistake, since the last thing I wanted to do after writing computer documentation all day was sit back down at the computer and write fiction. I stopped trying.
At the writers conference I went to in August, I did a round table where you provide the first two pages of an unpublished manuscript, and two agents make comments. They fill out a sheet of paper on which they can tell you your work is not yet ready for submission, or it is and they can request more pages. Both requested more pages of mine, which was very encouraging. However, I’ve decided to stick with the indie route because even if everything went smoothly and one of the agents wanted to represent me, it could still be years (or never) before the book saw print. Plus, I’m a control freak when it comes to my own life. I don’t like the idea of giving up rights to my books for the rest of my life and probably beyond, especially considering the fact that most traditionally published authors do not make it big. As an indie, I probably won’t either, but at least any success—and any money—will be all mine.
4. How did you market your first book? Has your process changed with subsequent books?
I marketed the first the same way I’m still marketing—Kindle countdowns, paid ads in newsletters and social media. My husband helps out by telling anyone who will listen that I write books—and I didn’t even put him up to it! :-) I’m always looking for new ways to market and actually enjoy that aspect of being an indie writer.
5. How do you support other indie authors?
I do monthly interviews with other indie authors on my websites, although I’ve temporarily suspended that while I do a Meet the Author countdown leading up to Indie Author Day by posting a different indie author each day. I also do a monthly newsletter in which I advertise my books and books of other indie authors that are on sale, as well as any new releases by me and others.
6. What responses have you received from telling people that you are a writer?
I don’t tell them, but my husband usually manages to work it into the conversation. Some people just go, “Oh, really?” and change the subject, which doesn’t hurt my feelings a bit. I’d be the same way if they told me they were football players. :-) Most seem interested. Let’s face it—even people who don’t like to read (especially people who don’t like to read) are amazed that anyone can actually write hundreds of pages. Those are the people who hated writing papers in school and hated essay tests (my favorite!). Then there are the others who do love reading and want to know about my books, and the ones who are budding writers themselves who want to know how I went about the publishing process.
7. What/who has been your biggest support as an indie author?
My husband, although he is one of those oddballs who doesn’t like to read fiction. :-) But he is supportive and definitely a big promoter of my efforts. And of course, other indie writers—both ones I know personally and ones I’ve met online. The worldwide community of indie writers are a great bunch of people!
8. Quote from a positive review of your work.
One of my favorite reviews was for my thriller, Whiteout. It was an Amazon Verified Purchase review, and as far as I know, I don’t know the reviewer. It read:
“Enjoyable read. Interesting study in characters, each with their own unique quirk, and using the storm as a villain in its own right was brilliant. I totally didn't see the twist near the end coming, although, in retrospect, Ms. Heidtman left clues to lead you there if you were looking for them. I wasn't. Awesome. Just what I like in my suspense and mystery reading.”
All that he mentioned was just what I was trying to achieve. Love it when that happens! :-)