This month's conversation is with my good friend, Katherine
Roberts.. That chat took place in 2013.
Kath, I've often told the tale of how we sat in the garden at Charney and talked about the traditional publishing industry's coming doom and what we could do about it. And it was you who first alerted me to the possibilities of self-publishing on Kindle, and started Authors Electric -- and then, not so long after it started, you got a four-book contract with Templar and left us to plough our independent way alone. But now you've self-published your wonderful I Am The Great Horse, so you're working both sides of the street -- or field, if I continue the ploughing metaphor. What are your thoughts on the whole trad vs indie thing?
Kath Roberts:- Well, the four books with Templar -- the Pendragon Legacy quartet about King Arthur's daughter -- are all delivered now (three are published, the fourth "Grail of Stars" comes out in October). But with two books coming out each year and associated promotional duties, the deadlines came thick and fast and left me very little time to think about anything else. I also wanted the focus to be on my new series rather than my backlist, and so I hopped over the field gate -- sorry! Meanwhile, it seems Authors Electric grew quite happily without me.
Sue Price:- Cross-pollination? Do you mean when a big publisher gives a contract to an Indie?
Sue Price:- Yeah, the formerly published are going indie, and the indies are signing with big firms – a-a-and all spin round and face the other way!
Katherine Roberts:- Fifteen minutes of fame? Maybe. But I actually think not much has changed. I've noticed the same disillusionment among indies on the KDP forum, just as you get disillusioned writers who have been traditionally published but not made their first million yet. The difference is the indies don't have anyone to blame except themselves.
Katherine Roberts:-Thank you for your kind words! Yes, looking back I'd agree I Am The Great Horse is a book that's hard to place on a traditional shelf, and I'm grateful to Chicken House for publishing it once they realised this. That was a brave thing to do. Since they are essentially a children's list, they decided to aim the original book at the (girly) horse market, which made sense at the time -- yet it seemed a shame to miss out on those adult historical readers who might enjoy a novel about Alexander the Great, as well as boys who might like to read about his adventures.