Today I'm interviewing Robert Clear, author of the very funny dark comedy, The Cambridge List. Welcome, Robert!
1. How did you get the idea for The Cambridge List?
During my time as a student at Cambridge I saw the idiosyncrasies of the university at first hand. I can’t remember what made me think ‘this is the perfect setting for the Greek gods to cause a bit of havoc,’ but once the idea took hold I couldn’t resist turning it into a story. I’ve always been interested in Ancient Greek mythology too, so perhaps I was just looking for an excuse to hold forth on it for about 100,000 words!
2. Why did you decide to self publish your book?
Funnily enough when I was writing The Cambridge List I didn’t have a clue about the possibilities offered by Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, etc. It wasn’t until I had finished the manuscript and was in the process of editing that I turned my mind to how I might get it into the hands of readers. Self-publishing appealed to me because it’s free and fast. Just register your literary masterpiece on your chosen platform and it’s up there for the world to swoon over or ignore as it pleases.
3. What are some of the pros of going the indie route when it comes to publishing books?
It costs nothing, it’s fast and it allows you to jazz up your cover/description/etc. should you need to do so. Those, at least, are the benefits from the perspective of an author. As far as the reading public are concerned the benefits of writers going down the indie route are that there’s now an entire market of exciting, experimental, genre-bending literature to explore. One of the most common comments I’ve heard from e-reader converts is ‘I can’t believe how much great stuff there is from unknown authors.’ I think all new writers should be encouraged by that.
4. What is your advice for anyone else thinking about writing a book?
Do it! Time and again I’ve heard people tell me that they’d love to write a book but don’t think they’re capable. That may or may not be true, but if you have a story and you think other people would be interested in it then why not give it a go? Once I decided I wanted to write a novel I was determined to ignore the sense of mystique that’s sometimes attached to the process of writing. I just set myself the task and slogged away. I suppose that’s the best thing I can recommend.
5. Any advice about indie publishing?
It’s still a relatively recent venture for me, so there’s definitely a learning curve ahead (I hope). From what I’ve experienced, however, I think the things that potential indie authors should pay close attention to are price and the ‘back cover.’ I’ve experimented with both and found that the former should be low (The Cambridge List is 86p in the UK and $1.36 in the US) whilst the latter should be snappy. Also, stating explicitly that your novel is a romantic comedy, political thriller, urban fantasy or whatever is blindingly obvious but very easy to forget!