Let’s kick things off with a rundown of you and your books. In other words, tell us about yourself and what you write!
I’m Joey Paul, I’m 34 and I’m disabled. I write young adult fiction, have nine books published in ebook and paperback format and have written another five and am working on books fifteen and sixteen at the moment – am about seventy percent through both of them. I write mostly crime and mystery with a paranormal twist, though I have written one contemporary romance and an adventure slash magic book as well.
How long have you been writing? And how long have you been publishing?
I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but I seriously started when I was nineteen. I was medically retired from my office job because of my chronic conditions and found that life as a retired teen was pretty boring. In the end I tore apart the first draft of the book I’d written at thirteen and re-wrote huge chunks of it. When I finished that, I wrote a book that had been living in my head for years in ten days and found that I actually rather enjoyed it. I then got the idea for another book, which turned into the Dying Thoughts series and the rest, as they say, is history.
Blackout was first published in August 2005 through Authorhouse, my only goal at the time was to be published. It didn’t matter to me if I made millions (that’d been nice of course!) but just that I could have my book on other people’s bookshelves. I was pretty sure that I would only be able to publish the one book because of the costs involved, but then in 2011, I discovered Amazon KDP and published Blackout and Dying Thoughts – First Touch under my own indie label Bug Books, on Kindle and then started to add some more of my backlog. Nowadays I publish once a year even though I could feasibly do more than that because of a number of reasons. My health limits how much writing I get done, I don’t want to run out of backlog, and the expense of editing and proofreading all add up. I may though, in the future start to do two books a year.
What “kind” of writer would you describe yourself as?
I am a self-published indie author. I have my own label – Bug Books – but there’s only me under that label. I employ a cover artist, an editor and proofreader, but for now it’s just me actually being published. I would, one day, love to extend it as a small press, but that’s a plan for the far future.
How did you decide what publishing route to take for your books?
I decided to go with Authorhouse because at the time, my health was declining and it was a possibility that I would become too sick to write. When I went through Amazon KDP, I realised that I wanted to be in control of when my books were released, how much they cost, and covers and all of that. I also wanted to avoid a certain level of pressure and stress with other people’s deadlines. My health is fragile and it doesn’t do well with lots of stress. I knew that going through a traditional publishing house would mean I would have to learn to work with deadlines, so I decided to stay indie. That way if I was struggling, I could set my own deadlines and it meant that I was more in control of my books. It’s been a steep learning curve and I have made some newbie mistakes that probably would’ve been avoided if I’d gone traditional, but lesson learned!
What one piece of advice would you give to anyone looking to do the same?
Don’t publish before an editor, proofreader etc has gone over your work. Don’t just put your first draft up there because no matter how hard you work at it, there will be mistakes. There will probably still be mistakes after a professional edit and proof, but the name of the game is to make those as few as possible. Yes it costs money, yes it’s not easy and yes it takes time, but you will do better if you make your book as polished as it can be.
If you could make one decision differently in your publishing career so far, what would it be?
I would’ve read a lot more about how to go about polishing a manuscript and making it a book. I would’ve taken more time to make sure that every book I released had an excellent cover and was as edited as it could be.
In terms of writing and publishing, what’s something new thing you’d like to try in the future?
I’d like to try audiobooks. At the moment it’s lack of time and funds to do so that are holding me back, as well as horror stories of it going wrong. Writing wise I’d like to do another series and focus more on the paranormal than the crime or mystery angle. At the moment I’m writing my first dystopian and am pondering it being a duo or trilogy, as far as I can tell, it will have at least a sequel if nothing more simple because the ideas are standing up on their own enough to be able to be continued.
What’s next for you?
Next up is the editing process and release stuff ready for book ten. It will be published sometime in the summer of 2017, though I may aim for June rather than July simply because I have my first ever signing event in October 2017 and I want it to be ready in paperback for that. My cover artist just finished the cover and I love it! She had been working on new covers for my past releases, and is now up to date and so working on covers for books I’ve finished but are waiting to enter the editing stage. I’m really excited about book ten, which is the fifth in the Dying Thoughts series with where it takes Tara and what it means for her.
What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?
I love writing in the crime and mystery genre. I love reading it, and although most of the books I read are not young adult, I do like reading other people’s takes on solving a crime and the twists and turns that come from that. For a long time I didn’t really realise that I even wrote in the paranormal genre until someone else pointed it out and I was like “oh yeah, that’s what that’s called!” and have found that I do dabble in it quite a bit in both my series and outside of it.
While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?
In my first book, Blackout, I identified with Lisa, and Tally. When I started the Dying Thoughts series it became clear to me that Tara was always going to be more like me than I intended. As time has gone on, and as I write the final book in her series now, I realise that she is both very much like me and very much not at the same time. Whenever I start a new book, I feel like, because I generally write in first person, that I am the character and I am viewing this world of theirs for the first time. It helps me to know what to include and what not to include. It’s part of the job that I really enjoy!
Which writers inspire you?
Tradtionally wise, I love Harlan Coben, Kathy Reichs and Sue Grafton. All three have inspired me with their works and they are three authors I could read and read and never get sick of.
Indie author wise, there are people like Jana Petken, who turned me on to Historical Fiction as a genre I would enjoy, Diana Febry, who writes mysteries that leave you guessing and that are set in my area of the UK, and finally, Jennifer Loiske, who writes young adult paranormal and whose work always keeps me up at night. They are also three authors whose work I could get lost in and never feel like it was time to go home.
Joey Paul is a 34 year-old, disabled indie author and a recent University graduate with a BA (Hons) in Health & Social Care. She loves to write and is at the moment working on her thirteenth and fourteenth books, as well as preparing her ninth book for publication. She started writing young adult crime & paranormal fiction when she was medically retired from her job at the age of 19. Her first book, Blackout, was released in 2005 and after a brief time away, her second one, Dying Thoughts – First Touch was released in 2011. When not writing, she’s either reading or out and about in the middle of nowhere looking for Tupperware with the aid of a GPS, otherwise known as geocaching.