Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published. Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
I became an author because I love writing. I enjoy creating interesting and compelling stories that let the reader escape to another time and place. As a historical fiction writer, I like to explore the past so that we can potentially better understand the future.
I was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and my grandparents were European Jews who fled their home as Hitler rose to power. It’s their story that inspired me to write Across Great Divides.
Is this your first book?
No, I published a book called Once Upon a Time in Venice for middle-grade readers in 2007. Across Great Divides is my second book. You can find out more by visiting my website at http://www.monique-roy.com/portfolio.html.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
A long time ago, my grandfather gave me a printed copy of about 10-pages of typed notes on how my grandparents fled Europe and their situation. I thought it was a fascinating story, and I decided years ago that I would write a book based on the experiences of my family. I was born in Cape Town and I also wanted to include a story about an immigrant family moving to this beautiful city and what they had to endure to build a new life in a foreign country.
I am a self-published author. I spent many, many hours and months searching for an agent and publisher. I got some response, but in the end, I chose to do it on my own. Self-publishing gives the author 100 percent control and it can be lucrative. Everything is a risk, but I wanted to build a platform and introduce my books to the world on my own. I am not closed to traditional publishing. Self-publishing helped me launch my books and begin my journey as a published author. We will see where the road leads in the future.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
Across Great Divides took approximately two and a half years to write and publish, from draft to completion. I really like the writing process, and I spent countless hours doing research, which I also enjoyed. I learned a lot about the World War Two era, apartheid, etc. The best moment is when you hold your published book in your hands for the first time.
I don’t love formatting the content, but it is par for the course. It can be very manual and time-intensive, but it has to be done to create a quality book.
I must admit that I spent several months reaching out to agents and many never even responded. I know that is something I should not take personally as agents probably receive hundreds, if not thousands, of queries, but sometimes I felt very discouraged. In the end, you must have pride and confidence in your work and never give up hope.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
It is a great time to be an author, self-published or traditionally published. The publishing industry is in transformation. With the Internet, social media and Amazon (and e-books), all authors, whether traditionally published or self-published, must self-promote and become entrepreneurs. As booksellers and publishers are financially constrained because of the changing industry, it’s more likely that authors will need to focus more and more on marketing. Most writers today are extremely familiar with social media because book sales are driven by word-of-mouth and personal recommendation. If you have not harnessed social media yet, you must do so right away. Print-on-demand provides self-published authors with advantages like no returns and leaves mainstream publishers competing with digital prices.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Yes! Build your writer platform. Write a well-written and intriguing story, get it edited, and launch it to the world. Self-publishing pays a higher royalty rate. A traditional publisher pays 15-20 percent of net revenues and Kindle ebooks, by contrast, pays 35 percent or 70 percent. In this digital world, you can be published, and get your book out to eager readers and build a fan base, just like traditionally-published authors. You have 100 percent control of the cover design, the content, the marketing, etc. The shelf-life of an online book is forever.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Read a lot. Write a lot. Do research on the publishing industry. Join a writing group. Write what you are passionate about and never give up!
Monique holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is the author of a middle-grade book Once Upon a Time in Venice. Monique loves to travel, play tennis, pursue her passion for writing, and read historical fiction. In 2008, she was chosen by the American Jewish Committee’s ACCESS program to travel to Berlin, Germany, on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, to explore German and Israeli relations along with 20 other Jewish professionals from across the U.S.
Monique was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and her grandparents were European Jews who fled their home as Hitler rose to power. It’s their story that inspired her to write Across Great Divides, her newest novel.
What attracts Monique to historical fiction is taking the factual record as a structure and letting imagination run wild to fill it all in. Historical fiction lets you escape to another time and place; and Monique likes to explore the past so that we can potentially better understand the future.
Her latest book is the historical fiction, Across Great Divides.
Visit her website at www.monique-roy.com.