Today I’m chatting to Nick Cook, author of the popular teen novels – the CLOUD RIDERS series. Nick's debut novel, Cloud Riders, and the two sequels were published by Three Hares publishing. Recently, Nick has made the exciting decision to move over into indie publishing, beginning with his next series. You can learn more about Nick's reasons for moving over to indie in his announcement video:
L.M: Hello Nick! Lovely to speak to you again! I’m very grateful you agreed to this guest author slot on my blog. To get us started, please could you tell us a little about your traditional publishing experience with the CLOUD RIDERS series?
Nick: It’s the dream of so many authors to be traditionally published and I was no different. I worked for years towards that goal, first, becoming one of Cornerstones signed authors. Through them I later secured my agent (Eve White) and then went through the dance with the major publishers (oh so close). However, as one author told me, you can be a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond with a smaller publisher. And so, it was Cloud Riders eventually landed me a publishing deal with Three Hares and it was a fantastic working relationship. But of course, getting a publishing deal is just the start of the hard work. Countless forms of PR, literary events, school workshops...the list goes on and on. However, the trick, as always, is to try to balance all of this with the actual writing. After all, that’s why we became writers in the first place!
L.M: Is it your intention to move to indie publishing completely, or are you looking at a more hybrid career?
Nick: At this stage, my plan is to move entirely across to indie publishing. I will never say never to a traditional publisher, but the ability to be agile and move quickly has an incredible appeal. One of the frustrations for many traditionally published authors is how long it takes for their books to come to market after they finish them. This publishing schedule slot problem vanishes when you’re an indie author. You write the book, and in my case, get it professionally edited, then, with your PR plan in place, you can hit publish. The immediacy this brings will be a breath of fresh air for me. And having a much more direct connection with my readership that indie publishing greatly facilitates, will be invigorating, and, as an author, can feed on that energy when writing the next book. Wonderful.
L.M: Despite being traditionally published, did you find that you had to do a lot of self-promotion? If so, how did you approach it, and do you think that the same methods could be applied to self-publishing?
Nick: There is lots and lots of promotion to do if you're traditionally published. However, that is as nothing compared to what an indie author has to do. As I expand my skill sets in readiness to self-publish Fractured Light, I find myself in awe of the indie publishing community. Seriously, these guys rock, and I have probably learnt more from them in terms of publishing in three months, than I have in four years of working with a traditional publisher. The levels of professionalism that I’ve encountered with many indie authors is astonishing.
L.M: What main differences do you anticipate between traditional publishing and indie in the way you will work as a writer?
Nick: The obvious one is that, in theory, you venture into it alone. However, in many ways you're really not. The indie community is incredibly welcoming, and they readily share information and compares notes about what works and what doesn’t work. It’s basically been fantastic what I’ve picked up from the indie community since I started down this path, and I’ve been made to feel incredibly welcome.
L.M: Does writing energise or exhaust you?
Nick: Energises, but sometimes I have to dig deep for that. And sometimes I need to remind myself to back off a bit. Life is about balance in all things, and as wonderful as being an author is, life is also about living and having real world life experiences to fuel you in the harder periods.
L.M: One for authors about to be, or have just been published - I have heard some authors say that as soon as they become a published author, they begin to view the creative process as work, and not as enjoyable as they found it when they had no deadlines to work to. Did you ever feel this way?
Nick: That’s very sad to hear, and basically no, I’ve never felt like that. If it just becomes a numbers game, daily word counts, hitting deadlines, then the joy, the spark, the reason you write, will invariably start to dim. Don’t let it. Do whatever you have to to foster that energy. Argue for longer deadlines so that you can breathe between the creation of the words. Sit down and read your own WIP on a Kindle, etc., and see it come to life before your eyes. That’s why we write. Yes, money, a way to pay the bills, is important, but so is loving what you do, and more so if you are to sustain a career as an author.
L.M: Can you talk a little bit about your upcoming publication, FRACTURED LIGHT? We’re all looking forward to reading it!
Nick: Fractured Light has been twelve years in the making. It’s the first book in the new trilogy that will be set in my Multiverse Chronicles which follows on from Cloud Riders. The Cloud Riders trilogy itself is effectively a prequel to Fractured Light, and without giving too much away for anyone who hasn’t finished Eye of the Storm, Fractured Light is directly linked to a major event at the end of the EOTS. In fact, in addition to this new trilogy, I’m also working on a novella called The Signal that ties the two trilogies directly together. The Signal will eventually be available for free download.
The Multiverse Chronicles is upper YA/Adult in tone. This wasn’t necessarily a deliberate decision on my part, but more that’s the direction creatively that the stories needed to move in. It certainly feels like the right tone when reading through the new stories. The intention is for the Multiverse Chronicles to include a number of series that all interconnect. One day I may even return to revisit some of the Cloud Riders characters in spin off series. If you want a comparison, and this has been said by my editor Catherine Coe, the nearest books out there to Fractured Light would be the 5th Wave and Gone series. If you liked those books I think you’ll love Fractured Light.
L.M: We have to know – tell us what your favourite story ever told, book or script is, and why?
Nick: Now in terms of influence at a key age, it would have to be the discovery of Lord of the Rings in my early teens. That book lit my imagination up to such an extent that when I finished reading it, I actually started writing my first book. I abandoned that early attempt after ten pages! But the seed was sown and the desire to become a writer one day never left me. However, my all-time favourite book(s) is actually the Dark Materials trilogy. Philip Pullman's imagination is simply incredible and second to none. The concept of the daemon is simply genius. And it was this series that made me think seriously about becoming an author (and it was at the height of my career in computer games that I left to become a full-time writer). So basically, it’s Tolkien and Pullman’s fault that I do what I do today!
L.M: And finally, is there anything that you would like to say to your loyal readers about your move to indie publishing?
Nick: That it will only get better from here! That if you loved the Cloud Riders trilogy, that was only the tip of iceberg and there is so much more to discover in what comes next. I always planned a huge story arc and I literary can’t wait to reveal ideas and concepts that have been years in the planning. I’m also looking forward to having a much more active relationship with my readers, one that indie publishing in particular can bring. I want to hear your ideas, to talk about my work in progress, and most of all, to listen. Words are wonderful, but when they take on a life of their own in the reader's imagination, that’s when the alchemy happens. And that right there is one of the many reasons that I’m an author.
L.M: Many thanks, Nick! We’re looking forward to all your future publications!
If you would like read more about Nick Cook’s work, please visit his website at http://www.nick-cook.net