Annette Gisby grew up in a small town in Northern Ireland, moving to London when she was seventeen. She writes in multiple genres and styles, anything from romance to thriller or erotica to horror, even both at the same time. When not writing, she enjoys reading, cinema, theatre and travelling the world despite getting travel sick on most forms of transport, even a bicycle. Sometimes you might find her playing Dragon Quest or The Sims computer games or watching Japanese Anime. She lives in Hampshire with her husband, a collection of porcelain dolls, cuddly toys and enough books to fill a library. It’s diminishing gradually since the advent of ebooks, but still has a long way to go.
What inspires you to write?
I’m inspired a lot by music and by other books. I’ve always loved reading and that’s how my writing began, I wanted to write things so that I’d always have something to read later. Ideas can come from anywhere, it might be an overheard conversation, an article in a newspaper or magazine or the words what if? They are the starting off point for many of my stories. What if are two words that inspire the imagination. I have so many ideas going round in my head that if I didn’t write them down I think I’d go mad. I just have to write.
Tell us about your writing process.
I usually have a vague outline in my head, but more often than not I just sit down and write to see what happens. The characters have usually been in my head for a while so I’ve got to know them before writing the book. Plans have never really worked out for me. For my romantic suspense novel, I had everything planned out chapter by chapter, but then things detoured as I was writing it and bore no relation to the plan. I had in my plan who the ‘baddie’ was, but when it came to the showdown, it wasn’t him, it was someone else entirely! It was a surprise, but a good one so I left it in.
I seem to work much better without a detailed plan. You can also go back later during editing to fix any plot holes you might find, or character descpriptons where someone suddenly has blue eyes instead of green 🙂
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Well, they talk to me, does that count? If things in the story aren’t going to their liking, they’re quick to tell me. I usually let them have their way, after all it’s their story and they know how they’d react in any given situation.
What advice would you give other writers?
Just two things really: keep reading and keep writing. If you don’t enjoy reading, then you will not enjoy writing, esepcially fiction writing. Good books inspire me, making me wish I could write like that and even bad books have me wondering if I could do better.
Just put yourself in front of the computer or page and start writing. If you find you’re getting distracted by emails or sufing the web, set a kitchen timer for an hour or two and until that timer goes off, do nothing but write. You’ll me amazed how much you can get done without any distractions. Even if you only write a page a day, in a month, that’s thirty pages. It all adds up.
Turn off the self-editor in your head and just write. Don’t worry about how things will work out or if your book will sell or be accepted by a publisher. You can’t sell anything until you’ve written it. Just write as much as you can and polish once you’ve finished the first draft. If I edited as I went along, I’d never get anything finished.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’m a hybrid author, I have self-published and had books published by publishers.
I’ve self-published a lot of my shorter works as they are too short for a lot of publishers’ guidelines, where the minimum can range from 20,000 upwards. Digital publishing has meant that short stories are enjoying a revival, especially in the erotica genre. Before it used to be your only market was magazines who may or not accept your story and a lot of them didn’t accept erotica either.
One of the things I really enjoy with self-publishing that you have control over your book cover. One of my books was with a traditional publisher years ago (they’ve since gone bust before my book was out with them) and the cover they put on it was terrible, a five year old could have done better. It would have had people running in the opposite direction rather than picking up the book.
I’ll see how my work does with publishers and if things don’t work out, I’ll always be able to self-publish in future once my contract expires.
Writers should do what’s best for them and their work. Everyone is different.
What any writer should be wary of, are vanity press companies who charge upwards of $1000 to get your book ‘published’. At places like amazon, smashwords, allromance and lulu, you don’t need to pay an upfront fee, they take a cut of your sales as a percentage. They don’t make any money on your books until you do. Of course, they do have optional things which they charge for, but they are optional, you don’t need to pay them anything to get your book out there.
The original definition of ‘publish’ meant that you made your work available to the public and with lots of digtial platforms nowadays, you can do just that.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think in future a lot more authors are going to go the independent route, especially if they have to do their own promotion and marketing anyway, which a lot of publishers don’t do nowadays.
What do you use?
Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Romance, suspense, erotica, m/m romance, thriller, horror, historical, fantasy, sci-fi
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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