Lexi, what inspired you to write a book?
I’ve always read a great deal, but never thought I’d be able to write – my favourite authors set the bar too high. And after all, it’s insanely hubristic to believe thousands of people will be entertained by the contents of your mind, which is what a novelist has to believe. So I’d never have written, but my daughter suggested we write a fantasy together; I found it totally addictive and couldn’t stop.
What is your writing process?
Ideas are like dreams, they slip away unless you commit them to paper. I always have a pen and paper in my handbag and beside the bed. The bath, too, once I really get on a roll, to write down damp snatches of dialogue or plot points as they arrive.
I write thousands of words of notes before I start a novel, but don’t plan chapter by chapter. The beginning, the end and the main characters is enough. I write when I can, and aim for 500 words a day. I don’t obsess about word count.
Any tips for ‘would be’ authors?
Join a critique site once you’ve written a book – probably not before, as you don’t want to be daunted by too much advice about the ‘right’ way to write. Remember, your first draft will need a lot of work, even if like me you polish each chapter as you go. Beta readers are hugely helpful; you will recognize what advice to take and what to ignore.
Did you ever consider getting published the traditional way?
Yes. I allowed myself a year to try to get an agent with Remix, as I knew it was good. Some agents liked it, but didn’t take it on for one reason or another. Mainstream publishing isn’t necessarily the Holy Grail. Unless your book is perceived as a hot property and you get a big advance, it will linger spine out on the shelves, while customers pick up the heavily promoted books on the tables at the front of the shop. After several months, new books will take its place, but the publisher will retain all rights, including ebook rights.
Success so far?
I’ve had total ebook sales of over 38,000 in under a year, and probably made more money than the advance I’d have been offered as a new author. I’ve signed a book deal with Könyvmolyképző Kiadó, who will bring out a Hungarian translation of Remix, hardback, paperback and ebook, in 2012. As yet neither of my books has been made into a film…
Occasionally, readers who have enjoyed the books email me, and this always makes my day. I know most of the people who read them will buy my next. I just have to write it.