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An Interview with Self-Published Author - Richard Todd

Today in our self-published-author interview series, we talk to Richard Todd, author of the mystery, “Raincloud.”

Tell us about your self-published book and where it is available.

Raincloud is a mystery thriller that examines the juxtaposition between two Ontario communities: the dedicated First Nations settlement Sky Lake and a mainstream town called Scanlon Creek.

When First Nations youths begin turning up murdered in remote areas between the two communities, tensions rise to terrifying proportions within the violent criminal underworld of police corruption, drug dealing, and depravity. Hank Gillespie, a nightmare-ridden, mixed-race detective from Scanlon Creek, finds in own life in jeopardy as he attempts to find the murderer.

Raincloud is available online at Amazon, B&N, Chapters-Indigo, and through my website at It's also available at select bookstores in Toronto.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

Like many first-time Canadian authors, I was becoming stonewalled by the ever-evolving publishing industry. It's hard to get a big company to gamble on a relative unknown. I understand that it's a business. But I also believed in my story and decided that if the traditional publishers weren't interested I'd have to do it myself, lest my book sit on my hard drive, untouched by eyes other than my own. I did my research and found the best package for me.

What was your biggest challenge to overcome in self-publishing your book and why?

Being self-published, especially in fiction, carries a certain stigma to it. There's an industry attitude that the writer can't be any good if they had to self-publish. The unfortunate thing is that in many cases it's true and you're guilty by association.

Plus, retail bookshelves are getting smaller, catering more to the blockbusters than the potentially great unknowns. It's the same with large media book reviewers; they rarely cover a self-published book with the wealth of traditionally-published books they could cover.

Fortunately, we live in a digital age where authors can be more self-reliant. It's a lot of work to get noticed, but the rewards are as big as what you put in. Except that I won't be buying a swimming pool with the revenue anytime soon.

What has been the best part about self-publishing your book and why?

Getting new readers, hearing great things from current readers and receiving glowing reviews from indie book reviewers. I booked a whole Chapters-Indigo tour in the Toronto area and appeared at various book festivals. I speak at schools and writers' groups. I've met so many supportive people I wouldn't have otherwise.

And I can honestly say I did it all myself. I made it happen. And when people tell me they are awaiting my next novel, The Orphans of the Creek, to be available, it makes all the effort worthwhile. And I've been able to give back too. I wrote a ten-part series called "Adventures in Self-Publishing" on my blog at I also interviewed other indie authors to help give them exposure. It's great to be part of a community.

What advice do you have for other writers who are self-publishing their book?

Invest in pre-production editing. If you go with one of the self-publishing firms (as opposed to doing literally everything yourself) either go in with edited work or purchase their editing services. It sounds like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many self-published authors skip this crucial step. And avoid the marketing packages these companies offer. They are ridiculously expensive and offer next to nothing in return. You can do much better on your own and for pennies in comparison.

Lastly, if you've worked hard on a manuscript, your dream is to get it on people's bookshelves. Self-publishing companies know this, especially if you're a first-timer. Live your dreams but don't let them cloud your thoughts. Choose wisely.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Like indie movies and record labels, it only seems logical that self-published books will be more prevalent as time progresses. And it's great that big business is starting to lose control over what we read. There are so many unheard voices out there that will hopefully be available to us all.

Thanks for your great insights and tips Richard! We wish you all the best with your current and future books!

Do you need help marketing and selling your self-published book? Please write to me here or at I can help!