Meet Indie Author of the Month – Lizzie Chantree

Welcome! Every month I feature an Indie author and ask them to tell us a little bit about their books and their writing process. My featured author this month is business mentor, networker and romcom author Lizzie Chantree. So grab yourself a cuppa, get comfy and we’ll get chatting to Lizzie.

Welcome to my blog, Lizzie. Can you tell us what made you decide to become an Indie Author?

I became an author after looking for a way to stay awake at night, as my child was unwell for many years, from a young age. I spent a year of evenings, sitting with a baby monitor, listening to her cough, or breathe, whilst writing my first book, Babe Driven. I filled the book with all of the sunshine and laughter that I didn’t have in my life at that time. Writing the book helped me with my mental health, but then I didn’t have the courage to do anything with it, so I hid it in a cupboard for five years, until my daughter’s health began to improve and her lungs matured. After five years, I contacted three publishers, one offered me a contract and a second also expressed an interest. I ended up turning them down, as I didn’t feel I could give them the time and energy a publisher deserved at that time. I’d read an article about a very successful self-published author and decided that was the way forward for me at that time. Less pressure, I thought! Can you tell I was a novice? Lol! I now know that both sides of publishing need a lot of time and attention.

After I’d written my third book, I approached a publisher about my next book, Ninja School Mum. They traditionally published two of my books. I then signed a contract with an American publisher for another book. In between I self-publish, as traditional publishing can take a while for books to reach the market and I don’t like to leave my wonderful readers, without a new book for too long. My daughter now proudly tells everyone that she was the catalyst for my amazing new career!

Have you ever been traditionally published? If so, can you explain to us the main difference to you as an author, between the two?

I am currently both traditionally and self-published. With a publisher, it really depends on your contract. They organise proofing and editing of your manuscript, design the cover, make up graphics of your book, talk to libraries and bookshops and make your book into paperbacks and audio. Some publishers translate works and show the books at international fairs. As an indie author, this is all down to you. The upside of that is that you make all of the royalties (after marketing costs), you make your own decisions about book covers and pricing and you can publish at your own pace. This can be easier if you have skills to make things like the cover design or do the editing, but otherwise, it can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds. I’m not an editor, so I work with a professional, but I do design my own indie book covers, as my background is in advertising and design.

I really enjoy working with publishers and being part of a team, but as an indie writer, I can follow my own path.

Can you talk us briefly through the processes of publishing your book?

For me, I write the first 20k words by hand and then begin to type. I love the feeling of a pen gliding across a page and my mind flows freely. My handwriting is appalling, so this does not help me later on! I write brief chapter guides and very detailed character notes and then I make it up as I go along.

After the manuscript is complete, it is sent for proofing and then to my editor. When it arrives back, we go through three rounds of edits. Next is writing the blurb and promotional material, then cover design. Formatting comes next. After that I start planning my launches and pricing, as well as social media posts and networking events.

How do you decide on the cover and title for your books?

The title is usually already with me when the first story idea presents itself. I do sometimes change it, but not often. With the cover design, this is my favourite part after writing the book. I love to make covers to match my vision for the book and really enjoy the design process. When my publishers design my books, I don’t ask much of them. They know what they are doing and have a lot of experience, which I’m always happy to learn from. All I do ask, is that the new covers fit with my existing ones, as best they can. My publishers have not changed the titles of my books.

What was the inspiration for your latest book?

The inspiration for my latest book is women and aging. It’s called, The Woman Who Felt Invisible. The main character, Olivia, is over 40 and feels that people literally bump into her without seeing her. She’s lost her dad and her high powered career, through caring for her dad. She finally finds two new jobs, one as a dog sitter to a very weird family and another as a pen supervisor in an IT company, where she works in a tiny cupboard, with an out of date computer. Her new workmates shouldn’t underestimate her though, as from the side lines, she begins to grab her confidence back, show them who she is and she infiltrates all of their lives.

As we age we have so much knowledge and life experience to share, but we can often be seen as past our best, which isn’t true at all. We still have a lot to give and shouldn’t feel underestimated or overlooked.

How difficult do you find it to market your book? What social media platforms do you prefer?

I used to be really worried about book marketing, but now I actually enjoy it. For me it’s all about networking and chatting to my readers. I run seminars to help other authors with their book marketing and have written a book called Networking for Authors, that is full of tips on how my books became international bestsellers.

I am active on Twitter every day (@Lizzie_Chantree) and have a Facebook group, called Lizzie’s Book Group, where readers and writers can support each other. I often give marketing tips in the group and ask the readers about their reading habits, to help the writers who are part of our community.  I do have a Pinterest page, Instagram, TikTok etc, but it’s easy for it to become overwhelming if you try and do it all.

How much of your day does writing and writing-related activities take up?

My day is very flexible and flows around family life. I might write in the morning, go for a walk, then work on social media in the afternoon. As an indie author, half of my time is taken up with marketing, but this is my own choice, as I want my books to find as many readers who might enjoy my stories, as possible.

I visit my Facebook book group at least once a day and run a networking hour (#CreativeBizHour) for creatives on Twitter, every Monday 8-9pm GMT. Some days I might still be writing in the evening, some days I don’t add any words to my manuscripts at all. I try not to overload myself and I think it is very important to find a balance between work and relaxation time.

Thanks for talking to us about your fascinating Indie journey, Lizzie. Wishing you lots of success with your future writing.

Lizzie’s Latest Book: The Woman Who Felt Invisible

Book blurb:

An exciting story of love, romance and tear-jerking reality, from international bestselling author, Lizzie Chantree.

Have you ever felt invisible?

Working as a stationery supervisor and a sitter to a pair of internet famous, delinquent dogs, wasn’t how former cyber-specialist, Olivia, imagined her life turning out. Sitting in a tiny cubicle with a decrepit computer and being overlooked had suited her for a while, but now she was fed up, lonely and determined to make the world ‘see’ her again.

Heartbreaker, Darius, wants to fill Olivia’s days with romance and adventure, but their love of technology has taken them on very different paths, forcing her to leave her past behind
Gorgeous undercover policeman Gabe, is steadfast in finding out if Olivia is part of an online scam. Someone is stealing money from high profile men, but something doesn’t feel right and he suspects someone else is manipulating her life. But why?

Can true love blossom from the most deceptive of starts? Can someone who feels lost, find a way to flourish against all odds?

‘A woman you will root for, from start to finish.’ – Customer review.

‘A story full of scintillating twists and turns! The characters are so quirky and lifelike, the backdrop a fascinating mix, the backstory compelling.’ – Customer review.

‘Wow! Utterly amazing and so, so entertaining!!’ – Amazon review. 

‘Lots of twists and turns, so I found it hard to put the book down. Very enjoyable to read as it kept me guessing!’ – Amazon review. 


More of Lizzie’s books

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About Lizzie

International bestselling author Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, about women with unusual businesses, who are stronger than they realise.

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Thanks so much for dropping by to talk to us, Lizzie. Such an interesting interview. Wishing you much success with your future writing.

Karen King – Writing about the light and dark of relationships.
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