5 Questions with Kaza Kingsley
By Maria Schneider
Kaza Kingsley has the kind of success story that writers aspire to.
The author of the Erec Rex YA fantasy series, Kingsley self-published the first two books in her series, sold 30,000 books, and recently landed an amazing eight book deal with Simon & Schuster. They’re re-releasing her first two books in paperback this April and her third book, Erec Rex: The Search for Truth, will be released by Simon & Schuster in hardcover this summer.
Here, Kingsley answers five questions and shares her advice for other authors who are interested in publishing on their own.
1. How did you learn so much about publishing your own book?
It wasn’t easy! You have to know what your limitations are before you start a big project like publishing, both with time and financially. Once you determine that, then your pathway will become more clear. Like most artistic ventures, it helps to have a good vision of the end product that you want to produce. Going with a self-publishing service may be right for you if you don’t plan on reaching out to the mass market with your product, and you don’t have a lot of time on your hands. But if you really want to plunge in all the way, the sky (and your own imagination) is the limit on what you can do!
When I originally put out the first Erec Rex book, I personally used about every piece of information that was available to me. There are some great books on publishing available at most bookstores, and they are a great place to start. Also, look online for more good and free advice! There is no “one source” that will tell you everything that you need to know. It’s a learning process, and hopefully a fun ride as well. It was for me!
2. Is it difficult to find the time to promote and tend to the business details when you’re committed to writing a book a year?
Yes! You would think that a year is more than enough time to write a book, but with all of the pre-planning that goes in as well as the actual writing time, there is not much left over for everything else. Book promotion itself can be a full time job! Each author has their own favorite ways to promote, and it’s best to concentrate on those, whether it’s more of a web presence or live interaction with readers. Unfortunately you have to prioritize because there isn’t time to do it all!
3. I know you’ve done other writing in the past—short stories, etc. Any thoughts of doing other kinds of writing now, or have you found your genre in YA fantasy?
I am always thinking of other projects that I want to do—but at the same time I love where I’m at now! Writing Erec Rex has been the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. And now that it’s receiving international recognition I’m beside myself!
What I will probably do is a small project when I’m done writing Book Four, which I am working on now. Then take time out to do school visits, fantasy conventions, and meet readers. It’s a crazy life, going from being alone in a room, writing, to really being out there. But it’s fun!
4. Do you enjoy the promotional aspects required of an author or would you rather be writing?
You know, I really do like that side of things. Not all authors do. But for me, coming face to face with readers, and hearing from them in emails and online, is one of the best rewards of writing. It’s also such a nice break for me to get out and around a lot of people after being holed away writing for so long!
5. Why did you decide to go the traditional publishing route after successfully publishing and selling more than 30,000 books on your own?
It wasn’t always the plan. As long as my books were getting out and read I was happy. But after a point I realized that they could go a lot further with a large publisher. I contacted a new agent—my agent at Writers House had left—and he sold my series in an eight book deal to Simon and Schuster. Which was really cool, and pretty unusual! I’m so happy to have ended up there. It’s a fantastic group, and it has been so much fun to have a team of people as excited about the series as I am!