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This blog was featured on 11/19/2019
An Exclusive Interview with Talia Hibbert
Written by
She Writes
November 2019
Written by
She Writes
November 2019

As this month starts winding down we have one more piece of content from our excellent guest editor, Talia Hibbert. In this exclusive interview with She Writes, she talks about her writing routine, her career as an indie author turned traditional and her advice to fellow writers pursuing their dreams while managing chronic illness. This is one you won't want to miss!

Describe your writing routine.

My routine is rather boring. It’s basically the old faithful: Butt in chair. I get up, deal with the necessities, then sit down at my desk and write until lunch. Any other tasks, work-based or personal, are secondary, so they come after lunch. Unless I’m on a tight deadline—then I write all day!

What is the first thing you can remember writing?

At school, we had to write a poem about our parental figures for Mother’s Day. I wrote one comparing my mum to a lemon, because she cleaned the house with lemon-scented projects. Cleaning is very important to her. She framed it and put it on the wall.

Before Chloe you established your own indie publishing house. Can you talk about your journey through indie publishing?

I love the challenges and flexibility of indie publishing. When I started, I balanced my analysis of the market with the time and budget I had available (both of which were quite small) to find a path that would work for me. On top of that, I was developing my craft as a writer. Everything I did was experimental, and I was constantly learning. I’m able to apply each lesson to the next project, and my business has grown in line with my experience. Plus, the indie author community is so tight-knit and great at sharing advice. My journey can best be described as a rollercoaster shared with an amazing group of friends.

How has publishing traditionally been different from your career as an indie? Did your indie career help connect you to your publisher?

I believe I only got a traditional deal because of my indie career. I signed with my agent (Courtney Miller-Callihan at Handspun Literary) as a result of my self-published book A Girl Like Her, and she got my work in front of publishers. Before Courtney, I didn’t believe traditional publishers would be interested in the stories I write. Or rather, I thought they’d only be interested in diverse stories from the existing, successful authors who’ve been doing this for years. But building my platform as an indie gave me a bit of a boost—plus, the industry is becoming slightly more inclusive.

As for the differences—things are way more casual and low-pressure when I’m self-publishing. I’m my own boss, I’m in charge of the schedule, and no-one else is relying on my books to sell.

However, the process of traditional publishing is a breeze compared to indie publishing. I don’t have to design my own cover, I don’t have to plan my own marketing campaign, I don’t have to read reviews to find promo quotes—I can just focus on writing. Plus, my publishing house has so much more knowledge and experience. It’s nice to collaborate with people like that instead of making all the key decisions alone. I’m really enjoying myself and learning a lot.

You also have a stunning Instagram, do you have any tips for authors hoping to reach readers on Instagram?

Thank you so much! I’m not a visual person, so this time last year, Instagram was my nemesis. I decided I had to master it to eliminate my personal weak spot—and in the process, I discovered an amazing bookish community on there! With Instagram, you can find tons of content tips and advice online, but what really matters is 1. Choosing a cohesive theme, 2. Making sure everything you post shows readers what you’re about and 3. Interacting! Follow bookstagrammers, enjoy and support their content, and chat with everyone who’s kind enough to comment on your pictures.

Your character Chloe is suffering from chronic illness, something you have also endured, what advice do you have for writers living with chronic illness who want to pursue their publishing dreams?

When you have a chronic illness, no matter what your dreams, the first thing you have to do is prioritise yourself and your health. I say this because no-one else will. They won’t understand, or they won’t want to, so it’s 100% up to you. Guard yourself fiercely.

If you’re an author, I would say—remember that the magic is in your mind and it’s up to you what you do with it. If anyone, including a big-name publisher, demands things you simply can’t provide, they’re washed. You don’t need them, they need you. There are many paths in publishing, which means there’ll always be one that fits your needs—and they all lead to success.  Never forget that.

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