Raine Thomas: author of The Daughters of Saraqael trilogy

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Tell us a little bit about you, the person behind the books:

I’m originally from Chicago and have a lot of family there. I’ve moved around a bit (South Carolina, Orlando and Atlanta) and my husband is Canadian. Between us, we travel a lot! I enjoy infusing some of the flavors of these places in my books. I also have a five-year-old daughter who keeps me on my toes and helps me maintain my sense of humor. Another item of note is that I’m a wedding planner who also writes nonfiction books for brides and wedding vendors.

Please give me a description of your trilogy: 

The Daughters of Saraqael YA fantasy/romance trilogy (Becoming, Central and Foretold) tells the stories of estranged triplets Amber, Olivia and Skye. Although unaware of it at the beginning of Becoming, they are the only three half-human Estilorians in existence. Estilorians are beings that millennia ago existed alongside humans, worshipped and idolized in human literature and folklore as gods, angels and similar beings. When humans grew to resent the powers and abilities of the Estilorians and warred against them, Estilorians created their own plane of existence to save humanity from themselves. In so doing, they became the subjects of human myths and legends, and doomed themselves to an emotionless existence.

When Becoming unfolds, the sisters are turning eighteen on the human plane and their Estilorian powers are emerging. The books depict their adventures and relationships as they decide to make the transition between the planes. There, they’ll learn that some Estilorians see them as signs of hope, while others would see them dead.

Why did you decide to self publish?  Or, why didn’t you go into traditional publishing?

I did try to go the traditional publishing route. Once I had all three books written, I queried agents until my tracking spreadsheet grew to epic lengths. It felt as though every response took months (most did) and even when materials were requested, significantly more time elapsed in the course of their review. I can well appreciate how busy literary agents and publishers are, but this “wait and hope” game wasn’t meshing with my career goals.

I initially resisted self-publishing. It requires a lot of time, effort and money. But then I realized that the time, effort and money were going to be output by me regardless (publishing houses do some marketing, but not much…and they earn a large chunk of all sales). And I started reading blogs by other authors who had done it successfully. In the end, it just felt right.

 

Why don’t you tell us what self publishing was like for you:

I’m very fortunate that I’m surrounded by people with skills and abilities required to successfully self-publish. Because I’m a freelance editor and a Type A (read: anal) personality, I’m a fairly clean writer. I wrote the books in succession, then had my reader-friends and their reader-friends review the books. I incorporated changes, made multiple revisions, and even changed the beginning of Becoming altogether after an agent gave me very constructive feedback.

In my wedding planning career, I work with a talented graphic designer. She wasn’t comfortable designing book covers, but she referred me to Devan Edwards of Nimbi Design (http://nimbidesign.wordpress.com). I hired Devan as soon as I saw her first gorgeous cover design concept. It was an investment that has proven worth every penny!

My husband is a talented IT “geek” and designed my website. I wrote and edited all of the content myself after reading a few marketing books and checking out numerous other author sites. My hubby also read up on how to format eBooks on all of the different platforms (it varies WIDELY), and set forth to get the books ready. In the meantime, I developed a following on Facebook and Twitter and sent samples of the books to anyone who requested them to help build a readership.

The last thing I did was create a publishing company, Iambe Books. This allowed me to develop a separate publishing website, bank account, etc. to keep everything separate from my other career. Once that was done and the website was ready, my husband helped me publish the books through Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

What are some good things about self publishing?

You have full control over everything! That is the absolutely biggest benefit. You don’t have to wait 18 months for your book to hit the shelves once it’s ready, which can happen in traditional publishing. You can price eBooks at $2.99 or lower, whereas traditional publishing companies usually price them at $9.99 or higher (very cost-prohibitive). This lower price allows a new author to compete much more effectively with established writers. And you typically earn 35%-70% commission on each sale, whereas with traditional publishing, you usually only make about 15%.

What are some bad things about it?

There is something to be said about professional literary agents and publishers evaluating the quality of your work. They know what sells, and they can do well-targeted marketing efforts on your behalf. On the other hand, “quality” is SO subjective from one agent or publisher to the next that it almost makes this point moot. The bottom line is that by self-publishing, you are assuming all of the responsibility for getting your books polished, published and sold.  Last but certainly not least, there is still stigma attached to self-published books. Readers question whether a book was self-published simply because it was rejected by traditional publishers. That can make it hard to earn readers’ trust.

Do you have any advice or suggestions for those thinking about going into self publishing?

My advice would be to set aside what funds you can for three things: a copy editor (if you know your editing skills are lacking), an excellent cover designer (I’ve had people buy my books because of the covers alone), and a website. Excellent website templates are usually less than $100 and well worth it! Don’t overprice your books or people won’t be interested. And if you plan on trying to sell more than one book, try to have more than one ready to go when publishing time comes so that you don’t lose your fans.

GET THE BOOKS!

Becoming:
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Daughters-Saraqael-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B005EDLOTY/
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/76200?ref=RaineThomas
BN – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/becoming-raine-thomas/1104544358

Central:
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Central-Daughters-Saraqael-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B005EDLP16/
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/76201?ref=RaineThomas
BN – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/central-raine-thomas/1104370306

Foretold:
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Foretold-Daughters-Saraqael-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B005EDLO94/
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/76202?ref=RaineThomas
BN – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/foretold-raine-thomas/1104369417

FOLLOW RAINE THOMAS!

Website: http://rainethomas.com

Blog: http://rainethomas.com/blog

Twitter: http://twitter/Raine_Thomas

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rainethomas

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2 comments on “Raine Thomas: author of The Daughters of Saraqael trilogy

  1. Great interview! Raine is awesome and she deserves all the success in the world. The Daughters of Saraqael trilogy is by far one of my favorites. I love everything about these books.

    I knew publishing a book wasn’t an easy process, but I’m floored by how much writers have to do. All I have to say is, as an avid reader, I’m glad they do. 🙂

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