Dear Writer-Friends,

I've been self-publishing since 2011, and I've shared the knowledge I've gained in two books: the Indie Author Survival Guide, Second Edition, and For Love or Money. I'm not an indie rockstar or a breakout success: I'm one of thousands of solidly midlist indie authors making a living with their works. These books are my way of helping my fellow authors discover the freedom of indie publishing. Write on, writer-friends!

S.K. Quinn, Independent Author of Science Fiction

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR QUICK START GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING and to be notified when the 3rd Edition of the Indie Author Survival Guide releases!

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Next Big Thing

Hugh Howey tagged me for this NEXT BIG THING meme.

Yes, Hugh Howey, the NYTimes bestselling author of Wool. The guy whose film rights were picked up by 20th Century Fox and Ridley Scott. The rockstar indie author who just inked a PRINT ONLY deal with Simon&Schuster after turning down two 7 figure deals in the US, changing the game by keeping his ebooks rights. That Hugh Howey (breathe, Sue, breathe). Plus he's a ridiculously nice guy, still a regular on the Kindle Boards, sharing with other indie authors all the ins and outs of his crazy awesome success, and advocating to the media how the real indie success stories are midlisters who make a living off their writing, not just mega-successful authors like him.


He also writes great books, but before I embarrass myself further by starting a HH fan club, on to the meme...

What is the title of your next book?
Third Daughter. It's a east-indian-flavored steampunk fantasy romance. I was going to write a story called Third Shift, a post-apocalyptic tale about people who live in a silo underground, but some guy already wrote that book.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Rick Daley. He ran an experiment to see if, given the same generic plotline about political intrigue, writers would all pen the same story. (His thesis: they would not.) Experiment. Political Intrigue. Writing. It was as if Rick had thrown an irresistible gauntlet at my feet. There were ten entries and Rick was right: the stories were as diverse as could be imagined. I'm the only one who saw Political Intrigue and thought, hey, Steampunk Romance! Go figure.

What genre does your book fall under?
Steampunk Fantasy Romance. Or possibly Romantic Fantasy Steampunk. Or maybe Gaslamp Fantasy, only on an alternate world with an east-indian aesthetic, airships, and a princess with a heart-wrenching choice.  

I'm absolutely unqualified to write this story.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Any of the actors from my Mindjack Trailer (coming to a YouTube channel near you in January!). I plan to follow in Hugh Howey's footsteps and sell enough ebooks to fund my own major motion picture studio, at which point I will hire all the amazing actors who volunteered their talent and time to make my little indie book come to life on the screen. 

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

steampunk pics on Sodahead

The Third Daughter of the Queen wants her birthday to arrive so she'll be free to marry for love, but rumors of a new flying weapon may force her to accept a barbarian prince's proposal for a peace-brokering marriage. Desperate to marry the charming courtesan she loves, Aniri agrees to the prince's marriage proposal as a subterfuge in order to spy on him, find the weapon, and hopefully avoid both war and an arranged marriage to a man she does not love.

Yes, that's two sentences. We're still in the rough draft stage, people.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published, baby! In spite of the fact that I've already written a query for it. Indie publishing allows me to write a ridiculous mashup book with no clear place for it on the bookstore shelves. I'm hoping that the five people who have some interest in reading Third Daughter will tell me what genre it is. Then we'll all know.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Er, well... not quite done with that first draft. Unlike Hugh, my stories tend to go longer than 50k (which I completed during NaNo 2012). By Christmas, I tell you, the first draft will be done! Or we'll have to release the Kraken! In which case, the story will end rather abruptly. And I will have to change the genre to Steampunk Fantasy TragiDrama. (That's a shelf on Amazon, right?) 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Imagine Leviathan goes to Bollywood. The costuming alone is a major stretch for my descriptive skills, and I can't compete with the wild inventiveness of Westerfeld's steampunkery. Did I mention I'm unqualified to write this story? 

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
While Rick Daley inspired the idea, the freedom to turn it into a book (that would actually be published) came from being indie. Genre mashup, full steam ahead! 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
My three sons can't believe I'm ruining a story with airships, sword fights, and political intrigue by turning it into a romance. But they're helping me invent the steam technology for it anyway.
And now I get to tag  more people, spreading this meme like a really nice infectious disease! Sadly, I'm not as cool as Hugh Howey. But you can say you've been tagged by Hugh-Howey-once-removed, and that has to count for something.
Rick Daley (you saw that coming, right?)
Elle Strauss
(Check them out - they may not have their NEXT BIG THING up already, but they're awesome all the time, so you don't need to wait for that.)

In honor of Hugh Howey's success as an indie SF author, I'm giving away a 4-pack of indie SF books!

Who: 14 authors (organized by bestselling author Denise Grover Swank)
What: 14 different prizes, one by each author, EVERY DAY
How Long: All giveaways open until December 21st

The Finale: A $200 Gift Card giveaway

How It Works:
  • Enter the first Rafflecopter for MY giveaway for today
  • Enter the second Rafflecopter to win the FINALE $200 gift card
  • Click on the linky to find other great prizes (ebooks, paperbooks, swag, gift cards, knit hats, t-shirts... it's CRAZY all the stuff in this giveaway)

 Equal parts science fiction, suspense, and romance, Girl Under Glass moves from a post-apocalyptic wilderness in the American Pacific Northwest to a high-tech world aboard an alien starship furnished with all the stolen comforts of Earth. Readers meet Rachel Pryne, whose parents' lifelong and life-ending connection to the Ohnenrai has set her upon a path she never wanted to travel. And they're introduced to Ehtishem, an Ohnenrai soldier who exists to save his dying people, but who faces enemies from within and without his own military.

The only possible solution to the Ohnenrai’s extinction lies within Rachel, but all she wants to do is protect her daughter and see Earth’s alien conquerors go straight to hell.

 Seventeen year old Zoe Vanderveen is a GAP—a genetically altered person. She lives in the security of a walled city on prime water-front property along-side other equally beautiful people with extended life spans.

Her brother Liam is missing.

Noah Brody is a natural who lives on the outside. He leads protests against the GAPs and detests the widening chasm they’ve created between those who have and those who don’t. He doesn’t like girls like Zoe and he has good reason not to like her specifically.

Zoe’s carefree life takes a traumatic turn. She’s in trouble and it turns out that Noah, the last guy on earth she should trust, is the only one who can help her.

 Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she
loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

 In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots.

Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone.

Then she meets Lucas, everything changes.

Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race.

It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.

And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway



  1. Your new story sounds fantastic, Susan. Good luck with it.

  2. Oh my goodness, I love your new story! I can't wait to read it!!

    1. Yay! I hope someone will enjoy it beside just me. :)

  3. Thanks for sharing that info about Hugh! What an inspiration about believing in yourself and staying true to your convictions. Yes!

    And you and your new story...whoot!! You go girl!

    1. Hugh truly does inspire me, not just because of his success, but what he does with it. He shares information, leads by example, and lives true to his beliefs about independent publishing. That’s the kind of person I look up to, no matter what field they’re in. :)

  4. Great post! I have actually never heard of this guy. Must've been living under a rock! Will check him out :)

    1. Well, let me be the first to introduce you to the awesomeness of Wool (Hugh's book)! *fistpump*

  5. The prez of my local RWA chapter loves telling people it doesn't matter what they write if you're self publishing. There are no rules when it comes to mash up genres. The only thing that's important is that your reader connects with it.

    I'm finding it interesting seeing how different SP authors respond to the interest of traditional publishers when it comes to signing their books. Even here, we all have our different paths that feel right to us, but might not be right to someone else.

  6. This sounds really interesting! I love steampunk clothing, it looks beautifull! Although I can't remember if I have ever read a steampunk book.

  7. I bet your boys will love it. Guys like romance, there just has to be enough action for it to be interesting.

    BRAVEHEART...action movie but it's a love story in my eyes. He wouldn't have become the warrior if his love hadn't perished. It's not a HEA, but still romantic, in a tragic way.

    Anyway, I'm sure it will be awesome.

    And that is soooo cool about Howey tagging you!

  8. I love the new concept and I think the idea of a mash-up is very cool and must send the traditional, rigid thinking publishers right into crazyland. What an opportunity for creativity this Indie direction has brought to a lot of people. I will definitely be in line for your next book. I've loved the Mindjack Trilogy.

  9. Sounds fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Sounds great! I'm excited. And thanks for the info on Huge Howey- so amazing.

  11. Leviathan goes it! Good luck!

  12. It is way cool that my little query experiment inspired a novel. Maybe even two of them, if I clear off my current WIP (post to come) and then move on to my own entry from that challenge, which I have not forgotten.

    Have your kids ponder your WIP from this perspective: You didn't ruin a story with airships, sword fights, and political intrigue by turning it into a romance made a romance story uber-cool by injecting it with airships, sword fights, and political intrigue.

  13. Wow. This is so epic. Way to go, Susan!

  14. That sounds like a fun book - I'll definitely be keeping an eye out! I ADORED Leviathan - that trilogy was one of the few where I've actually cared about the romance as anything more than a subplot, mainly because it was so gradual and creeping and wonderful :) Scott Westerfeld is a brilliant world builder and every time I try and write steampunk, I just sit there going, "I'll never be as good as this ... sigh."

    Anyway, good luck finishing your draft :)

  15. If I can write an apoclyptic, magical realist literary war novel featuring a tiger, I'm guessing you can write a steamlamp fantasy romance set in an alternate India. Viva the weirdness.

  16. "Imagine Leviathan goes to Bollywood."

    Here is all my money.

  17. sounds like a neat book and these are cool giveaways!

  18. Oh goody! Love to hear more details! I'm one of the 5 people, right? But I bet there will be more!