peeps: Susan Kaye Quinn
B.S. Aerospace Engineering. M.S. Mechanical Engineering. Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering. Those are the degrees Susan Kaye Quinn had managed to collect for her resume. Which also mixes in work for NASA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and probably mentions she’s designed aircraft engines and studied global warming.
Maybe to show that she’s got a wider and more rounded range of interests, it will also indicate she held elected office as a school board member and that she was the bookkeeper for a small Venice Beach restaurant. That probably wouldn’t be necessary though, when folks find out Susan’s also the author of the popular YA SF Mindjack Trilogy and the more adult SF future-noir Debt Collector serial. “All that engineering comes in handy,” she says, “when dreaming up dystopian future worlds or mixing science with fantasy to conjure slightly plausible inventions.”
All well and good. Still, I can’t help but imagine how much of a hoot it’d be to take her around to all the literati hangouts, introduce her as an author and a Top 5 Finalist for a 2012 Best Indie Book for Young Adult Fiction award, then get her to start talking all that engineering stuff. Can you imagine the delicious dialog when people go, “What are you, a rocket scientist?” And she’s like, “Well, actually…”
How Susan Got Started Self-Publishing
Susan’s first novel was actually a YA romance, Life, Liberty, and Pursuit. and published through a small press publisher. “I never actually planned on publishing that one,” she admits, “but I decided it would be a great learning experience. And it was!”
In late 2011, she had finished Open Minds, the first in her YA SF Mindjack Trilogy. Around the same exact time indie publishing was starting to gain momentum and more than just a measure of market acceptance. “I loved the idea of jumping into this new way of getting your books out.” So that’s what she did.
Any regrets? Doesn’t seem like it. “The time ever since has been a head-long, dead-run of writing, publishing, rinse, repeat. Now, I’m a firm believer in indie publishing.”
But doing things the old-fashioned way could still be in her future. “I’ve had some interest from other publishers, and I won’t rule out releasing a book through a publisher in the future, but it will have to be the right offer for the right book. Generally speaking, I’m concentrating on writing the books I want to write first, then figuring out the right publication path for them second!”
Self-Publishing Observations and Tips
- “I believe in something Hugh Howey has termed ‘Indie First’ — the concept that indie publishing first (rather than pursuing trad-pub first) is the best way now (circa 2013) for an author to start their writing career. In spite of publishing through a small publisher first, my author career didn’t really take off until I took charge myself and indie published.”
- “This isn’t to disparage any path (and there are many) but the financial rewards and freedom of indie publishing are becoming more and more obvious as more authors jump into the pond.”
- “Whatever path you’re on right now, educate yourself about the radical way that ebooks are changing our industry. There’s never been a better time to be a writer!”