Indie Publishing Q&A with K. L. Schwengel


Today, the lovely and talented K.L. Schwengel has graciously stopped by to talk about her indie publishing experience and share her book launch with us. The release date was February 4, 2013. I’m so thrilled for K.L.!

1)   Why did you choose the indie route for your novel?


Ultimately, because I believe in the story and I think people will enjoy it. Which also became a timing factor. To go the traditional route takes a lot (A. Lot.) of time. Months to years to find an agent, just as long or longer for the agent to find a publisher, another year beyond that for your book to hit the shelves. Call me impatient, but I’m already working on book 2 (and 3). Also, let’s not forget I’m a bit of a control freak. Indie publishing allows me to control every aspect of my books success or failure.

2)   What do you consider to be the main pros and cons of indie publishing so far?


The biggest con for me right now has been time. Time I could/should be spending writing, for the past month has been spent formatting, formatting, editing, did I mention formatting? Also, I created my own cover, so that took another chunk of time. The there is getting the word out, all the marketing that needs to be done.

The pros? See the last bit of my answer to number one. Being in control of every aspect is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it.

3)   What’s the biggest lesson you learned from indie publishing? What would you do differently next time? Any tips for first time indie authors?


The biggest lesson so far is don’t rush it. Bad editing, bad cover, bad press, will all garner bad reviews and lost readers. It’s easy to get caught up and want this out there NOW, darn it.

The only thing I’d do differently next time, start planning a little sooner. I really wanted an early January release, but I didn’t allow enough time. (There’s that word again!) I’ll be planning the release of Book 2 before it’s actually done. But then, until Book 1 was complete, I had never even considered going Indie.

For first time indie authors: Research, research, research. Then research a little more. Find some Indies you trust, build a relationship, and pick their brains. And don’t compromise. Don’t skip editing or beta readers because you *think* your book is ready and you want to be published. It stays out there forever. Make it the best you can, learn from it, write another book.

4)   What were the most important aspects in choosing a cover designer and editor?


I have a fine arts degree and a background in graphic design, so I created my own cover. (Control freak, remember?) That was harder than one would think. I knew what I wanted it to say, and I knew every facet of the book, that at first I tried to put too much into it. I’m actually quite happy with the finished cover. When looking for a designer, look at other work they’ve done, talk to authors they’ve worked with. You want someone who can take a bit of direction, but who also can get across the essence of your story.

As for editing, I have a good friend who soundly beat the snot out of my manuscript more than once. But again, if I had to go out and hire one I’d shop around, do some research, ask questions. Never be afraid to ask for references either.


5)   What was the hardest part of the e-book formatting process across platforms? How much time should be allocated to the formatting process?  What tips would you give to anyone creating an e-book for the first time?


I downloaded Smashwords formatting guidelines and read it cover to cover and that helped worlds! The most important thing is to have a totally clean copy to start with. Word likes to hide formatting in the worse places.

Smashword’s guide suggests the nuclear method, and I’d recommend it. The guide is free so I won’t bore you with long-winded descriptions. Go to Smashwords, get the guide, read it. Basically, if you do that, it’s just a matter of following each platforms directions, they all have them.

I haven’t had a lot of problem with formatting. I know for other people it’s been a nightmare. It’s definitely tedious, which is the problem I think most folks have with it. As for how much time . . . hours. Several. Many. Maybe make that days. Better yet, give yourself a week to work on it. Undoubtedly, no matter how careful you are, you’re going to miss something.


Back Cover of First of Her Kind

Everyone, it seems, wants to dictate what Ciara does with her life: Serve the Goddess, destroy the Goddess, do as you promised your aunt. All Ciara wants is to keep the two magics she possesses from ripping her apart.

And that won’t be easy.

Not only are they in complete opposition to each other, blood ties pull her in divergent directions as well. And then there’s Bolin, the man sworn to protect her. There’s no denying the growing attraction between them, but is it Ciara he wants? Or her power?

None of which will matter if Ciara can’t overcome her fear and learn to use her gifts.No one knows the depths
of the ancient power she possesses, or what will happen if it manages to escape her control.

Will she lose herself entirely? Or be forever trapped between darkness & light?


K. L. Schwengel lives in southeast Wisconsin on a small farm with her husband, a handful of Australian Shepherds, Her Royal Highness Princess Fiona the Cat, and assorted livestock. She has been penning wild tales of magic and mayhem as long as she can remember but opted to follow her artistic muse first. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and spending many years working as a freelance artist, grocery clerk, art teacher, graphic designer, stable hand, advertising account coordinator, dog trainer, and process technician (among other things) she answered the call of her writing muse. When not writing, Kathi trains and trials working Australian Shepherds, still paints, dabbles in photography, graphic design and anything else creative her assorted muses send her way.

Connecting with K.L.




Amazon Page:




Where to Purchase Her Book

First of Her Kind is currently available in print at Amazon & Barnes & Noble, and in e-book formats at Amazon & Smashwords.

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25 Responses to Indie Publishing Q&A with K. L. Schwengel

  1. kathils says:

    Thanks so much for having me, Kourtney!

  2. kford2007 says:

    Hi Kathi. Nice to see you here and I love the pic of you and your Aussie at the top! Do you plan on writing any help guides on Aussies? Maybe an endearing story with one as the main lead? 🙂

    A lot of people are trying to convince me to go the indie route. I have to say, it’s not for me. I want control but not that much. I want to write. I do, however, like the idea of small presses and some of those small guys are doing really, really well, and one day, I think, grow into big guys someday. I’ve already noticed ‘changes’ in their submission guidelines and the length of time to publish a book.

    Good luck with First of Her Kind! I’ll certainly do what I can to get the word out.

    • kathils says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Jenny, and for all your support. I may look at a small publisher, or even the big guys, for future projects. Nothing is written in stone.

      That picture is one of the only ones with me in it that I actually like. 🙂 It speaks volumes about the relationship I have with that dog. Quinn is my golden boy. He has so much heart. It’s been a journey, for sure. Right now, there aren’t any plans at writing any Aussie related books, but one never knows what the muses will blow my way.

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    Once again, I’m impressed by people who figure out how to do all this on their own. But I agree, the control would be nice. And such pride it must feel to see the finished product that you (or in this case, K.L. Schwengel 🙂 ) put together!

    • I think one of the best things about being a writer right now is that there are so many avenues to publication. 🙂 I’m so glad I’ve been able to do Q&As with authors who self-pubbed, agent-self-pubbed, small-pressed and big-sixed their way to a published novel. There are so many great ways to get a book out there–every author can find what works best for them.

    • kathils says:

      Hi Carrie, thanks for stopping by. There are so many changes taking place in publishing right now, I don’t think anyone knows which way the next breeze will blow.

      The best thing that’s come from it so far was an e-mail from my mom. She’s 82 and I sent her a copy of First of Her Kind. She’s seen my name on the cover with others in an anthology, but said she couldn’t put into words how it felt to see it on its very own cover.

  4. jmmcdowell says:

    Another great interview, Kourtney! I’ve just started this book, and I’m enjoying it. No spoilers here, but I will say Ciara is one headstrong woman!

    • Thanks JM! It’s in my to read list. 🙂 Unfortunately with all the book preparation, my reading is on hold for a while. Thanks for not putting up any spoilers–it’s good to hear the protagonist is exactly as she’s portrayed on the back and front cover.

    • kathils says:

      *squee* I mean . . . um . . . thanks, JM. 🙂 I’m glad you’re enjoying it so far. I hope it keeps you enthralled until the end.

  5. berry says:

    Great book cover. Best of luck. Indie publishing may be the way to go and start a movement. Who needs agents. We want book published whatever ir takes. Go self publication! !!!!

    • kathils says:

      Thanks, Berry. I think the movement has already been started, but, like anything, it’s subject to change.

    • I love your enthusiasm Berry. 🙂 I’m excited to see where indie publishing goes and where it takes me. 🙂 LOL. I think agents play a big role. Even the ones who rejected me gave me feedback and taught me to hone my query and improve my writing.

  6. Carol Wuenschell says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I always enjoy reading about people’s real-world experiences in getting their books before readers.

  7. Thanks for another great interview Kourtney! Soaking up the info…

  8. Nothing like training Australian Shepherds to keep you on your toes. Very interested in her path. (all of that experience is bound to enrich her writing)
    Great practical advice here – especially #3. Rushing through/impatience probably sinks many good writers…I should write that really big where I can see it!
    Thanks for another great interview

  9. 4amWriter says:

    Great interview, Kourtney. There is so much to learn about the indie route that it makes my head swim. I love that there are wonderful bloggers who work together to help each other sell their books, as well as educate the rest of us who are still on the fence about what publishing route to take.

    I love the sound of Kathi’s book, and simply judging from her interviews and her own blog, I can tell she is a great writer with a great story to tell. I can’t wait to read it!

  10. Pingback: Blog Tour Wrap Up for First of Her Kind | My Random Muse

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