Meet C.J. Archer–She’s Gone Indie

Special thanks to C.J. Archer for guesting on BLB. Congratulations to Sarah (drpharmgirl) and Jan Carol for winning a free copy of SURRENDER, C.J.’s latest release! 

From Dana Taylor– C.J. Archer is turning into an “over night success” with break out book sales and a much-coveted contract offer from Amazon’s new romance imprint, Montlake Publishing. Though we live continents apart (she’s from Down Under), I’ve come to her admire C.J.’s elegant manner and highly enjoyable tales. She’s just celebrated her first anniversary as an official Indie Author. Book Luvin’ Babes is happy to present C.J. Archer–

Anniversaries are a time for celebration and reflection but I let my 1-year anniversary of indie-publishing slip by without a single tweet or post. It seemed fitting because that’s exactly how I began this venture on January 28th 2011: quietly.

I dipped my toe into indie -publishing cautiously, afraid that it might tarnish me as a writer. I’d spent 15 years building up a professional reputation by winning and finaling in contests, attending conferences, and honing my craft. I thought I’d be throwing all of that hard work away if I self-published, so I chose a different name and became C.J. Archer. I even changed the titles of my contest winning books so no-one would be able to link the real manuscripts or the real me to the indie-pubbed ones. That way I could keep submitting to agents and editors and none of them could track my sales results and use them against me if they were low, which I expected them to be.

Why did I do it if I was so ashamed of it? Well, I knew the publishing landscape was changing. Everywhere you went on the internet, you couldn’t escape the discussions. I decided I had nothing to lose. I was ready. My writing was solid.  After 15 years, 1 agent and 22 completed manuscripts (yes, that’s 22 book-length manuscripts and another 6 or so unfinished) I decided it was time to take back control. I was tired of the glacial speed of publishing and the lack of editorial interest in historical romances set outside Regency England, and I thought I might as well try to earn some money. As I saw it, it was either self-publish or give up, and the thought of wasting those 15 years pushed me over the edge. Besides, I really loved some of those manuscripts.

Fast forward a few months and I had 6 releases under my belt. I received some good reviews (and some bad ones) but more importantly, I was selling books. Not huge numbers like some folks, but a good number. Then the numbers began to wane. I knew I had to do something drastic to see them rise again. Fast forward another few months, August to be exact, and I set one of my books, A Secret Life free. It was downloaded thousands of times. The sequel, A Secret Desire, subsequently sold thousands of copies. Suddenly I was making serious money not only on Amazon but Apple and Barnes & Noble where before I’d made nothing.

Then it got even better.

An editor from Amazon’s romance imprint, Montlake Publishing, contacted me. She loved those 2 books and wanted to re-publish them as Montlake titles. Really?  My books? I was totally surprised. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of contracts, edits, cover copy, front covers and emails. The 2 books will be re-released with new titles – Her Secret Desire and Scandal’s Mistress respectively – on April 24th in both print and ebook.

So what’s in store for the next year? I have no idea. If you’d asked me a year ago if I thought I would have a 2-book contract with a publishing company that most authors are clamoring to sign with, I’d have responded with a classic Aussie line: “You’re dreaming”. What I do know is that aside from the two re-released books, I have plans for a third book in that series. I’m also halfway through a Victorian-era trilogy which features a ghost and the young woman who can see him, and I have lots of ideas for more Elizabethan historical romances. I’m also releasing a Regency historical romance, Surrender, very soon. To find out when it’s available and take advantage of the discount I’ll be offering upon its release, send me an email at cjarcher.writes@gmail.com and ask to be added to my New Releases list.

If I’ve learned one thing this year it’s to say yes to opportunities, be nice but be yourself, and don’t worry about what other people think of your choices. Oh, and starting out quietly isn’t always a bad thing.

Thank you, C.J. for being our first guest at Book Luvin’ Babes. Hey, Babes–be sure to ask C.J. a question in the comments to be entered in the contest to win a copy of SURRENDER. And don’t forget to “like” the BLB Facebook page to keep up with the site!

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11 responses

  1. For C.J.: Where do you do your research for your historical novels?

  2. Hi C.J. Your books sound fabulous, would love to read it. Do you ever base your books on people or things from real life?

    1. Quilt Lady – not really. Each of my heroines’ personalities is based a little on my own, only heightened. Some of my books feature real people, like Shakespeare, and he’s based on what i think he might have been like. Other than that, they’re completely made up!

  3. Hi Jan,

    Thanks for asking. I research all over the place. My go-to book is “Elizabeth’s London” by Liza Picard. It’s a fun book and concentrates on life in London which is where I set my books. It’s a joy to read, not at all dry like the texts we had to all read in high school. I have tons of websites bookmarked as well as folders full of info. Before I started writing in the era, I did a lot of research. I don’t need to spend so much time with the research books/sites now but I still dip into them when necessary. Fortunately I love research!

  4. CJ, am I heading to Amazon after I finish this. I’m curious what draws you to write about this period in history. Also, have you/will you base any of your stories in Australia? It’s on my to visit list. 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. Hi Sarah,

      The Renaissance is a great time period, but what I love most about it is the men. I think of them as warrior-poets. They’re still a bit wild, a bit brutal and warrior-like and so quite medieval really. They carry swords on them and go to war. Yet it’s an age of the poet too, and the painter and courtier. Men who can charm and use their wit to a woo a woman are as respected and admired as the one who can fight. If a man can do both – swoon!

      And what’s not to love about an era with a strong woman on the throne, a relatively peaceful time and the beginnings of the theatre. I love it.

      As to writing about Australia – I love reading books set here but the urge to write about Australia, past or present, doesn’t appeal to me as much as England. I guess I’m an Anglophile at heart 🙂

      Thanks for asking. This is always one of my favourite questions to answer.

  5. Hi CJ–
    I especially have enjoyed your books with the theatrical company. what inspired you to set your stories with Shakespeare as a side character?

    Dana Taylor

    1. Thank you, Dana. My agent at the time said I needed to include a hook in my next books. I already enjoyed writing in the Elizabethan era so I wanted to keep setting my stories in that time. Since Shakespeare was one of the most recognisable people of the time, I decided to include him. He turned out to be a superb secondary character – he was a lot of fun to write.

  6. A Secret Life is one of my all time favorite books. I have read all of C.J.’s books and love them all!!

    1. Well shucks. Thanks Christy, I’m blushing now.

  7. Thank you everyone for stopping by and posing your questions. Dana has drawn the winners who will each receive a copy of Surrender:

    Sara and Jan Carol

    Congratulations. An email is winging it’s way to you both.

    CJ

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