There is so much to consider that we decided to ask an expert, author Helen Scheuerer. If you’ve subscribed to the BSR newsletter for long, you know we’re big fans of Scheuerer’s debut fantasy series, The Oremere Chronicles. We checked in with Helen to ask about the writing and publishing process. Here’s what she had to say.

Book Series Recaps: What’s your writing routine like?

Helen Scheuerer: To be honest, I’m usually pretty strict with my routine, but as I’ve recently moved from Sydney, Australia to Queenstown, New Zealand, I’ve learnt to be a little more flexible…

In general though, I like to start early in the morning, while the rest of the house is still asleep. I’ll have a cup of tea and sit at my desk to write. I find I’m the most motivated and creative in the mornings.

Normally, I’ll write a to do list the night before, so I can get stuck in straight away without having to trawl through emails and previous lists. 

BSR: What advice would you give to aspiring YA fantasy authors?

HS: Write what you love to read!

BSR: What are the biggest pros and cons to independent publishing versus traditional options?

HS: That is a massive question, my friends! I could talk about indie vs traditional publishing all day.

But some of the highlights are:

Indie Pros
Creative control
Schedule control
Higher royalty rates

Indie Cons
Author pays for all production/marketing
Author has to learn numerous skills/or hire experts
Difficult to get books into bricks and mortar bookstores

Traditional Pros
Broader distribution options and networks
Author gets paid an advance (in most cases)
Prestige

Traditional Cons
Lack of creative control/input
Lower royalty rates
Hard to get a publishing contract

BSR: What do aspiring authors not know about the publishing process and book production?

HS: Publishing any book, no matter what stage you’re at is always a steep learning curve. My third book is about to come out and I’ve learnt something new each time, no doubt will continue to do so!

One of the most common things I see though, is authors not realising the extent of the editing it takes to take a book from manuscript to published, final product.

There are different types of editing for different stages of production and an author should know about each of these if they want to publish the best possible version of their book.

BSR: We’d love to know the story of how you became a full-time author. Was it a quick process or a long time coming?

HS: I’m not sure anything in the writing/publishing industry is a “quick process”! For me, I was writing for years before I published a book. I wrote other manuscripts, worked as a copywriter and freelance editor… My #writerslife was all over the place for a while there. But when I published my first book, Heart of Mist, I quit my other jobs about 5 months later and went full-time as an author.  

We know many of our readers are also aspiring authors, and we are excited to be able to share these thoughts with you! We hope they were informative for all of you writers out there. Stay tuned for the second half of our interview with Helen Scheuerer in our next newsletter. It will focus on a few fun facts about Helen and more specifically address her series, The Oremere Chronicles. If you haven’t read her first two books, Heart of Mist and Reign of Mist, we highly recommend them! You have plenty of time to read them before the finale, War of Mist, is released this summer.

Read more about her books on Amazon:

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