This Author 2020 series is for fiction and nonfiction indie authors who have either already published, or are due to publish, a book in 2020!
As well as showcasing their amazing writing achievement, every featured author answered ten questions to give aspiring fiction and nonfiction indie authors a behind-the-scenes insight into the book writing process.
This post features children’s fantasy author Tobey Alexander sharing his experiences of writing and self publishing the first in his Timothy Scott series – ‘Timothy Scott: Shadow Island’.
1. Tell me about your book in 25 words or less!
I wrote this story to show my youngest son that you can be different and strong. It’s for all ages with adventure at its heart.
2. How long did your book take to write?
I had the idea one morning in August last year, while doing my morning workout on holiday in Scotland. I toyed with the idea and then discussed it with my boys (8 and 10 at the time) as we walked to the summit of Ben Nevis the following day. From there it took me three months to write the first full draft and another two months to edit and rewrite until I was happy with the finished product. My best beta testers were my three children who got more and more invested as I grew the story.
3. How long did the whole process take – from initial idea to publication?
This one was about seven months. I normally try and leave my final draft untouched for a month or two and go back to it with fresh eyes, but I was very keen to carry on with the series. I planned the story as a trilogy so I challenged myself to take a different route, and to have faith that when I was confident it was done it would be right to release it.
4. What have you learnt about the process of writing a book that could help other fiction and non fiction indie authors?
I have learnt so much from my first book (I released it in 2016 and I still toy with removing it completely as I’m sure it’s embarrassing to look back on) and I have tried so many different things along the way. The biggest thing I’ve learned is to go with my own heart. I use my book writing as an outlet for my own overactive imagination. If I deviate to try and ‘write to market’ the stories don’t engage with me as much and I lose interest in my own work. It’s always been about showing my own children what you can do with a quirky personality and imagination.
As I say, I use my books to help me empty some space in my head so it only seems right to write where I feel connected. I have learnt that I am pretty pants at marketing and my seemingly well-hidden self-doubt is my biggest enemy. I tend to talk myself out of being able to be noticed.
5. Is there anything you wish you had done differently, or would do differently with your next book?
I keep saying I need to have faith in myself and work harder on marketing. Being an author is my side-hustle, as it were, and my full-time job is not something that helps with marketing or a business frame of mind. I need to find someone or something (a program or similar) I can trust in and invest in to help me, so I need to buckle down and do some research. Until then, I think I’ll always settle for being the quirky little grey guy who misses out on being seen more than I probably should.
6. How much did it cost to get your book to market?
Less than £500. I did everything on my own from cover design to media releases and trailers and such. I had the software on my computer and costs for things like ProWritingAid and video software are things I’ve accumulated over the years. My edits come from beta readers.
In reality, I have to keep my finances well in check as I am currently sole provider for a family of three. My wife has just finished breast cancer treatment and I’m paying for my oldest son to trek to Everest Base Camp with me to raise money for charity next April. Therefore, I have to prioritise and at the moment I’ll do as much as I can on my own with minimal cost. As I said before though, I need to put something aside to progress in the marketing or, at some point, I think it will just become too much work for very little return, other than mental relief which I fear will become an extra stress.
7. Do you have any plans to write another/any more books in the future? If so, would you like to share any details about it/them?
I have written the first draft of the second book in the Timothy Scott series and plan to start on the third in the summer. I intend on releasing the second around Christmas and launching the third instalment while I am at Everest Base Camp next year. With the current global isolation I randomly decided to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), so I have a surprise book in the works as part of that which I will release around summer, I think.
It’s hard to say if I will stick to a particular genre as I’ve written for all manner of audiences. However, the one thing that is always at the heart of all my stories is action and adventure, be that as a thriller, a kid’s adventure story, or my monster books or mysteries.
8. Do you want to give a public shout out to anyone who helped you produce your book?
There are a handful of people who read all of my books and keep nudging me when I have my low moments and giving up moans. They know who they are and I’d hate to miss someone off the list so I’d just like to say thank you to those who know. You’re awesome.
9. Please share an excerpt of your book below.
One boy must face his nightmares and see the hero in himself.
An enchanting tale of a boy who doesn’t quite fit. Finding solace in his own imagination, Timothy Scott will soon understand he is far more than a quiet boy; he is destined to be a hero.
Timothy’s closest friend is invisible! A voice that nobody else can hear is the one person he trusts above all, even more than his family and siblings. Haunted by the same nightmare night after night, Timothy’s parents seek help for him with the curious yet friendly Dr Ingrid Live. She encourages him to embrace his unique perspective, accept the flights of fancy in his imagination and in so doing, Timothy discovers something amazing.
Stood in front of the antique mirror in the hallway, Timothy gets to see his invisible friend. Aleobe, a curious-looking winged-boy offers Timothy the opportunity to travel to his homeland, a world behind the glass of the mirror. Trusting his loveable friend, Timothy crosses to an unknown world of wonder, magic and adventure. But, as with every journey, there is a shadow. This world is no different, as Timothy must learn to believe in himself, not for his own sake but that of his only friend. A captivating and dangerous journey is about to begin.
10. Where can readers buy your book (and any other books you have written)?
All of my books are on Amazon to buy. Most are exclusive to Amazon, but with Timothy Scott I’ve tried to expand my reach so that book is available across many platforms and even as an audiobook already (the narrator is amazing by the way – George Kuch has really brought the book to life perfectly).
My other series include:
Origins Of The Magdon – five novelettes originally aimed at school children where The Magdon Series started (I wanted to encourage curiosity and adventure in younger generations with monsters, treasure and adventure).
Thank you for featuring in this Author 2020 series Tobey!
This Author 2020 series is for all fiction and nonfiction indie authors. To be featured in a future post, please contact me!
If you have enjoyed the posts in the Author 2020 series so far, check out the Authors 40+ Series which featured fiction and nonfiction indie authors who published their first book after the age of 40.
A-Z of Storytelling Techniques for Authors is available to buy or borrow now! Get it here.