September 23

Killer Women: Rachel Abbott & Louise Voss


In this article Rachel Abbott and Louise Voss talk about the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing.

Voss is whats known as a ‘hybrid author, with a publisher for some of her books whilst others are self-published. All of Abbotts novels are self-published in the UK. In 2015 she was named as the No.1 self-published author on Amazon Kindle UK and the fourteenth best-selling author overall.


LV:  Hi Rachel!  Many writers these days are asking themselves whether they should self-publish or try to get a traditional deal. So, lets kick off with why you chose to self-publish.

RA: Some people believe that writers only self-publish because they cant get a publishing deal. But thats not always true. I self-publish out of choice. I like being my own boss and making the decisions, and for now I am prepared to put in the extremely long hours I have to work.

the-venus-trapLV: Self-publishing is definitely work heavy! With a traditional deal, the publisher takes responsibility for the editing, the cover design, and all the tasks essential to make a book available online. They also organise the printed version for bookshops and, in theory, do the marketing – although lots of authors find they still need to devote energy to that. How do you manage your time?

RA: Its hard – I want to write more than anything, but I have to split my time between managing a business – because its not just the marketing, theres a mountain of admin too – and writing. I employ two part time assistants and I also have an agent and publicist.

LV:  I like the sense of control you get over everything when you self-publish. I can update books, change the pricing and covers, and if I want to I can pay for additional marketing. You dont get that with a traditional publisher. So what do you think are the positives about a traditional deal?

RA: You would normally expect to receive an advance on royalties, and for some people thats crucial. But the main advantage is that your publisher organises the whole process and takes the decisions, so you have less to worry about. They are experienced and knowledgeable and they give their authors support. But the big thing for me is that with a traditional deal, you get printed copies of your books in shops. Thats my one regret – I do get some in shops, but Im never going to be on Waterstones’ front table.

LV: And the negatives?

kill-me-againRA: You basically get a smaller share of the income from sales. If you self-publish successfully, the financial rewards can be higher than with a traditional deal in the longer term.

LV: Theres another publishing option that weve not discussed, and that is to sign with a small independent publisher.  There are several around at the moment having big successes for their authors.   

RA: They certainly seem to have their marketing nailed, and thats the key. For me, though, I also think a good agent is important too. Many people find it strange that I have an agent, but its the best decision I ever made.

LV:  Yes, and ideally one who will give editorial input so your novel is as good as it can be. 

RA: They dont all do that, apparently, so its really worth doing the research before signing up with an agency. A good agent will also sell translation rights, and my books are now in over twenty languages.

LV: In the end, the decision on the type of publishing for each writer comes down to their appetite for risk, their desire/ability to work their socks off to make their books a success, and their attitude to control, or lack thereof. Theres definitely no right or wrong answer that works for everybody.

RA: Were just scratching the surface here, though. Hopefully well be able to go into more detail and help the decision making process at our workshop at the Killer Woman Festival in October. 

 LV: Heres a link for anyone interested in coming along to meet us: Shoreditch Town Hall in London on October 15th . Its going to be a fantastic day!  Look forward to seeing you then.


All of Rachel’s books can be ordered by clicking through this link:

Louise’s books can be ordered via this link:


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Posted September 23, 2016 by Gordon in category "Guests