Why I chose indie publishing

There are basically two main reasons why I decided to go down the indie route for my debut novel, Black and Blue:

  1. My book
  2. Me

Let me explain.

First of all, Black and Blue kind of sits in the wilderness between young adult and adult fiction. Years ago, new adult fiction promised to bridge that gap but it didn’t really work out that way, and “new adult” ended up becoming shorthand for erotic college romance. Happy to be proven wrong though — in fact, book recommendations (new adult or otherwise) are always welcome.

Also, I’m not judging you if you dig erotic college romances. Okay, I am, but not in a “you’re a bad person” kind of way — more like a “you might not be my target audience” kind of way.

Anyway, the only traditionally published author I could think of in Australia who was focusing on characters in that post-high school to mid-20s age bracket was Rebecca James, whose books can be found in both the YA and adult fiction sections of the library. So I was already leaning away from traditional publishing after looking into what was and wasn’t happening in that space.

I was also advised by someone with a lot of industry experience that, for the best chance of success in the traditional market, my main character (who is 18 and has recently finished school) should either be around 15 years old (so the book can be promoted in schools), or aged up to around 25 (so it’s firmly in the adult fiction territory). Obviously both of those things would’ve made it a very different story. But I agreed with the assessment, which brings us to now.

The second reason relates to me as an author/person. And my desire for creative control. What can I say? Beneath this dowdy little librarian body is a raging control freak who just wants to shush the whole world. Just kidding. But on a more serious note, there are plenty of anxiety-inducing things in life that I know are out of my hands. The publication of my book, however, didn’t need to be one of them.

Having said that, I also appreciate good guidance and I’m open to feedback — so I didn’t completely go it alone. I’m really enjoying working with independent/hybrid publisher Leschenault Press on Black and Blue and I hope you’ll like what we’ve been doing.

There are things that would be easier if I had a traditional book deal (visibility, distribution, marketing reach, etc.) and I wouldn’t have upfront costs. But I’m confident I’ve made the right decision for myself and my book. 🙂

York review for Perth Walkabout

My review of York — presented by Black Swan State Theatre Company in collaboration with WA Youth Theatre Company — is now online.

Written by Ian Michael and Chris Isaacs, it’s a ghost story with a difference, spanning two centuries of Western Australian history.

Read my York review at Perth Walkabout.

Coming soon… Black and Blue

Remember that book I was telling you about?

Well, it’s humming along. I’m publishing it through Leschenault Press and their Book Reality imprint, and it now has a kickarse cover designed by Luke Buxton that looks like this.

Book mockup of Black and Blue by Lee-Ann Khoh

Black and Blue will be my debut novel. I’m describing it as a work of young adult fiction with crossover appeal. Some years ago, I might have classified it as new adult fiction but that category kind of got overrun by erotic romance, which my book is not.

I actually wrote the first draft way back in 2015 but put it away for long periods at a time. Then a global pandemic happened. Some people baked bread, which is cool, but I’m very aware of my limitations in the kitchen so I thought I’d turn my attention to other things.

Like getting my book out. As some wise fellas once said, “It’s now or never, I ain’t gonna live forever.” 😉

Find out more about Black and Blue on the Book Reality website.

And get excited! Or don’t, that’s fine, because I’m plenty excited for all of us. 😛

P.S. In case you missed the blatant Bon Jovi reference…

“It’s My Life” – Bon Jovi

Letter to my long distance love

Dear Sydney,

Why you gotta do me like this?!

As of now, there are virtually no COVID-19 restrictions in Perth again. (Though I’m keeping a clean mask in my bag just in case.) But my heart is heavy because there’s a hard interstate border separating us and I don’t know when it might come down.

I love you, Sydney. Well, I love certain people in you. But you’re pretty cool too. Apart from worshipping the worst football code ever invented. 😉

When I was last with you at the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 certainly existed in the world, yet it seemed so far away from us in Australia. Now it’s you that seems a world away. My last attempt to get back to you was thwarted by a lockdown in Perth. Now it’s you that’s in lockdown. 😦

I look at the daily new case numbers, the images of people who seem to be packing beaches and shops for no apparent reason when they’re supposed to be at home, and I wonder when it’ll all end.

And to be honest, I’m mad because it feels like this could’ve been avoided (or at least closer to being resolved by now) had the state not backed itself into an ideological corner — but I digress.

Mostly I’m just sad and I miss you, my darling Sydney. And I really hope to see you again soon. ❤

Love,

Your mate in the wild west.

P.S. I went a bit nuts topping up my Opal card last time so to cut a long story short, I also really need to get to you and ride some trains or something. 😛

Amateur poetry readings in lockdown

Much of Australia has recently been in, or are still in, lockdown — including me in Perth. I was directed to work from home on Monday (it’s now Sunday again as I write this) when initial restrictions were reintroduced. And I managed to get a masked gym session in just before Premier Mark McGowan called an 8pm press conference (never a good sign) to announce that Perth and Peel would enter a four-day lockdown. Which we’re now out of, albeit with some restrictions in place.

Sydney, on the other hand, is still in the middle of their lockdown. 😦 That city owns a piece of my heart, so I decided to read “To Sydney”, a poem by Louise Mack, for LibriVox.

Listen to Short Poetry Collection 217 on LibriVox.

My oral interpretation of “The West” by Francis S. Borton is also in that collection, which is made up of 44 poems read by various volunteers.

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