How bestselling writer Beth Revis became an indie author

REWRITTEN: After Penguin backed out on Beth Revis' new novel, The Body Electric, the YA author decided to self-publish. “I got to decide everything on this,” she says of the experience. “That was actually kind of liberating.” Photo by Visio Photography

Beth Revis was having trouble getting her novel published.

That may seem like an odd reversal for the author, who will be at Malaprop’s on Monday, Nov. 3, with a slate of other YA authors for the Compelling Reads Tour. She had just concluded her New York Times best-selling Across the Universe series. Her new novel was set in the same world. She had already started the editorial process with her publisher, Penguin. But then, as she puts it, Penguin “decided it didn’t fit in with their catalog.”

Revis could have gone to a different publisher. But that might have postponed the book’s release for another year. “And I felt like it really needed to get out as soon as possible,” she says. So she decided to self-publish. The result was The Body Electric, which she launched three weeks ago.

Revis was inspired by her friend S.R. Johannes, who self-published her Nature of Grace series. Plus, it helped to have worked with a publisher for one of the biggest hurdles for indie authors: editing. While Revis insists that Penguin didn’t influence the crafting of The Body Electric, she acknowledges that the company “had a fair amount of input” and helped her sharpen the story.

Still, Revis had to find her own copy editor and book designer. And for most of the rest of the process — promotion, marketing, advertising — she was entirely on her own. “It’s nice to be in charge of everything,” she says. “But then you’re in charge of everything, so how well the book does, it all depends on you.”

Revis has been heartened by the book’s early success. A limited edition of 300 signed copies sold out at Malaprop’s: “That helped boost my confidence a little bit,” she says. And the book has been well-received by her fans — though the author admits that having built a fan base through traditional publishing has helped immensely.

Revis will continue to work with Penguin (she has another book in the early draft stages), but she feels that she’s learned a lot from the experience. “I just adore every aspect of writing and publishing,” she says. While working with a publisher means letting the company set deadlines, design the cover and plan the marketing and promotion, “I got to decide everything on this,” Revis says. “That was actually kind of liberating.”

WHAT: The Compelling Reads YA Tour with Beth Revis, Matina Boone, Kimberley Griffiths Little, Claudia Grey, S.E. Green and Meagan Spooner

WHERE: Malaprop’s,

WHEN: Monday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m. Free

About Doug Gibson
I live in West Asheville. I do a lot of reading. Follow me on Twitter: @dougibson

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