A Self-Published Space Opera

Have you ever wanted to self publish a book? In making your decision, it can help to know what other people’s experiences have been. Here’s another in my line of interviews with self published authors. This time, I caught up with K.E. Ireland, aka Aloria on the internets.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I am 25, unmarried, but dating. I live in Alabama, and as a result, some Southern colloquialisms creep into my novels, which happen to be space operas at the moment. A bit incongruent, but I try to edit those out later when they simply don’t fit, or when it’s really bad grammar. My parents were air force, so half my life, I spent moving every year. My first years of schooling were in Germany, though I didn’t learn any German… except how to count.

What started you writing?

I used to hate reading and books – mostly because when I was taught to read, I was forced to amuse myself with Dick and Jane. I despised Spot. As a result, I thought all books were just as boring. Back when I was about 12, I saw my mom playing a computer game. I got her to let me play it, and after I finished, Mom said the game was based after a set of books. These were not children’s books either. I sped through them as fast as I could and decided that I was imaginative, and thus capable of writing books just as good as these.

Do you have a website folks can check out?

I do. My website is www.natanfleetshow.com. I’m posting a webnovel there, updating on Mondays (unless I’m delayed for some reason, such as being incredibly sick). The website also has additional information pertaining to the universe I have created. There are files on the aliens I have made up, extra scenes that haven’t or couldn’t be included in the books I’m going to write, and artwork, both mine, and fanart.

How many books have you written?

Ha – not quite sure how to answer this one, given that I’ve written several books… only to tear them apart and rewrite them again, trying to make them better. Additionally, I spent at least 8 or 10 years writing fanfiction as a mode of practice, and I have several finished stories there. I have no intention of selling them, though. That’d be mildly illegal.

How many have you self published?

I have only self-published one book so far, but I have plans to self-publish the rest of the Natan Fleet Show series. These additional books are listed in “The Story” tab on my website. So far, I have five more planned, plus Ghost Talent, which once I’m finished posting it on my website, I’ll edit it again and self-publish that one.

Tell me about your most recent book.

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Playing the Hero is a space opera centering on a young alien male named Vathion. When his father is assassinated, Vathion inherits his father’s fleet of twelve privateer battleships. Unfortunately, this includes all the fleets problems as well – from malfunctioning equipment to spies and the annoying second in command. Gilonnia has been torn apart by a civil war that has been going on for almost an entire generation now, due to the Gilons themselves being generally new to the very idea of war. While most believe this war is due to selfishness and greed for power, there are far more insidious things going on under the surface. In Playing the Hero, Vathion is unaware of this big picture; as he is too busy trying to keep his second in command from stealing his fleet.

Why did you choose to self publish?

In the past, the “route” to getting published was to write a bunch of short fiction, sell it to magazines to get your name out there, then write full-length novels and attempt to sell them to publishers. However, print magazines are going out of business, though, and it’s unclear at this time whether they’ll revive with the economy or if they’ll go completely digital. Either way, I’ve never been interested in writing short stories, nor do I have the skills required to do so. Book publishers aren’t picking up many new authors these days, and it almost seems like it’s easier to get your book into the hands of someone famous than to get your book published by a “legit” source. I felt that as an unknown writer, it was unlikely that my work would be picked up by a brick-and-mortar publishing house, let alone an agent.

What have you liked/disliked about self publishing?

I’ve liked the control I have over what my book looks like, and how it’s presented. What I haven’t liked so far is the fact that it’s been a one-woman-show. In short, I’ve liked and disliked it for the same reasons.

What have you done to promote your book?

So far, I have been cashing in on my time spent writing fanfiction, pestering the people who loved reading those stories to come check out my original work. I’ve been emailing people, and I have a flier I’ve designed (but haven’t had the chance to distribute anywhere yet). I’ve got an author Livejournal, and have created a community on LJ for self-published authors (specifically the ones on Createspace) to advertise their writing, as well as to ask for assistance on things they’re having trouble with. I have my website, and I’ve got word-of-mouth. I’m pondering contacting the local radio station to see if I can get them to either interview me or plug my book.

What has given you the most success?

The problem with marketing is that a lot of the time, you really never know what is working.

Do you plan on self publishing again?

I do indeed plan on doing this again. The first book was difficult to get off the ground – mostly because I had no clue what I was doing, but now that I do, it shouldn’t be so hard. As a result, I’m going to finish off the Natan Fleet Show series as self-published books, then see about getting something published with a publishing house. Hopefully by the time I finish the NFS series, the economy will have gotten better and the publishers will start taking risks on new authors again.

What else should I have asked you?

What my influences are. …Given where I live, it’s no wonder I’ve become enamored with space and aliens. But other things have influenced me just as greatly – those being anime and video games. As a result, there is a lot of color in my writing. Vathion has purple hair, for example. C. J. Cherryh has also been an influence. After reading her Foreigner series, Cookoo’s Egg, the Chanur series, I’ve analyzed how she creates believable aliens and have replicated it in my own style (to the best of my ability).

Thanks, K.E. and best of luck with your writing.

More about K.E. and her work can be found at:

If you are interested in hearing more self-published authors’s stories, check out some of my other interviews:

If you’re a self published author and you would like an interview here on Story Hack, just use the contact page and let me know.

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