Today I’m here with my dear friend from Wattpad, who writes under the pen name Shadow Cheah.
Her first book Evolution is wildly popular on Wattpad, and her entire trilogy is out for sale now!
My name is Abigail Beckett, and this is 2415; the human race is no longer the only intellectual species on this planet.
Now humans are confined in walled Citybases, which safeguard them from these mutated beasts we call Legres, and the government hides the existence of the genetically affected humans with powers beyond imagination.
Me: That was an exhilarating opening and thanks for joining me for an interview today.
Shadow Cheah: I’m so happy to be here! Thank you so much for inviting me, I’m a huge fan of the STAR Academy series.
Me: How or rather when did you make the transition from thinking of your writing as a hobby to deciding to go professional?
Shadow Cheah: Writing has always been a hobby for me, and when I found Wattpad, it went from another platform I can post my stories on to the one that encourages me to finish one. Since then, the first book in my series: Evolution, has garnered over one million views. And I thought to myself: if I can get one million reads on Wattpad, maybe I can get some on Amazon, too!
Me: I applaud you for that!It’s up to each of us to try and make our dreams a reality. Who is your indie author role model? Why?
Shadow Cheah: Joanna Penn! She has such an inspiring indie author career and her website has been a great help on my self-publishing journey.
Me: Absolutely. I love listening to her podcast, too. So, when you first got started what was your game plan? Did you have a specific approach to the wild jungle of the self-publishing universe?
Shadow Cheah: I actually joined Self-Publishing School, but it isn’t very helpful with my model as I already have my first draft up on Wattpad and isn’t writing about self-help or any other non-fiction topic. After some trials and errors, I decided it’s best to leave my first book as perma-free to attract more readers to the series! It’s definitely working better than pricing it at 0.99, but this method works better for a series and less so for standalone.
Me: What were your initial expectations? Would you say you were too optimistic or pessimistic now that you’ve been through the experience?
Shadow Cheah: I would say that I have hopes, but understand that it will probably take years before I can get my investment back from the book sales. Fortunately or unfortunately for me, my expectation is exactly that! The book market is quite saturated, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Millions if not billions of readers are always searching for new books to read, it’s just a matter of reaching the right people!
Me: What would you do differently, if you were just starting the process now?
Shadow Cheah: I would definitely not e-mail book bloggers. They are not very indie-friendly most of the time, and more often than not would never respond to you or even leave you a negative review.
Me: Ok, it’s time to go into the nitty-gritty: wide or KU? How did you make the decision? Do you think you’d ever switch for a new series?
Shadow Cheah: I decide to go wide! I don’t want to take my first drafts off Wattpad because it is the platform that has gotten me started, so KU was out of the equation. But if I ever write another and not put that on Wattpad, I will try KU!
Me: So, when did you first join Wattpad and what were your publishing aspirations at the time?
Shadow Cheah: I joined way back in 2011 when I was searching for free books to read! Back then, publishing was never really on my mind, because it’s not something that just happens to people. But as I’ve said, Wattpad has really helped me finish up stories and regain my passion, which set me off on the self-pub journey!
Me: And finishing a story is really the first step. You can’t grow and do anything else until you have done that. In what ways has your Wattpad audience helped you grow as a writer?
Shadow Cheah: Their comments and encouragement! I have always been a flaky writer, jumping from idea to idea, writing a chapter here and there and never finishing one. It’s their anticipation and feedback that has gotten me to finish writing not one but four books! And of course, they are great at picking up inconsistency and plot holes!
Me: What is the biggest lesson Wattpad taught you, which you then went ahead and used in self-publishing? Any transferrable skills?
Shadow Cheah: oh that’s a hard one! I think, for me personally, is how to finish a story – something that I was never able to do!
Me: Did your Wattpad audience help in other ways during the launch?
Shadow Cheah: I would like to say yes, but the truth is the help was minimum. Most of the readers on Wattpad are young, and don’t really have access to Amazon account or anything like that, and are unwilling to purchase. But some did leave me good reviews!
Me: What were your three focus points during the launch?
Shadow Cheah: Getting reviews, alerting my mailing list, and making sure the book is proofed! There will always be mistakes though, so don’t stress over it!
Me: What are your TOP 3 self-publishing resources?
Shadow Cheah: Scrivener has definitely been a lifesaver! I use it to format my own ebook too so I don’t have to go through someone every time I find a typo. It’s a steep learning curve that’s well worth it!
Kindle book previewer on the laptop is great for checking for mistakes, and Grammarly for picking up the odd mistakes!
Me: What would you recommend new self-published authors do first and foremost?
Shadow Cheah: Make sure the cover is amazing and the book is edited! That is two main points that separates most indie from traditionally published author and where the bad reps come from!
Me: In what ways do you keep in touch with your audience? Do you prefer Wattpad or other social media or both?
Shadow Cheah: Wattpad is definitely great! Social media for authors is something that I need to get on top of, but I’ve mostly been communication through my mailing list!
Me: What are your self-publishing goals for the next few years? Where would you like to see it all go?
Shadow Cheah: I hope that I can sell more books, of course, and maybe get to self-publishing the prequel to the P.O.E. Chronicles!
Me: And I sincerely hope to see you achieve that! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with me today; that was great!
Shadow Cheah: thank you for having me!