Rue Volley has become one of the biggest names of the independent publishing industry. Being one of the bestselling authors and creator of many of the covers you see coming out of the small press and independent graphics field. These are just a few of the reasons I wanted to interview her for the website and bring her to the front of the page for you my readers. So let me waste no more of your time. Here is the interview of Rue Volley.
Bachman: As a writer, have you ever had an unbelievable moment?
Volley: My unbelievable moments have always been with fans of my work. The first time I did a book signing really stunned me. I couldn’t believe that people would stand in line to meet me and have me sign their books. I’m always humbled when I meet people who buy my books and love them. Knowing that something I created made such a huge impact on another human being is probably one of the best feelings in the world. Fans are incredibly loyal and grateful to have a few moments with you. Every author should appreciate that.
Bachman: Is there anything you’ve seen in the industry you wish would change?
Volley: I’ve been in this industry for thirteen years and I’ve watched a lot of things change. I’m not a fan of the low price point that’s attached to Indie books, or quick fire novels pushed into the market by ghostwriting teams. I’m also not a fan of how over-saturated specific tropes become when one idea makes money. It tips the boat and makes it nearly impossible to navigate without spending extreme amounts of money on marketing. Facebook has also changed over the years. It used to be much easier to reach your fans (and new fans) on Facebook by using your business page, or posting in groups. Now Facebook hides most of your posts if you don’t pay them. It’s really unfortunate.
Bachman: They say if you’re a writer you must also be a reader, do you agree? Any book recommendations?
Volley: I do agree that you have to keep reading. It’s inspiring to read new books, but you have to be careful and not allow it to influence the book, or books, that you’re working on. I tend to avoid whatever genre I’m writing in at the moment. I’m very eclectic when it comes to reading. I do have some preferences though. I tend to read first person POV in present tense, mostly.
Some recent recommendations:
- Courtney Summers—The Project
- Amy Poehler—Yes Please
- Colleen Hover—Heartbones
- Rory Power—Wilder Girls
- Stephenie Meyer–Midnight Sun
- Nicola Yoon—Everything Everything
- Michelle Obama—Becoming
Bachman: Any advice to those just now coming into the industry?
Volley: Save up your money for marketing before you release the book and do your homework on what ads really work. Hire a GREAT editor. Have a professional, shelf-ready, book cover made. Hire someone to write your blurb if you can’t come up with something dynamic. I’ll also add that it’s up to you to set the pace and schedule with your book releases. Consistency is key. Branding is key. Think about these things when it comes to your image and each book release that you do. Think professionally. Treat it like a small business and don’t neglect it. No one will ever care about your book as much as you do.
Bachman: You produce some beautiful book covers, have you always done graphic design?
Volley: Thank you, I appreciate that. I’ve been a graphic designer for fourteen years and I’ve created over four hundred book covers.I recently left the publishing company that I was with, and I do freelance work now.
I think the book cover is one of the most important selling points when it comes to marketing your books. A great story can be snuffed out with bad wrapping paper.
I think authors should employ cover artists who are not only talented, but understand the market and how competitive it can be. Making covers that mimic other artists is detrimental to not only the original artist, but to the publishing world as a whole. I’d also like to add that it’s best to let the cover artist edit your vision so the cover doesn’t become a jumbled mess with no real message. It’s so easy to want to toss everything onto a cover, but just like the story itself, it has to be edited with a sharp instrument.
Bachman: Is writing something that you always wanted to do?
Volley: No, but it seems to have always wanted me to do it.
When I was young, I wrote elaborate screenplays to entertain my siblings. When I was in high school, I lucked into taking a creative writing class with a mentor who taught at Stanford University. When I was in my twenties and early thirties, I was in a band signed with Time Warner and I wrote all of the lyrics to our songs. Then when I turned forty, I decided to write my first novel. When I turned forty-five, I wrote my first screenplay and helped produce and direct my first movie. So, writing is just a part of who I am. I never thought about doing it for a living, but I’m grateful that I’ve been able to make a career out of it.
Bachman: Do you have a plan to stay on task during deadlines or do you ‘wing it’?
Volley: I’m a panster, so winging it is exactly how I write my novels, but as far as staying on deadline—I write every single day, even if it’s only a chapter or two. I’m very strict on myself when it comes to writing because it’s very easy to slack in this profession, and you can’t do that when you’ve invested time and money, and made announcements.
Bachman: Some writers do literary pilgrimages, is this something you’ve always wanted to do?
Volley: I’d love to take a few months off and just hike some mountains, bike some trails, meet new people, eat new food, listen to new music—live without a schedule or expectations. I think it would be a great experience after going through a pandemic and navigating a volatile political landscape for the last couple of years.
I think we all deserve a reboot.
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