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British fiction-writer found success in e-publishing

Quinn's book The Thieftaker came out in September. Her upcoming fiction 'Masquerade' is expected to be published sometime in the second half of the year.

Quinn’s book The Thieftaker came out in September. Her upcoming novel Masquerade is expected to be published sometime in the second half of the year.

By Amy A. Ross

Had traditional publishing been her only choice to get her books into the market, Katherine Quinn‘s career as a fiction writer might not have made it off the ground.

However, the possibilities of exploring self-publishing and e-publishing opened up completely new options to this British writer, who has now sold hundreds of thousands of books and advocates for exploring new possibilities of reaching audiences through the Internet.

“I would say it’s really easy to get sucked into the illusion of publishers as fairy godmothers who wave a magic wand and make you a big star and I certainly had the idea I could write the book and they would take care of the marketing and everything else,” said Quinn, who publishes under the pen name CS Quinn.

However, her experience proved to be very different. After several frustrating experiences involving small profit margins and large marketing responsibilities, Quinn opted for trying out the e-publishing process, which allowed her to sell her books directly to readers and keep a greater chunk of her royalties.

“Having had this experience with more traditional publisher, when I had my next book ready, Amazon was hands-down the front runner,” said the author the The Thieftaker, a thriller set during the plague in England.

According to Quinn, while other publishers had unclear plans for her book, Amazon Publishing offered her hundreds of thousands of potential readers in their database. This information enabled them to notify those who had previously purchased historical thrillers such as her own that a new publication of that genre was coming out.

“Amazon doesn’t really have a great book shop distribution system, but my experience with them has been amazing. They give you bigger royalties because they can sell it on their website and save on the markup you normally take in retail; they also gave me a great cover and great marketing,” said Quinn.

The month her book was launched it sold around 20,000 copies and six months later it had surpassed the 50,000 mark.

Before pursuing her career as a fiction writer, Quinn worked as a freelance journalist for news organizations like The Times, The Guardian and The Mirror, alongside many magazines. Her experience as a journalist and writing a travel and food blog contributed to her world view and offered a broader context of many different countries around the world.

“I think I always had the fiction thing in the back of my mind and that was where I wanted to be. The other projects were ways to try to make a living from writing or get some other experience,” said Quinn.

In 2004 she published her first book, which was a nonfiction book about journalism. After that, she experimented with her first fiction story which she said was “really bad.” However, she persisted in her fiction writing endeavor and following the advice of her sister, Quinn published a very successful contemporary romance that sold over 200,000 copies.

“I have always wanted commercial fiction rather than literary fiction,” she said.

Quinn’s next book is called Masquerade and is part of a series she is working on based on modern day romance films, somewhat like “Pretty Women, but based in London in the eighteenth century.” The book is expected to come out in the early Fall.