Q&A with self-publishing sensation Cathy Bramley — plus a giveaway!

Conditional LoveJust a few days ago, Cathy Bramley’s debut novel, Conditional Love, hit number one on Amazon UK’s Romantic Relationships chart. Talk about perfect timing! 

Cathy has one of those fantastic self-publishing stories that gives other authors hope to keep going. Though oceans apart, we share a phenomenal cover designer, blog tour organizer, and protagonists who begin on the meek side but grow in confidence as they come into their own.  

I am so thrilled to have her here today.  After the interview, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Conditional Love!

Cathy Bramley Author of Conditional LoveAfter spending many years in public relations, you decided to self-publish your first novel in October 2013. Can you talk a bit about how that decision came about?

I had been to lots to conferences where the general consensus was that debut authors have about as much chance of getting an agent as they have winning the lottery. I decided that I would save myself the heartache of rejections and go it alone!

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Conditional Love is about a woman in her thirties who gets dumped by her boyfriend (on Valentine’s Day—yuck!), then receives a mysterious inheritance under the condition that she meet her long estranged father. What else can you tell us about that story?

I had great fun writing this book. Although the main character, Sophie is a bit weak-willed to begin with, I think she’s great fun and big-hearted and she grows in confidence as the story progresses. The theme is love in all its guises. We find love in the most unexpected of places and sometimes love comes with conditions attached.

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What do you think people will love most about the book? What do you love about it?

I think that people will love seeing Sophie start taking control of her life and stop just wandering where other people push her. I hope people will enjoy the humour. My husband, who is a very slow reader, is about half way through Conditional Love and whenever I see him laughing, I’m always dying to know which bit he finds funny. I probably shouldn’t say this, but the humour is what I love most about it.

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One of the absolute hardest things about self-publishing is getting your book out there—which you must have done brilliantly, because Conditional Love reached Amazon’s top 300 paid Kindle chart in just three months! Can you talk a bit about what worked for you and what didn’t?

I booked a blog tour with Fiction Addiction Book Tours That was amazing. Not only did the big boss lady Sharon Goodwin (Romance Blogger of the year 2013) who runs it, hold my hand during the launch of my first book, but she introduced me to lots of lovely book bloggers, whom I’m still in contact with now. The second most successful thing I did was to join a Facebook group of authors for my genre, in my case ChickLit HQ. We help each other out, answer queries, advise on book covers … all sorts. At Christmas we joined together on Twitter to do a campaign called #ChickLit4Xmas. We all took photos of our books in Christmassy settings and tweeted them with the hashtag. We managed to get the hashtag trending and I don’t know if that was the turning point but sales of Conditional Love increased dramatically after that. I don’t think I’ve done anything that hasn’t worked, although I wouldn’t spend too much time on Goodreads in future. I think Goodreads works best when readers recommend authors rather than when authors self-promote.

Ivy Lane Spring - Cathy BramleyNow that you’ve secured that dream agent, how have things changed?

On a personal level it’s lovely to have someone to talk to for advice and to bounce ideas off! Professionally it has helped my career to no end. My agent, Hannah Ferguson is working on selling the foreign rights for Conditional Love, which is very exciting. I have completed another novel called White Lies and Wishes which we are hoping to pitch to publishers this summer. It’s reassuring to know that any decision I make with my future books will have her professional input so that my career goes in the way I want it to.

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What can fans expect from you next?

I’m not sure that I’ve acquired any fans yet, Laura, but bless you for asking! Part one of new novel Ivy Lane is out now. I was approached by publishers Transworld to write a novel that would be serialized in four parts. Ivy Lane: Spring came out on 3 April 2014 and Ivy Lane: Summer will follow on 3 July and so on throughout the year. It is the story of Tilly Parker, who takes on an allotment to give herself a fresh start in life. I’m very excited about it and really enjoyed writing it.

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There are many rough patches on the road to publication. How did you get through the bad days?

I’m very fortunate to have a network of friends who are writers who understand exactly what I’m going through. They get me through. Wine also helps.

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What is the best piece of advice you’ve received that you can share with aspiring writers?

To treat the first draft of your novel as a ‘zero’ draft! Don’t worry about writing rubbish, just write. Once the story is down on paper, you can play with it, pull out certain events and characters and themes. The hardest part is writing the whole thing down. Worry about elegance and style later.

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In addition to blogging at cathybramleyauthor.com, Cathy enjoys connecting with readers on Twitter (@cathybramley), Facebook, and GoodreadsHer books are available at both Amazon.com (US) and Amazon.co.uk (UK).

ENTER TO WIN!

Conditional LoveComment below to win an e-copy of Conditional Love. The giveaway will remain open until 11:59 p.m. (PST) Tuesday, April 29, at which point a winner will be chosen at random.

Best of luck to you all!

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FEED YOUR BEACH BAG!

dfw-lk-dea-cover-midAlso at Amazon, Desperately Ever After is available in both print and e-book formats. Centered around a group of friends who just happen to live in castles … it’s “Desperate Housewives” meets the Brothers Grimm, and a perfect beach read. Click here for Amazon US or here for Amazon UK 

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COMING UP!

Amanda Prowse - A Little LoveNext Wednesday, April 30, Amanda Prowse stops by to talk about her latest novel, A Little Love. Plus, she’s offering FOUR SIGNED copies to you lovely Skipping Midnight readers. You won’t want to miss it 😉

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21 Comments

Filed under Author Interviews

21 responses to “Q&A with self-publishing sensation Cathy Bramley — plus a giveaway!

  1. Great interview. Looking forward to reading Conditional Love. I agree that goodreads is better for reader recommendations than author promotion

  2. I just finished Conditional Love yesterday, and I loved it. I must agree with Cathy that the humor IS the best part. Thanks so much for the good advice for authors, and thanks for such a fun book–looking forward to Ivy Lane.

  3. I’m loving the term “self-publishing sensation”, that really is what Cathy is! Great interview with a lovely lady. I’ve read Conditional Love (but would still love to win a paperback copy!) and Ivy Lane: Spring and am looking forward to what is next for her!

  4. Rebecca Grimstead

    I’m so excited to read this book after reading this interview. The book sounds like an fun easy read.

  5. The title alone gets me into this book because I’m a complete “unconditional love” girl !!!

  6. Very informative interview. Thank you for the chance

  7. I appreciate learning about how this all came about for you. So, a million thanks for sharing.
    You mention joining a Facebook group. I am curious how you found them, how receptive they were to your joining, and how many of you there are. It appears to be the best way to advertise, cross-marketing. I think this is my next step, but I’m hesitant. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    I’ll pick your book up, post… post!
    Thanks Again,
    Celia Kennedy

  8. bn100

    Nice advice to share

  9. Sounds like a good book. I’d love to read it.

  10. Kimberly V

    Interesting to hear an author’s viewpoint on Goodreads. Conditional Love sounds like a great book. Who couldn’t use a laugh?

  11. Suzan

    I am really curious about the main character’s relationship with her father. Sounds like a fascinating book. I’d love to read it.

  12. I would love to read this one- it has all of the elements that I love best in one story! Bonus points for the UK setting! 🙂

  13. Carolyn Valdez

    Conditional Love sounds so intriguing, I need to put this on my TBR list.

  14. This book looks adorable! I look forward to reading it.

  15. Lisa

    Enjoyed this interview and would love to read this! It’s great to get the chance to discover books this way. Thanks for sharing & the chance to win a copy.

  16. Great interview! This sounds very sweet, and I liked what Cathy says about love because it is so true: “We find love in the most unexpected of places and sometimes love comes with conditions attached.”

  17. Loved reading the interview. Can’t wait to read Conditional Love….love, single woman, intrigue in meeting her father…..caught my attention!

  18. “Don’t worry about writing rubbish, just write.” Love this advice! When you first get started, just free write. See what comes out. You can make it “pretty” later on!

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