SFFMP 123: Gail Carriger on Transitioning from Traditional Publishing to a Hybrid Career

New York Times bestselling steampunk/fantasy author Gail Carriger joined us this week to talk about writing and marketing for traditionally published novels as well as her experiences self-publishing novellas and short stories. She’s very proactive in interacting with her fans and had a lot of great information for listeners.

Here’s some of what we touched on:

  • Gail’s path to traditional publishing and how her books came to find an audience.
  • What her publisher has done as far as marketing and what she’s been expected to do on her own.
  • Why she decided to branch out and start self-publishing some of her novellas and short stories.
  • How she uses social media and her newsletter to interact with readers between releases and keep them excited about being a part of her fandom.
  • Using Amazon affiliate links to monitor what other things your readers are buying after they pick up your books (and why it might be useful to know that).
  • Gail’s experiences with book tours and whether it’s worth it for newer authors to try to arrange local book signings.
  • Is there anything you can do to make a publisher want to spend more money on you when it comes to their marketing/advertising budget?
  • Suggestions on what to watch out for with cover art.
  • Adult fiction versus young adult fiction.
  • What to watch out for when signing a traditional publishing contract, especially if you think you’ll want to self-publish on the side.

You can check out Gail’s books on Amazon and on other retailers, and you can find her on the web at GailCarriger.com or on Twitter or Facebook.


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  • Great interview! I’m actually another traditionally published author who had big say on the cover. I work with the guy who was the model for it, and designed the cover myself with the help of my webmaster (who has photoshop). I emailed it to my publisher and they loved it. You can’t quite tell looking at it online, but it spreads the front and back with the model’s spine lined up with the spine of the book. I thought it was neat. cainbook.com if you want to see it.

    It’s interesting because I’m gearing up to self-pub 3 novellas this year, so pretty similar hybrid model to Gail’s.

    Again, thanks so much for doing this podcast! I can hardly wait for each new episode. 🙂 Blessings,


  • Thanks for the great interview. The tips on using affiliate links were great — another thing to get around to.

    Just as a note, I believe that Tor is still taking slush-pile submissions and their response rate is (according to one editor there) a lot faster than it used to be (4-5 months instead of 2+ years).

    • SFFpodcast

      That’s good to know, Amelia. I was so glad self-publishing came along as a viable option because I had zero interest in playing the Agent Hunt game. 😀

  • She is one my absolute favorite authors. So delighted to hear her on your podcast! Keep ’em coming.