Welcome to Author Journeys, an interview series focused on overcoming rejection and other struggles in order to get published, self-publish, or secure literary representation. If you’ve ever felt held back, lost, or stressed out by the path to publication, this series is here to inspire and motivate you, no matter the route you want to take. I’ll be interviewing a range of authors, from self-publishing authors to traditionally published.
Interview with self-publishing author Dave McCreery
In this interview, I’m welcoming author Dave McCreery, a self-published science fiction author from the UK. His debut novel Reality Check came out in 2021 and is the first in a planned trilogy. He’s also published a collection of short stories called Introductions: Volume One to introduce the various worlds he’ll be writing in. You can find him at his website.
They won’t stop. They won’t communicate. A hotshot pilot and his comrades are the last line of defence.
Ryan Fall is an upcoming Cyber Cycle racer held back only by his recklessness. Convinced to join The Enforcers’ new mech pilot programme, an approaching alien invasion tears his view of the world apart.
Under the command of the distant Captain Ryder, Ryan learns there’s more to life than racing. His desire to belong is immediately put at risk by an unknown enemy closing in on Earth – and threatening humanity’s survival.
The training is tough, but the truth is even harder for Ryan to face: his actions matter, and casualties depend on his decisions. Even the right choices cost lives.
If he’s to help his fellow pilots save the world, Ryan must come to terms with the harsh realities of war – and do whatever it takes to achieve victory.
Time is running out.
Reality Check blurb
Hiya, Rachel! Thanks for inviting me to chat!
You published your debut science fiction novel, Reality Check, in 2021. What made you choose self-publishing over the traditional route?
I did! It’s been quite the journey, if I’m honest. I wanted to find an agent and go with a traditional publishing house, I really did, but I was getting to the point that it was becoming less and less likely someone would be interested.
It was disheartening, but the people who had read Reality Check through its development really liked it, and so did I. I was – and still am – sure it’s a great story, and I wasn’t ready to give up on it. I had books two and three planned and drafted, and while I’m not giving up on a traditional deal for a book in the future, I thought it was time to get off my backside and look at other options.
Were there any particular hurdles to self-publishing that you struggled with, and how did you overcome them?
So many – and I’m still finding them, ha! I think my biggest problem was that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, and so I tried to find out as much as I could to make good, solid decisions. The problem is there’s SO MUCH information that it’s hard to know what will work for you. Every author’s journey is different, so relying on what someone else did won’t necessarily work for you.
Once I got an idea of the process after the writing, I felt more comfortable. I asked a lot of questions of people who knew more than me, about their process. That said, even just doing it once taught me a lot, and I’ll be a little wiser when it comes to my next book.
Have you ever experienced rejection or negative reviews? How did you deal with that?
The rejection came in the form of agents – but it was mostly standard form rejection or total silence. One told me they liked my writing but didn’t engage with the story as it was then.
In terms of reviews, so far no one has told me anything bad – or left a bad review yet. I’ve either been lucky or the people who haven’t enjoyed it have kept quiet so far. I did see that someone on Goodreads didn’t finish, but they didn’t say the book was bad, so not sure if that counts.
Those reviews and comments will come, and I’m sure they’ll be a gut punch when they do, but it seems to be a part of every writer’s journey, so I’ll face it when it comes.
Do you have any advice for writers who are struggling to decide whether they should take the leap and self-publish?
Some people decide it’s the way for them right from the start, and I can certainly see why now. That said, if you’re holding out for a traditional deal and it doesn’t come, don’t give up. Start writing the next one to wow the agents with.
There’s no reason you can’t self-publish what you have while you chase the dream. Go about it logically and set yourself a timeline while you write, so you don’t just paddle around getting nowhere and end up giving up.
You’ve also published a collection of short stories, Introductions: Volume One, to introduce the worlds you write in. What were the challenges of working on a collection of stories, compared to a novel?
I think the biggest challenge for this was actually when I decided to do it! I had some scenes from Reality Check already, and a few other shorts that were related to other projects I’d planned, and more I hadn’t gotten around to. Most importantly, I wanted to make sure the stories were valuable, but that readers wouldn’t miss out by not reading them. That was tricky.
I wanted a way to give people a chance to see what my writing is like, and if I’d planned better, I’d have given myself more time. I got it done, and I’m more confident with it now, but being so early on in my author career didn’t make it easy for me.
Do you have any projects tucked away that you haven’t done anything with, and could you tell us about them?
So, so many! With Introductions: Volume One, I introduced readers to four different worlds. Three of those have books to come, with Reality Check and the Weight of the World series being the first to be released. I have a second series, a steampunk-y fantasy, to come, as well as a speculative fiction novel that I dreamed up about ten years ago as I was finishing university. That’s all hush-hush for now, though.
There are books beyond this that are in the planning stages, too.
What did it feel like to finally see your work published?
Honestly? It felt surreal. Some might say it’s not the same, as it’s easier now than in the past for books to be published, and they’re not wrong, but there’s something really special about seeing a live sales page for YOUR book. All that work and effort has come to that point, and it’s really more important than any sales you might get… at least at the time.
What’s your favourite part of being an indie author?
Right now, I’m loving learning everything. It’s a steep curve but some of it isn’t as hard or daunting as it seems when you first think about it. The control is nice to have, but that means if something ends up being wrong, it’s on you to fix it. There’s not a day goes by where I don’t evaluate what I’m doing and look for better options.
That said, I’m impatient, and taking time to gather data and results is important for so many parts of this life.
What’s next in the works for you?
Right now, I’m working hard on Book 2 of the Weight of the World series, the sequel to Reality Check. I’m hoping to get that out later this year. I’m also looking to grow my newsletter list and I’m preparing to draft a brand new book – related to some of the stories in Introductions: Volume One. So plenty of work to keep me busy.