Ben Galley is a young author from sunny England. Ben has been writing since he was old enough to be trusted with a pencil, which, and if you know Ben personally you’ll know why, was somewhere in his early teens. Now of course, he’s much more responsible, and has moved from the pencil to the self-publishing world. He is the author of the epic fantasy trilogy – The Emaneska Series. He has released four books to date, and doesn’t intend to stop writing any time soon.
As a proud indie author, Ben does everything by himself. He writes, edits, sketches the maps, manages tours, does the marketing… even this website was crafted by his very hands. Ben regularly tours the country doing signings and workshops, allowing him to meet a great many interesting people on his journeys. He is a frequent guest speaker and lecturer on the subject of self-publishing, and is incredibly zealous about helping other authors and writers.
Introduction: Tell us who you are, how and why you decided to be an author and where you’re at right now in your career.
I worked my backside off for several years, until I had a book I could self-publish.
My name is Ben Galley, and I’m an author of dark fantasy and tall tales. I decided to become an author from the very moment I could hold a pencil. My imagination has always run wild – a by-product of being force-fed JRR Tolkien and mythology from a very young age! Writing stories and dreaming up worlds seemed to come easily to me. It was an escape as well as something I could share with other people.
I wrote my first novel aged 11, and that passion for writing never died. It only got stronger. When I’d finished university I decided it was time to take the plunge and achieve that dream of being an author. I worked my backside off for several years, until I had a book I could self-publish. My debut – The Written.
I’m now 26, with 4 fantasy books and a self-publishing guide on the shelves. I now also run a consultancy business that helps other authors self-publish, and over the last year, I’ve also opened my own eBook store Libiro.com, with co-founder Teague Fullick. I like to think the aged 11 me would be pretty pleased!
What was/is the hardest thing about balancing writing with everyday life and/or a day job?
For me, it was hard to get the time to write and actually finish a book that I could then publish. I worked full-time whilst writing The Written and the rest of the Emaneska Series, and there were never enough hours in the day. However the dream drove me on, and I would work all day at my job, then come home and work into the morning at my writing. It was tough, and stressful, but it’s paid off in the long run.
Tell us about your schedule and habits from this time (or what you’re doing now if it hasn’t changed).
It’s important to keep the ideas fresh, to keep your head in the game, and to keep your skills sharp.
One way of getting around the long hours spent behind bars, serving tables, and generally despairing at my lack of opportunities, was to write The Written and Pale Kings on my mobile phone between customers and on breaks. That way I didn’t have to tear my hair out waiting to get home, and could keep the workflow steady. However, The Written still took 18 months to write this way!
To this day, when I’m in the middle of writing a novel, I strive for 2000 words a day minimum. It’s important to keep the ideas fresh, to keep your head in the game, and to keep your skills sharp.
At one point in time did you make the decision to support yourself/your family as an author? What was that decision like and how did you feel afterward?
It’s a scary decision, that’s for sure – book sales can be fickle, especially seasonally. And of course, you can’t ride the success of one book forever: you need to keep coming out with product. Once I had enough books on the shelves, the income was consistent and knew my other projects were taking off, that’s when I knew I could do it.
Put simply, the feeling was euphoric.
What is one thing about your author career that not many people know of? Alternatively, what are some of your other hobbies/interests outside of writing?
Good question! I’m pretty open on social media and the web, though I wonder if people knew what sorts of music drove my words sometimes. I do have a strong passion for metal…
My other hobbies outside of writing, when I have the time, include a spot of cooking, hitting the gym, gaming, and rat-keeping.
What’s the single best piece of advice you have for authors who can’t support themselves with their writing yet? What should they be focusing on?
There is no better marketing than your next book.
Writing. Day in and day out, and every day. There is no better marketing than your next book, and as that’s the element that sells, the more the merrier. You will also benefit from the practise too – the more you write the better you will get, and that again is very important.
The second piece of advice is professionalism. When publishing, quality and a professional standard are paramount to standing out from the crowd, and to making sales. This means a great cover, spotless editing, and good formatting for eBooks and paperbacks.
Is there anything we haven’t asked that you’d like to touch on?
Just that it was a pleasure to be part of this series, and to tell any other authors or budding writers reading that there has never been a better time to be an author. We now have the means, the technology, and the support to make it on our own, and be our own author-preneurs. It’s a tough job with a steep learning curve, and it can be hard at times, but please do persevere, because it’s also the best job on the planet.