Some Thoughts with ... T. C. Emerys

24 Jan 2024

The Author/s

T. C. Emerys

T. C. Emerys

T. C. Emerys is a professional writer and publisher based in the UK.

The Interview

1.- What made you choose self-publishing?
Unlike a lot of authors in the community that I’ve spoken to, I never really considered traditional publishing as an avenue I wanted to explore. Not to say that I would never consider a traditional publishing deal if it was right for me, but the more I researched the ins and outs of it, the less I wanted to consider it.I like having control over my covers, my marketing, my royalties, my deadlines and my brand image. The pitfall of that, of course, is that success and failure are largely of my own making, but I don’t find that idea off-putting.

2.- Could you tell us about the idea that inspired the Albionverse series?
I have known for a long time that I wanted to write books that borrowed elements from the stories of King Arthur, but it wasn’t until after I completed my postgraduate studies on the topic of medieval Arthurian literature that I fully conceived the idea of an Albionverse. Starting with The Ancient Fire Series and continuing on in future series, the Albionverse will encompass hundreds of years of events across my world, which is both daunting and thrilling!

3.- How would you define the world of your series?

My world borrows heavily from folkloric tradition, with pagan elements such as The Wheel of the Year, herbal medicine/magic, Celtic deities and worship of the natural world playing large roles in the world-building.It is a chaotic, cruel and dark world, but is filled with magic, beautiful nature and a spirit of dogged survivalism.

4.- One of the main characters of your books suffers from chronic pain. Could you tell us more about the process of writing her and how you make it accurate?
It was important to me to include a character with chronic pain/illness because of my own experiences with it, but exploring it within the bounds of a fantasy world, where magic and consistent danger force Annowre into harder circumstances than I’ve ever faced.
In this case, I am much less interested in a notion of accuracy when writing Annowre’s story, and more so in capturing authenticity based on my own experiences and feelings, which I hope other chronic pain sufferers will feel that I did.

5.- Why are Arthurian myths so captivating?
For me, they are captivating because they are so briefly explored in modern stories. Everyone knows Arthur, Merlin, they might be able to name a few knights of the round table, perhaps Morgan le Fay, but very few people are familiar with the May Day Massacre, The Green Knight or The Knight with the Lion. I feel so strongly that these myths have barely been touched on, and that there are all of these characters and stories that haven’t been brought to modern readers. 
This is especially true of the female characters in Arthurian stories. For example, Annowre’s name is borrowed from a 15th century text Le Morte Darthur. She is a sorceress with barely a paragraph written about her, but she was so interesting to me. Her power and cunning are evident even though she is given little more backstory than “she kidnaps Arthur and is evil”. This is the same with some of the other characters in Arthurian legend that I adapted or borrowed the names of. To name just a few: Brusen, Elaine, Lunette, Laudine and many more. These female characters are minor or barely more than footnotes in the original medieval texts and I wanted to use that as a jumping off point to make fully-fledged characters for my own works.

6.- Marketing as an indie author is always challenging. Would you share some advice for any aspiring authors?
There is no one-size-fits-all for indie author marketing, but I’ll say some things that I wish I’d heard when I was first starting out.
Some controversial advice - don’t spend any money on any marketing services for the first 6 months to a year of writing and publishing your own books (unless you have worked in the industry or have some other experience). I wasted £100s with my first ever book (a short story collection) and never made it back just because I thought that was the ‘done’ thing. I thought that paying lots of money for book tours, marketing packages, blog announcements and Amazon Ads would make my book sell. But ultimately, it’s not as simple as that.
I think first things first, you need to set realistic goals. Do you want to sell books for profit or clout? Would you be happy with a handful of 5 star reviews and then never sell another book? Or do you want this to be your living? There is no right answer here, but these are VERY different goals and shouldn’t be approached in the same ways.
For me, this is now my living. I have multiple pen names that earn me enough money to call myself a professional author (just about!). So, that means I approach it like a business. The cover, the blurb, the social media - everything. You have to set your ego aside if you want to sell books, stop saying “I like that cover, it’s pretty” and start saying “this cover is perfect for my book because it suits the genre, appeals to my target readers etc.”. 
For anyone really serious about making a living from their books, 20booksto50k is the place to go. It’s amazing and the community share invaluable knowledge.

7.- Which part of self-publishing do you consider most challenging? Why?
Marketing, presumably like every other indie author, haha! It’s ever-changing. What’s working one week won’t work the next. You have to constantly be willing to adapt and put the work into learning how to find your readership. It’s a skill in itself, and needs to be planned and thought about way in advance of actually releasing the book.

8.- What can we expect from T. C. Emerys in the future?
Book Two of my Ancient Fire Series, Castle of the Wolf Goddess, comes out 17th May 2024. This book expands the world of Book One with some pretty unexpected (hopefully!) twists and turns in the plot. Plus we get more goddesses, more magic and more folklore-inspired characters!
Book Three in that series as well as the first book in a new Albionverse series will be out in 2025, and Book Four in 2026.

Thank you so much for having me!