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Thoughts and Tips of an Indie Author (Part 1) by Catherine Kullmann

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Catherine Kullmann

Catherine Kullmann


My name is Catherine Kullmann. I am the author of six novels set in the extended Regency period (roughly 1800 to 1830, when George IV, the former Prince Regent, died) and I shall publish my seventh novel in 2022. My books feature regularly in the Amazon best-selling lists for their genres. As I write, on 13 December 2021, the rankings on Amazon UK for my latest book, A Comfortable Alliance which was first published on 25 March 2021, are:

You will not find my books on the shelves of any bookstore in Ireland. Why? Because I have published my books myself. I am an Indie (independently published) Author. In this series of articles, I shall explain why I chose to publish independently and share my experience with you.

First a little background material about my books

Following the collapse of the Treaty of Amiens in 1803, the United Kingdom was at war with Napoleonic France until 1815. Unlike other combatants in this long war, Britain was spared the havoc wrought by an invading army and did not suffer under an army of occupation. War was something that happened elsewhere. For twelve long years, ships carrying fathers, husbands, sons and brothers sailed over the horizon and disappeared. Over three hundred thousand men did not return, dying of wounds, accidents and illness. What did this mean for those left behind without any news apart from that provided in the official dispatches published in The Gazette and what little was contained in intermittent private letters?

The extended Regency period has always fascinated me. The Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland of 1800, the Anglo-American war of 1812 and the final defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 all still shape today’s world. At the same time, the ruling aristocracies were being challenged by those who saw the need for social and political reform, while the industrial revolution which led to the transfer of wealth to the manufacturing and merchant classes was underway. Women, who had few or no rights in a patriarchal, misogynist society, had begun to raise their voices, demanding equality and emancipation. This is the world where my novels are set. How long did it take, I wondered, for word of those three hundred thousand deaths to reach the bereaved families? How did widows and orphans fare? What might happen to a girl whose father and brother were ‘somewhere at sea’ if her mother died suddenly and she was left homeless?

I wanted to recreate this era for my readers. It was the end of the age of sail and of horse-power in its most literal sense, the time when romanticism in art and literature blossomed, the interval between hoops and crinolines when women’s clothing was at its lightest and most comfortable since the Middle Ages, lighter than it would be again for almost another hundred years. A time of double standards, of the beau monde and the demi-monde. A man might keep a mistress but homosexuality was a hanging matter; a woman’s ‘lost virtue’ made her an outcast while marriage meant that she lost her legal persona and was completely subordinated to her husband.

I did not want to write fictionalised biographies of historical figures where I would be restricted by their real, personal story arc; I wanted to create fictional characters and confront them with problems and dilemmas as they would have arisen at that time. These problems were partly situational, partly relationship-based and yes, I wanted my characters to have a happy end.

After a couple of years writing, I got an agent and felt I was on my way. But this was not the case. Soon the ‘warm rejections’ started coming in. The main problem was that my books crossed two genres—historical fiction and historical romance. Meanwhile I did not feel time was on my side, especially as it was only after I took early retirement that I started to write. Could I afford to risk forty plus rejections on the assumption that one day my publisher prince would come? I thought not, and so I decided to publish independently via Amazon’s KDP programme for eBooks and POD (Print on Demand) paperbacks). My debut novel, The Murmur of Masks was published in July 2016. Since then I have published a novel a year. What have I learnt in those five and a half years?

Reasons why Authors decide to Publish Independently

  • They do not want a career in writing but simply want to write and publish one book that is important to them, frequently a memoir.
  • They feel they do not have the time to try the traditional (agent/publisher) route with its long waiting periods and longer lead times.
  • They have not succeeded in finding an agent or publisher
  • They want full artistic and commercial control of their publications
  • They want a greater share of the profits.
  • Any combination of the above.

Read Part 2 of this article here and Part 3 here.

(c) Catherine Kullmann



About A Comfortable Alliance:

Can they open their hearts to something much deeper and passionate? Will their marriage only ever be a comfortable alliance?

Six years ago, Helena Swift’s fiancé was fatally wounded at Waterloo. Locking away all dreams of the heart, she retreated to a safe family haven. On the shelf and happy to be there, Helena has perfected the art of deterring would-be suitors.

Will, Earl of Rastleigh, is the only son of an only son: marriage is his duty. One of the great prizes of the marriage market, he shies away from a cold, society union. While he doesn’t expect love, he seeks something more comfortable. But how to find the woman who will welcome him into her life and her bed, and be a good mother to their children?

When Will meets Helena, he is intrigued by her composure, her kindness and her intelligence. As their friendship develops, he realises he has found his ideal wife, if only he can overcome her well-known aversion to matrimony.

Will succeeds in slipping past Helena’s guard. Tempted by the thought of children of her own, and encouraged by her mother to leave the shallows where she has lingered so long, she accepts his offer of a marriage based not on dangerous love but affectionate companionship and mutual respect.

But is this enough? As Will gets to know his wife better, and the secrets of her past unfold, he realises that they have settled for second-best. Can he change the basis of their marriage? Will Helena risk her heart and dare to love again?

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Catherine Kullmann was born and educated in Dublin. Following a three-year courtship conducted mostly by letter, she moved to Germany where she lived for twenty-five years before returning to Ireland. She has worked in the Irish and New Zealand public services and in the private sector. She is married and has three adult sons and two grandchildren.

Catherine has always been interested in the extended Regency period, a time when the foundations of our modern world were laid. She loves writing and is particularly interested in what happens after the first happy end—how life goes on for the protagonists and sometimes catches up with them. Her books are set against a background of the offstage, Napoleonic wars and consider in particular the situation of women trapped in a patriarchal society. She is the author of The Murmur of Masks, short-listed for the 2017 CAP Awards (Carousel Aware Prize for Independent Authors), Perception & Illusion and A Suggestion of Scandal, shortlisted for BooksGoSocial Best Indie Book 2018.

Catherine also blogs about historical facts and trivia related to this era. You can find out more about her books and read her blog (My Scrap Album) at www.catherinekullmann.com

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