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March 6, 2015
By Drucilla Shultz
After self-publishing his first novel, an indie author reflects on the ease of self-publishing and his fans desire for a sequel.

Indie author Joshua Danker-Dake's first novel, The Retail, finds a recent college graduate forced to work at a big-box store, à la Home Depot, when he can't find a job in his field. Publishers Weekly gave The Retail a glowing review describing it "like the script for a smart comedy film." We talked to Danker-Dake about his self-publishing story.

Did you try to go the traditional route or were you committed to self-publishing?

I went the traditional route seven years ago with a slightly longer and inferior version of The Retail. The responses from agents were about as good as they could possibly be for a book that nobody picked up, ranging all the way up to “We think The Retail is good and has market appeal, but we’re going to pass.”

I decided to self-publish The Retail for a number of reasons. As I discovered with The Spare Room and Other Stories, it’s not difficult, and lot of the stigma associated with self-publishing is now gone. Because of advances in on-demand printing, you can get a book into print without footing the bill for any of the production costs—beyond hiring, for example, your cover designer.

Since you'd already self-published a short story collection called The Spare Room, was there anything different you did with The Retail?

"Self-publishing was time-consuming, but straightforward—it’s nothing any reasonably computer-savvy person can’t do with a little bit of diligence."
Self-publishing was time-consuming, but straightforward—it’s nothing any reasonably computer-savvy person can’t do with a little bit of diligence. I can’t imagine the process could get much simpler. With The Retail, I used additional distribution channels for the e-book to make it available in more places and for more e-readers.

Where do you see self-publishing heading in the future?

Even as the process gets simpler, I’d expect that a self-published author is still going to have to learn more production and marketing skills to be successful.

Finally, PW said in its review, “Here’s to a sequel.” So I have to ask, is a sequel happening?

It’s a possibility. I had one story to tell about the retail world, and I’ve told it; however, I’ve been surprised by the number of readers clamoring for a sequel. I take that seriously. When and if I think of a compelling follow-up, I will certainly write it. In the meantime, though, I’m in the midst of various other projects, including an urban sci-fi thriller, a high-concept sci-fi series, and a thriller screenplay. With small children, my day job, and everything else, I have a hard time doing anything quickly, but a sequel could happen.