An Interview with Jaleta Clegg

Please help me welcome Jaleta Clegg to my blog today. As a special treat she is giving her book away to all reader of the blog. Read on for how you can get your copy.

obsidian-ebook_2If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be, and why?

Tahiti. Or a small tropical island with plenty of fresh water and food service. Okay, make that a tropical beach hotel somewhere completely uncrowded. I want warmth and ocean breezes but no people. The older I get the more I hate people. I’m becoming more of a hermit every year. But forget the cave on a mountain. I live on a mountain and it gets much too cold up here.

Are you a full time writer or do you have a “day job”?

I have too many day jobs. I’ve got eight kids, four still at home. That eats up 90% of my time and energy. I started graduate school recently and that takes a lot out of my day, too. I also work part-time at the Discovery Space Center I have my own planetarium system to play with, plus we have starship simulators. It’s full-on space LARPing. And it all ties in to my writing, too. We’re creating our story universe and it’s partially based on my series.

What genre(s) do you write in and why?

Space opera, mostly. I love astronomy. I’ve always been captivated by stories like Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Star Trek, and Star Wars. Grand adventures, space travel, aliens, with just a dash of romance thrown in. I also dabble in fantasy, mostly high fantasy settings, and silly horror. I’ve tried writing straight romance but I was just too tempted to toss in aliens and unicorns and fairies and evil wizards, and the next thing I knew, it wasn’t a straight romance anymore.

How has your experience with self-publishing been?

It’s been a mixed bag. I like controlling my own schedule, publishing as fast as I feel I’m ready. I like being in control of the cover, editing, typesetting, formatting, and everything else. But on the other side, I hate having to make all the decisions. Sometimes it’s easier to let someone else do it. If it’s awful, I can blame them. But in self-publishing, I have no one to blame but myself. Overall, it’s been worth it, despite all the stress.

What was the deciding factor in self-publishing your book(s)? Did you decide on ebook or print only or both?

I was pushed into self-publishing. I never really wanted to do it on my own. I know some authors that just love it, but I was very reluctant. I wanted a publisher and I’m glad I had two good publishers for the first three books. But my sales weren’t good despite good ratings and reviews, so my latest publisher broke up with me. I looked at the situation and knew the only way my series was going to get finished was if I published it myself. What publisher would pick up a series at book four? So I took a deep breath and jumped into the self-publishing pool at the deep end. It helps that I’ve done graphic design for the last 18 years so I have experience with layout and design work. I’ve put out four books since August in both ebook and print formats. It takes a couple of hours to format for both, I do separate files for them, but since it costs me nothing more than time to get them up for sale, why not provide both print and ebook.

What went into the process? Writing, editing, cover design, formatting, etc. Share your ups and downs and how you went about it. If you used a service, can you share?

Writing the story and editing it dozens of times happens long before any author should ever start the publishing process. Tweak it, get the editing done, polish it, beta read the story – do all that before you even think about hitting the publish button. Cover design can take me anywhere from a couple of hours to weeks depending on whether I have a good idea of what I want and/or if the right pictures fall into place for me. I do two versions – ebook and print. Formatting takes a few hours for ebook, then a few more for print. Then I write up the blurb and all the sales pitch materials. Only after I have all this tweaked and in place do I go to the publishing venues and start uploading. Then I proof the copies and files to make sure they look good. Proofing can take up to a month before the final version is available for sale. It takes time to do a good job. When an author says, “I just wrote a book. I’ll have it up for sale in a couple of days,” I just want to shake some reality into them. Yes, you can publish it and have it for sale in a few days, but have you really taken the time to make it as good as you can? Editing takes time. Rewrites take time. Formatting and design work take time. Proofing takes time.

front_small (3)_2What advice can you offer to anyone deciding to self-publish?

Take time to make it good. Don’t jump before you’re ready. But don’t spend too much time dithering on the fence. When that story is as good as you can make it, go for it. Jump. Hit publish. Then write another book, and another, and another. Don’t pour everything into one book. And don’t be offended when someone hates it. It’s bound to happen sooner or later. You’ll get a 1-star review and it will hurt. But leave it alone, shrug it off, and go write something else. A thick skin is healthy in this business.

What did you want to be when you were a child? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I wanted to be a race car driver, until I saw Star Wars. Then I wanted to be Han Solo or an astronaut. But I get vertigo on a swing set so that wasn’t going to work. So I settled on being a computer programmer until I did enough to realize I hate doing it. Then I got into electronics. I love soldering and circuits. But it wasn’t a practical career for me at the time. So I got a degree in Geology, specializing in Earth Science Education. Then I stayed home with my kids since my job at Dairy Queen was a bust. When I couldn’t stand that anymore, I got a job at the space center. I think I still want to be Han Solo when I grow up. Or Ursula, the sea witch.

Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?

I had an eleven book series written and edited before I ever submitted anything to a publisher. Just a word of advice, write a stand-alone novel first. It’s just easier.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do to combat it?

Writer’s block? No. I just suffer from a lack of energy and time some days. When the words won’t come for whatever reason, I either throw in explosions or zombies or mutant zebras or possibly giant gorilla-bees. Or I watch old sci-fi shows for ideas.

What are you reading now?

Mostly books for class. I’ve got one on Affective Assessments I’m supposed to be wading through. When I have the chance, though, I love a light-hearted adventure. I’ve been reading some great YA fantasies lately.

Where can readers find you?

I’m on Facebook as Jaleta Clegg and I have a page for my series – Jaleta Clegg’s Altairan Empire series. I blog twice a week at The Far Edge of Normal – I love to hear from readers. I occasionally hit Goodreads and Twitter and some of the other author/reader sites.

Where can readers find your books? Print/Ebook?

I’ve got a website in progress that lists all my publications, short stories and novels. It’s a blog at the moment, because I hate building websites and procrastinated about it. My series can be found at

Anyone who would like a taste of my science fiction adventure series, you can have the ebook of Nexus Point, book 1, for free. Use code AA47G at
Thanks for inviting me!

3 thoughts on “An Interview with Jaleta Clegg

  1. Nice interview, Jaleta. I love finding new (to me, at least) authors. I’m with you on the warm beach thing. That’s why I leave this week for a 3-month stay in Mexico. I will check out your books.

  2. I agree too about the warm beach and no people. What is it about wanting to spend more time with yourself as you age? Maybe my bs meter is broken because I hate dealing with it. *wink*

    Like you, I started with a publisher and moved into self publishing. I find it freeing. While I do have it all on my shoulders, I don’t go it alone. I hire people to help me. 🙂

    Take care!!

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