Indie Spotlight – Annie Whitehead

Today I would like to welcome author of historical fiction, Annie Whitehead to my blog.

Annie Whitehead studied History under the eminent Medievalist Ann Williams. She is an elected member of the Royal Historical Society and an editor for EHFA (English Historical Fiction Authors.) She has written three award-winning novels set in Anglo-Saxon England, one of which, To Be A Queen, was long-listed for the Historical Novel Society (HNS) Indie Book of the year and was an IAN (Independent Author Network) finalist. All of her novels have won IndieBRAG Medallions. She has contributed to fiction and nonfiction anthologies and written for various magazines, including winning the New Writer Magazine Prose Competition. She was the winner of the inaugural Historical Writers’ Association/Dorothy Dunnett Prize 2017. She has now been a judge for that same competition for 2019 and 2020, as well as for the HNS Short Story Competition. Her nonfiction books are Mercia: The Rise and Fall of a Kingdom (published by Amberley Books) and Women of Power in Anglo-Saxon England (published by Pen & Sword Books).

Contact Annie Whitehead here: 



Twitter: @AnnieWHistory

Hi Annie, thank you for joining me today. What made you decide to publish your books independently?

When I finished my first novel, To Be A Queen, I found myself in the wonderful position of having two literary agents offering me contracts for it. I signed with one of them and it was not the right choice. When it dawned on me that my agent was not fulfilling the promises made, I decided to publish independently. It was quite a daunting prospect but having had confirmation from two agents that my book had merit gave me the confidence to put it out into the big wide world.

It must indeed be a daunting prospect, but if you have the required confidence it would seem to be a beneficial decision for most people I’ve talked to so far. What do you consider to be the benefits of being an indie author?

Well, I’m what might be termed a hybrid author, as my nonfiction books are traditionally published, so I see it from both sides. The advantage of being indie is total control – over release day, cover design, title etc. You have complete and final say over every aspect of the book. Once you have paid for your design, editing etc, you get to keep a greater share of the royalties.

So now onto the other side of the coin. What particular challenges do indie authors face?

Total control! There’s no one to take the load. With my nonfiction, the covers are designed in-house and all I have to do is approve them, rather than working directly with the designer. Everything is set up so there’s no having to deal with online platforms, and there is no outlay. Indie authors will have to pay their editors, cover designers, proofreaders etc, whereas traditionally-published authors have all that provided by the publisher.

What advice would you give to any aspiring indie authors who might be reading?

Aside from ensuring that your book is the best it can be, I’d say find a support network. Connect with other authors, support them, and you’ll find that they’ll support you. Chances are that whatever problems you have, from structuring your book to wrestling with uploading it, someone else will have been there, done that, and will be more than happy to help. Don’t struggle alone.

Everyone needs a support network. What have you learned from being an indie author?

That supportive network. The writing community is such a lovely place. I’ve also learned the importance of producing a book that looks good. They say one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in this digital age it’s difficult not to; your book cover has to look good as a ‘thumbnail’. 

So now that we are finally preparing to say “Goodbye” to what has felt like both the longest and shortest ever year, what can we look forward to seeing from you in 2021?

I’m currently working on the follow-up to my third novel and I hope to see that published in late spring. I’m also putting the final touches on a project which arose from my winning the HWA/Dorothy Dunnett Short Story award. I have another nonfiction book proposal, and a half-written contemporary novel, so I think I’ll be busy for a while!

Thank you very much for visiting my blog today, Annie and for your insights. Good luck with your upcoming projects – and Happy New Year!

5 of Annie’s books.

View all her books here:

To Be A Queen

The story of Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians. She was the daughter of Alfred the Great and she led a kingdom in the battle against the Vikings. But can she save her adopted country from the ambitions of her own brother?

Add to your goodreads TBR here:

Buy here:

Cometh the Hour

In seventh-century England, three northern kings fight – a blood feud which will spread beyond borders. In the south, a king watches and waits. He is a pagan. He is a Mercian. His name is Penda. And he will avenge his kin.

Add to your goodreads TBR here:

Buy here:

Alvar the Kingmaker

A teenage king causes a scandal which shocks the Church and leads to the kingdom being split. When kings die young and in mysterious circumstances, loyalties are tested. Can one man save the monarchy and the queen, and avert civil war? And at what personal cost?

Add to your goodreads TBR here:

Buy here:


12 stories by 12 indie authors. In my story, Love to Hatred Turn’d, I go back to the days leading up to the scandal I’ve just mentioned, where we find an abbot with an ambitious brother, a king with an ambitious brother, and a woman who stumbles on their secret…

Add to your goodreads TBR here:

Buy here:

1066 Turned Upside Down

11 stories by 9 authors re-imagining the events of 1066. What if William the Conqueror had been beaten at Hastings? Or if Harald Hardrada had won at Stamford Bridge? My story, A Matter of Trust, imagines a different outcome at one of the battles and Harold facing threats from his own men…

Add to your goodreads TBR here:

Buy here:

Who’s next on Indie Spotlight?

Next Thursday (Jan. 7th) I will be welcoming another author of historical fiction, Gemma Lawrence to Indie Spotlight. Hope you will join us again.

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2 thoughts on “Indie Spotlight – Annie Whitehead

  1. I was looking forward to reading this, Annie and Sue. It’s interesting to see you give the upsides of traditional publishing. Having had a spell with a publisher myself, I agree they take the load off in many ways, but I also found myself compromising things like the cover design and layout to suit their ‘company ID’, so even though they did all that, I didn’t like the final outcome as much as I could have done. It’s good to see both sides, though. Thanks for an interesting interview, and I so agree about the community of writers. What a great support they are!

    Liked by 1 person

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