Delin Colón

Delin Colón has been both a writer and a promoter for other writers.  In this interview she discusses her well-researched book, Rasputin and The Jews: A Reversal of History, and her extensive recommendations for marketing and promoting.

1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?

My father had always told me that my great-great uncle was Rasputin’s secretary, and one of the few Jews permitted to live outside the ghetto called The Pale of Settlement.  Fifteen years ago, I found an out-of-print copy, in French, of my ancestor’s memoirs about Rasputin.  What amazed me were all the stories he told of Rasputin’s compassion for and aid to the oppressed Russian Jews, as well as his efforts to get the tsar to accord the Jews equal rights, as they were deprived of educations, most occupations and choice of residence.   Since some writers have disparaged my great-great uncle’s account, due to the amount of wild court gossip he included, I made it my mission to research and substantiate the specific incidents of aid to Jews that he documented.  After a dozen years, and reading over a hundred works in French and English, including many Russian works that were translated into French, I found that nearly every writer, from Rasputin’s daughter Marya to his killer, Yussupov, at least mentioned that he advocated equal rights for Russian Jews.  Some lauded him and others vilified him for this.  While some who knew him attempted to bring his humanitarianism to light, they were overshadowed by the largely anti-Semitic views and propaganda of the nobility, clergy and press.  I feel that, in my intensely documented book, I’ve accomplished his vindication.  Apparently, so far, all of my reviewers (by editors and readers alike) seem to agree.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales have been sporadic – some months great, others not so much.  But the book has a relatively narrow market, appealing to those interested specifically in Rasputin, Jewish history, anti-Semitism, etc.  In addition, I refuse to pay for a review and have not bought any advertising.  I have no doubt that those investments would bring a greater readership and attention, but it just doesn’t sit well with me.

Read More

David Beshears

David Beshears is a writer with a mission.  After his son was severely injured in an IED blast in Afghanistan, David started his own publishing company to raise funds for a community center for others who are disabled.  In this interview, David tells his story and discusses his extensive and insightful marketing experience and advice for indies.

1. Tell me briefly about your books – what are they about and what motivated you to write them?

First of all there’s Climb the Mountain, the story of our struggle to bring our son back from severe traumatic brain injury after he was injured in Afghanistan.  We spent six weeks at Walter Reed in Washington, DC, seven months at the Polytrauma facility in Palo Alto, California, and now home in Washington State.

While our focus these past few years has been our son, my literary interest is primarily science fiction, though I occasionally drift to fantasy, horror, young adult, and even dark comedy from time to time.  I’ve been writing since I was twelve.  I wrote a short story for extra credit when I was in the sixth grade.  The next day, my teacher handed me an empty theme book.  She told me to fill it up with stories.  The purpose in writing Climb the Mountain, and in publishing this and all my titles through our own company, was to support the creation of a community center for people with disabilities and their families.  After bringing our son home, we found there to be a critical need for such a facility.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales rise and fall depending on how actively I’m marketing.  When I’m pushing, I sell; when I’m not pushing, nothing.  So we’re in the 100s, not the 1000s.

Read More

Nicholas LeVack

Nicholas LeVack has found success selling his short stories on the Kindle Direct Publishing platform.  On the verge now of releasing his first book, Nicholas discusses how he used social networks – both online and in real life – to broaden his market and move sales.

1. Tell me briefly about your books – what are they about and what motivated you to write them?

My currently released titles are My Self-Loathing Jailer, Downpour and My Dark Dissent, all of which are short stories that heavily use metaphors or conceits.  My Self-Loathing Jailer and My Dark Dissent are symbolic of personal struggles I dealt with in my youth and, in some capacity, still fight today.  They’re about how crippling insecurities can be in regards to their ability to isolate you from the rest of the world, even if just socially.  I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I think they’re good messages for those who suffer with depression or have experienced bullying, only they’re presented in a way an average reader might find a little less accessible, given the cryptic nature of the symbols and messages.  Downpour, though not a tragedy I’ve experienced personally, deals with an often dreaded situation and a state of mind – the absence of control in one’s life – I believe most of us have experienced at least once.

2. How have your sales been?

I honestly hadn’t expected my short stories to be a viable contender on the market at all.  However, I’ve at least made enough for my efforts to be justified.  And compared to some of the authors I’ve spoken to who’ve been e-publishing for longer than I have, I’d say I am doing pretty well for myself.  I believe the most important thing I can do to improve my sales is just keep writing, because readers will be more willing to spend their hard-earned cash on someone who looks established due to a lasting presence on the market. Fortunately, writing is what I do – I’m not just publishing my work to make a quick buck, it’s because writing is the only thing I’ve ever been able to consider as a career.  Even if I’ll never make ends meet with writing alone, I’ll strive for it as long as I am able, and I’ll keep putting out stories for people to either pass up or – and I’ll always be eternally grateful for this – actually purchase.

Read More

H.P. Stephenson/Kathryn Tedrick

H.P. Stephenson and Kathryn Tedrick are the authors of War of the Staffs: Quest for the Staff of Adaman.  In this interview, they discuss why they use blogging and social media – and why they advise against using a marketing firm.

1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?

A powerful vampire wizard named Taza is brought through the void by Adois, a vengeful goddess who lends him her staff so that he can take over the planet, Muira, and turn it from good to evil.  He convinces a race of dark elves to take on the cloak of vampirism, but his careful planning is jeopardized when Prince Tarquin is born to fulfill a prophecy.  Tarquin, however, cannot succeed alone, and when Morganna, an Illanni noble woman, threatens Taza’s plans, she prevents her cousin from destroying the prophecy.

Tarquin is sent to the dwarvan militia to learn combat and survival skills by joining an elite group of soldiers known as the Borderers. He is championed by the wizard, Celedant, who begins his search for the Staff of Adaman – the only object capable of defeating the Staff of Adois.

Book one of the trilogy, The Quest for the Staff of Adaman, begins with the search for the first of two pieces of the ancient staff as Taza’s assassins hunt the prince to thwart the prophecy.  Tarquin, however, is not the only target.  Celedant must confront not only assassins, but powerful and dangerous creatures that Taza brings through the void to destroy him and the growing resistance among the dwarves, wood elves, and high elves.  But first, Celedant must take the final test to become a Master Wizard.  If he passes, he will be able to battle the Staff of Adois and the monster that wields it.  If he fails, not only will the world be overrun by evil, but Celedant will be lost in the Dragon’s Tear for all eternity.

[We] both love epic fantasy and have always wanted to develop our own series.

2. You’ve not worked with a traditional publisher.  Why?

We tried to go the traditional route, but although several seemed interested, they didn’t want to take a risk, or else did not handle epic fantasy.  So with so many people self-publishing e-books, etc., we decided to give it a try.

Read More

John J. Hohn

Author John J. Hohn has experience in marketing and sales that he’s been able to use, not only to drive plot, but to drive sales.  In this wide-ranging interview, John explains that background, as well as why he hired a publicist and why taking shortcuts can hurt indie writers.

1. Tell me briefly about your books – what are they about and what motivated you to write them?

I have published two books.  The first is a poetry chapbook entitled As I Was Passing By that I self-published in 2001.  I have been writing poetry since I was a boy and the time had come to publish a collection for my friends and family.

My novel, Deadly Portfolio: A Killing in Hedge Funds, was first published in the fall of 2010.  It was well-received by reviewers with established credentials on the Internet.  I began the book after retiring from my position as a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch in Winston-Salem, NC.  The book is the third novel for me.  The others are still in my file cabinet.  They represent my apprenticeship.

Deadly Portfolio flows out of my experience as a financial advisor, a position in which I had a unique perspective on the lives of my clients.  I came to know how they made decisions, how well they got along with their spouses, parents, and children, their trials at work or elsewhere in their lives.  I saw altruism and greed, generosity and miserliness.

The story is about four families and the tragedy that involves them all after one man, a financial advisor, bends the rules and makes an unauthorized trade in a client’s account.  His transgression sets off a string of events that ultimately claims the lives of three of the neighbors before Detective James Raker tracks down the killer and makes an arrest.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales have been steady.  I did not know what to expect at first.  I have sold approximately 500 copies, not including the Kindle version on Amazon.

3. What has been your experience with traditional publishing?

I tried to get an agent to represent my book for almost a year with no success.  I also sent queries to the few publishers who accept direct submissions.  I received a number of encouraging responses but no takers.

Read More

Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox

Australian writer Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox infuses her writing with her art, and in so doing expresses these two facets of her creativity.  In this interview she discusses the marketing efforts she’s used and why self-promotion comes naturally to her.

1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?

My book For Everyone: Words and Paintings has thirty paintings, each accompanied by some short poetic prose, which is neither descriptive nor didactic.  Rather, the words stimulate the reader’s own journey by calling to their inner child or essence.  This small voice echoes from childhood leading to conversations either with oneself or others.  For Everyone is really about conversation and the compassionate spaces it reveals as we get to know ourselves and others.

The paintings inside For Everyone were created fourteen years ago and were responses to observations of my then very young children.  However, the intervening years have revealed that the paintings are not simply about my children.  They are visual representations of the small voice, our inner child or essence, which influences our lives from childhood to adulthood, and possibly beyond.

The text is printed in a large font size.  I deliberately did this so that people do not necessarily have to wear their glasses to read For Everyone!  It is the type of book which appeals to all ages and both sexes.

I was motivated to write For Everyone seven years ago, when friends suggested the series of paintings would make a good book; but my submission to Hay House was not accepted, although they sent an encouraging letter.  I filed the manuscript and put the paintings in a storage satchel.  The paintings have never been exhibited, but will be on show at my book launch in February 2012.  In January 2011 I was contacted by Balboa Press, the self-publishing arm of Hay House.  They said Hay House had given them my details.  They asked if I had published the manuscript, and if not would I be interested in self-publishing with Balboa.

2. How have your sales been?

As it is still early days, it is hard to tell how sales are going.  However, so far three bookstores in Brisbane have taken books.  These are Coaldrakes, plus the two bookstores at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA).  I am aware that there have been sales via Balboa Press and Amazon.  I have also personally sold a number of books.  I am expecting good sales at my book launch in February.  For Everyone is available online from many sites including Balboa Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Read More

Aditi Chopra

Aditi Chopra is a consultant who approaches her writing with the goal of helping others.  Here she discusses her books and why self-publishing, rather than the traditional model, gives her pride in her work.

1. Tell me briefly about your books – what are they about and what motivated you to write them?

I have written two business books from my personal experience.  The business process management book titled How to Succeed as a Process Professional covers the challenges that process professionals face and provides practical tips on how to overcome them.  I am basically teaching the tricks that worked for me in the corporate environment.  My leadership book titled Ten Mistakes A Manager
Should Avoid
is written from my experience as a first line manager of software engineering and software operations teams.  With this book, my hope is to enable all managers to succeed in their leadership career.

I was motivated to write both of these books so I could help others succeed by sharing my knowledge.  I am of the belief that if you know it, you ought to share it with others.

2. How have your sales been?

My sales have been picking up.  However like I said, I am not motivated by sales but by helping others succeed.

3. Have you been published by a traditional publisher?  Why or why not?

When I thought of writing books, I surveyed a few different authors and they guided me towards the self-publishing model for various reasons.  I did not consider the traditional publishing model.  I am also the kind of person who likes to get their hands dirty and who feels more pride in my work that way.

Read More