After Kathi Holmes was paralyzed, she turned her recovery experience into an inspirational story, I Stand With Courage: One Woman’s Journey to Conquer Paralysis. Kathi explains how instead of relying heavily on social media, she reached out first to local venues.
1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book. Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.
Was it a miracle, God-given determination, or both, that lifted Kathi from the paralysis that blindsided her, confining her to a wheelchair?
No one wants to face such a life-changing health crisis, but Kathi takes us on her journey of creating a new life with a disability. With a husband also hospitalized, she is alone in her battle. A rehab center becomes her home while she searches for strength of body—and mind.
See how acceptance, determination, courage, and faith can overcome the challenges of everyday life.
Reading about her progress, you realize she is just like you—an ordinary person who accepts and achieves the challenge to accomplish extraordinary feats, inspiring us by her power of faith and determination.
2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?
Family, friends and acquaintances told me how my determination was motivating to them. I wanted to share a story of inspiration and hope to others facing live challenges.
3. You have not been traditionally published. Why?
I chose self-publishing because I could publish quicker than by submitting my manuscript to traditional publishers. Also, traditional publishers have cut back on marketing and much would be left up to me either way. Self-publishing has a much better image and is no longer considered second rate.
4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
As with anything, self-publishing has its ups and downs. The publisher I chose, Inspiring Voices, had a website with packages that showed me exactly what I was getting. I did not want to be nickel and dimed to death. There were options for added services at additional charges, but they were all upfront.
The biggest problem I had was a lack of communication. During the process, lasting about five months, I was transferred to eight different people, all with different titles and all specializing in one narrow area. That was frustrating.
Since I began the publishing process I have learned a great deal from other authors, social media sites, and professionals in the field and next time I would probably handle the publishing myself and defer to experts on the details such as editing, printing and marketing.
I do have to admit I have a wonderful editor, Connie Anderson of Words and Deeds, Inc., who not only guided my words, but supported me through the publishing process.
5. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been the most successful?
My book is on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, InspiringVoices.com and Guideposts. It is available for both Kindle and Nook. Also, I created a website, IStandWithCourage.com. But, availability alone does not sell books. The vehicles are in place, now my job is to market the book.
I started my marketing strategy with press releases to national (included in my publishing package) and local newspapers. I sent the local press releases so I could be more specific to that audience. I have submitted a couple of articles briefly relating to my book to newspapers, magazines, and even a writer looking for inspiring stories for her book. I have contacted local community centers and churches to arrange a speaking engagement. I will be contacting the libraries to do speaking and book signing and post notices in the local coffee shops. I am contacting hospital and rehab center gift shops to try to get my book placed on their shelves. The response is slow.
6. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
Before my book was complete I started social networking. I am following several LinkedIn groups and dabble in Facebook. I have a Twitter account which I have not used for book marketing yet. So much is said about how valuable the social networking sites are. I found a lot of good information, but my target market is not very active on these sites. I will continue, but cannot count on these sites for much success.
7. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
The bottom line is, it’s your name on the cover of the book. Have a good editor that you can depend on to work in your voice. You want to have the final say in everything from editing to design and book layout. To get this you must have an open line of communication. If you don’t, insist on it.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
My book is very short (69 pages). I did not want the reader to get overburdened and bored with extensive details so I kept it short. Now I realize I could have added more without losing the reader. It’s a good size for a quick read, but there may be hesitation to pay $8.99 for it [$3.99 on Kindle]. Although I have to say my first speaking engagement/book signing went very well and cost did not seem to be a problem.
9. Independent authors face the obvious challenge of marketing their books without the resources of traditional publishers. What advice do you have for an indie author just starting out?
I hate making “cold calls.” I found it was important to spend time while I was writing the book to compile a list of places and techniques I would like to use to market my book. When I actually did start making speaking/book signing calls I was prepared and was able to go through them quickly. Also, schedule times to do follow-up calls.
It’s wonderful to be a John Grisham or a J.K. Rowling and have people lining up to purchase your book. Dream on! Personally, I feel I have a good marketing mix and a step marketing plan. I am making local contacts first to get experience and then branching out further.
10. What projects are you currently working on?
I’m actively marketing, writing for speaking engagements, and writing my blog.
11. How can readers learn more about your books?
Go to my website, IStandWithCourage.com. The book, “I Stand With Courage: One Woman’s Journey to Conquer Paralysis”, is available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and InspiringVoices.com.