Kathy Lynn Harris has had success as an indie author with her book, Blue Straggler. She talks about why self-publishing was an attractive alternative to the traditional model and the role pricing has had in selling her books.
1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book. Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.
Ah, the elevator pitch! Here you go: being a 30-something, fairly directionless single female in South Texas is a world all its own. Kathy Lynn Harris’s Blue Straggler is a laugh-out-loud, yet poignant, exploration of that experience — from the quirky, memorable characters who make up Bailey Miller’s circle of family and friends to that feeling of your makeup sliding right off in the humidity. You will easily identify with Bailey’s sometimes humorous, often semi-tragic, choices that eventually lead her out of Texas, to a small mountain town in Colorado, and back. Along the way, she searches for not only herself but also answers to long-held secrets from her “legitimately unbalanced” great-grandmother’s past. Bonus: She may even find love with a moody mountain man along the way.
2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?
With the help of traditional literary agents, I shopped two of my novel manuscripts around. All the big houses told me the stories were “too quiet.”
I travel for my day job and saw that more and more people were using e-readers. I knew Amazon and Barnes & Noble had programs for publishing e-books. I revisited my main goal for my writing: to simply have others read my work and enjoy it; not to have my name on a blockbuster published by Simon & Schuster. So, I thought, why not just put the book out there? It’s been such a great experience.
3. Have you been traditionally published?
I have had numerous works printed in traditionally published anthologies. And now, thanks to the success of the e-book version of Blue Straggler, an independent publisher, 30 Day Books, has picked up the book. The paperback version comes out March 1.
4. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been the most successful?
Keeping the price of my e-book at $2.99 on Amazon has been a definite key. I’m an unknown author, so this gives people a chance to try my work without breaking the bank. Also, I worked with a publicist, Laura Pepper Wu. She’s been fantastic to work with and guide me.
5. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
Well, I wouldn’t say that I have intentionally avoided any techniques, but there are some I just haven’t had time to figure out. For instance, I use Goodreads, but I haven’t grasped how to benefit in a big way from it yet. The Kindle boards, as well, are on my list to figure out.
6. 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?
Make sure that your book is professionally edited and formatted if you are self-publishing. It’s so important.
7. What projects are you currently working on?
My second novel, A Good Kind of Knowing, is in the final stages of being ready for release as an e-book. It’s a bit different than Blue Straggler, so I’m interested to see and hear how readers will respond.
8. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
Modern Texas fiction with a twist of pathos, ethos and humor thrown in.
9. How can readers learn more about your books?
Please visit my author website and blog at kathylynnharris.com. You can see reviews, get more information and purchase the book via Amazon or Barnes & Noble. And, of course, I’m on Twitter (@KathyLynnHarris) and Facebook.
Thank you for reading!