1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book. Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.
My first book, Celebrate Age, is a collection of articles that I wrote for Timeless Woman about a huge variety of topics of interest to women over 50. The subtitle of my book is “Thoughts, Rants, Raves, and Wisdoms Learned after 50”. I talk about a diverse selection of topics including how important our girlfriends are to us now, how it helps our lives to learn how to live in the moment, the pitfalls of online dating for older women, finding balance in our lives, jokes about older women and why they’re bad, and how to get out of the box we sometimes find ourselves in.
2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?
For 32 years I was a flight attendant. When I retired at age 55, I decided to do what I knew best and became a self-employed customer service trainer. After about five years of doing that, I started writing a customer service column for a local paper and that led to me writing for Timeless Woman.
Since I didn’t get paid by Timeless Woman, I thought I could make up a small income if I turned my articles into a book. And I also thought I might be able to touch more women, to give them my thoughts on some of the issues that we face today. I knew nothing about publishing, so I decided to do it myself. Ergo, an indie writer!
3. Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?
My upcoming book, One Small Voice, will be published by a traditional publisher. And I’m doing that because I have the money to afford that now and, don’t laugh, but my publisher can do the formatting of this next book for me. I did the formatting for Celebrate Age and it made me nuts! I hated doing it! Self-publishing left me with a good looking book; a publisher will leave me with a great looking book that looks more professional.
4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
I was fortunate with my first book to know a woman, my printer, who gave me lots of tips about making the cover, the index, and formatting the pages. I’m glad that I’ve self-published, glad for the knowledge and experience it gave me, and especially glad to know that I could do it again any time I wanted to.
5. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been the most successful?
I already had a website, so I put a page up about my book, with a picture of the cover. My website developer got PayPal for me so I could sell books directly from my website.
And I networked – a lot. I always took some books with me and I spoke about the book only when I did my infomercial at networking events. I gave a copy to people who wanted to interview me on the radio. And I started speaking to local women’s groups and selling my book after my presentation.
6. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
I avoided direct selling – cold calling – because personally I hate doing that. So my marketing methods may not have been as fast as cold calling, but they were more to my way of doing business.
7. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
I learned to copy read the whole book more than once and I learned that it’d be a good idea to have someone else read it for me. My book has a few spelling errors and it has one paragraph that’s not in the right place. Blush. Silly little things like that make your book appear unprofessional.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
I’d use a publisher. If I continued to self-publish, I’d probably buy some kind of formatting program. I didn’t even know there were such things!
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?
Make sure your printer will print small quantities. You don’t want to have 1000 copies of a book that won’t sell. Make sure that you have an ISBN number and that you mark your whole book “copyright.” If it’s a small book, as mine was, don’t spend time trying to get your book into Amazon or Chapters where it will disappear. Think hard about putting your book in small gift stores where it may be placed in less than favorable locations. Get active and involved on sites like LinkedIn and join discussion groups there so you become known as an author. I did two radio shows because of doing that. Do your own marketing and do lots of it. And realize that your book
will have a long life; you don’t have to sell large quantities right away.
10. What projects are you currently working on?
One Small Voice is a collection of articles that I wrote for Kalon Magazine for Women and WE Magazine for Women. I’ve put together a rough draft and I’ve designed my own cover, and then I sent it to my publisher. After this one, I’m not sure, but I suspect there’ll be more books!
11. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
I write about issues and happenings that affect older women and I promote the value of older women as well as trying to stop the bias of ageism.
12. How can readers learn more about your books?
At my website, willowtree.ca.
Thanks Kris for giving me this opportunity to talk about my book. I appreciate your support.