Sylvia Ramsey is a 17-year bladder cancer survivor who uses her experience to both shape her writing and advance cancer awareness. She offers multiple ideas for marketing and compares the indie and traditional routes.
1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book. Pitch me one of your books in five to ten sentences.
This one is for the new book, Traveling a Rocky Road With Love, Faith and Guts:
Let me share with you what a couple of reviewers said after reading the book. The first was Dr. Aman Kay: “Taking the rocky road with Sylvia is a joyful challenge. It takes the reader through the most common and uncommon hardships, but at the conclusion of this delightful journey, the reader feels more joy and satisfaction: Love, faith, and incredible guts turn the rocky road into an assuring path that all of us so humanly desire. This book is so uniquely universal in every essential aspect that I enthusiastically recommend it to all readers regardless of their age, gender, and race.”
The second reviewer sent me an email saying, “I just read the book, wow!”
2. What motivated you to become an indie writer? Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?
I am a cancer survivor of 17+ years. I have been writing for years. I have had by-lines, feature articles, short stories and poetry published since I was about nine years old. I was reading at an open mic, and the editor of a small publishing house liked my poetry. My first book, Pulse Points of a Woman’s World, was thus published. Because I had been working for several years to establish a foundation for bladder cancer, I was giving all my proceeds from my royalties toward this endeavor. After a couple of years, the publisher decided to return the publishing rights to me because of what I was doing with my royalties. That was when I decided to become my own publisher of my books. The latest book being Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts.
3. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
It doesn’t seem much different than using a traditional publisher. Regardless of the route you go, you must still do you own marketing (unless you have lots of money to hire a publicist). That holds true both ways as well.
4. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been the most successful?
I have used about every way you can think of from book signings, to a webpage, press releases, radio and television appearances, blogs, interviews, an Authors’ Den page, an Author Central page, email, book trailers, presentations on bladder cancer and listings on several websites. Julie Weishaar, who has a small business marketing consulting business called New Horizons 123, is helping with this new book. She created my book trailer and is currently doing several things to promote it.
5. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
I would be careful to not spam.
6. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
I could write a book on that. I was lucky because of my background in communications and art. Since I had been using a computer and had my own since the mid-eighties, the formatting and illustration work was fairly easy. I would say the area I have learned about most is the marketing and publicity, but I still have a lot to learn.
7. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
Nothing I can think of except that I wish I knew in the beginning what I have learned since day one.
8. 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 don’t think traditional publishers are doing as much as they used to, and the author has to sell a lot more books to make much off the royalties. They still have to do all the leg work. My advice would be to learn everything you can about marketing books.
9. What projects are you currently working on?
Right now, I am launching this newest book that was just released. I have a biography and a fantasy novel waiting on the back burner. I don’t worry about only writing books in a certain genre; I tell the stories I have to tell and I have a passion for them.
10. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
That is a rough question to answer, but here’s a good try:
Sylvia’s writing is natural, honest and straightforward, reflecting real-life experiences for the educated reader.
11. How can readers learn more about your books?