Katherine Holmes has worked with small press publishers and as a self-published indie author. Learn more about her impressions of both processes, as well as which marketing method she believes helps indies the most.
1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.
Winner of Prize Americana, Curiosity Killed the Sphinx and Other Stories is a collection of short fiction exploring the complexities of life. Laying the profound beside the mundane, author Katherine L. Holmes creates rich and complicated characters who search for identity, meaning, and purpose within a world often dangerous and sometimes even cruel. Her readers relate to such struggles and find comfort as they face similar challenges of their own.
A couple clashing with early computers, a divorced woman finding her scattered family to be strangers, a girl running away to the shop where her parents’ antiques were sold, Midwestern college students in weather and water emergencies – these are some of the conflicts examined by the author. Past solutions tempt these characters as they consider contemporary choices.
2. Why did you become an indie writer?
Short story collections are difficult to market. I entered the Prize Americana contest and won. I was awarded publication by a small press publisher, Hollywood Books International. I’ve published poetry and fiction in journals and believe in the small press process.
3. Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?
I will be having a children’s book, The Wide Awake Loons, published by Silver Knight Publishing in the traditional way. Of course I’ve submitted to and, having been encouraged by editors, continued to search for a publisher.
4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
That’s another subject. My first published book, a comic children’s fantasy, was self-published. The House in Windward Leaves fulfilled an ambition since my first “real” job was in publishing. The book obtained good reviews but as far as marketing, I felt that having a publisher might be a better way with a children’s novel.
5. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been the most successful?
Internet reviewers were a good experience with my self-published book. I was impressed with the presentations of bloggers dedicated to reading and reviewing books.
With a small press publisher, I’ve compiled lists for news releases and found reviewers for review copies. I also use social media, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads giveaways for promotion.
6. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
That with a small publisher or in self-publishing, publishing is basically the same process as done by traditional and major publishers. You realize that publishing is about distributing a book to as many readers as possible and that publishers in the past have worked with a promotion plan. The publishing world is perplexing, and for readers too, as far as books being recommended as in English classes and books satisfying reader needs and wants.
7. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
I would have edited my own books instead of working on a new one. Working on a book to the hilt is a swifter way to a publisher, especially today. A writer should use their abilities to the fullest before giving up on publication.
8. Indie authors face the challenge of marketing their books without the resources of traditional publishers. What advice do you have for an indie just starting out?
Believing that readers are looking for a good book and believing in yours is where traditional publishers begin. We live in a time when large companies have great advantage and yet, they can be disillusioning as large companies can be in other product areas. Smaller companies or self-publishing could be more hands-on or handmade. Sometimes I speculate that publishing might become like the restaurant business, the large companies being reliable and omnipresent while the smaller publisher might be like a small restaurant business, often excellent.
For that reason, an indie publisher would want to begin regionally or among groups of readers. There are lists of indie bookstores where a publicity plan could be centered. Publications such as newspapers or magazines furnish blurbs or reviews of regional books. And the internet has gathered readers and writers into groups that seem ever-expanding. The indie author would be like a regional restaurant, bringing people in to their fare, and having an ambition to expand.
9. What are you currently working on?
An adult novel, the autobiographical type, but trying to make it a novel. The manuscript is completed and at this time, I hope to be in the final editing stages.
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?
My books usually begin with riddles of my life experience, sometimes staying within realism and other times, speculating beyond that.
11. How can readers learn more about your books?
The House in Windward Leaves at Amazon.