M.L. Ruscsak has had experience with self- and traditional publishing. Find out how she found her fit with a small press publisher.
1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
Secrets, Lies and Betrayal is the third installment in the “Lite and Darke” Series. After writing the second book in the series it became obvious that there were things that needed to be explained further to tie both books together. So instead of doing a full-length book that might have been able to do so, I opted to write four short stories spanning over several years.
2. How have your sales been?
As the book just came out it’s doing about the same as the others did upon release.
3. You’ve had experience with both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Which do you prefer, and why?
I started as a self-published author and wanted the feeling of belonging to a community. So I began my journey to find the right publishing house for me. Now that I am with Wild Dreams Publishing I could not be happier. I have found that sense of “family” but still have the option of doing what I feel is right without the publisher telling me which direction to take.
4. What are some of the pros and cons of self-publishing and traditional publishing?
Self-publishing has a huge market gap with marketing. Many authors do not have the funds to blast their book with radio interviews, ads or other marketing means. However, on the flip side, traditional publishers focus on their stars rather than the whole of their catalog. It sounds great to be with a major publishing house, but I’m finding small houses are a much better fit for many of today’s authors.
5. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?
I have a three-pronged approach to networking. First is being a member of the Author’s Guild. This keeps me in touch with some of the major names is the world of publishing. But it also gives me legal help should I come across something that needs attention.
Second, my personal Facebook page is mostly authors, bloggers, and reviewers who I can reach out to as needed.
Third is my LinkedIn page. Here I don’t just have author friends but other professionals that I need to grow my brand. It was here that I met my line producer. Several directors and others are helping me turn my first book, The New Reign, into a major motion picture.
6. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been most successful?
YouTube is great for trailers, teasers, and showcasing interviews. Social media is helpful for blasting book links, YouTube videos and online book parties.
7. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
I stay away from paid advertising. After trying a few different sites I saw more results from doing interviews and posting my own free ads than I did with paid ones.
8. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
There is a misunderstanding that small press means vanity press. This is not the case. Vanity presses charge upfront to publish your work. Do not – I repeat, do not – do this. Publishing your work should never, ever, cost you just to be in print. A true publisher will never charge to print your work under its label.
You may be charged for cover designs, book trailers, teasers or other digital art to showcase your work. But the amount you’ll pay really depends on the digital designer. With a small press, most authors find outside artists they work with so the cost is about the same.
9. New authors face the obvious challenge of marketing their books. What advice do you have for an author just starting out?
Devote two to three days a week to marketing for the first year or two. Network with other authors. If there is an Authors Guild event near you, go. You do not have to join and the events are free, but you get to ask questions to authors who have been in your shoes.
10. What other projects are you currently working on?
As an author I have the first book of The Obsidian Chronicles started. I’m hoping to have this out before May 2019, with The Silent Wars following close behind.
As a screenplay writer, I have two books that I’m currently moving to film. One is Down the Rabbit Hole by Kristen Collins and the other is Starburst by Kae Galla. I’m looking at a late summer filming for Down the Rabbit Hole.
As the director of marketing for Wild Dreams Publishing, I am always looking for new places to insert our catalog of books, from store placement to online retailers.
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?
Don’t believe everything that you read.
12. How can readers learn more about your books?