Coral McCallum

Coral McCallum has worked hard to develop her indie author brand. Read more about the importance of social media and which marketing methods don’t work well.

1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?

It’s been about eighteen months since we last spoke. Back then I was working on book four in the Silver Lake series. Now, I’m just about to finish the first draft of book five, the final book in the series, Long Shadows. It’s due to be released early in 2021.

I decided five was more than enough volumes in the one series. As an indie author, it is
getting harder and harder to promote each book. Unless the reader is already invested in the characters, it’s tough trying to get someone on board by books four and five. I also wanted the story to still feel fresh and not just be repeating the same patterns. While Long Shadows will be the last in the Silver Lake series, it won’t be the last my readers hear from the characters….well, some of them.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales are still low volume. However, they are still ticking over and I’m still getting some royalties on a monthly basis.

3. You’ve chosen self-publishing.  How have you liked it so far?  Talk about some of the positives and negatives you’ve encountered.

I publish via KDP through Amazon and honestly can’t complain. You see folks online criticizing it but I’ve had no issues. I was somewhat concerned when they merged Create Space into KDP, but so far so good. I love their templates especially for cover layout. That’s probably the most frustrating part of the process as the assessment criteria seems a little inconsistent at times. One day it will accept the lay out then you change a couple of words on the back cover and the next day it rejects the whole lot!

4. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?

Since we last spoke, I’ve been linking up with book bloggers and fellow indie authors. It’s been great to get some more exposure through interviews like this one and on fellow indie authors’ blogs. I still primarily make contact with folks through the various social media networks.

5. Talk a little about the sort of marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books.  Which ones have been most successful?

In recent months, I’ve been sharing little excerpts from the books in the series, varying the photos I use, offering freebie days or weekends. I ran a couple of Facebook and Amazon advertising campaigns. I’ve also been using my own blog more for marketing. Social media still seems to be the more successful marketplace when you’re working on a shoestring budget.

6. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?

I’m not convinced that Facebook advertising or even the Amazon ads work unless you have money to burn. I suspect a larger budget might help generate more interest but I’m not sure I would generate enough sales to recoup the investment costs.

7. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?

I think the most important thing, other than the story itself, is to create an eye-catching cover. I design my own and feedback on them all so far has been great, especially the cover of my standalone spin-off novel, Ellen. Over the years I’ve made several rookie errors regarding formatting, etc., but these are mistakes you only make once as correcting them is very time-consuming.

8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?

My biggest wish would be to get some independent book stores to carry a few copies of the books. In particular I’d love the bookstores in Rehoboth Beach, where the Silver Lake series is set, to try carrying a few copies. Kindles are great but there are still a lot of book lovers who like to hold a real book in their hands.

9. New authors face the challenge of getting their books into the hands of readers.  What advice do you have for an author just starting out?

I’d advise any newly published author not to be afraid of giving away some copies of your book. Yes, it’s all about making some pennies, but it’s also about getting your work known and getting your brand out there. That’s where KDP Select is great – you can have freebie days and use them to your advantage.

10. What other projects are you currently working on?

Getting Long Shadows ready for release is my primary project for now. I am still writing a weekly blog too. 2020 has been a challenging year all round so I’m content for now not to spread myself too thin.

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?

Straight from the heart storylines that will make you laugh and cry and leave you wanting to get to know the characters as friends who become family.

12. How can readers learn more about your books?

Blog links:

Book links: links
Stronger Within
Impossible Depths
Bonded Souls
Shattered Hearts
Ellen links –
Stronger Within
Impossible Depths
Bonded Souls
Shattered Hearts

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