Casey Bell

Casey Bell believes authors should learn how to promote their books early in the process. Find out why he encourages writers to save and spend their money wisely.

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

My latest book is the third book of an eight-book series, American History. It is a book series about American inventors and/or innovators not mentioned in the school system. The first book, American History: Americans of African Descent, was inspired by my nephews and nieces. I wanted them to see more about their ancestors than the slavery and segregation they had to endure. I then decided to keep making books that shows more than the mistreatment of a people in American history and shows the great things people have done. The latest of the series is, American history: Asians in America.

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

The best thing about self-publishing is the freedom to do things as you please and to keep 100% of the copyrights and ownership of what you write. You also are free to market as you please. I really just enjoy the freedom I have as a self-publisher. The down side, which is the upside of publishing with a commercial or small publishing company, is the publicity, advertising, and marketing work. You either have to pay thousands of dollars for someone to do it for you or you have to spend thousands of hours doing it yourself. It is not the fun part of self-publishing in my humble opinion.

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

I have contacted other authors to do podcasts, interviews, and blogs. I have just recently started an online project entitled, “Writer to Writer Interviews,” where writers interview one another. I have just now started to network. I only wish I would have started back when I first began writing. Because I am new at it, I cannot give any major results. But I will say, I have more interviews out there due to networking with people. Read More

Brian Friedl

Brian Friedl uses his writing to help others grow in their Christian faith. Learn more about the importance of building your author network early.

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

Mission Possible: Living A Life That Matters is the result of over 20 years of helping others to discover their God-given purpose.  It takes readers on a journey from the basics (Bootcamp) through their individualized Vision Building (Advanced Individual Training).  This study works well independently or even better in a small group setting.  I recently completed a study through it with 42 men from around the country.  I love seeing God’s children grow and become world-changers!

2. How have your sales been?

Sales have been good and always spike when I’m leading a study or speaking to a group online or in person.

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 have thoroughly enjoyed self-publishing and have found it to be rewarding to be engaged in every part of the process.  The only drawback was the time it took me to figure out how to complete each of the steps while balancing everyday life. Read More

Colin J. Galtrey

Colin J. Galtrey is a prolific author who has worked hard to build his brand. Find out some of the innovative marketing ideas he has used.

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

This book is from my John Gammon series of books. Currently, there are twenty-one published, and this is series five, book one: Hangman.

The John Gammon books are all based in the beautiful villages of the Peak District in Derbyshire. Although most detective books depict a down at heel, divorced detective running around in an old car, I decided to turn the genre on its head and make John Gammon quite the opposite.

2. How have your sales been?

Whilst it would be nice to be in the top five author rankings on Amazon, that takes time. I have made the top fifty a couple of times and my sales generally are good. I currently have thirty-one books published in e-format and paperback, and I am currently working on including all the books on audio with the very first book now complete.

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 very much like the self-publishing for my books and can’t say anything negative about it so far. Read More

Patrick D. Kaiser

Patrick D. Kaiser understands the hard work it takes to make self-publishing a success. He explains his approach to networking and which marketing methods he avoids.

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

Frost is a verse thriller (A thriller told through poetry).

Everyday people living everyday lives, not knowing the legends, myths, and fairy tales they tell their children are real. Goblins, trolls, magic – not to mention Jack Frost: The world’s most notorious criminal, the master escape artist, and one cool lady. Jack currently finds herself training Nathan Masterson, a protege who is drawing attention from the Organization, the magical government’s law enforcement group. On the run for a murder he didn’t commit and struggling with the secrets of his past, is he seeing double or is someone out to frame him? Even with help from Jack the world seems colder than usual as death approaches. It’s gonna be a cold summer. Get ready for Frost.

Years ago when I was in high school, I and a friend began an inside joke about how we were magical cops looking to arrest Jack Frost. I don’t even remember how it started. But that hook has always stuck with me. So I decided to write it into a book.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales have been decent since I’ve started, though they could always be better. I’ve already exceeded the stats that say most Indie authors will only sell around 200 books in their entire career. I just keep pushing. I know that my books are good, so I’m just gonna keep going until I can’t anymore.

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

It’s definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I think more people should try it. It gives you a level of control that traditional publishing just doesn’t. In self-publishing, if you fail you know it’s because of you, which motivates you to put in 120% to every aspect of the business. The downside is that you don’t have the backing of an established brand behind you which presents a few challenges in getting your work in the hands of readers. Read More

Suzie Bocock

Suzie Bocock has worked hard to learn the business of publishing. Read about her disappointing experience with a hybrid publisher and how book contests helped her marketing.

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

My book is called A Thousand Miles From Yesterday. It is also my very first published work. It is totally different from anything I have written before because it is suspense/Christian romance. My motivation was the Lord put it on my heart and basically dropped it in.

“Handsome widower Zak Freemont drops out of life when his family is killed in a private plane crash. In desperation, Zak turns to his sister and her husband to take over the reins of his company, while he attempts to pull his shattered life back together. Lindsey is fleeing hired killers. Her brother accidentally stumbles upon a deadly secret, causing Lindsey to flee for her life and that of her unborn child. Mourning the death of her husband, romance is the last thing on her mind when she encounters Zak, who has vowed he will never love again. Yet, there is something about the damsel in distress that he rescued that pulls on his heartstrings and pulls him into the quagmire of her life. The pair makes strange traveling companions as Zak runs from life and Lindsey runs from death.” (From back cover of book.)

The hero is named after a pen pal that died while I was writing the book and the book is also dedicated to him. I was 70 years old when the book was published.

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

I used a hybrid publisher, Covenant Books. It is not a vanity press, you have to submit and then they decide if it fits their guidelines for publishing books. It is a Christian publisher.

I was disappointed. The gal I worked with was awesome. The company itself – not so much. I have not received a dime since September 2019. They owe me money and sit on it. Not happy. They tried to tell me that was the last time a book was sold, but I know better because two people told me they bought copies after that date. Short of asking them to write an affidavit to that effect, it is my word versus theirs.

The first cover was so bad, it was beyond anything a professional would do. They had the main character on a black Harley at a T in a road with houses on the left. The one house had a blue tarp hanging on it and the gal’s head was floating on the bushes. She was supposed to be hiding in the bushes. The second cover was better, except the girl looked like she was peaking over the top and they had removed the tarp from the house.

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

Joining groups like the Facebook one that you are a part of helps. I also look for freebies. For instance, Jerry Jenkins offers free tips on publishing. BookBub is another one, geared to the vanity/independent author. Most offer you tips so you will join their classes and spend thousands of dollars. And I do mean thousands. Jerry Jenkins is like 10 grand! Kary Oberbrunner offers one at 5 grand but you walk away with a published book. Read More

Meredith Sage Kendall

Meredith Sage Kendall has used hybrid publishing along with an intensive self-marketing program. Learn how to best use beta reader feedback to improve your writing.

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

My latest book is called My GiGi’s House: Finding Hope and it was my very first fiction book. I had already written a series of life recovery studies called The 180 Program, but I had been told for years that I needed to write a book about my adventures in ministry. I shelved that idea for a very long time and kept teaching and training. When I felt it was time to write it, I didn’t know exactly how it would start. But as I was sitting on a dock in southwest Florida, basking in the sun, I heard a couple across the canal arguing and that triggered something. The book literally downloaded itself.

My GiGi’s House: Finding Hope is the story of a young girl who has finally had enough of the beatings, especially now that she was pregnant and he (her latest boyfriend) had in passing threatened to kill her if she had ever become pregnant. Slipping out the next morning, she was making good on her promise to God. “If you allow me to live through tonight, I will search out help.” She knew that living in the Bible belt, and it being Sunday morning, the church would be a great place to find help. But shame and guilt, along with a little commotion she created, found her running away from the church. A chance encounter with a young lady at a coffee shop started her on a new path. But there was still the hurdle she needed to overcome: the appointment for the abortion was coming very soon.

My motivation for finally writing this was the fact that many may not ever sit through my 8-week life recovery study, but are more likely to pick up a book and read it.

2. How have your sales been?

I wish I could say sales were awesome, but I had just moved to a new town and knew no one. All my contacts for promoting, being invited to speak, having a huge launch party, and so forth were over 800 miles away. And my position at the time didn’t allow for travel. But now that I have moved back I am hoping to do something like a second relaunch.

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 used what they call a hybrid publisher. I keep all the rights to my book, but he has the contacts to get me into all the bookstores, shows, and even have my book in Ingram.

The negatives of self-publishing, even the hybrid, is that you are responsible for all your own marketing. And if you have a problem, self-marketing it is hard. But the biggest plus is that you retain all the rights to your book.

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Robert VanDusen

Robert VanDusen enjoys writing and works hard to entertain his readers. Find out how he uses cross-promotional efforts as part of his networking strategy.

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

The latest book is called Get Out Alive: Run For Your Life. It’s a sequel to my previous book, Get Out Alive. The “elevator pitch” for Run For Your Life is “Black Hawk Down meets Night of the Living Dead.” I’ve been a fan of the zombie genre since I was about ten or so and saw the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead on I believe MonsterVision on TNT. The house I grew up in was across the road from a cemetery so I was just sort of like “Ya know…if this ever actually happens…I do believe I’d be about the first to find out about it.” That was before I happened to sneak a peek into an open grave and saw that they actually bury folks in a cement vault. So…good news there, I guess.

2. How have your sales been?

I have to admit the sales could be better. I’m reasonably convinced that I’ve somehow landed on Amazon’s naughty list. I’ve been working on building more of a social media presence so I can move into crowdfunding so I don’t have to rely on them for printing and distribution anymore.

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

Self-publishing is sort of a double-edged sword in my opinion. I can write what I want without an editor or publisher signing off on it. I’ll be honest, I really don’t think that any mainstream publisher would have let me write Get Out Alive: Run For Your Life today. Thirty years ago? Sure, probably. There’s nothing in there you wouldn’t read in a Stephen King or Clive Barker book.

On the other hand I also don’t have a big publishing house backing me up willing to drop thousands of dollars on advertising campaigns and organizing press events. My books probably won’t end up on store shelves. I don’t have connections in the mainstream press writing gushing reviews. But you know what? It’s worth it in my book.

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Tim Walker

Tim Walker has spent time building a writing and marketing network for his books. Find out more about the work he has done to promote his brand.

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

My latest book (June 2020) is Arthur Rex Brittonum (Arthur King of the Britons). It’s my story of the real King Arthur hidden behind the legend. In fact, it is the second and final part of my two-part Arthur series, following on from 2019’s Arthur Dux Bellorum, although it can be read as a standalone novel. I decided to use Arthur’s Latin (Roman) titles, for historical authenticity, in the book titles.

A major influence on my storytelling from my research, was the writings of a Christian monk, Nennius, in History of the Briton People, published around the year 820 – roughly three hundred years after the real Arthur lived. Nennius not only mentions Arthur by name, but attributes twelve winning battles to him, naming him as “Dux Bellorum” (duke or leader of battles). Intriguingly, Nennius names Arthur as the leader of the combined army of the kings of the Britons, but does not say if he is one of the kings, leaving his status open to speculation.

My motivation was to write a believable, although fictitious, account of a real historical six century figure whose name is associated with a fantastical legend, and by doing so add credence to the ongoing search for evidence of is existence.

2. How have your sales been?

E-book and paperback sales of my historical series, A Light in the Dark Ages, have been modest – in the hundreds rather than thousands – since the series began with Abandoned in 2015. Writing and publishing roughly one book a year, the new book, Arthur Rex Brittonum, is book five in the series.

Each book launch is an opportunity to promote and sell the new title and previous books in the series, often with time-limited discounts on e-books. Discounting paperbacks is not realistic, as my pricing policy is based on cost plus a very narrow margin.

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

Self-publishing suits me because I easily worked it out owing to my background of working in newspaper and magazine publishing. I find the Amazon KDP platform and fee guide book very easy to use, and now they have both paperback publishing under the same umbrella. I enjoy formatting my e-books and paperbacks, and the only services I pay for are proof-reading, copyediting, cover design, and advertising.

In addition to the Amazon KDP platform, I now also publish my e-books on Apple i-books, Kobo, Nook, and subscription services like Scribd and Montadori, using the draft2digital platform. However, Amazon insists that if authors use other non-Amazon e-book platforms in addition to KDP, they must not make their books available on Kindle Unlimited (KU).

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Deepti Sharma

Deepti Sharma is working hard to build reader identity through social media. Learn more about how she uses numerous beta readers to perfect her manuscript.

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

I have a short story collection out on Kindle Unlimited, titled Extremely…. Given that I had been a closet writer until now, these stories have been written over a period of the last thirteen years, and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they have grown with me during this time. I have tweaked a word here or edited a paragraph there whenever I took a break from my original profession (I hold a doctorate in ecology, run my own environmental consultancy firm and, with two kids, have my hands quite full!).

As the name suggests, each short story deals with an extreme, be it of a thought or an emotion or a trait, and tells how these extremes ended up shaping the protagonists’ lives. Each story delves deep into the workings of the human mind and yields insightful perceptions about why we do what we do. My experiences and observations have been the sources from which I have drawn inspiration.

2. How have your sales been?

I have struggled with sales, so far. In fact, I can safely say my sales have been next to nothing.

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

It’d be wrong to say I chose self-publishing (*grins*)…self-publishing chose me, rather. For a first-time, non-celebrity author who is not a native English speaker and who is yet to gain sufficient confidence about their writing chops, self-publishing is probably the only option. Or that is what I think, with my limited experience. The definite positive of self-publishing is the satisfaction it accords to the indie author of holding their book baby in their hands with minimal hassle. On the downside, there is the seemingly insurmountable problem of marketing your book and ensuring it reaches the rightful owners – the readers.

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Jennifer Widemire Smith

widemireJennifer Widemire Smith uses custom publishing as an alternative to traditional and self-publishing. Read more from the perspective of a new author who is rapidly learning how the business works.

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

A Time To Serve is a fictional military/romance story about the life of a US Navy SEAL, named Jefferies. It’s an authentic look into a life governed by ethos. I wanted to explore the powerful dynamics that relationships play between team guys and how they relate to the civilian world. As well as romantically, when Evie Sinclaire disrupts that dynamic. Jefferies and Evie collide with each other and her presence ups the ante for him. The book never strays from Jefferies’ perspective. The reader gets immersed as he deploys into combat. And yet, it is every bit about Evie’s determination to build a life she never expected, either. Don’t let the romance title throw you. This is not soft porn romance.

As to my motivation it was originally a journaling exercise. I needed an outlet to place my thoughts and feelings of empathy for a friend on a hard topic. As creativity took over, Jefferies and Evie emerged and the story took on a life of its own. My husband discovered my fictional little world. I didn’t think he’d like it and hadn’t told him I was doing it, but to my surprise he loved it and harassed me for days. “What comes next, Jen? I really liked the conversation between Jefferies and Russo. It made me think, “Okay, seriously Jen, my mind is going nuts. What happens next!?” I may have finished it just to appease him…

2. How long did it take you to write from start to finish?

Three years. Writing takes as long as it takes. I was a chick writing about SEALs using an all-male-driven dialogue, writing in a style I’d never tried my hand at. It took a while to learn, but the payoff of doing a job well done is worth it.

3. How have your sales been?

My personal site sales have been good, I’ve sold three out of five boxes of books. But it’s hard to gauge. I’m a brand new act. My book was released the same week the country went into lockdown. Amazon doesn’t exactly give you daily sales reports and I haven’t made it yet to the 190 days to get paid. Not being allowed to throw a launch party or book signing has been rough. Maybe I can come back and answer again in six months.

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