Tracey Shearer

Tracey Shearer is a hybrid author with experience in both the traditional and self-publishing worlds. Learn more about the unique, reader-driven efforts she’s used to promote her books.

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

My latest book, Raven, is the second book in my Entwine trilogy. The trilogy is about three women with incredible gifts. Each book focuses on one woman, but all continue throughout. The trilogy is fun, but it also covers important themes such as friendship, sisterhood, acceptance of yourself – good and bad – and where there’s love, there’s hope.

In Raven, Kate is a widow with two young daughters living in a haunted Scottish B&B. She has a vision which reveals the existence of a black-ops military group who is determined to unlock the special gifts of people just like Kate through horrific experimentation. She’s got to trust in herself and her abilities to have any chance of success because if she doesn’t, she’ll lose those she loves. One of the other storylines throughout is whether or not she’ll open herself back up to love again. Of course, I have two hunky choices for her to consider. Haha!

Like with Entwine, the death of my parents motivated me to write and create a ghostly realm and to explore what happens when we die. My battles with cancer also motivated me. My most recent bout was in February before COVID hit. I know what it’s like to struggle with not being in control and also the incredible power of friendship. The support I have has really gotten me through all the surgeries and radiation.

2. How have your sales been?

I only have one book out, Entwine, and from everything I’ve read, I’m beating the indie author average – yay! Based on the reader support and excitement over the Raven release, I’m expecting to match or exceed Entwine’s sales as well. Plus, I did put together a killer book trailer for Entwine that has already generated some sales just recently. I’m learning more and more as I go along on this writing journey.

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 had an agent who had to retire to take care of her hubby while she was trying to sell Entwine. Then I received a publishing contract from a small press that I turned down for being too restrictive. I decided to form my own publishing company and publish myself. It was the best decision I could have made. Having that control has been so wonderful. And getting my book out there rather than waiting another few years to go the traditional route has allowed me to build a readership right away.

I have a new agent that wants to work with me on another book and she told me she was so happy I self-published Entwine. She said she would have had to tear it apart to make it fit a publishing box to sell it. Because Entwine has elements of fantasy, suspense, thriller, mystery, romance, and the paranormal, it didn’t fit neatly into a publishing box. But she loves my writing, so she wants to work with me on something else.

Self-publishing doesn’t hurt your chances for being traditionally published on the level it used to. So many authors are going the hybrid route. The business end of things that I’ve learned about will make me an excellent author for a traditional publishing house down the line because I understand about social media platforms and followings, promotion, etc. Continue reading

Renee Marski

Renee Marski enjoys the control that self-publishing allows authors. Here she explains the importance of making sure your work is thoroughly edited.

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

My most recent book is book three in my fantasy series. This book follows Andy, one of the team members of my group of hunters. They are descended from the original fairytale characters, trained to hunt the monsters that plague our world. Andy has some issues he has to work through, after suffering a loss in book two. Andy and the team have to complete their third trial and stick together.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales have been up and down. I took a month off to just focus on me and so without promoting anything I didn’t really sell anything. But when I do promote, I get some good results.

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 love self-publishing. I like the control I have, I can publish when I want, there are no deadlines except for the ones I give myself. But at the same time, being self-published means I have to do all the marketing myself and that is so hard to do. Especially when you’re just starting out and don’t know what you’re doing. Continue reading

Diana Miller

descentDiana Miller has had experience in both the indie and traditional publishing worlds. She explains why review swaps are a great way to build your reader base.

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

My debut novel Descent is being published by FyreSyde Publishing on April 14th, 2021.  It follows the story of Serafina Thomas. Sera is orphaned at sixteen, and sent to live with her only remaining relative in a small, rural town. Recruited by a dark, alluring young man to attend the prestigious St. Michael’s Academy, she is thrust into the secret underworld of demon hierarchy where one must fight to survive. She quickly meets Justin, who rules the demon hierarchy along with his grandfather the Arch Demon, who has taken a special interest in Sera. Martin is the Watcher; an Archangel with one goal in mind: to eradicate the demons from the Earth, protecting the human race for all time.

All three are thrown together in this sage of time and tragedy, with Sera torn in the middle. Will they bind themselves together in order to save their own species, or burn in the chaos? A millennia old struggle comes to a head in the first book of The Demon Chronicles trilogy. The sequel Feud will be published just a few weeks later!

2. How have your sales been?

I actually had this story self-published for a little bit, and it did ok. I’m excited to reach a larger audience with my publisher. My free short story “5 Days to Die” has been downloaded many times, and I’ve had great feedback. It’s on Amazon for $0.99 or for free if you sign up for my newsletter on my website (dianagmiller.com).

3. You’ve used both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Which do you prefer, and what are the pros and cons of each?

It was an exhausting process to manage on my own, and with a full time job I just couldn’t devote the time needed. I’m excited to be partnering with FyreSyde to help with this aspect of it!

My publisher has a greater audience reach than I could possibly have alone, and access to more resources (cover artists, editors, etc.). I owe it to my story to make it the best version possible, and I concluded that I just couldn’t do it on my own while keeping up with my family and full-time job as a music teacher.

I’ve met some amazing indie authors, and read some amazing stories! Some of the very first reviews of Descent were from these lovely people, and it’s been wonderful to be active in the writing community. The con is the sheer amount of work, and how hard it is to be seen in a sea of indie authors lately. I’m hoping to have the best of both worlds by working with my small publisher. Continue reading

F.P. Spirit

F.P. Spirit is a fantasy writer who has worked hard to build an efficient marketing machine.  Find out the top suggested methods for connecting your work with readers.

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

My latest book is titled City of Tears. It is the first novel in the new series, Rise of the Thrall Lord (ROTL). The plot revolves around a tower harboring enormous power, shrouded in mist, surrounded by an ancient city that has fallen under a terrible curse. All who once lived there walk the earth as undead, ruled by the former empress of the once great Naradon empire.

Though Heroes ended at a rather climatic point, it did not resolve everything for the characters of that series. ROTL takes up where Heroes left off, following the further adventures of Glo, Lloyd, Andrella, and the others as things take a far more serious turn. Demons have once again crawled up from the Abyss, undead are roaming the earth, and someone has appeared who can exert control over dragons. All these signs point to the possible return of the dread Thrall Masters, a group of mega-powerful mages who nearly decimated the world over a century ago.

2. How have your sales been?

I’ve found you have to market to sell. I had been doing well with AMS until about a year ago when they made major changes to their format. Since then, sales have been up and down. Recently I’ve been working with Courtney Cannon – she is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend her builders and book fairs for garnering readers. Also, I’ve been trying FB ads with some success. Still, it’s a work in progress.

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 makes it quite easy to get a book out into the market. I use KDP for ebooks. For print I was also using KDP, but for my last release I tried Ingramspark and they were great!

The pros of self-publishing is being able to get your book to an audience. You can also write at your
own pace since there are not deadlines. The cons are numerous. First, you have to edit the book, a process best done by someone else—it is so easy to miss your own mistakes and I do not recommend it. Second, you have to get the book in the proper format to be rendered into a published product. That can be tricky if text or pictures bleed out over the margins. Also, you need an appropriate cover. You can do this all yourself, but again I don’t recommend it. There is so much competition out there these days, that if your book doesn’t look professional, it will get passed over. Finally, you have to market for yourself which can be a daunting and time-
consuming process. Continue reading

Karin Thompson (Part 2)

Karin Thompson was previously interviewed on kriswampler.com, and now she is here to discuss her latest book. Learn more about it, along with her recommended marketing and networking efforts.

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

My latest work is Encouragement for The Weary Soul. I saw that many Christians were discouraged and weary by dealing with problems. I wrote this book to encourage them, to give some advice, a prayer and some Scripture references that they can look up.

This book is like a “pep talk.” To motivate you to keep going and to help you overcome the obstacles that you are dealing with. I offer healing, hope, and inspiration in this collection of encouraging words for weary souls. Prayers and Scripture that offer help and support as you overcome the situations you face. Throughout these pages, discover encouragement and strength to carry on. It is the perfect book for Christians looking for straightforward
answers. An uplifting read you can turn to again and again during tough times.

2. How have your sales been?

They are going steady.

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 found that marketing is a full-time occupation that keeps you very busy. Especially as an unknown author, you must sell yourself as well as your book. But Facebook and Instagram have some amazing support groups that are full of advice. I have met so many helpful people that are always willing to give me a reviews or blog reviews (Just like yourself).

I don’t think one should see self-publishing as a quick thing. I have been promoting my books for a year now and I can truly say the wheel is finally turning. Do not give up but to keep working on it. It will pay off in the long term.

I have found some marketing companies that will advertise my book at a small fee, and this has helped my sales. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading