Coral McCallum

imgID170658697.jpgCoral McCallum has used free giveaways to generate word-of-mouth interest in her books.  Learn which marketing methods have, and have not, worked for her.

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

My current work in progress is the fourth book in the Silver Lake series – Shattered Hearts. The series is set in the small Delaware town of Rehoboth Beach and follows the story of Lori Hyde and aspiring rock star Jake Power and all things associated with the rock band Silver Lake. The series makes ideal summer vacation reading – goes great with a flight or a day by the pool and is perfect for a day at the beach. These books will make you laugh and they’ll make you cry and you might even fall in love just a little bit with Jake Power.

Stronger Within was my debut novel. After a period of self-reflection I took the plunge on May 8, 2013 and literally sat down in the early evening sun on my front doorstep with a notepad and pen and began to write. My old high school English teacher’s words rang in my ears: “Write about places you know and subjects you are passionate about.” Despite living in Scotland, Rehoboth Beach is a place very close to my heart.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales have been slow but steady. Since I published the first book in April 2015, I’ve received a royalty payment every month. Okay, most months it would barely cover the cost of a cup of coffee, but it’s something. What I take great pride in is the reviews the books have received. So far no one has told me that my “book babies” are ugly!

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’ve used KDP and previously CreateSpace for all four books. I’ve been really pleased with KDP. Initially I made a rookie formatting error and didn’t appreciate that the e-book platform was more forgiving than the CreateSpace one proved to be. Six days of re-formatting my manuscript later and I had Stronger Within in an acceptable CreateSpace format. With the other books I have formatted the initial manuscript using the CreateSpace paperback format template which is e-book compatible. Easy when you know how!

The only other negative I could mention here is the lack of guidance/support for authors when it comes to marketing. Some additional help pages within KDP would be useful.

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R.L. Walker

41KJmi11IcL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_R.L. Walker believes authors should start early in their marketing efforts.  Learn which networking techniques she’s used to get her books into readers’ hands.

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

My latest book, Kai’s Secret, is about a Navajo girl, Kai, who gets an internship to help discover her heritage. While she was working at the museum, she discovered that artifacts were being stolen and that she had the ability to shape shift into a hawk. She must use her abilities to stop the thief as she uncovers that there is a connection between the artifacts’ disappearance, the pipeline, and her parents’ disappearance years ago.

I was motivated by current events and my own experiences working on an archaeological dig site. I wanted to help more with the plight of the Native Americans and the pipeline going through their land. I thought that by writing about a reservation that was going through something similar more people might show more empathy towards their situation.

2. How have your sales been?

My sales are better than I expected, but not quite where I would like to be to make a living off my writing. I sell more in person at book signings and when I get media coverage. Sales seem to go hand in hand with promotions and media attention. However, it is hard to balance my job, writing new stories, and sending out press releases.

3. You’ve gone the self-publishing route. Have you sought an agent or any work with traditional publishers? If not, why not? If so, what has been your experience with traditional publishing?

I have sent out a few query letters, but have not spent a ton of time trying to find a publisher or agent. I like the freedom that self-publishing gives you. You can write about things that you want to and not have things edited out due to a publisher’s demands.

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Randall Moore

Welles Lang's Magic Box Cover_edited-1.jpgRandall Moore is working to make the switch from self- to traditional publishing. He shares his experience with the querying process and explains why book giveaways are not a preferred marketing method.

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

My latest published book is Welles Lang’s Magic Box. It’s about a genius cinema auteur who’s employing an innovation in performance capture with a side effect: not only are the actors’ performances captured but their souls are as well. It comes from an idea I had years ago about performers dying to be in a movie that will truly immortalize them. It’s a hybrid of horror and science fiction with action adventure and romance thrown in.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales have been tepid at best. I did a Goodreads giveaway of 100 digital copies and a Freebooksy giveaway of 1,300. I got one great review and some terrible reviews from people who failed to finish my book.

3. You’ve gone the self-publishing route. Tell me more about that and how you got into it.

Self-publishing started as a lark. It was exciting to see my short story for sale on Amazon. I made it free and had hundreds of downloads. I then expanded my short story into a novel, which became a trilogy. By now writing had become an all-consuming passion and I haven’t let up to this day.

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Becca Chopra

Becca Chopra chose self-publishing rather than bother with sending out query letters to traditional publishers.  Find out which vendor she recommends for her marketing materials and learn about a website with free advice for indies.

1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.

Chakra Secrets is a memoir and more.  Follow me on my path from aspiring actress to yoga teacher and chakra healer.  Navigating betrayals and loss, tormented by guilt, I explore kundalini, tantric sex, past-life regression and mind-body tools as I earn my credentials as an energy healer and finally find love and light.  You’ll not only learn my personal secrets, but the “instant” healing tool I learned in Hawaii that you can use anytime, anywhere to eliminate pain, stress and clear the path for healing on all levels.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

I didn’t have the patience to send out query letters to agents.  Rather, I decided to self-publish and save myself a lot of time.

3. Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?

No.  I haven’t tried – but I won’t turn down a traditional publisher if they approach me.

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Jake Prytherch

Jake Prytherch uses the responsibilities of his daily life to motivate his writing ventures and to keep himself on his toes.  He hopes to keep his readers on the edges of their seats too, and Jake talks about that, his marketing strategy, and why free giveaways are important.

1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.

Heal The Sick, Raise The Dead is a horror mystery about a journey from relative safety tinged with depression into a land of blood and violence. Although there are walking corpses in this book, it is not a “zombie” book. There is very little firepower, there is no army taking out waves and waves of corpses… it is a story about close quarters, grime, and the true terror that a return from the dead would elicit.  The protagonist, Guy, is helped (and hindered) on this journey by a strange set of companions, including a huge man with an insatiable hunger for everything (including violence), a small vicious man with an odd ability, and a silent child who watches everything with cold grey eyes.  It is a story about unraveling the truth before their sanity unravels instead.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

I have always wanted to become a writer but have never had the confidence to pursue projects, and even though I actually finished my first novel The Binary Man in 2010 I simply left it to stew on my computer, not wanting any negative feedback.  That feeling changed when I recently turned thirty and my wife gave birth to my second daughter. I’ve got a lot of responsibilities now, which feels very empowering!  I think I’m doing alright as a father even though it’s a pretty hard job to do well, so I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and try and get a writing career off the ground, as it surely can’t be any harder!  I’ve decided to pursue the indie route at the moment as it best suits my current circumstances.  I can set my own hours around my job and family (generally very early mornings fueled by coffee), and I have no one to answer to if it all falls flat.

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Lee Barrett

Lee Barrett believes in the inevitability of self-publishing, embracing the new power that authors have to shape their own destinies.  Learn more about his novel, how he embraces social networking, and the sort of marketing you should be doing as you write.

1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.

Barge Pilot is a novel exploring modern fatherhood (at least, modern fatherhood prior to the Great Recession).  Jack Webber is a mostly retired lawyer grappling with the dual burdens of chronic disease and a strained, almost non-existent relationship with his sons.  Faced with the apparent suicide of Jack’s friend, who also happens to be the town drunk, Jack and a well-developed cast of characters try to find their way through the pitfalls of modern manhood.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

With the exception of a few wild cards like J.K. Rowling and the like, there seems to be a real “career track” for becoming a professional, traditionally published author.  Although writing has always been vital to my personal sanity, that was not a career track that spoke to me.  In fact, I have sort of instinctively believed that I needed to reach a point in life where I finally had something to write about and that required that I have a career, a family, and engage in some of the great adventures that make up life.

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Ethan Jones

Ethan Jones took some time away from his busy writing schedule to discuss his action-adventure series and why he chose the indie writing path.  Learn why book giveaways work for him and why indie authors have to invest so much of their own time and effort to make their projects a success.

1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.

Arctic Wargame is the first book in Justin Hall series.  Justin has been demoted because of a botched rescue operation in Libya, which was not his fault.  Now he’s a desk jockey.  Eager to return to field work, he volunteers for a reconnaissance mission, when two foreign icebreakers appear in Canadian Arctic waters.  His team discovers a weapons stash, along with a plan that threatens Canada’s security.  At the same time, the team falls under attack by one of their own and is stranded helpless in the Arctic.  It is now a race against time for Justin and his team to save themselves and their country.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

I shopped my two novels, Arctic Wargame and Tripoli’s Target to agents and publishers over the course of 2009-2011.  I received some great feedback.  A few agents asked for a partial manuscript and two or three for a full.  But no one was willing to make an offer or sign a contract.  In the meantime, I kept writing.

I had not considered self-publishing because it seemed like a lot of work and I had truly hoped an agency or a publisher would pick up my works.  Upon the suggestion of a good friend, I dusted off my first novel, Arctic Wargame.  I found three great beta readers, all published writers, and we took a new stab at my gibberish.  Then I worked with two great editors and proofreaders, to create the best possible work.  After formatting it professionally, Arctic Wargame finally saw the light of publishing through Amazon.

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Chris Stralyn

Chris Stralyn is a suspense writer who started his career with a simple essay contest and is today a self-published author.  Read about his unique marketing approach involving coffee mugs and how it’s bearing fruit with increased sales.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.

This Time You Lose is an intense read.  It is the terrifying story of Lisa Kaamp, who operates a small childcare business out of her home in the sleepy little town of Nogeksum, Michigan.  Highly respected and known for going the extra mile for her daycare kids, Lisa thought she had handled every daycare emergency possible.

But nothing prepared her for the nightmare she now faced.  Lisa awakes one morning to find herself bound and gagged, four strange men in her home, and the daycare children being held hostage in the next room.  Terrorized by her captors as the authorities work to meet the ransom deadline, she tries negotiating with the men for the release of the children, and soon realizes that at least one of them has no intention of letting anyone go.  With the deadline quickly approaching, Lisa must do the unimaginable to protect the children and get everyone out alive.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I never intended to be a writer.  Short-order cook, security guard, safety officer, childcare provider, and teacher were all titles I’d worn – but never writer.  Then I entered an essay contest for “The Worst Vacation Ever” and won.  Writing became my new hobby, and soon I had several articles in print with local publications.  This was followed by a short story, The Khaki Pants, which was published by RDR Publishing in an anthology that went on to sell over a million copies.

A suspense thriller was my next undertaking, and in 2008 This Time You Lose was named a finalist in the TNBW Strongest Start Novel Competition.  Four months later it earned the distinction of being a TNBW Readers Choice Top Ten Novel, and has remained on the Top Ten list ever since.

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