Cully Mack

cullyCully Mack believes authors should start networking long before publishing their work. Find out what advice she specifically gives to book series authors.

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

My latest book is called A Fire That Whispers. It is the third novel in my Voice that Thunders high fantasy series which is filled with explosive revelations and betrayals.
Think epic battles with immortals and beasts of all kinds, throw in elemental magic, huge plot twists, portals, unique worlds, and an ever-growing amount of characters trying to save their world (think it’s time to cull a few – oh no!). If you like character-driven fantasy, you’ll love these books. I warn you now, I don’t go easy on them…

In this book Mirah has been captured by the leader of the immortals. He demands she destroys the portals. If she does, she dooms her loved ones; and if she doesn’t, she dooms herself.

My writing is motivated by creating new worlds and in-depth characters to live in them. I love how characters grow and overcome the challenges they face. I love plot twists! Being a discovery writer, my characters often surprise me and lead me into territory I wasn’t expecting to go. I love myth and my work is inspired by myths from ancient Mesopotamia (Sumerian, Semite, and Akkadian) mythology.

2. How have your sales been?

My third book was released on April 6th and the current virus lockdown has affected the launch. I have seen an increase in ebook and Kindle page reads and a decrease in print sales. I’d say for April my ebook sales increased by 60-70%. It sounds massive but I’m a new author and don’t have huge sales yet (one can only hope). On a positive note, I was furloughed from my employment and had more time to do social media marketing which I believed helped.

Due to current situation, I have held off on the print publication for A Fire That Whispers which I plan to launch this later in the year. I’m seeing this as a positive and an opportunity to do another launch.

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 being a self-published author. I have complete creative control over what I write and how I present my books (e.g. covers). I was originally prompted to self-publish because I’d heard horror stories of authors being dropped by publishers before they completed their book series. I didn’t want to give up my rights and I’m glad I didn’t.

For me, my journey has always been about following my dreams. If I am blessed enough to make a living doing so then it’s a bonus. Don’t get me wrong, it’s my goal and I’ve come to realize with hard work it’s possible.

Self-publishing has been a steep learning curve and I’ve done plenty of things wrong, but each day I build on what I’ve learned. I haven’t experienced many negatives, apart from marketing. Sometimes it feels like sliding down the walls into the pit of hell and if you reach the gate, you have no funds to pay the gatekeeper. It’s definitely one downside with regards to the time and resources required.

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Karin Thompson

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Karin Thompson knows the importance of patience when it comes to writing and marketing a book. Learn which methods have worked best to build her audience.

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

I take the reader on a journey of self-discovery. I use my own life experience of an abusive father, illustrating that no situation is beyond God’s love and His healing.
I artfully show how healing from abuse is a journey and that it takes a lifetime to perfect it. If your faith is wavering or you are having doubts, my experiences will be more than enough to put things in place for you.

The book is beautifully laid out with my personal stories, Bible verses, prayers and Q & A’s in the form of a study guide. Who do you trust when you doubt yourself? Who do you look up to when your parents do not care enough about you? How do you go through life when the odds are stacked high against you? There would be lots of places in the book that you can see yourself in the picture and relate to on a very personal level.

If you need that silver lining in that dark cloud, My words will surely provide you with more than one. If your faith is wavering or you are having doubts, my experiences will be more than enough to put things in place for you. The tools you need are here. Pick them up and let today be the day to your road of recovery. I wrote this book to help people overcome their past and live a victorious life.

2. How have your sales been?

My sales have been steady. As a new author, I must market myself to get known out there. I would like them to be better and I am working on improving that.

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 self-published my book via IngramSpark and Amazon. I have found that my book is available everywhere and on most book sellers’ websites which is a great positive. But as a negative, I must do all the work in getting it promoted. I have had to learn how to go about doing this and have watched endless YouTube videos for advice. The first book is always the hardest as you must learn as you go along. But with my second book, I am more “on the page” as to what to expect.

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Martin Svolgart

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Martin Svolgart has had experience with traditional and self-publishing, and does a good job of comparing them. Learn the pros and cons of each, and why viewing yourself as a brand is so important.

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

A Game Called Payback is my debut under this name – a psychological crime thriller with bullying as its main theme. Normally, I write under pseudonyms. But the topic here was gathered mostly from my past, and I learned so much from it that I thought it deserved my own name. Mainly because I dedicated the book to my high school bully.

It’s far from an autobiography. In the end, only one sentence ever said to me made it into the book, and the rest is crafted to be entertaining and exaggerated to bring home the moral of the story.

2. How have your sales been?

Really awful. But that’s the fate of most first books, and it’s even a standalone, so it’s going to be uphill. So I don’t take it that hard.

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

With self-publishing, I enjoy having full creative freedom because I have a professional team behind me: editor, proofreader, and cover artists. Marketing, however, is the one aspect that is difficult for a debut since building a brand, a network, and a platform takes a very long time. But most of that is needed by traditionally published authors, too; they just have help on exposure from the trad publisher’s platform.

I also write under HP Caledon (sci fi/space opera), and that series is traditionally published. I chose that route back then because I’m not a native English speaker, and I didn’t have the team I do now (we met at the publishing house and instantly connected). I needed to learn about the English market, so I went with traditional publishing to learn from the pros and to have a professional team help my story get out right.

Traditional publishing can feel slow! And your hands are kinda tied regarding many of the marketing tools that work really well for indies. For instance, there’s a limited number of books you can use for promotional purposes when it’s not for reviews. Indies have full right, so they can build a platform easier through giveaways, etc. Also, Kindle Unlimited for a new name is a Godsend because people dare to take chances with them. Traditional publishing doesn’t allow that in a market now mainly geared toward finding readers via indie author channels.

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Anurag Shourie

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Anurag Shourie is an Indian author who chose traditional publishing for his novel.  Find out what led him down this path and his advice for selecting a good book reviewer.

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

Half A Shadow is my debut novel.  It is said that the reign of the supernatural begins at the point where the jurisdiction of science ends.  Never the twain shall meet.  Here is a story that entwines the two domains together, a mytho-medical thriller.

A series of events that occurred on a stormy night while I was dispensing my duties in a cancer hospital led me to conceptualize the plot of Half A Shadow.  It is the story of one man’s quest for redemption.

2. How have your sales been?

The sales of Half A Shadow have been encouraging.  The readers have bestowed a lot of love on this book belonging to an uncommon genre.  The reviews have been mostly positive with the critics giving it a “thumbs up.”

3. You’ve decided to use a traditional publisher for your book. Why did you choose this versus self-publishing?

Self-publishing is a grey area as there is a very thin line of demarcation between self-publishing and vanity- publishing.  I am of the firm belief that if my work is good enough it will find a decent publisher who is keen to share my vision.

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Adithya Srivastava

pic1.jpgAdithya Srivastava strongly believes in promoting your book well before launching it.  Read how he uses Instagram and Facebook to do so.

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

My latest book, The Story of Your Life, is all about digging some dark and pleasurable memories of life through different narrations. If I talk about what motivated me in writing this book then I would say my solo trips. I am a hobby traveler, and also, being a public speaker, I have to visit many places and meet new people.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales for the first month were disastrous as I didn’t use any marketing or promotional activities. But then I joined Kindle Select and also started promoting my book through various paid and free channels which really boosted the outcome of sales. Right now, from Kindle and the paperback version I am almost earning 15-20% of my monthly salary, and that’s around $95-114 USD.

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

My experience with self-publishing was filled with learning and enjoyment and some networking, and I liked it. Some positive aspects of self-publishing: it is easy and cheap and the best thing for new authors who really don’t want to spend a fortune on publishing. Also, with self-publishing you get to choose your terms, which is kind of great. And if I talk about negative aspects of self-publishing then the biggest is marketing and promotion. You have to do everything on your own or hire some marketing firm to do that for you.
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Janice Nye

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Janice Nye began in traditional publishing but moved to self-publishing.  Find out why she prefers the latter and how she uses social media to promote her work.

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

User Hostile is the book nearest completion. It started as a short story about 30 years ago. There were a lot of things having to do with computers then which were described as “user friendly,” which were about as “user friendly” as a crocodile with a toothache. The story began with the main character arguing with a computer. It woke her up to a room that was cold and dark, when it should have been bright and warm. The story is what happened next.

Originally it was a short story, about 7,000 words, but I returned to it last year and thought I would post it on my blog in parts. While doing this, I edited the story and it grew. At the moment I am working on the cover.

2. How have your sales been?

I’ve had a few, but not enough to give up the day job.

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

I have gone down the route of self-publishing because I realized that I like to be in control of every aspect of the book. The thought that someone might go through my book and start telling me to change things isn’t one that I like. Self-publishing means that you make all the decisions. Of course it means that there isn’t anyone to tell you when you have made a stupid mistake.

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J.S. Frankel

the auctioneer best pic!J.S. Frankel has enjoyed positive results with traditional publishing. He talks about that here and offers practical advice for using social media.

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

My latest novel is a YA Fantasy, entitled The Auctioneer. Essentially, it’s a story about a young man, forced by circumstances, to work very far away – in another galaxy. At first, he does what he does for the money. But when he finds out people and planets are being sold, he changes his way of thinking. It’s also a bit of a smackdown to some people in the rich, “I’m entitled” generation.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales? Sales? What are those? Seriously, the marketing of my novels is probably the most challenging aspect of writing. I love writing, but getting the word out and getting people to take a chance on my work is hard.

3. You’ve gone the traditional publishing route. Why did you choose this, and what has been your experience?

I started writing seriously only about six years ago. At that time, I knew very little about self-publishing, and my sister suggested that I try e-book publishers to start with. My experiences, outside of sales, have been good. My covers are well done, my publishers do put the word out, and I have worked with some excellent editors who’ve willingly taught me what they know. All in all, it’s been positive.

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T.L. Chasse

17342950_1900215396857599_5463146575114977439_nT.L. Chasse has used author talks as a means of promoting her books.  She discusses the pros and cons of self-publishing and how writing fan fiction has shaped her craft.

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

My latest book is called Oh, Henry, A Vintage, Maine Novel, about a young man named Henry Titan who discovers that he was adopted. He spends the summer in a small town called Vintage, Maine, trying to track down his birth mother. Henry also happens to have a condition called achondroplasia. During his adventurous summer, Henry gets tangled up in small-town gossip, lies and treachery – there may even be romance in the air.

I was motivated to write this book after watching Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”) talk in an interview. He stated that it was always hard for a dwarf to find roles of real people – rather than playing an elf or a leprechaun. I decided then to feature a young man with dwarfism in a novel.

It has been a wonderful experience. I contacted the New England Chapter of Little People of America. One of their admin set me up with a sensitivity reader, whose feedback was tremendously helpful. I’m so excited to launch Oh, Henry and am looking at a spring release.

2. How have sales for your books been?

My sales have been relatively low; however, that is my own fault. I have not been very proactive with marketing and PR. But the feedback that I have received on my first two novels, as well as the few beta readers for Oh, Henry have all been very encouraging.

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

When I first decided to write, it was mostly for myself, as a hobby. After having several close friends who I had shared my stories with request copies, I decided to look into a print-on-demand venue. I went through Createspace and have been very happy with it.

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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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Vincent Formosa

51e+WDmB0SL._SY346_British author Vincent Formosa combines his background in history with his love for aviation. Read about how he navigates a crowded self-publishing field and why Twitter is not the platform best suited for him.

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

My latest book out is a novel titled Run The Gauntlet. It follows the life of an RAF light bomber squadron from the outbreak of World War 2 to the end of May 1940 and the fall of France.

I was inspired to write it after reading an article in an aviation magazine about the air war in France during the German Blitzkrieg. It related a few details about a Blenheim bomber squadron (the Blenheim was a twin engine light bomber in the RAF at the time, 3 men per crew) that lost 18 out of 21 crews in 10 days and that figure did not include the replacements who had also been shot down.

I was staggered by this. The thought of a squadron that had fought and trained for years before the war to be almost casually wiped out really brought home to me the cost of war. So I started the novel, doing a lot of research along the way, trying to encompass that press on attitude while conveying the harshness of combat.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales so far have been slow. My first novel came out in 2011. My second novel came out at the end of 2016.

I’m playing the long game on this one. I’m writing for a bit of a niche genre (aviation military fiction) and while there are lot of aviation magazines, they don’t review fiction, so it’s proving difficult to get myself out there and known. I realize that when someone buys your book and then looks to see there are no more by you, you miss an opportunity for a secondary buy. So as time goes on, I’ll have more books out there and it will naturally blossom. A reader will read one, say “I enjoyed that,” and then see there are others they can buy. So one sale can turn into four or five.

3. You’ve chosen to use indie publishing for your books. Can you elaborate as to why you made this choice?

About 8 years ago I came across Joe Konrath’s blog where he discussed what had led him to self-publish and I found his argument very reasoned. 99.9% of new authors will not get much in the way of promotion from a publisher, so for the virtue of getting my book physically on a bookshop shelf, I’m giving away quite a percentage of royalty.

So if I’m not getting any promotion help, why not do it myself and get more royalty for me?

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