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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Stephanie Berger

cover with readers favorite five star seal

Stephanie Berger chose hybrid publishing, and believes there are pros and cons to the approach. Read about what she has learned through the process.

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

The Happiest Birthday Ever is inspired by my 40th birthday when I did 40 random acts of kindness around town in one day. I knew that people would have as just as much fun as I did, they just needed the idea to get them started. I especially wanted to inspire kids and let them experience that giving is even more fun than receiving. I wanted the book to be realistic where the readers could visualize themselves participating in a similar birthday celebration. So I wrote about a boy turning seven years old and he and his friends do seven random acts of kindness as his birthday party. It may be a different spin on birthday parties, but most of all, it inspires kids that spreading kindness is a lot more fun than they ever imagined.

2. How have your sales been?

My sales were great at first. Especially when I would do an author visit at a school, my pre-order sales for the book were great, until COVID-19 hit. My school visits were cancelled and my school orders are non-existent. Online sales have also come to a halt.

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 chose to go with a hybrid publisher. This is my first book and I wanted a one stop shop with the resources to guide me through the process, edit, design layout and illustrations. I knew going into it that I would be paying for these services whether it be with the publisher I chose or finding independent contractors to help me with the process. I paid an upfront amount of money to cover these services and I liked that they don’t keep a royalty until I recoup 100% of those fees. I also liked that they wrote a press release which gave me visibility on an out of state news channel and helped me sell over 50 books in the United Kingdom. I would not have been able to do that on my own.

The biggest negative is that I did not get to set the price of my book and it is priced higher than I would have liked. I also do not have the ability to set up marketing on Amazon as self-published authors do.

I was forewarned that you stay far away from any publisher that charges you in advance to publish your book. Other authors said they won’t sell your book for you. I knew going into this project that I would be responsible for marketing and selling my book. I feel like those that self-publish have to do their own marketing and selling, too. Having a publisher backing my book has given me access to large big box stores online that would not be listing my book if I did this all on my own.

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