Monica Exley

Monica Exley focused her energy on developing her book until it was perfect. Find out why she believes authors shouldn’t stress about publishing and marketing.

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

I am so thrilled that my latest novel Shadows is now available to purchase. This book took me a whooping 20 years to officially complete. What an incredibly emotional moment it was when it was finally done. It has taken me two decades to complete this project because I wrote this book with much heart, passion, soul, and experience. I focused on character development, story line, theme, voice, and plot twists for a good amount of time. I revised it more times than I can count until it finally felt polished enough and ready.

My book gives a voice to the many voiceless people of different types of abuse. It rests on the healing wings of love as a journey and an end goal. The backdrop of the story is love but many skeletons in the closet must be confronted first. This book is setup as the first book in the series of two more books to come. It is designed to empower, encourage, and uplift. It is deep and very intimate. A committed relationship, not a one night stand.

2. How have your sales been?

I have done well in this department. People seem to be drawn to my stories. They tell me that they love them and they want more. To date I have published five books. There is a high demand probably because I’m a fantastic storyteller. I have a unique way with words.

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 initially started out exploring the traditional publishing route. Later, I explored self-publishing. They both have their pros and cons, but my favorite continues to be self-publishing. The freedom and creativity options are endless.

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Jordan T. Maxwell

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Jordan T. Maxwell has learned a few lessons from being traditionally published. Here he shares those lessons along with other tips for indie authors.

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

My current project is Dandyflowers – Laura’s Voice. It is the third and final book in my Dandyflowers series. It follows Dandyflowers and Dandyflowers – Laura’s Diaries. The Dandyflowers books are the story of Laura Butler and Jerry Collins.

In Dandyflowers, Jerry’s recently engaged daughter Erin spends a long weekend with her dad where she learns about a part of his life she knew nothing about – his first love, Laura. It tells about how they met, their dating life, their married life, and ultimately why they are no longer together.

Dandyflowers – Laura’s Diaries begins four years after the end of Dandyflowers where Erin and her husband Jack take a trip to Chicago. During her self-guided sight-seeing tour of the Windy City, Erin runs into (literally) Laura’s parents. Since hearing her father’s story of his first love, Erin has been intrigued by the mysterious Laura. Her curiosity has been fueled by the box containing Laura’s diaries her father gave her at the end of the first book. Meeting Laura’s parents allow Erin to get answers to many of the questions the diaries have raised.

Dandyflowers – Laura’s Voice is still a work in progress. It begins two or three years after the end of Dandyflowers – Laura’s Diaries. In this, the final installment, the reader will meet Laney Young, an almost fifteen-year-old, angst-ridden girl who has recently moved into Jerry and Laura’s old house after her father’s job transferred them to the little town she refers to as “Podunksville.” She finds a box of twenty plus reel-to-reel tapes recorded by Laura when she lived there and a pristine tape recorder/player.

All three books begin in present-day, but they transition from present to the past and back again as the story unfolds.

2. How have your sales been?

My sales are what they are. I have not grown rich in the monetary sense from my books. If I had to live off what money I have made from the sales of my books, I would have starved to death long ago!

I never intended to actually publish Dandyflowers; I wrote it for me. But with the encouragement of several people who read and liked it, I did publish it as well as Dandyflowers – Laura’s Diaries.

My true profit so far has been the wonderful reviews and compliments I have received from my readers!

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

My publishing career, if you can call it that, began in 2006 when I signed with Tate Publishing & Enterprises in Mustang, Oklahoma. I learned a lot from my five year association with Tate, mainly that if a “publisher” wants you to put forth the money to publish your work, you should smile, say “No thank you,” and run away fast!

However, I was fortunate. Unlike many authors I had my entire “author’s fee” refunded in January 2012 when I produced an email from someone inside Tate that I should have never seen. It outlined everything they did regarding my first book which was next to nothing.

After leaving Tate no worse for the wear and quite a bit wiser, I went the self-publishing route first with Lulu. Then I switched to CreateSpace which changed to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) about a year ago, which is where I am currently.

I love the freedom I have with self-publishing! I never thought I could design a book cover, much less two and soon to be three, but here we are! The one thing I struggle with, like many authors, is marketing. I am still learning and having fun doing it!

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Roland Page

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Roland Page draws on his career experience to craft compelling stories. In this interview, he explains his own careful approach to marketing.

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

Eating the Forbidden Fruit is a gritty fiction novel loosely based on events in my past as a St. Louis police officer convicted of federal crimes because of my childhood affiliation. The nightmarish reality of a cop being booked in as a criminal. My passion for writing was fueled by managing depression from Lupus. A coping technique.

2. How have your sales been?

Well my book launched on March 30, 2020 therefore I have my fingers crossed. Yet I wrote my novel not for financial gain but to maintain my sanity. If it does well I would like to donate some proceeds to a Lupus foundation that helps indigent patients.

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

Positives is that the creative control is in your hands, plus the residuals. Negative is that unless you have an adequate budget to market your product, your exposure is limited. It could be the best keep secret. Traditional publishing resources aren’t abundant for new indie authors like myself.

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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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Angelica Markus

angelica.jpgAngelica Markus has crafted her own writing style from the stories she loves.  Read about her marketing techniques and why she says you may need more than one editor.

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

My novel The Watcher is part of an urban fantasy series (the Fleur De Lis saga), and I am writing eight books in total.  I have always enjoyed reading and watching movies about vampires and martial arts. My favorite stories have heroes and villains in them with a bit of historical fiction.  Stories with siblings have always seemed to capture people’s attention differently than other stories.  Also stories with main characters that lose their parents, like Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, etc.  In other words, my main characters are siblings that lost their parents when they were young.

I studied history as my minor in college, and I added a secret vampire world that takes place in NYC.  That’s where I lived most of my life.  They say write what you know.

Here is my synopsis:

Skye Davenport is no ordinary thief.  She has the ability to foresee danger, and she believes stealing from the wicked is justice served right.  Her life takes a different turn when she brings her brother, Christian, on a dangerous mission that leads them to a supernatural world of the undead.  A war has been going on for centuries, predators lurk within the shadows, hiding and waiting for the right time to attack.  Skye knows that she and her brother are the only gifted humans that can stop this war, but there are more filthy beasts to catch, murders to uncover and secrets to be revealed.  What happens when the hunters become the hunted?

2. How have your sales been?

The Watcher, is a long book, and I tend to sell more audio books in Audible the most.

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 still have to market myself just like with any publishing, but I don’t have to pay an agent and Amazon gives authors good royalty prices.

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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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Cerynn McCain

Book cover 1.JPGCerynn McCain favors the control authors have with self-publishing. Here she talks about the challenges of networking as well as one marketing technique she avoids.

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

A brief blurb about the book: In a world where the Àraid have been nearly forgotten, The General remembers. He knows there are still a few hiding. He’s just waiting for one to reveal themselves so he can wipe them out.

Christa knows this. She knows he’s watching her. She knows she needs to keep up the facade of being human. For years staying hidden has been easy, but something has changed. The General lost something valuable, and Christa now must keep it out of his grasp. But how far is she willing to bend before she has no choice but to reveal her powers and risk him finding them?

I started writing it right after my best friend moved away. I was a rather lonely person after that, and the characters I created in the story really helped me get through, so I decided to publish it hoping it might help others as well.

2. How have your sales been?

Honestly? I try not to look. I published it because I loved it. I’m worried if I start checking my sales I’ll start obsessing about the numbers and not focus on continuing the story for me, rather than for publicity.

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 did try to get an agent for a while, I queried about 20 agents. However, I think I sabotaged myself because I’m not good at pitching my book. I love it. I stand by it. I have a very hard time telling other people they will love it because not everyone loves the same stuff so I had a really hard time writing my query. Also a lot of agents don’t want
to pick up first time authors writing the first book in a series because they worry I won’t finish the series. I plan to query again after the full series is out. A long shot, I know, but I might as well try.

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Michael Nye

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Michael Nye believes that self-publishing maximizes an author’s creative control. Learn which marketing methods he avoids and the (many) words of wisdom he has for new authors just starting out.

1. Tell me briefly about your latest book, The Ballad of Masie & Linda.  What is it about and what motivated you to write it?

After writing my fourth book, Nearwater, I began to wonder how two of the minor characters in it (Masie and Linda) would develop after escaping the abuse each had received for the first sixteen years of their lives. Because I needed to find out, I had to write the adventure. Masie and Linda are, and always will be, a little haunted by their similar pasts, but they feel free to talk about what happened because each knows that the other will understand, having had similar or the same experiences themselves.

Of all of them, this has been the most difficult to get down on paper as it deals with quite dark subject matter in a way that, I hope, is neither depressing, nor so up-beat as to be unreal. More than anything, the story explores the theme (present in all my books) of the nature of enduring friendship.

2. How have your sales been?

Best way to describe sales is slowish but steady. I get royalty payments from Amazon every now and then, which makes me happy that someone is reading my work.

3. You’ve chosen indie publishing as opposed to traditional publishing. Can you elaborate more on your choice?

I studied Fine Art at Sunderland Polytechnic in the late seventies/early eighties and the books have an echo of this training. I see them as entities in themselves and need to keep as much as I can under my own control. I doubt I would react too well at having a company involved in advising me on content or cover of my work. Some of my tutors at Sunderland Polytechnic would, no doubt, testify to that one!

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Crystal Reavis

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Crystal Reavis recently published her book through a small publisher.  Learn more about her marketing methods and the important words of advice she has for new authors.

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

My book is a fantasy set in our world. It’s the first book in my series. Areal, my main character, is a paralegal who begins to have strange things happen to her. A man calls her and tells her she is being watched; soon after she begins to see people with black eyes, people watching her at her house. She also starts to meet new people who may not be what they seem. She learns angels and demons exist and that she may play a big role in their war for the world.

What motivated me to write it was my husband. I have been writing for years and never published anything. He told me he would love for me to pursue writing as a career. I figured I was already writing and had the time, so why not? Literally a few days later I had the idea for this series. I wrote the book we are talking about, Areal, in about four months. I just fell in love with it and couldn’t leave it for very long.

2. How have your sales been?

My sales are climbing. I sold about 11 books in the first month (not great), but I am picking up momentum. Many of my readers are waiting for a signed copy and I am working on getting those out. Once the signed copies are sent out I will have sold about 50-60 books. I am slowly getting better sales.

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