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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Morgan Amos

51nKIGsVA0L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Mystery/thriller author Morgan Amos has learned many things – both good and bad – during her self-publishing journey.  Find out the one mistake she made starting out that can be key to a book’s success or failure.

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

“From the Killer’s Eyes” focuses on the small town of Somers and takes the reader into the life of Bradley Beckington and Katie Caldwell. Katie and Bradley meet and fall for one another, but what Katie doesn’t know is that Bradley has a sinister past that threatens to tear them apart, and if Katie isn’t careful she could wind up dead. The motivation for my book stemmed from watching a lot of Lifetime TV movies and seeing what they were producing. I tend to read a lot of thriller and mystery books also, and I am into true crime, so I got the idea to write my book from that.

2. How have your sales been?

Being honest, my sales haven’t been great. When I first released my book back in 2014, my dad helped me to sell copies, but once that stopped so did my sells, unfortunately. I promoted through social media and word of mouth, and I continue to, and it’s definitely been a process.

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D.E. Funk

IMG_6557D.E. Funk is a new author who recently released her first novel, Silent Rage.  And full disclosure: she is my cousin!  In this interview, she explains why she chose indie publishing over traditional, and why having a professional editor makes a difference.

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

My book is called Silent Rage and is about the birth of a serial killer. It details the home life of a juvenile, Russell, who ends up discovering the power he has over others through violence. There is only one female in his life who shows any concern about him. Libby Teach is currently a middle school teacher (name makes sense as you read the book) who is at work on her graduate degree which will enable her to become a behavioral therapist who specializes in juveniles. The book is not a juvenile read. There are real crimes and serious issues tackled in the pages.

I was motivated to write for a couple of reasons. First, I love to read and thought why not? I know what I like and don’t like and could surely write one as well. Second, I believe a lot of crimes could be prevented by early intervention such as behavioral or mental health courses taught to middle school aged kids. They face a lot of tough situations and don’t have the skills to address them. Maybe I can make a difference using writing as a platform.

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Marques Peterson

marques petersonMarques Peterson believes that if you can’t find a story you really like in a bookstore, you should write it.  Find out more about his marketing efforts and why he believes you have to invest in your own product for it to be a success.

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

I think the best way to tell you about my story is to tell you how I came up with this idea.  Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  So I began to outline and I created a character that must go through hell to accomplish his goals.  So I started thinking, what if a cunning, bold, twenty-one year old sorcerer witnesses his mother’s death to save his skin?  It would make him very angry because he was too weak to save her and it would also make him vindictive because now he wants to get his brother for what he has done to her.  But, since his mother is gone now, he also has the burden to save the world because he must collect the ancient stones of immortality before his brother can.

So the sorcerer begins his adventure to pursue each stone and make a few friends along the way, but trouble arises when they arrive at Westco village.  The captain of Westco, having arsenals of deadly arrows and an army of guards, tries to stop them at any cost.  Then there are other beings like the ferocious vangal birds that try to eat them; the tyranny preventers, Ober and Nob, which will do whatever they can to stop them; and the cold-hearted aurettas whose powers seem unstoppable – will the sorcerer and his friends ever collect the stones?  This is exactly what happens in my book, Cold Spirits: Greed Vs. Passion.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

I became an indie writer because I wanted to experience how it would be to publish my own book.

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Fred Gordon

fredgordon1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.

My name is Fred Gordon, I’m a C5-C6 quadriplegic.  I wrote an autobiography of my life called Still Looking Up.  I wrote the book in hopes of inspiring any reader but especially people with spinal cord injury.  In my years of being in a wheelchair I’ve heard horror stories of depression, not wanting to live and the hard times of adjusting to a new situation.  I’ve been blessed to have not gone through any hard times with adjusting, and I want to give back to those that do.  Not just SCI or wheelchair individuals but anybody that has gone through something that had the potential to stop their progression through life.

I try to give a picture of my life before the chair, so when they see my life after the chair they can see not much changed as I grew from a misguided teenager into manhood.  I tried to tell my story as it happened, from going to jail, to losing the love of my life, to the initial accident, to getting saved and married.  I put it all on the table, good and bad.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

It’s funny you asked that because I wasn’t sure what an indie writer was before this interview.  I don’t know, when I used to get sick and had to go to the hospital, I would talk to the nurses and share my life with them, and a lot of them would say I should write a book.  I heard that for years and then one day, a quiet voice said, you need to write that book.  So I started writing.  I didn’t have a real plan, I’ve been winging it for real.

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