Casey Bell

Casey Bell believes authors should learn how to promote their books early in the process. Find out why he encourages writers to save and spend their money wisely.

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

My latest book is the third book of an eight-book series, American History. It is a book series about American inventors and/or innovators not mentioned in the school system. The first book, American History: Americans of African Descent, was inspired by my nephews and nieces. I wanted them to see more about their ancestors than the slavery and segregation they had to endure. I then decided to keep making books that shows more than the mistreatment of a people in American history and shows the great things people have done. The latest of the series is, American history: Asians in America.

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

The best thing about self-publishing is the freedom to do things as you please and to keep 100% of the copyrights and ownership of what you write. You also are free to market as you please. I really just enjoy the freedom I have as a self-publisher. The down side, which is the upside of publishing with a commercial or small publishing company, is the publicity, advertising, and marketing work. You either have to pay thousands of dollars for someone to do it for you or you have to spend thousands of hours doing it yourself. It is not the fun part of self-publishing in my humble opinion.

3. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?

I have contacted other authors to do podcasts, interviews, and blogs. I have just recently started an online project entitled, “Writer to Writer Interviews,” where writers interview one another. I have just now started to network. I only wish I would have started back when I first began writing. Because I am new at it, I cannot give any major results. But I will say, I have more interviews out there due to networking with people. Read More

Deepti Sharma

Deepti Sharma is working hard to build reader identity through social media. Learn more about how she uses numerous beta readers to perfect her manuscript.

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

I have a short story collection out on Kindle Unlimited, titled Extremely…. Given that I had been a closet writer until now, these stories have been written over a period of the last thirteen years, and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they have grown with me during this time. I have tweaked a word here or edited a paragraph there whenever I took a break from my original profession (I hold a doctorate in ecology, run my own environmental consultancy firm and, with two kids, have my hands quite full!).

As the name suggests, each short story deals with an extreme, be it of a thought or an emotion or a trait, and tells how these extremes ended up shaping the protagonists’ lives. Each story delves deep into the workings of the human mind and yields insightful perceptions about why we do what we do. My experiences and observations have been the sources from which I have drawn inspiration.

2. How have your sales been?

I have struggled with sales, so far. In fact, I can safely say my sales have been next to nothing.

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

It’d be wrong to say I chose self-publishing (*grins*)…self-publishing chose me, rather. For a first-time, non-celebrity author who is not a native English speaker and who is yet to gain sufficient confidence about their writing chops, self-publishing is probably the only option. Or that is what I think, with my limited experience. The definite positive of self-publishing is the satisfaction it accords to the indie author of holding their book baby in their hands with minimal hassle. On the downside, there is the seemingly insurmountable problem of marketing your book and ensuring it reaches the rightful owners – the readers.

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Jennifer Widemire Smith

widemireJennifer Widemire Smith uses custom publishing as an alternative to traditional and self-publishing. Read more from the perspective of a new author who is rapidly learning how the business works.

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

A Time To Serve is a fictional military/romance story about the life of a US Navy SEAL, named Jefferies. It’s an authentic look into a life governed by ethos. I wanted to explore the powerful dynamics that relationships play between team guys and how they relate to the civilian world. As well as romantically, when Evie Sinclaire disrupts that dynamic. Jefferies and Evie collide with each other and her presence ups the ante for him. The book never strays from Jefferies’ perspective. The reader gets immersed as he deploys into combat. And yet, it is every bit about Evie’s determination to build a life she never expected, either. Don’t let the romance title throw you. This is not soft porn romance.

As to my motivation it was originally a journaling exercise. I needed an outlet to place my thoughts and feelings of empathy for a friend on a hard topic. As creativity took over, Jefferies and Evie emerged and the story took on a life of its own. My husband discovered my fictional little world. I didn’t think he’d like it and hadn’t told him I was doing it, but to my surprise he loved it and harassed me for days. “What comes next, Jen? I really liked the conversation between Jefferies and Russo. It made me think, “Okay, seriously Jen, my mind is going nuts. What happens next!?” I may have finished it just to appease him…

2. How long did it take you to write from start to finish?

Three years. Writing takes as long as it takes. I was a chick writing about SEALs using an all-male-driven dialogue, writing in a style I’d never tried my hand at. It took a while to learn, but the payoff of doing a job well done is worth it.

3. How have your sales been?

My personal site sales have been good, I’ve sold three out of five boxes of books. But it’s hard to gauge. I’m a brand new act. My book was released the same week the country went into lockdown. Amazon doesn’t exactly give you daily sales reports and I haven’t made it yet to the 190 days to get paid. Not being allowed to throw a launch party or book signing has been rough. Maybe I can come back and answer again in six months.

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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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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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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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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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Sabrina Ricci

cover1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.

The world will not end in 2012, Amara just knows it.  The 20-year-old college reporter is set on debunking the Maya calendar myths and restoring the peace. But when a covert group starts hunting her, she and her roommate Cayden are forced to uncover her grandfather’s mysterious past.

At 20-years old, Mahaway is the brightest scribe in Ox Te’ Tuun, a powerful ancient Maya city.  Then in 900 A.D., her life is torn apart by a greedy new king’s war.  She, her best friend Yochi, and a new friend Ichik must band together to fight back and save their home.  In doing so, they expose a deadly weapon, one that threatens to ruin everything.

Though these two young women live in different ages, their paths’ cross when Amara is tasked with discovering and stopping a secret before December 21 to save herself, and the world.

(On a side note, you’ll learn some interesting facts about the classic Maya reading my book. I did a lot of research, and tried to incorporate as much as I could.)

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

For a few reasons.  Writing is something I have to do—if I go for long periods of time without writing, I feel anxious and restless.  After getting my M.S. in publishing and working for a couple publishers, including Simon & Schuster and Random House, I decided that I really liked e-books and experimenting with different models.  Digital publishing has really leveled the playing field for indie authors, I think, and I wanted to learn everything I could about it.

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