Susanne Matthews

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Susanne Matthews has had negative experiences with traditional publishers, but has learned valuable lessons along the way. She shares them here in this detailed interview.

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

My most recent release is Murder & Mistletoe. It’s a Christmas-themed romantic suspense set today, that deals with reuniting two branches of a family separated after the American Civil War—the rich Kaynes of Georgia and the middle-class Kaynes of Northern New York. Not everyone in the family is happy with the idea of sharing their current riches, as well as missing pirate treasure hidden somewhere in the house. One member of the family determines to get rid of the newest Kayne while another falls in love with her and vows to keep her safe despite the attempts on her life.

I decided to write the story after I got my DNA results back last summer. There were things I knew would be there since I had a fairly complete family tree, but there were also a few surprises. Among these were the fact that some members of my family, Acadians, were deported to Louisiana by the British in the mid-eighteenth century, meaning I may have some American family I don’t even know exists. How would they feel about having a French-Canadian cousin?

2. How have your sales been?

Disappointing is the best way to put it, but I have had a few thousand pages read through Kindle Unlimited, and the few reviews I have are positive.

3. You’ve used both self-publishing and traditional publishing.  What are some of the pros and cons of both?

This is a hard question to answer because I believe I got into the writing game at its most
unstable time in modern history. On the pro side: to this day, a traditional publisher, especially a well-known and well-respected one, brings a sense of legitimacy to your writing in the eyes of a large number of people. To many, even in this digital society, you aren’t a real writer unless you publish paperback or hardcover books, available in bookstores.

Traditional publishers take a lot of the grunt work out of publishing, but unless they are a big house, they don’t put your books in brick and mortar stores either. They do provide the editor, the cover artist, and look after the format for the cover release. They may send out copies to reviewers and look into some marketing for the book, but on the con side, they may not see the story the way you do, and they have the last word on edits and covers. A so-so cover can ruin a book’s chances at attracting readers, something a new writer has to do better than an old established one. Some publishers may provide you with paperback and ARC copies for promotion, but many don’t.

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S.P. Jayaraj

imgp3554S.P. Jayaraj knows the hard work it takes to make it as a self-published author.  Find out how he uses book fairs and Patreon to attract more readers.

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

My book is a story about Gradni, a young elf orphan boy who blames dragons for all the pitfalls in his life. He is determined to destroy them, but he struggles on this journey when he learns that the dragons are not the villains he was brought up to believe. It is a coming of age story in a high fantasy world that is influenced by global mythologies.

2. How have your sales been?

Initial sales were pretty decent considering that I’m still learning about how to market this book in a way that suits me.

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

I did initially start sending my book out to agents, and though I got some positive responses, ultimately agents did not think it was a good fit for them. I understand that an agent really needs to feel a unique connection with a book to be able to represent it. I wonder if part of the problem was the vastness of the world that the story is set in which might have seemed overly ambitious and thus hard to trust which I do understand. I could have continued to look for an agent and believe that I might have found one that way; however, I wanted to get this book out there into the world so that I could work on following it up with more stories of Adijari.

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Tony Flood

41rVOGuQpfL._UX250_Multi-talented Tony Flood has written about celebrities and created his own fantasy adventure book. Learn how he’s used press releases and a variety of social media platforms to market his books.

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

My celebrity book My Life With The Stars contains revelations and amusing anecdotes about famous people I have interviewed and/or written about as a journalist. It features Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Joan Collins, George Best, Bruce Forsyth, Britt Ekland, Muhammad Ali and a host of others. I was encouraged to write it by my wife and fellow author Heather Flood, who pointed out that I had met so many famous people who people would be interested to read about.

2. How have your sales been?

The sales have been good but the best sales have been achieved by my fantasy adventure book Secret Potion, which June Whitfield says is ideal for Harry Potter fans. Like Harry Potter, it is for both children and adults.

3. You’ve used both indie and traditional publishing for your books. What has your experience been like with both?

Traditional publishing has probably brought me in more regular royalty payments from Andrews UK with the e-version of The Secret Potion.

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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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Janos Meteo

janosJanos Meteo uses what he calls “grassroots guerrilla marketing” to get his books into as many hands as possible. Read about his efforts to overcome the challenges of self-publishing.

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

It’s about an actor on, what he feels, is the cusp of success. He is shooting a movie and documents each day. The book starts off as a journal with short entries, but eventually morphs into a novel with each consecutive date as a full chapter instead of the day summarized. The main character is well-to-so, but sociopathic and carrying baggage. No matter how hard he tries, things always tend to go sour.

I had a dream about it and wrote it down the following morning, like I do occasionally (I have a bunch of novel ideas based exclusively on my dreams), and decided there was enough meat for a story. So I wrote it.

2. How have your sales been?

I have no idea. I just published it in November 2018 (it’s early December as of writing this) and have been promoting it person by person and online for now. I believe at least a few people have bought it.

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?

I self-published just to start. I don’t really know anyone or have any means to promote on a grander scale. Also, it’s my first book and I’m unknown, so I thought it would be best to promote from the ground level. Grassroots guerrilla marketing, if you will, just for now until I get my bearings.

The experience has been good so far. I’ve met a lot of interesting people. I have not worked with an agent or sought a traditional publisher, but I’m not ruling it out.

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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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J.T. Joseph

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J.T. Joseph combines history with a touch of adventure. In this interview he discusses the pros and cons of using a hybrid publisher, plus the numerous social media platforms and websites he uses for marketing. 

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

My novel, The Adventures of Mary Nobleman, is about a girl who discovers she is a descendant of the legendary King Arthur. I was partly inspired by The Da Vinci Code.

2. How have your sales been?

I’m not exactly sure, because my publisher keeps track of the details.

3. You’ve described your publisher as a mix of both indie and traditional.  Can you elaborate on this?

They consider themselves a hybrid publisher. It combines self-publishing and traditional methods, but I hope one day I’ll be with a traditional publisher.

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Susan Mills Wilson

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Susan Mills Wilson has been self-publishing since 2013.  She explains how free Kindle giveaways and constant web presence have benefited her marketing efforts.

1. Tell me briefly about your books – what are they about and what motivated you to write them?

All my books are romantic suspense. Each is usually about a person who gets entangled in a dangerous situation and must use his/her wits or get help from someone else to escape danger. I started out writing romance, but I like keeping the tension, action, and suspense going throughout the novel; therefore, I added those elements.

2. How have your sales been?

Four years ago, I got a big boost with my first book, Good Gone Bad, because Indie Reader and Huffington Post did an article where they compared my book to Gone Girl. Kirkus Review’s excellent review of my debut novel helped drive the interest for this book. I have found that all my books are having sales, which hopefully means a reader reads one, likes it, and purchases another. I would say 90 percent of my sales are Kindle e-books. I have also had success with earning royalties on Kindle Lending Library.

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Web site profile: SPBRoundup

Patsy Porco runs spbroundup.com, a Web site specifically geared toward indie writers.  Read about her site below and contact her for more information.

1. What is your site about and why did you start it?

SPBRoundup is a site for self-published books (SPBs). Any author who is self-published may submit information about his/her book(s) to me for inclusion in the site.

2. What are your favorite types of books?

Mysteries, classsics, historical fiction, chicklit, novels, funny memoirs, funny anything.

3. Any writing projects on the horizon?

Just some short stories and my blog: patsyporco.wordpress.com.

4. Tell me about the sort of authors you’ve “met” through your site.

They’ve all been enthusiastic writers who are eager to discover new ways to market their books. They’ve been very supportive of my site since its start a month ago.

5. What have your learned about indie writing through your web site?

That both sane and crazy people write books. And some of the books are great and some are less great. And with self-publishing, there’s nothing preventing all kinds of writers to find an audience.