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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Lilith Sinclair

ABOWTeaserLilith Sinclair has used both traditional and self-publishing. Find out which marketing techniques work best for her.

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

My latest release is a short story featured in the anthology A Bond of Words. My story is called Trapped by Design, and it takes place in the same universe as my soon to be published series Sanctuary.

Paranormal is a genre that I have loved since middle school, and character motivation can come in many forms. Trapped by Design is a short story centered around a mother’s love and the willingness she has to keep everyone safe, and shows how the main character, Alex, in Sanctuary comes to the cross-roads she’s at.

2. How have your sales been?

I’ve sold a few copies of ABOW. It’s the first publication under this pen name, so it makes up a small percentage of what I make total. That should change by the summer.

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

Do I have to make a choice? I find both have their perks such as the ability to focus on one aspect or the ability to make micro adjustments to get something to click.

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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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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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Cassondra Windwalker

IMG_0363Cassondra Windwalker is experienced with both traditional and self-publishing.  Find out which one she prefers and why you should be careful with book contests.

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

Bury The Lead is a dark psychological thriller exploring the nature of truth and the power of love. It’s the story of a small-town newspaper editor who frames himself for the murder of his missing girlfriend. I was inspired to write it by the precarious position of the press in modern society.

2. How have your sales been?

The book just came out in September, so of course reporting isn’t back yet. But it’s been placed in local and national chains and is available in e-book and paperback across all online retailers.

3. You’ve had experience with both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Which one do you prefer, and why?

I prefer traditional because the amazing support of a strong publishing company allows me more time to focus on what I love – writing – rather than spending all my time editing and formatting and designing and marketing and promoting.

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J.S. Frankel

the auctioneer best pic!J.S. Frankel has enjoyed positive results with traditional publishing. He talks about that here and offers practical advice for using social media.

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

My latest novel is a YA Fantasy, entitled The Auctioneer. Essentially, it’s a story about a young man, forced by circumstances, to work very far away – in another galaxy. At first, he does what he does for the money. But when he finds out people and planets are being sold, he changes his way of thinking. It’s also a bit of a smackdown to some people in the rich, “I’m entitled” generation.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales? Sales? What are those? Seriously, the marketing of my novels is probably the most challenging aspect of writing. I love writing, but getting the word out and getting people to take a chance on my work is hard.

3. You’ve gone the traditional publishing route. Why did you choose this, and what has been your experience?

I started writing seriously only about six years ago. At that time, I knew very little about self-publishing, and my sister suggested that I try e-book publishers to start with. My experiences, outside of sales, have been good. My covers are well done, my publishers do put the word out, and I have worked with some excellent editors who’ve willingly taught me what they know. All in all, it’s been positive.

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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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