Ro Lockhart

Ro Lockhart is a juvenile fiction/fantasy writer who just released her book, Elementals, in February on the Amazon Kindle.  Check out her list of marketing techniques below.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.

My pitch: “Amy and her father decide to take a camping trip in the great outdoors to reconnect, only to find that their trip takes on some uninvited guests: an exotic but fierce elf, a Druid witch bent on revenge, and a whole slew of frightening elementals.

Between the prophetic dreams Amy’s having and Unna, a banished Druid with evil intentions and her minions on Amy’s tail, it’s a race against time to battle elementals, traverse and treachorous terrain, solve puzzles and find the courage neither of them thought they had.”

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I’ve been writing since elementary school and I always had the grand notion that I would grow up and write a few books, they would fly off of shelves and I would be rich and famous. Well, that didn’t happen.

It took not only my own rejections from agents and publishers to help me see the light but other authors as well.

So many authors with phenomenal work were getting rejected left and right. But then I heard about the success of a few indie authors and realized that this is a new day where, if you really want to make it and have ambition (as well as a good story), you can be the weaver of your own destiny.

3. Have you been traditionally published?  Why or why not?

I have not been published traditionally because after the first few rejections, I found that if I went at it on my own I would do better than doing nothing at all.

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Nancy Popovich

Nancy Popovich’s latest book, Malice & Murder, developed from a spy series she wrote and is currently the focus of her marketing and promotion energy.  Read about her methods as well as the learning curve she experienced as an indie writer.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me your series in five to ten sentences.

If you enjoy reading the adventures of ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances, continuing characters that grow and evolve, and the escapades of a group of agents from various intelligence agencies, you will love the four books in the Spy Series (Spies & Lies, SecretsBacklash and The Puppet). The action moves them back and forth from Canada to England, and Paris.  Family ties take on new dimensions as our intrepid group reacts to the situations and revelations thrust upon them.  The climax of the last book in the series, The Puppet, is the springboard for my latest book, Malice & Murder.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

See #3 below.

3. Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?

I have not been traditionally published, and it was not for lack of trying.  I could paper a room with rejection slips – and not all agents and publishers answered my queries. After a length of time, I stopped beating my head against that particular brick wall. My stories sat on my computer for almost ten years.

In answer to #2, when I discovered that it was possible to indie publish, I took the plunge, sink or swim.

4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?

I like the control of self-publishing.  But it requires dedication, business sense and hard work.  Make no mistake, the fun part is writing, but self-publishing must be approached in a business-like manner.  A self-published author must do for themselves or hire assistance for all that is done by traditional publishers—professional editing, beta reading, cover design and publicity.

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P.B. Dillon

P.B. Dillon, sci-fi author from New Zealand, turned away from traditional publishing after a bad experience.  He discusses that and which methods he now uses as an indie author.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.

The Mage-Wrought Warrior is a fantasy series, the first two books of which are Mage-Wrought and Urgitwoods.  It’s the story of Lito, a hero like no other.  Given life by Garvin, he must struggle against impossible odds to save the life of Tyrealla, Garvin’s daughter – all the while wrestling with the riddle of his own existence.

It won’t be easy: they’re about to be attacked by the Kelits, fierce warriors who paint themselves blue and file their teeth.  Their leader is a Dark Mage who will stop at nothing to accomplish his goal.  The Dark Mage seeks immortality – which he believes he can gain through the use of a jewel that forms part of Tyrealla’s favorite necklace.

Added to this are the complications that Lord Cirovan believes Lito was made to protect him; Tyrealla treats him as if he were repulsive; and, because of how he came into being, Lito doubts that he qualifies as fully human.

Will Lito be able to help defeat the invading Kelits?  Will he be able to save Tyrealla from the Dark Mage?  Will he win her over, or learn to accept who and what he is?

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

Publishing has changed.  There’s no mystery to it any more.  If you are online, you have access to all the tools you need – and unless they think they’re on to a major bestseller, I’m not sure traditional publishing offers any additional value.

3. Have you been traditionally published?  Why or why not?

Yes.  I was hugely naive and thought it was the right thing to do at the start of my career.  It took ages; attracting an agent/publisher from New Zealand (where I live) isn’t easy, partly because of the geographic separation which should mean nothing but does.  And then, when I finally got my book deal, I realized that I no longer had control over the cover, the editing, or even the book title – and was still expected to do all the marketing myself.

It wasn’t a pleasant experience.  Turned me away from writing for a number of years.

As soon as the rights reverted to me I decided to start doing it myself.  That was mid-way through last year.  Now I’m in control and can do things my way, and it’s much better – and I’ve already sold more copies than the traditional publisher did.

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Tanya Allan

Tanya Allan writes in a variety of genres and has worked for many years cultivating a web presence. She talks about the various websites she uses and which methods she’s avoided.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me one of your books in five to ten sentences.

To Fight for a Dream: Meet James Allan, a captain in the Parachute Regiment with experience in Northern Ireland and the Falklands Conflict, as he embarks on the most terrifying mission of his life…to become Jane Allan at the age of twenty-eight.

Follow his life through a series of flashbacks, through his schooling and military career, up to the moment he attempts to win over his bigot of a father.

The join Jane as her life begins to go right, after three decades of being wrong, but still an emotional roller-coaster nonetheless.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I write fiction across several genres: romance, war, science fiction, police investigation thrillers, espionage; however, but much of my work deals with individuals living out their lives with the added burden of coping with some form of transgender issue, so established publishers are reluctant to take a risk in such a marginalized sub-genre.

3. Have you been traditionally published?  Why or why not?

No, see 2. above.

4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?

Fine.  I started posting my work on free sites in 1998 and received positive feedback. There appeared to be a market, so I looked at the most cost-effective and simplest system for publishing.

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Frank Biasi

Frank Biasi became a novelist following a successful business career.  On February 23, his novel, The Brother-in-law, advanced to the next round in Amazon’s 2012 Breakthrough Novel contest.  Frank discusses his three-phased marketing approach and how pricing figured in to it.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.

Just days before the catastrophic events of 9-11, and after months of meticulous plotting, a disguised Bart LaRocca inflicts vengeance on his brother-in-law, the powerful and unscrupulous Mafia boss, Al (aka Little Nicky) Nicosia.  Bart then vanishes without a trace.

The Brother-in-law is a fictional, suspense-filled, forty year saga of an Italian-American couple and their son, whose lives are caught up and shattered by their insidious family association with the New York Mob.

2. What motivated you to become an Indie writer?

I believed I had an entertaining story but was frustrated by not being able to find an agent interested in getting it before an audience.

3. Have you been traditionally published?

This is my first attempt a putting out a commercial product.  As I said, I have been unable to find a literary agent willing to pitch my work.

4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?

The whole experience of writing and publishing has been the most rewarding thing I have done since I retired from my business career.  Perhaps that is because it was never one of my goals or objectives, nor did anyone have expectations that F.X. Biasi Jr. would be a published novelist.

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Diane Rapp

Mystery writer Diane Rapp gave up on writing after a traditional publisher with which she had a deal went bankrupt.  But she found her way to self-publishing and explains why she’s happy she did.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me one of your books.

When Kayla Sanders accepts a free Caribbean cruise aboard the Aurora, she gets sucked into a modern-day mutiny culminating in the murder of her ex-lover, Patrick MacIntyre.  Plunging into a frenzied investigation to discover the killer before police arrest her friends, Kayla bumps into Steven Young every time she uncovers a clue and they soon join forces to unravel the mystery.  Can Kayla trust him enough to fall in love again?  Like a tightrope walker balancing between passion and peril, Kayla risks her life to unearth the truth behind Patrick’s death and free herself from the past.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I spent thirty years in business for myself, selling real estate, owning a retail store, and doing freelance advertising work.  When I finished my first novel, it drove me crazy to have “agents” take my work and never inform me about their progress.  As a real estate agent I knew that half the job was keeping your client informed.  Now as an indie writer I count on myself to work hard.  If I need better results I work harder.  If I go on vacation, my laptop travels.  It’s a wonderful age we live in.

3. Have you been traditionally published?  Why or why not?

I published a travel guide to the Caribbean (co-authored with my daughter) and we did three updated editions.  When I signed a contract with a publisher on my mystery novel Murder Caribbean-Style, I got so excited.  The publisher went bankrupt and returned the rights to me.  I gave up writing until my husband found an article about becoming an indie publisher.  It “kindled” my hope and I worked hard to launch four e-books on Amazon.  Sales are increasing every month and I get a higher percent of sales than with traditional publishing.

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Amy Peterson

Amy Peterson (writing plays under the pen name Ash Sanborn) aspires to be a playwright and has e-published her play, along with other writings.  She explains her varied and unique approach to networking and marketing.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a director or producer looking for my next play.  Pitch me one of your plays in five to ten sentences.

The Feast of Jovi Bono (known to friends as TFOJB) is a new play, a challenge to actors to tell their stories in slam poetry/spoken word art.  It’s the story of forgiveness between mothers and daughters, exes, the life-beaten and the life that beat them.  What if a tent city moved next door to your house?  You’re just one person – what can one person do to help create life from destruction?

Most plays in this century do not have a narrator, but ours has a snarky chef to make us laugh and tie the feast together.  There’s a rugby game, cake getting all over, an expanding table that Malcolm (Jovi’s best friend) keeps tripping over, padparadsha oranges, and stories that light up the night.

2. What motivated you to become a playwright?

TJOJB has not had the usual development process mostly because of the slam poetry.  First I did send it to the developmental readers at my local theater (Spencer Community Theater in Iowa) and of the three readers, two of them had very helpful feedback.  I took many of their suggestions.  The next step would have been a staged reading in which I would have found a partner-director, assembled the cast (which usually consists of whoever shows up) and had one or at most two rehearsals.  The reading would be in front of an invited audience who would then provide further feedback.  This is where the process broke down: the slam poetry is actually quite a challenge to the actors and would require more than a rehearsal or two for any one to effectively perform it.  A cold reading would create the effect the early readers feared: that it would be a group of actors standing around reciting poetry.  If that’s the case, what on earth are we doing?

From there I sent the script to a few publishers, all of whom said it was not for them, but to please consider sending them any future plays.  They weren’t getting it.  The slam poetry cannot be confined to the page.  Then I received an email from  They were dipping their toes into e-publishing plays – a very new concept – and for a very reasonable price, I could partner with them to get the script out there, available to directors, along with my contact information so I could work with them on staging it.  TFOJB will have its premiere Labor Day weekend.  It is my hope that video and other promotional material uploaded on Stageplay’s website will help artistic directors and performance committees from theaters throughout the nation decide this is something they need to do for their theaters and for their communities.

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Julie Hawkins

Julie Hawkins has found creative freedom as an indie, and focuses her writing on Civil War fiction.  She talks about the techniques she used to tap into a specific market.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.

In the spring of 1861, a country once united is fractured by war.  In north Alabama, Hiram Summers, a farmer and father of three, enlists to protect his inherited property.  His son, David, also desires to go, but is instead obligated to stay behind to care for the farm. Hiram travels to Virginia with the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment, where he is quickly and inevitably thrust into combat.  In the meantime, David searches for adventure at home by traipsing to Huntsville with his best friend, Jake Kimball, to investigate rumors of invading Yankees.  Their escapade turns into harsh reality when they discover the true meaning of war, and after two years of service, Hiram sees enough tragedy to last a lifetime.  A Beautiful Glittering Lie addresses the naivety of a young country torn by irreparable conflict, a father who feels he must defend his home, and a young man who longs for adventure, regardless of the perilous cost.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I am just starting out in the book publishing industry, but I would eventually like to be published by a traditional publisher.  Indie publishing is a good way to springboard my work into that industry.  Since I published my first book, A Beckoning Hellfire, independent publishing has changed dramatically, so that now authors can have bestsellers without being picked up by traditional publishers.

3. You have not been traditionally published.  Why?

Working independently gives me the freedom to express my views without conforming to the traditional market.  It has more flexibility and opportunity than ever before.  Traditional publishers are looking for bestselling authors with an accomplished track record.  What I have found by attending conventions is that there are a lot of independent writers who are equally talented.  Being published independently doesn’t reflect the quality of writers who are out there.

4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?

My experience with self-publishing so far has been very good.  It has given me a vehicle in which to publish a story that I feel passionately about.  It has also enabled me to establish a following of readers who have an ongoing interest and relationship in the Civil War market.

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Sherry Woodcock

Sherry Woodcock is a spiritual writer who turned her blog into a book and uses her personal experiences to shape her writings.  She talks about using a launch party as an element of her marketing campaign and why writers must “get out there” to create awareness of their books.

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

My books took life from a blog I started in January of 2010, called Daily Spiritual Tools.  The first one took the name of my blog as the title.  The second one is only available as an e-book and is called Daily Spiritual Tools, Learning How to Forgive and Let Go.

These books and my blog are focused on spiritual practices I call “tools.”  I’ve always been a voracious reader and spent hours reading spiritual and metaphysical books.  From these books, and clairvoyant training I pursued in the nineties, I gathered countless ways of connecting on a daily basis to that inner consciousness that many call God.  I began writing about them, in what my readers say is a clear and easy to read style.  The truth is I wrote for me, to find my voice.

2. How have your sales been?

Since October, when I released Daily Spiritual Tools, I’ve sold 75 paperback copies and six e-book versions.

3. You have not been published by a traditional publisher.  Why?

I went with non-traditional publishing because my topic is popular with a small group of readers.  Targeting spiritual but not religious
readers is not something that most traditional publishing houses would take a risk on.  I did send out query letters and letters to agents, but had little success.

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Marcia Barhydt

Marcia Barhydt has had success as both an indie author and a traditionally published author.  She talks about working with a publisher and networking with small groups to sell her book.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.

My first book, Celebrate Age, is a collection of articles that I wrote for Timeless Woman about a huge variety of topics of interest to women over 50.  The subtitle of my book is “Thoughts, Rants, Raves, and Wisdoms Learned after 50”.  I talk about a diverse selection of topics including how important our girlfriends are to us now, how it helps our lives to learn how to live in the moment, the pitfalls of online dating for older women, finding balance in our lives, jokes about older women and why they’re bad, and how to get out of the box we sometimes find ourselves in.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

For 32 years I was a flight attendant.  When I retired at age 55, I decided to do what I knew best and became a self-employed customer service trainer.  After about five years of doing that, I started writing a customer service column for a local paper and that led to me writing for Timeless Woman.

Since I didn’t get paid by Timeless Woman, I thought I could make up a small income if I turned my articles into a book.  And I also thought I might be able to touch more women, to give them my thoughts on some of the issues that we face today.  I knew nothing about publishing, so I decided to do it myself.  Ergo, an indie writer!

3. Have you been traditionally published?  Why or why not?

My upcoming book, One Small Voice, will be published by a traditional publisher.  And I’m doing that because I have the money to afford that now and, don’t laugh, but my publisher can do the formatting of this next book for me.  I did the formatting for Celebrate Age and it made me nuts!  I hated doing it!  Self-publishing left me with a good looking book; a publisher will leave me with a great looking book that looks more professional.

4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?

I was fortunate with my first book to know a woman, my printer, who gave me lots of tips about making the cover, the index, and formatting the pages.  I’m glad that I’ve self-published, glad for the knowledge and experience it gave me, and especially glad to know that I could do it again any time I wanted to.

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