Stephanie Berger

cover with readers favorite five star seal

Stephanie Berger chose hybrid publishing, and believes there are pros and cons to the approach. Read about what she has learned through the process.

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

The Happiest Birthday Ever is inspired by my 40th birthday when I did 40 random acts of kindness around town in one day. I knew that people would have as just as much fun as I did, they just needed the idea to get them started. I especially wanted to inspire kids and let them experience that giving is even more fun than receiving. I wanted the book to be realistic where the readers could visualize themselves participating in a similar birthday celebration. So I wrote about a boy turning seven years old and he and his friends do seven random acts of kindness as his birthday party. It may be a different spin on birthday parties, but most of all, it inspires kids that spreading kindness is a lot more fun than they ever imagined.

2. How have your sales been?

My sales were great at first. Especially when I would do an author visit at a school, my pre-order sales for the book were great, until COVID-19 hit. My school visits were cancelled and my school orders are non-existent. Online sales have also come to a halt.

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 chose to go with a hybrid publisher. This is my first book and I wanted a one stop shop with the resources to guide me through the process, edit, design layout and illustrations. I knew going into it that I would be paying for these services whether it be with the publisher I chose or finding independent contractors to help me with the process. I paid an upfront amount of money to cover these services and I liked that they don’t keep a royalty until I recoup 100% of those fees. I also liked that they wrote a press release which gave me visibility on an out of state news channel and helped me sell over 50 books in the United Kingdom. I would not have been able to do that on my own.

The biggest negative is that I did not get to set the price of my book and it is priced higher than I would have liked. I also do not have the ability to set up marketing on Amazon as self-published authors do.

I was forewarned that you stay far away from any publisher that charges you in advance to publish your book. Other authors said they won’t sell your book for you. I knew going into this project that I would be responsible for marketing and selling my book. I feel like those that self-publish have to do their own marketing and selling, too. Having a publisher backing my book has given me access to large big box stores online that would not be listing my book if I did this all on my own.

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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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Kathy Lynn Harris

Kathy Lynn Harris has had success as an indie author with her book, Blue Straggler.  She talks about why self-publishing was an attractive alternative to the traditional model and the role pricing has had in selling her books.

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

Ah, the elevator pitch!  Here you go: being a 30-something, fairly directionless single female in South Texas is a world all its own.  Kathy Lynn Harris’s Blue Straggler is a laugh-out-loud, yet poignant, exploration of that experience — from the quirky, memorable characters who make up Bailey Miller’s circle of family and friends to that feeling of your makeup sliding right off in the humidity.  You will easily identify with Bailey’s sometimes humorous, often semi-tragic, choices that eventually lead her out of Texas, to a small mountain town in Colorado, and back.  Along the way, she searches for not only herself but also answers to long-held secrets from her “legitimately unbalanced” great-grandmother’s past.  Bonus: She may even find love with a moody mountain man along the way.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

With the help of traditional literary agents, I shopped two of my novel manuscripts around.  All the big houses told me the stories were “too quiet.”

I travel for my day job and saw that more and more people were using e-readers.  I knew Amazon and Barnes & Noble had programs for publishing e-books.  I revisited my main goal for my writing: to simply have others read my work and enjoy it; not to have my name on a blockbuster published by Simon & Schuster.  So, I thought, why not just put the book out there?  It’s been such a great experience.

3. Have you been traditionally published?

I have had numerous works printed in traditionally published anthologies.  And now, thanks to the success of the e-book version of Blue Straggler, an independent publisher, 30 Day Books, has picked up the book.  The paperback version comes out March 1.

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