With a business background, Susan Hira knows how to approach self-publishing from a variety of angles. In this interview she suggests a laundry list of marketing tips, including how she uses YouTube to promote her book.
1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
Here’s a long summary of the book:
In Susan Hira’s bold debut, The Werwolf on Eagle’s Nest Mountain, Hira places the fictional child of the most infamous Nazi high up in the mountains of a Minnesota ski resort. Written for middle school children to young adults, this mystery thriller adds a dramatic twist on history.
All Nick, Jack, and Mike wanted to do was have an epic snow session at a large resort. But due to budget constraints, their new history teacher insisted that the ninth grade winter class trip be held at the Eagle’s Nest Mountain Ski and Snowboard Resort, a dilapidated dump with only three lame lifts. When the kids attempt to shred the prime fresh powder in the Arctic Bowl at the top of the mountain, a sniper attacks and forces them to jump from a lift in mid-air.
Before the assassin can strike again, the boys decide to investigate and discover a secret lair inside the mountain used to warehouse and redistribute stolen goods. They realize that all clues lead to an elite guerrilla movement started near the end of World War II known as the “Werwolf” organization and the long-lost gold and art plundered by the Nazis during the war. The ringleader of the newly formed gang, a direct descendant of a Hitler Youth Werwolf, is raising money to fund the new regime. Like an assault rifle firing at close range, the boys’ beliefs of good versus evil are shattered as they navigate the emotional fallout from those trying to live down the infamy of their ancestors, some with pride, while others with shame.
As Nick, Jack, and Mike battle for their lives armed only with skis and snowboards, they must figure out whom to trust – or their electrifying ride down the mountain will be their last.
I wrote this book because I injured my knee snowboarding and had to take a season off to heal and do physical therapy. My father and I are snowboarding buddies and always shredded together, so I missed our time talking and goofing off when I was sidelined. He is very knowledgeable about World War II, so he served as the historical editor on the book which allowed us to spend time together in a different way than in the past. I think we both impressed each other with our contributions to this book!
Writing the snowboarding/skiing scenes were a blast! I felt like I was on the slopes again; it made missing the snowiest winter in years bearable.
2. How have your sales been?
Not enough to quit my day job.
3. You have not been published by a traditional publisher. Why?
I knew when I started writing it that traditional publishers would not want to take a chance on a book for young adults that features a lot of World War II history including the Werwolf organization. Also, I have a business background and enjoy the other sides of self publishing including marketing, accounting, and cost analysis.