Meredith Sage Kendall

Meredith Sage Kendall has used hybrid publishing along with an intensive self-marketing program. Learn how to best use beta reader feedback to improve your writing.

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

My latest book is called My GiGi’s House: Finding Hope and it was my very first fiction book. I had already written a series of life recovery studies called The 180 Program, but I had been told for years that I needed to write a book about my adventures in ministry. I shelved that idea for a very long time and kept teaching and training. When I felt it was time to write it, I didn’t know exactly how it would start. But as I was sitting on a dock in southwest Florida, basking in the sun, I heard a couple across the canal arguing and that triggered something. The book literally downloaded itself.

My GiGi’s House: Finding Hope is the story of a young girl who has finally had enough of the beatings, especially now that she was pregnant and he (her latest boyfriend) had in passing threatened to kill her if she had ever become pregnant. Slipping out the next morning, she was making good on her promise to God. “If you allow me to live through tonight, I will search out help.” She knew that living in the Bible belt, and it being Sunday morning, the church would be a great place to find help. But shame and guilt, along with a little commotion she created, found her running away from the church. A chance encounter with a young lady at a coffee shop started her on a new path. But there was still the hurdle she needed to overcome: the appointment for the abortion was coming very soon.

My motivation for finally writing this was the fact that many may not ever sit through my 8-week life recovery study, but are more likely to pick up a book and read it.

2. How have your sales been?

I wish I could say sales were awesome, but I had just moved to a new town and knew no one. All my contacts for promoting, being invited to speak, having a huge launch party, and so forth were over 800 miles away. And my position at the time didn’t allow for travel. But now that I have moved back I am hoping to do something like a second relaunch.

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 used what they call a hybrid publisher. I keep all the rights to my book, but he has the contacts to get me into all the bookstores, shows, and even have my book in Ingram.

The negatives of self-publishing, even the hybrid, is that you are responsible for all your own marketing. And if you have a problem, self-marketing it is hard. But the biggest plus is that you retain all the rights to your book.

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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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