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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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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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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Adithya Srivastava

pic1.jpgAdithya Srivastava strongly believes in promoting your book well before launching it.  Read how he uses Instagram and Facebook to do so.

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

My latest book, The Story of Your Life, is all about digging some dark and pleasurable memories of life through different narrations. If I talk about what motivated me in writing this book then I would say my solo trips. I am a hobby traveler, and also, being a public speaker, I have to visit many places and meet new people.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales for the first month were disastrous as I didn’t use any marketing or promotional activities. But then I joined Kindle Select and also started promoting my book through various paid and free channels which really boosted the outcome of sales. Right now, from Kindle and the paperback version I am almost earning 15-20% of my monthly salary, and that’s around $95-114 USD.

3. You’ve gone the self-publishing route. How have you liked it so far? Talk about some of the positives and negatives you’ve encountered.

My experience with self-publishing was filled with learning and enjoyment and some networking, and I liked it. Some positive aspects of self-publishing: it is easy and cheap and the best thing for new authors who really don’t want to spend a fortune on publishing. Also, with self-publishing you get to choose your terms, which is kind of great. And if I talk about negative aspects of self-publishing then the biggest is marketing and promotion. You have to do everything on your own or hire some marketing firm to do that for you.
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Guy Portman

Guy Portman is relatively new to the self-publishing world but is already picking up a lot.  Find out what he’s learned about effective use of social media and what he would do if he could start the process again.

1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.

The following is the blurb for Charles Middleworth: What happens when Adrian, an actuary, has his banal and predictable existence turned upside down by sinister forces that he can neither understand nor control?  How will he react to a revelation that leaves his life in turmoil? Will he surrender or strive for redemption in an altered world, where rationality, scientific logic and algorithms no longer provide the answers?

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

It seemed like the most rational decision considering the current publishing situation.

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

I have not attempted to go down the traditional route.  Charles Middleworth is not what I imagine publishers would necessarily consider a commercially viable commodity, like a vampire and/or erotica book for example.

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

It’s been a rewarding journey into the unknown.  I have a great deal yet to learn and appreciate the fact that it is going to take time to generate sales.

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Moushumi Chakrabarty

Moushumi Chakrabarty is a short story writer who is working hard to build a web presence.  Read about her use of free book promotions and why she feels it’s the best marketing method she’s used.

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.

You love stories, right?  It’s great that we met.  Try my e-book, Threshold.  It’s a collection of six stories about people and how they navigate through life.  Meet some of the protagonists – a child aged 12, a woman whose daughter is missing, a man trapped in a marriage thinking of the unthinkable, a childless woman, another embarking on a journey of self discovery.  Echoes of their predicaments resound in your life, too.  Try it!

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I have been writing for a long time, but found it increasingly time-consuming to convince a publisher to take me on for a new project.  I decided to try going indie since I see it is the way of the future.  What I basically want is feedback, and the idea that my stories are actually being read instead of languishing in a file on my computer provided a strong impetus.

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

Yes, I have been traditionally published.  My two books are non fiction – my subject is the women’s movement in Canada and its main players.  They are called, Fighting for women’s rights – The extraordinary adventures of Anna Leonowens and Champions of women’s rights – Leading Canadian women and their struggles for social justice.  Personally I feel fiction has a greater chance of success in the indie publishing world.  But it’s early yet, so we’ll see.

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Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox

Australian writer Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox infuses her writing with her art, and in so doing expresses these two facets of her creativity.  In this interview she discusses the marketing efforts she’s used and why self-promotion comes naturally to her.

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

My book For Everyone: Words and Paintings has thirty paintings, each accompanied by some short poetic prose, which is neither descriptive nor didactic.  Rather, the words stimulate the reader’s own journey by calling to their inner child or essence.  This small voice echoes from childhood leading to conversations either with oneself or others.  For Everyone is really about conversation and the compassionate spaces it reveals as we get to know ourselves and others.

The paintings inside For Everyone were created fourteen years ago and were responses to observations of my then very young children.  However, the intervening years have revealed that the paintings are not simply about my children.  They are visual representations of the small voice, our inner child or essence, which influences our lives from childhood to adulthood, and possibly beyond.

The text is printed in a large font size.  I deliberately did this so that people do not necessarily have to wear their glasses to read For Everyone!  It is the type of book which appeals to all ages and both sexes.

I was motivated to write For Everyone seven years ago, when friends suggested the series of paintings would make a good book; but my submission to Hay House was not accepted, although they sent an encouraging letter.  I filed the manuscript and put the paintings in a storage satchel.  The paintings have never been exhibited, but will be on show at my book launch in February 2012.  In January 2011 I was contacted by Balboa Press, the self-publishing arm of Hay House.  They said Hay House had given them my details.  They asked if I had published the manuscript, and if not would I be interested in self-publishing with Balboa.

2. How have your sales been?

As it is still early days, it is hard to tell how sales are going.  However, so far three bookstores in Brisbane have taken books.  These are Coaldrakes, plus the two bookstores at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA).  I am aware that there have been sales via Balboa Press and Amazon.  I have also personally sold a number of books.  I am expecting good sales at my book launch in February.  For Everyone is available online from many sites including Balboa Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

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Brian T. Shirley

Brian T. Shirley has a unique approach to moving his books: integrating them into his comedy routine and selling them after his shows.  The author of Make Love Not Warts and Four Score and Seven Beers Ago discusses why he skipped traditional publishing and how he learned to do his own promotion work.

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

Both my books are comedy one-liners.  I’ve taken old sayings and twisted them around to make some new ones.  I also have added some sayings of my own and thrown in some insults for good measure.  The second book is a bit different in that I’ve taken some popular song titles and made comedic sentences out of them.  These comedic sentences are sprinkled throughout the book.  I’d like to think the readers could make up a game of trying to name the music artists in the sentences.  Some would be easy, others may take a while.  There is also a funny poem at the end of the second book.

I was motivated to write these books when I was going over some old material I had that I was not using in my show.  I had all these sayings and such laying around that I had written over the years that I did not know what to do with, then the idea of a book came to mind.  Something someone could put in the bathroom or on the coffee table for a good laugh whenever they needed it.  I added more lines when I started writing the first one and by the end of it, I decided to make a series of these books.  Each one would be a little different, just to add some variety.

2. How have your sales been?

So far I have sold the most books after my performances.  I’ve actually had more sales from the books than anything else (T-shirts, DVD’s) I’ve ever sold.  Online sales are doing alright, getting the word out as a self-published author has been the biggest challenge.  It takes a lot of money to do promotions so I’m doing the bulk of it myself online. Thank God for people like you.

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