Tracey Shearer

Tracey Shearer is a hybrid author with experience in both the traditional and self-publishing worlds. Learn more about the unique, reader-driven efforts she’s used to promote her books.

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

My latest book, Raven, is the second book in my Entwine trilogy. The trilogy is about three women with incredible gifts. Each book focuses on one woman, but all continue throughout. The trilogy is fun, but it also covers important themes such as friendship, sisterhood, acceptance of yourself – good and bad – and where there’s love, there’s hope.

In Raven, Kate is a widow with two young daughters living in a haunted Scottish B&B. She has a vision which reveals the existence of a black-ops military group who is determined to unlock the special gifts of people just like Kate through horrific experimentation. She’s got to trust in herself and her abilities to have any chance of success because if she doesn’t, she’ll lose those she loves. One of the other storylines throughout is whether or not she’ll open herself back up to love again. Of course, I have two hunky choices for her to consider. Haha!

Like with Entwine, the death of my parents motivated me to write and create a ghostly realm and to explore what happens when we die. My battles with cancer also motivated me. My most recent bout was in February before COVID hit. I know what it’s like to struggle with not being in control and also the incredible power of friendship. The support I have has really gotten me through all the surgeries and radiation.

2. How have your sales been?

I only have one book out, Entwine, and from everything I’ve read, I’m beating the indie author average – yay! Based on the reader support and excitement over the Raven release, I’m expecting to match or exceed Entwine’s sales as well. Plus, I did put together a killer book trailer for Entwine that has already generated some sales just recently. I’m learning more and more as I go along on this writing journey.

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 had an agent who had to retire to take care of her hubby while she was trying to sell Entwine. Then I received a publishing contract from a small press that I turned down for being too restrictive. I decided to form my own publishing company and publish myself. It was the best decision I could have made. Having that control has been so wonderful. And getting my book out there rather than waiting another few years to go the traditional route has allowed me to build a readership right away.

I have a new agent that wants to work with me on another book and she told me she was so happy I self-published Entwine. She said she would have had to tear it apart to make it fit a publishing box to sell it. Because Entwine has elements of fantasy, suspense, thriller, mystery, romance, and the paranormal, it didn’t fit neatly into a publishing box. But she loves my writing, so she wants to work with me on something else.

Self-publishing doesn’t hurt your chances for being traditionally published on the level it used to. So many authors are going the hybrid route. The business end of things that I’ve learned about will make me an excellent author for a traditional publishing house down the line because I understand about social media platforms and followings, promotion, etc. Continue reading

Renee Marski

Renee Marski enjoys the control that self-publishing allows authors. Here she explains the importance of making sure your work is thoroughly edited.

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

My most recent book is book three in my fantasy series. This book follows Andy, one of the team members of my group of hunters. They are descended from the original fairytale characters, trained to hunt the monsters that plague our world. Andy has some issues he has to work through, after suffering a loss in book two. Andy and the team have to complete their third trial and stick together.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales have been up and down. I took a month off to just focus on me and so without promoting anything I didn’t really sell anything. But when I do promote, I get some good results.

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 self-publishing. I like the control I have, I can publish when I want, there are no deadlines except for the ones I give myself. But at the same time, being self-published means I have to do all the marketing myself and that is so hard to do. Especially when you’re just starting out and don’t know what you’re doing. Continue reading

Diana Miller

descentDiana Miller has had experience in both the indie and traditional publishing worlds. She explains why review swaps are a great way to build your reader base.

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

My debut novel Descent is being published by FyreSyde Publishing on April 14th, 2021.  It follows the story of Serafina Thomas. Sera is orphaned at sixteen, and sent to live with her only remaining relative in a small, rural town. Recruited by a dark, alluring young man to attend the prestigious St. Michael’s Academy, she is thrust into the secret underworld of demon hierarchy where one must fight to survive. She quickly meets Justin, who rules the demon hierarchy along with his grandfather the Arch Demon, who has taken a special interest in Sera. Martin is the Watcher; an Archangel with one goal in mind: to eradicate the demons from the Earth, protecting the human race for all time.

All three are thrown together in this sage of time and tragedy, with Sera torn in the middle. Will they bind themselves together in order to save their own species, or burn in the chaos? A millennia old struggle comes to a head in the first book of The Demon Chronicles trilogy. The sequel Feud will be published just a few weeks later!

2. How have your sales been?

I actually had this story self-published for a little bit, and it did ok. I’m excited to reach a larger audience with my publisher. My free short story “5 Days to Die” has been downloaded many times, and I’ve had great feedback. It’s on Amazon for $0.99 or for free if you sign up for my newsletter on my website (dianagmiller.com).

3. You’ve used both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Which do you prefer, and what are the pros and cons of each?

It was an exhausting process to manage on my own, and with a full time job I just couldn’t devote the time needed. I’m excited to be partnering with FyreSyde to help with this aspect of it!

My publisher has a greater audience reach than I could possibly have alone, and access to more resources (cover artists, editors, etc.). I owe it to my story to make it the best version possible, and I concluded that I just couldn’t do it on my own while keeping up with my family and full-time job as a music teacher.

I’ve met some amazing indie authors, and read some amazing stories! Some of the very first reviews of Descent were from these lovely people, and it’s been wonderful to be active in the writing community. The con is the sheer amount of work, and how hard it is to be seen in a sea of indie authors lately. I’m hoping to have the best of both worlds by working with my small publisher. Continue reading

Casey Bell

Casey Bell believes authors should learn how to promote their books early in the process. Find out why he encourages writers to save and spend their money wisely.

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

My latest book is the third book of an eight-book series, American History. It is a book series about American inventors and/or innovators not mentioned in the school system. The first book, American History: Americans of African Descent, was inspired by my nephews and nieces. I wanted them to see more about their ancestors than the slavery and segregation they had to endure. I then decided to keep making books that shows more than the mistreatment of a people in American history and shows the great things people have done. The latest of the series is, American history: Asians in America.

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

The best thing about self-publishing is the freedom to do things as you please and to keep 100% of the copyrights and ownership of what you write. You also are free to market as you please. I really just enjoy the freedom I have as a self-publisher. The down side, which is the upside of publishing with a commercial or small publishing company, is the publicity, advertising, and marketing work. You either have to pay thousands of dollars for someone to do it for you or you have to spend thousands of hours doing it yourself. It is not the fun part of self-publishing in my humble opinion.

3. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?

I have contacted other authors to do podcasts, interviews, and blogs. I have just recently started an online project entitled, “Writer to Writer Interviews,” where writers interview one another. I have just now started to network. I only wish I would have started back when I first began writing. Because I am new at it, I cannot give any major results. But I will say, I have more interviews out there due to networking with people. Continue reading

Brian Friedl

Brian Friedl uses his writing to help others grow in their Christian faith. Learn more about the importance of building your author network early.

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

Mission Possible: Living A Life That Matters is the result of over 20 years of helping others to discover their God-given purpose.  It takes readers on a journey from the basics (Bootcamp) through their individualized Vision Building (Advanced Individual Training).  This study works well independently or even better in a small group setting.  I recently completed a study through it with 42 men from around the country.  I love seeing God’s children grow and become world-changers!

2. How have your sales been?

Sales have been good and always spike when I’m leading a study or speaking to a group online or in person.

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 have thoroughly enjoyed self-publishing and have found it to be rewarding to be engaged in every part of the process.  The only drawback was the time it took me to figure out how to complete each of the steps while balancing everyday life. Continue reading

Colin J. Galtrey

Colin J. Galtrey is a prolific author who has worked hard to build his brand. Find out some of the innovative marketing ideas he has used.

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

This book is from my John Gammon series of books. Currently, there are twenty-one published, and this is series five, book one: Hangman.

The John Gammon books are all based in the beautiful villages of the Peak District in Derbyshire. Although most detective books depict a down at heel, divorced detective running around in an old car, I decided to turn the genre on its head and make John Gammon quite the opposite.

2. How have your sales been?

Whilst it would be nice to be in the top five author rankings on Amazon, that takes time. I have made the top fifty a couple of times and my sales generally are good. I currently have thirty-one books published in e-format and paperback, and I am currently working on including all the books on audio with the very first book now complete.

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 very much like the self-publishing for my books and can’t say anything negative about it so far. Continue reading

Patrick D. Kaiser

Patrick D. Kaiser understands the hard work it takes to make self-publishing a success. He explains his approach to networking and which marketing methods he avoids.

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

Frost is a verse thriller (A thriller told through poetry).

Everyday people living everyday lives, not knowing the legends, myths, and fairy tales they tell their children are real. Goblins, trolls, magic – not to mention Jack Frost: The world’s most notorious criminal, the master escape artist, and one cool lady. Jack currently finds herself training Nathan Masterson, a protege who is drawing attention from the Organization, the magical government’s law enforcement group. On the run for a murder he didn’t commit and struggling with the secrets of his past, is he seeing double or is someone out to frame him? Even with help from Jack the world seems colder than usual as death approaches. It’s gonna be a cold summer. Get ready for Frost.

Years ago when I was in high school, I and a friend began an inside joke about how we were magical cops looking to arrest Jack Frost. I don’t even remember how it started. But that hook has always stuck with me. So I decided to write it into a book.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales have been decent since I’ve started, though they could always be better. I’ve already exceeded the stats that say most Indie authors will only sell around 200 books in their entire career. I just keep pushing. I know that my books are good, so I’m just gonna keep going until I can’t anymore.

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

It’s definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I think more people should try it. It gives you a level of control that traditional publishing just doesn’t. In self-publishing, if you fail you know it’s because of you, which motivates you to put in 120% to every aspect of the business. The downside is that you don’t have the backing of an established brand behind you which presents a few challenges in getting your work in the hands of readers. Continue reading

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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Robert VanDusen

Robert VanDusen enjoys writing and works hard to entertain his readers. Find out how he uses cross-promotional efforts as part of his networking strategy.

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

The latest book is called Get Out Alive: Run For Your Life. It’s a sequel to my previous book, Get Out Alive. The “elevator pitch” for Run For Your Life is “Black Hawk Down meets Night of the Living Dead.” I’ve been a fan of the zombie genre since I was about ten or so and saw the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead on I believe MonsterVision on TNT. The house I grew up in was across the road from a cemetery so I was just sort of like “Ya know…if this ever actually happens…I do believe I’d be about the first to find out about it.” That was before I happened to sneak a peek into an open grave and saw that they actually bury folks in a cement vault. So…good news there, I guess.

2. How have your sales been?

I have to admit the sales could be better. I’m reasonably convinced that I’ve somehow landed on Amazon’s naughty list. I’ve been working on building more of a social media presence so I can move into crowdfunding so I don’t have to rely on them for printing and distribution anymore.

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

Self-publishing is sort of a double-edged sword in my opinion. I can write what I want without an editor or publisher signing off on it. I’ll be honest, I really don’t think that any mainstream publisher would have let me write Get Out Alive: Run For Your Life today. Thirty years ago? Sure, probably. There’s nothing in there you wouldn’t read in a Stephen King or Clive Barker book.

On the other hand I also don’t have a big publishing house backing me up willing to drop thousands of dollars on advertising campaigns and organizing press events. My books probably won’t end up on store shelves. I don’t have connections in the mainstream press writing gushing reviews. But you know what? It’s worth it in my book.

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Tim Walker

Tim Walker has spent time building a writing and marketing network for his books. Find out more about the work he has done to promote his brand.

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

My latest book (June 2020) is Arthur Rex Brittonum (Arthur King of the Britons). It’s my story of the real King Arthur hidden behind the legend. In fact, it is the second and final part of my two-part Arthur series, following on from 2019’s Arthur Dux Bellorum, although it can be read as a standalone novel. I decided to use Arthur’s Latin (Roman) titles, for historical authenticity, in the book titles.

A major influence on my storytelling from my research, was the writings of a Christian monk, Nennius, in History of the Briton People, published around the year 820 – roughly three hundred years after the real Arthur lived. Nennius not only mentions Arthur by name, but attributes twelve winning battles to him, naming him as “Dux Bellorum” (duke or leader of battles). Intriguingly, Nennius names Arthur as the leader of the combined army of the kings of the Britons, but does not say if he is one of the kings, leaving his status open to speculation.

My motivation was to write a believable, although fictitious, account of a real historical six century figure whose name is associated with a fantastical legend, and by doing so add credence to the ongoing search for evidence of is existence.

2. How have your sales been?

E-book and paperback sales of my historical series, A Light in the Dark Ages, have been modest – in the hundreds rather than thousands – since the series began with Abandoned in 2015. Writing and publishing roughly one book a year, the new book, Arthur Rex Brittonum, is book five in the series.

Each book launch is an opportunity to promote and sell the new title and previous books in the series, often with time-limited discounts on e-books. Discounting paperbacks is not realistic, as my pricing policy is based on cost plus a very narrow margin.

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

Self-publishing suits me because I easily worked it out owing to my background of working in newspaper and magazine publishing. I find the Amazon KDP platform and fee guide book very easy to use, and now they have both paperback publishing under the same umbrella. I enjoy formatting my e-books and paperbacks, and the only services I pay for are proof-reading, copyediting, cover design, and advertising.

In addition to the Amazon KDP platform, I now also publish my e-books on Apple i-books, Kobo, Nook, and subscription services like Scribd and Montadori, using the draft2digital platform. However, Amazon insists that if authors use other non-Amazon e-book platforms in addition to KDP, they must not make their books available on Kindle Unlimited (KU).

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