Roland Page

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Roland Page draws on his career experience to craft compelling stories. In this interview, he explains his own careful approach to marketing.

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

Eating the Forbidden Fruit is a gritty fiction novel loosely based on events in my past as a St. Louis police officer convicted of federal crimes because of my childhood affiliation. The nightmarish reality of a cop being booked in as a criminal. My passion for writing was fueled by managing depression from Lupus. A coping technique.

2. How have your sales been?

Well my book launched on March 30, 2020 therefore I have my fingers crossed. Yet I wrote my novel not for financial gain but to maintain my sanity. If it does well I would like to donate some proceeds to a Lupus foundation that helps indigent patients.

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

Positives is that the creative control is in your hands, plus the residuals. Negative is that unless you have an adequate budget to market your product, your exposure is limited. It could be the best keep secret. Traditional publishing resources aren’t abundant for new indie authors like myself.

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Lilith Sinclair

ABOWTeaserLilith Sinclair has used both traditional and self-publishing. Find out which marketing techniques work best for her.

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

My latest release is a short story featured in the anthology A Bond of Words. My story is called Trapped by Design, and it takes place in the same universe as my soon to be published series Sanctuary.

Paranormal is a genre that I have loved since middle school, and character motivation can come in many forms. Trapped by Design is a short story centered around a mother’s love and the willingness she has to keep everyone safe, and shows how the main character, Alex, in Sanctuary comes to the cross-roads she’s at.

2. How have your sales been?

I’ve sold a few copies of ABOW. It’s the first publication under this pen name, so it makes up a small percentage of what I make total. That should change by the summer.

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

Do I have to make a choice? I find both have their perks such as the ability to focus on one aspect or the ability to make micro adjustments to get something to click.

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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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Karin Thompson

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Karin Thompson knows the importance of patience when it comes to writing and marketing a book. Learn which methods have worked best to build her audience.

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

I take the reader on a journey of self-discovery. I use my own life experience of an abusive father, illustrating that no situation is beyond God’s love and His healing.
I artfully show how healing from abuse is a journey and that it takes a lifetime to perfect it. If your faith is wavering or you are having doubts, my experiences will be more than enough to put things in place for you.

The book is beautifully laid out with my personal stories, Bible verses, prayers and Q & A’s in the form of a study guide. Who do you trust when you doubt yourself? Who do you look up to when your parents do not care enough about you? How do you go through life when the odds are stacked high against you? There would be lots of places in the book that you can see yourself in the picture and relate to on a very personal level.

If you need that silver lining in that dark cloud, My words will surely provide you with more than one. If your faith is wavering or you are having doubts, my experiences will be more than enough to put things in place for you. The tools you need are here. Pick them up and let today be the day to your road of recovery. I wrote this book to help people overcome their past and live a victorious life.

2. How have your sales been?

My sales have been steady. As a new author, I must market myself to get known out there. I would like them to be better and I am working on improving that.

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 self-published my book via IngramSpark and Amazon. I have found that my book is available everywhere and on most book sellers’ websites which is a great positive. But as a negative, I must do all the work in getting it promoted. I have had to learn how to go about doing this and have watched endless YouTube videos for advice. The first book is always the hardest as you must learn as you go along. But with my second book, I am more “on the page” as to what to expect.

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Evan Witmer

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Evan Witmer uses online sales and in-person events to reach his audience. He discusses that and how members of the writing community can help one another.

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

Originally I was trying to traditionally publish another book called Long Stories. It’s a new version of the Grim Reaper who’s created by God to hunt down all the immortals on Earth. But, having never published before, it was a hard sell to publishers.

Simultaneously, I was writing short stories and publishing them for free on my blog, oddfiction.com. At some point, I thought it might be a good way to show my sell-ability as an author through example and I decided I would self-publish the ten stories I had online in a short story collection. This became Pages from the Pizza Crows. The framing device was recycled from an old concept I wrote, but never released, originally intended to frame a collection of children’s poems. The overarching story is that a crow keeps stealing my breakfast in the morning through an open window. I decide to befriend the creature and discover that by feeding him slices of pizza, he will reward me with short stories one page at a time.

2. How have your sales been?

Pages from the Pizza Crows has sold forty books. That includes both online sales and sales I’ve made at various indie bookstores, coffee houses, and book signing events. It’s a small start, but I’m optimistic that as I continue with live performances and start raking in reviews, I’ll see a massive increase soon.

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

Well, the ultimate positive is that you can publish anything you want, which is great if you want to be experimental or prove a point to the industry on what sells. Short story collections are often on the list of hard noes for publishers alongside erotica and rhyming poetry. I wanted to prove that this notion is incorrect and that anthology is more popular than ever.

The negatives are obvious though. I have to do all the marketing by myself, which lucky for me is pretty fun actually. But considering I have a life outside of writing, it would be nice to have somebody else take over.

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Lillian Brummet

Authors (2)Lillian Brummet and her husband, Dave, have patiently built their brand and learned what works and what doesn’t. In this expansive interview, they share their wisdom with new authors.

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

My husband Dave and I have published six books to date, the most recent being Rhythm and Rhyme. This is a collection of both Dave’s poetry and mine in two separate sections. Dave’s poetry looks at the changes he witnessed in environments he grew up in, shares the effect these experiences had on him, and celebrates the benefits of music.

My poetry touches on the impact of grief from losing parents and friends, celebrates nature, questions society and celebrates the long relationship with my husband. We’ve been together since 1990… a long time. We have helped each other grow into the people we are today. We learned patience and communication, and grew our love into something so deep it is hard to put into mere words.

2. How have your sales been?

Book experts call the initial period after a book is released the “honeymoon period.” This is the time frame when the exciting buzz of having a book to promote is at its peak. Once that period is over, however, the authors have to start reaching out further, spend more of their budget, and work even harder for each book sold.

Obtaining regular book sales after the initial release of a book has calmed down has always been an issue. Over the last few years with the incredible changes in the industry, well, it’s become very difficult. The highest sales are in youth, fantasy and children’s genres. Adults tend to want free books – either from the library or through discount e-book or free e-book outlets and programs. The era of reading print books is kind of fading out. Marketing, promoting, and advertising constantly are the only ways to get sales happening. You just have to keep at it.

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’ve worked with small and medium-sized traditional publishers in the past, and it was very educational. They had teams for each step of the process – and without them, all the learning, the preparations, the expense and stress would have been overwhelming for us as new authors.

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Martin Svolgart

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Martin Svolgart has had experience with traditional and self-publishing, and does a good job of comparing them. Learn the pros and cons of each, and why viewing yourself as a brand is so important.

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

A Game Called Payback is my debut under this name – a psychological crime thriller with bullying as its main theme. Normally, I write under pseudonyms. But the topic here was gathered mostly from my past, and I learned so much from it that I thought it deserved my own name. Mainly because I dedicated the book to my high school bully.

It’s far from an autobiography. In the end, only one sentence ever said to me made it into the book, and the rest is crafted to be entertaining and exaggerated to bring home the moral of the story.

2. How have your sales been?

Really awful. But that’s the fate of most first books, and it’s even a standalone, so it’s going to be uphill. So I don’t take it that hard.

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

With self-publishing, I enjoy having full creative freedom because I have a professional team behind me: editor, proofreader, and cover artists. Marketing, however, is the one aspect that is difficult for a debut since building a brand, a network, and a platform takes a very long time. But most of that is needed by traditionally published authors, too; they just have help on exposure from the trad publisher’s platform.

I also write under HP Caledon (sci fi/space opera), and that series is traditionally published. I chose that route back then because I’m not a native English speaker, and I didn’t have the team I do now (we met at the publishing house and instantly connected). I needed to learn about the English market, so I went with traditional publishing to learn from the pros and to have a professional team help my story get out right.

Traditional publishing can feel slow! And your hands are kinda tied regarding many of the marketing tools that work really well for indies. For instance, there’s a limited number of books you can use for promotional purposes when it’s not for reviews. Indies have full right, so they can build a platform easier through giveaways, etc. Also, Kindle Unlimited for a new name is a Godsend because people dare to take chances with them. Traditional publishing doesn’t allow that in a market now mainly geared toward finding readers via indie author channels.

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Amanda Howard

unnamedAmanda Howard understands the pros and cons of self-publishing, as well as the need to effectively market your book. Learn what kept her going when she felt discouraged in her writing efforts.

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

My novel, The First Gift of Christmas, is part of a series called the Maple Ridge Holiday Series. I am planning on writing at least six books in total. I am a dancer/dance teacher/choreographer, which was the main inspiration behind my book. My love of classic novels played a lot into how I write and develop my characters. Hallmark was also a huge inspiration as I wanted to write something that would be different from what they typically publish/film, but with the basic components of a really great Hallmark story.

The First Gift of Christmas is about a young dance teacher who is well-known for her annual Christmas performances in the small town of Maple Ridge, Massachusetts. This year, not only is she being considered for assistant choreographer with the prestigious Boston Ballet, but there is also a handsome newcomer that has captured her attention. She must struggle to focus on impressing the company while overcoming sabotage and her attraction to Maple Ridge’s newcomer.

2. How have your sales been?

I sold all my on-hand copies within a month and I’m still selling copies on Amazon.

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 self-publishing because it was the easiest option for me at the time. My books are available as print-on-demand to keep costs down. It is nice to not have to pay an agent; I’m blessed to have my publisher be under the family business which means I get great royalties; and I am learning marketing tactics.

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Angelica Markus

angelica.jpgAngelica Markus has crafted her own writing style from the stories she loves.  Read about her marketing techniques and why she says you may need more than one editor.

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

My novel The Watcher is part of an urban fantasy series (the Fleur De Lis saga), and I am writing eight books in total.  I have always enjoyed reading and watching movies about vampires and martial arts. My favorite stories have heroes and villains in them with a bit of historical fiction.  Stories with siblings have always seemed to capture people’s attention differently than other stories.  Also stories with main characters that lose their parents, like Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, etc.  In other words, my main characters are siblings that lost their parents when they were young.

I studied history as my minor in college, and I added a secret vampire world that takes place in NYC.  That’s where I lived most of my life.  They say write what you know.

Here is my synopsis:

Skye Davenport is no ordinary thief.  She has the ability to foresee danger, and she believes stealing from the wicked is justice served right.  Her life takes a different turn when she brings her brother, Christian, on a dangerous mission that leads them to a supernatural world of the undead.  A war has been going on for centuries, predators lurk within the shadows, hiding and waiting for the right time to attack.  Skye knows that she and her brother are the only gifted humans that can stop this war, but there are more filthy beasts to catch, murders to uncover and secrets to be revealed.  What happens when the hunters become the hunted?

2. How have your sales been?

The Watcher, is a long book, and I tend to sell more audio books in Audible the most.

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 still have to market myself just like with any publishing, but I don’t have to pay an agent and Amazon gives authors good royalty prices.

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Nancy George

The Silent Scream Ebook 1.jpgNew Zealand author Nancy George’s latest work is an intensely personal account of her terminally ill husband’s battle with cancer.  Read about her book and the wealth of advice she has for new authors starting out.

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

My latest book is non-fiction. I usually write fiction/romance.  My book is called The Silent Scream.  This is my journey with my terminally ill husband who had cancer.  I wrote The Silent Scream to help people who are about to take the same journey as me.  I wanted people to know they are not alone.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales for this book have been going well.

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 am on Amazon and I self-publish.  With the help of my PA [publishing assistant] and my editor the process has been an easy one for me.  So far nothing has gone wrong.  Sometimes when you send your book to a traditional publisher it ends up in a pile and never gets read.  By self-publishing you get your book out their for people to see.  Plus you have control of the titles and the cover.

The major thing I learned about publishing was how big it is and how there are so many platforms.  I am still learning.  I will admit that without the help of my editor and PA I would never have known how large the publishing world is.

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