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. Read More

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. Read More

Suzie Bocock

Suzie Bocock has worked hard to learn the business of publishing. Read about her disappointing experience with a hybrid publisher and how book contests helped her marketing.

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

My book is called A Thousand Miles From Yesterday. It is also my very first published work. It is totally different from anything I have written before because it is suspense/Christian romance. My motivation was the Lord put it on my heart and basically dropped it in.

“Handsome widower Zak Freemont drops out of life when his family is killed in a private plane crash. In desperation, Zak turns to his sister and her husband to take over the reins of his company, while he attempts to pull his shattered life back together. Lindsey is fleeing hired killers. Her brother accidentally stumbles upon a deadly secret, causing Lindsey to flee for her life and that of her unborn child. Mourning the death of her husband, romance is the last thing on her mind when she encounters Zak, who has vowed he will never love again. Yet, there is something about the damsel in distress that he rescued that pulls on his heartstrings and pulls him into the quagmire of her life. The pair makes strange traveling companions as Zak runs from life and Lindsey runs from death.” (From back cover of book.)

The hero is named after a pen pal that died while I was writing the book and the book is also dedicated to him. I was 70 years old when the book was published.

2. 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 a hybrid publisher, Covenant Books. It is not a vanity press, you have to submit and then they decide if it fits their guidelines for publishing books. It is a Christian publisher.

I was disappointed. The gal I worked with was awesome. The company itself – not so much. I have not received a dime since September 2019. They owe me money and sit on it. Not happy. They tried to tell me that was the last time a book was sold, but I know better because two people told me they bought copies after that date. Short of asking them to write an affidavit to that effect, it is my word versus theirs.

The first cover was so bad, it was beyond anything a professional would do. They had the main character on a black Harley at a T in a road with houses on the left. The one house had a blue tarp hanging on it and the gal’s head was floating on the bushes. She was supposed to be hiding in the bushes. The second cover was better, except the girl looked like she was peaking over the top and they had removed the tarp from the house.

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

Joining groups like the Facebook one that you are a part of helps. I also look for freebies. For instance, Jerry Jenkins offers free tips on publishing. BookBub is another one, geared to the vanity/independent author. Most offer you tips so you will join their classes and spend thousands of dollars. And I do mean thousands. Jerry Jenkins is like 10 grand! Kary Oberbrunner offers one at 5 grand but you walk away with a published book. Read More

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.

Read More

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).

Read More

Deepti Sharma

Deepti Sharma is working hard to build reader identity through social media. Learn more about how she uses numerous beta readers to perfect her manuscript.

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

I have a short story collection out on Kindle Unlimited, titled Extremely…. Given that I had been a closet writer until now, these stories have been written over a period of the last thirteen years, and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they have grown with me during this time. I have tweaked a word here or edited a paragraph there whenever I took a break from my original profession (I hold a doctorate in ecology, run my own environmental consultancy firm and, with two kids, have my hands quite full!).

As the name suggests, each short story deals with an extreme, be it of a thought or an emotion or a trait, and tells how these extremes ended up shaping the protagonists’ lives. Each story delves deep into the workings of the human mind and yields insightful perceptions about why we do what we do. My experiences and observations have been the sources from which I have drawn inspiration.

2. How have your sales been?

I have struggled with sales, so far. In fact, I can safely say my sales have been next to nothing.

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’d be wrong to say I chose self-publishing (*grins*)…self-publishing chose me, rather. For a first-time, non-celebrity author who is not a native English speaker and who is yet to gain sufficient confidence about their writing chops, self-publishing is probably the only option. Or that is what I think, with my limited experience. The definite positive of self-publishing is the satisfaction it accords to the indie author of holding their book baby in their hands with minimal hassle. On the downside, there is the seemingly insurmountable problem of marketing your book and ensuring it reaches the rightful owners – the readers.

Read More

Jennifer Widemire Smith

widemireJennifer Widemire Smith uses custom publishing as an alternative to traditional and self-publishing. Read more from the perspective of a new author who is rapidly learning how the business works.

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

A Time To Serve is a fictional military/romance story about the life of a US Navy SEAL, named Jefferies. It’s an authentic look into a life governed by ethos. I wanted to explore the powerful dynamics that relationships play between team guys and how they relate to the civilian world. As well as romantically, when Evie Sinclaire disrupts that dynamic. Jefferies and Evie collide with each other and her presence ups the ante for him. The book never strays from Jefferies’ perspective. The reader gets immersed as he deploys into combat. And yet, it is every bit about Evie’s determination to build a life she never expected, either. Don’t let the romance title throw you. This is not soft porn romance.

As to my motivation it was originally a journaling exercise. I needed an outlet to place my thoughts and feelings of empathy for a friend on a hard topic. As creativity took over, Jefferies and Evie emerged and the story took on a life of its own. My husband discovered my fictional little world. I didn’t think he’d like it and hadn’t told him I was doing it, but to my surprise he loved it and harassed me for days. “What comes next, Jen? I really liked the conversation between Jefferies and Russo. It made me think, “Okay, seriously Jen, my mind is going nuts. What happens next!?” I may have finished it just to appease him…

2. How long did it take you to write from start to finish?

Three years. Writing takes as long as it takes. I was a chick writing about SEALs using an all-male-driven dialogue, writing in a style I’d never tried my hand at. It took a while to learn, but the payoff of doing a job well done is worth it.

3. How have your sales been?

My personal site sales have been good, I’ve sold three out of five boxes of books. But it’s hard to gauge. I’m a brand new act. My book was released the same week the country went into lockdown. Amazon doesn’t exactly give you daily sales reports and I haven’t made it yet to the 190 days to get paid. Not being allowed to throw a launch party or book signing has been rough. Maybe I can come back and answer again in six months.

Read More

Jasveer Singh

Jasveer Singh has developed a successful budgeting plan for marketing his books. Learn why he believes the content of your book matters more than how you publish it.

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

Though my latest and fourth book is The Metro-Maniac Chronicles, my favorite is Double One Zero (110) – Out of the Shadows, my third book and my first fully fiction work. It’s my ode to the action and spy genre. Double One Zero (110) – Out of the Shadows is a story about deception and one man’s quest to find his identity. The journey will take him across the other side of Earth and then back to the capital of India, Delhi. Along the way, he will try to pick up the pieces and solve the puzzle that his life is. One of the review of my book stated, “Bordering on the line of Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, if you love mystery, thriller and embrace adequate inquisitiveness about one’s earnest question for identity, then this the book for you.”

2. How have your sales been?

My book was released in January 2020 and it was well-received. Sales of the paperback version were steady until the lockdown. E-book sales has been good as 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.

Self-publishing has been a gift for us indie writers. I have only seen positives so far. It is easy, is accessible to all, it can be customized as per your budget, and it is less time consuming. Traditional publishing is the opposite of all this.

Those who vouch for traditional publishing must understand that seldom would a reader pick up a book because of the publisher. Readers choose books based upon the cover page, the summary, and probably because of the author. So it doesn’t make any difference if you are a traditionally published author or a self-published one. Content is king and readers will choose your book irrespective of whether it is published through self-publishing or traditional publishing.

Read More

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.

Read More

Jordan T. Maxwell

both covers

Jordan T. Maxwell has learned a few lessons from being traditionally published. Here he shares those lessons along with other tips for indie authors.

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

My current project is Dandyflowers – Laura’s Voice. It is the third and final book in my Dandyflowers series. It follows Dandyflowers and Dandyflowers – Laura’s Diaries. The Dandyflowers books are the story of Laura Butler and Jerry Collins.

In Dandyflowers, Jerry’s recently engaged daughter Erin spends a long weekend with her dad where she learns about a part of his life she knew nothing about – his first love, Laura. It tells about how they met, their dating life, their married life, and ultimately why they are no longer together.

Dandyflowers – Laura’s Diaries begins four years after the end of Dandyflowers where Erin and her husband Jack take a trip to Chicago. During her self-guided sight-seeing tour of the Windy City, Erin runs into (literally) Laura’s parents. Since hearing her father’s story of his first love, Erin has been intrigued by the mysterious Laura. Her curiosity has been fueled by the box containing Laura’s diaries her father gave her at the end of the first book. Meeting Laura’s parents allow Erin to get answers to many of the questions the diaries have raised.

Dandyflowers – Laura’s Voice is still a work in progress. It begins two or three years after the end of Dandyflowers – Laura’s Diaries. In this, the final installment, the reader will meet Laney Young, an almost fifteen-year-old, angst-ridden girl who has recently moved into Jerry and Laura’s old house after her father’s job transferred them to the little town she refers to as “Podunksville.” She finds a box of twenty plus reel-to-reel tapes recorded by Laura when she lived there and a pristine tape recorder/player.

All three books begin in present-day, but they transition from present to the past and back again as the story unfolds.

2. How have your sales been?

My sales are what they are. I have not grown rich in the monetary sense from my books. If I had to live off what money I have made from the sales of my books, I would have starved to death long ago!

I never intended to actually publish Dandyflowers; I wrote it for me. But with the encouragement of several people who read and liked it, I did publish it as well as Dandyflowers – Laura’s Diaries.

My true profit so far has been the wonderful reviews and compliments I have received from my readers!

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

My publishing career, if you can call it that, began in 2006 when I signed with Tate Publishing & Enterprises in Mustang, Oklahoma. I learned a lot from my five year association with Tate, mainly that if a “publisher” wants you to put forth the money to publish your work, you should smile, say “No thank you,” and run away fast!

However, I was fortunate. Unlike many authors I had my entire “author’s fee” refunded in January 2012 when I produced an email from someone inside Tate that I should have never seen. It outlined everything they did regarding my first book which was next to nothing.

After leaving Tate no worse for the wear and quite a bit wiser, I went the self-publishing route first with Lulu. Then I switched to CreateSpace which changed to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) about a year ago, which is where I am currently.

I love the freedom I have with self-publishing! I never thought I could design a book cover, much less two and soon to be three, but here we are! The one thing I struggle with, like many authors, is marketing. I am still learning and having fun doing it!

Read More