Jordan T. Maxwell

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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!

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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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Anurag Shourie

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Anurag Shourie is an Indian author who chose traditional publishing for his novel.  Find out what led him down this path and his advice for selecting a good book reviewer.

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

Half A Shadow is my debut novel.  It is said that the reign of the supernatural begins at the point where the jurisdiction of science ends.  Never the twain shall meet.  Here is a story that entwines the two domains together, a mytho-medical thriller.

A series of events that occurred on a stormy night while I was dispensing my duties in a cancer hospital led me to conceptualize the plot of Half A Shadow.  It is the story of one man’s quest for redemption.

2. How have your sales been?

The sales of Half A Shadow have been encouraging.  The readers have bestowed a lot of love on this book belonging to an uncommon genre.  The reviews have been mostly positive with the critics giving it a “thumbs up.”

3. You’ve decided to use a traditional publisher for your book. Why did you choose this versus self-publishing?

Self-publishing is a grey area as there is a very thin line of demarcation between self-publishing and vanity- publishing.  I am of the firm belief that if my work is good enough it will find a decent publisher who is keen to share my vision.

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Paulette Jackson

paulettePaulette Jackson was unsure about self-publishing, so she went with a traditional publisher. Learn what advice she has for new authors wanting to make the right choice for themselves.

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

My latest book is The Music Through the Storm and it’s about finding your “song” in your life. The thing that you’re most passionate about and using that to get through life’s storms. Also how music and the arts bring people together and how music is universal and healing.

2. How have your sales been?

Well I have two books, The Music Through the Storm (2nd book release) and The Music In Me that I re-released as a second edition with my new publisher. Both books, since their release, have picked up in sales.

3. You’ve decided to use a traditional publisher for your book. Why did you choose this versus self-publishing?

To be honest I wasn’t confident about self-publishing and wanted it done right and didn’t have a lot of information about it so I went ahead and used a traditional publisher, my new publisher.

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Sarah Archer

Author photo_Sarah Archer (c) Steven Duarte-editedSarah Archer is a traditionally published author who is working to build her brand with a new book.  Learn more about her experiences and her advice for relying on fellow writers to shape your craft.

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

My first novel, The Plus One, is a rom-com with a sci-fi twist.  It’s about a brilliant robotics engineer who, when pressured to find a wedding date, takes matters into her own hands and builds one.  Then she starts to fall for him.  This was an idea I had a few years ago and immediately knew would be fun to write.  It’s been a great way to explore how classic romantic tropes are transformed in our modern world.  And a solid excuse to spend way too much time Googling articles about AI and robotics.

2. How have your sales been?

The book just came out on July 2nd, and is currently available in stores and online.  It’s still early, but we’ll see how the sales go!

3. You’ve decided to use a traditional publisher for your book.  Why did you choose this versus self-publishing?

I’m extremely lucky to be publishing my first book with Putnam.  As a newcomer to this space, I’ve found their support and expertise invaluable.  However, if traditional publishing hadn’t worked out, I would happily have pursued self-publishing.  I come from a film and TV background, where it’s almost impossible to get something made without a team of people.  In publishing, you know that if you write a book, you have guaranteed ways to get it to an audience as long as you’re willing to do the work.  Having that light at the end of the tunnel is very motivating.

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Cassondra Windwalker

IMG_0363Cassondra Windwalker is experienced with both traditional and self-publishing.  Find out which one she prefers and why you should be careful with book contests.

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

Bury The Lead is a dark psychological thriller exploring the nature of truth and the power of love. It’s the story of a small-town newspaper editor who frames himself for the murder of his missing girlfriend. I was inspired to write it by the precarious position of the press in modern society.

2. How have your sales been?

The book just came out in September, so of course reporting isn’t back yet. But it’s been placed in local and national chains and is available in e-book and paperback across all online retailers.

3. You’ve had experience with both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Which one do you prefer, and why?

I prefer traditional because the amazing support of a strong publishing company allows me more time to focus on what I love – writing – rather than spending all my time editing and formatting and designing and marketing and promoting.

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Janice Nye

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Janice Nye began in traditional publishing but moved to self-publishing.  Find out why she prefers the latter and how she uses social media to promote her work.

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

User Hostile is the book nearest completion. It started as a short story about 30 years ago. There were a lot of things having to do with computers then which were described as “user friendly,” which were about as “user friendly” as a crocodile with a toothache. The story began with the main character arguing with a computer. It woke her up to a room that was cold and dark, when it should have been bright and warm. The story is what happened next.

Originally it was a short story, about 7,000 words, but I returned to it last year and thought I would post it on my blog in parts. While doing this, I edited the story and it grew. At the moment I am working on the cover.

2. How have your sales been?

I’ve had a few, but not enough to give up the day job.

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

I have gone down the route of self-publishing because I realized that I like to be in control of every aspect of the book. The thought that someone might go through my book and start telling me to change things isn’t one that I like. Self-publishing means that you make all the decisions. Of course it means that there isn’t anyone to tell you when you have made a stupid mistake.

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L. Salt

48423891_2216658588547692_5358765205557870592_nL. Salt has used social media to build her audience.  Learn why she prefers a small traditional publisher over self-publishing.

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

My latest book is Legacy of the Iron Eagle. It’s a thriller/mystery novella with some elements of history and suspense. The main character, Philip Rutkowski, son of a Polish immigrant, “enjoys” all the benefits of big city life: a boring, routine office job; the everyday long commute; a massive mortgage; and rare nights out with a few friends. Everything changes for Philip when his colleague and best friend, David Zilberschlag, gives him a vintage mirror to help decorate his new apartment. The mirror belonged to David’s deceased granddad, a Holocaust survivor, who believed that the mirror hides dark secrets from the past. When Philip continues to see visions of a German SS officer in the mirror who tries to talk to him, he decides to look for answers.

I love World War II history. This dramatic period still leaves more questions than answers for historians and researchers, and continues to tease the imaginations of authors and writers with its theories and conspiracies. This is my second novella dedicated to this subject.

2. How have your sales been?

I think it’s a bit too early to talk about great sales. Both of my solo works were published less than a year ago, so I believe I need more time to build an audience of loyal readers and followers.

3. You’ve gone with a small traditional publisher. What made you choose this over self-publishing?

For such an inexperienced author like me, it was a better option. My publishers do all the hard work such as editing, proofreading, formatting, promotion, graphics/trailers, etc. I feel more comfortable working with the professionals who are always ready to give advice, share experience, and provide guidance. That way I can focus on more creative things like writing itself.

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J.S. Frankel

the auctioneer best pic!J.S. Frankel has enjoyed positive results with traditional publishing. He talks about that here and offers practical advice for using social media.

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

My latest novel is a YA Fantasy, entitled The Auctioneer. Essentially, it’s a story about a young man, forced by circumstances, to work very far away – in another galaxy. At first, he does what he does for the money. But when he finds out people and planets are being sold, he changes his way of thinking. It’s also a bit of a smackdown to some people in the rich, “I’m entitled” generation.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales? Sales? What are those? Seriously, the marketing of my novels is probably the most challenging aspect of writing. I love writing, but getting the word out and getting people to take a chance on my work is hard.

3. You’ve gone the traditional publishing route. Why did you choose this, and what has been your experience?

I started writing seriously only about six years ago. At that time, I knew very little about self-publishing, and my sister suggested that I try e-book publishers to start with. My experiences, outside of sales, have been good. My covers are well done, my publishers do put the word out, and I have worked with some excellent editors who’ve willingly taught me what they know. All in all, it’s been positive.

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