K. Ford K.

K. Ford K. went from freelance writing to indie publishing, finding frustration along the way with traditional publishers.  Now enjoying the freedom of self-publishing, K. discusses the varied tools she uses to reach readers.

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

What if a timid, sexually-inhibited woman suddenly developed the psychic ability to see what everyone else needed to be blissfully happy in bed?  And what if she started blurting out sexual advice against her will?  That thought was the seed for my new novel, The Concubine’s Gift, and the poor, long-suffering character of Bernice Babbitt was born.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

I became an indie author by choice.  I was a freelance writer, publishing articles and short stories in newspapers and magazines and had several near misses with major publishing houses.  Many times they decided to publish my novels and then changed their minds at the last minute.  I was starting to feel like I was in an abusive relationship.  Editors told me they loved my work; I cozied up to them and then they slapped me with a rejection. After awhile I was back and the same thing happened all over again.  ‘Indie-authorhood’ has been wonderful.  I love being in charge of my own career and being able to make all the editorial and marketing decisions about my novels.  I’ve been lucky in that readers have been very supportive.

3. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books.  Which ones have been the most successful?

Some of the marketing techniques that have been the most successful were getting book bloggers to review my book and being active on the Goodreads site.  I have hosted lots of book giveaways and those are always fun.

4. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?

I have my novel listed on Amazon’s KDP Select.  The best thing is the free days of promotion but I think I will discontinue after one more month so that I can list the book on other sites such as Smashwords.

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Sean MacUisdin

Sean MacUisdin is a sci-fi writer who lets his imagination tell the story.  Sean talks about balancing writing and marketing and why he’s exploring the use of e-book trailers on YouTube.

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.

Were you ever afraid of boredom more than the unknown?  Did tedium and predictability, those bywords so often associated with the responsibility of adulthood, give you pause for a moment, and inspire you to do the unexpected?  Meet Alexander Armstrong: seventeen years old, poised to graduate high school and preparing for the comprehensive education and career laid out by his parents. That is until, fueled by an immature desire for adventure, he stole away one night and hopped a train for Vancouver where, in a fit of teenage pique, he signed up for service in the United Nations Off-World Legion.

Eight weeks later, as he jumps from the bed of a transport truck into the mud of the colony of Samsara, twenty light years from Earth, Alexander is confronted not by a sterile and deliberately planned colony of his dreams but by a world of transplanted tribes, warlords, and refugees.  It is a world where the tundra camel and steamboat reign supreme over the trackless steppes and mountainous lakes and rivers; where pirates, Chinese Tongs, Kazakh bandits, and Gliesiun warriors pale before the presence of his decuria leader, Subedar Angus Motshwega, better known throughout the Legion as MacShaka the Tartan Zulu.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

To be honest, I was motivated by what often felt like insurmountable odds in getting my book to print.  Agents, publishers, awards, and no end of luck seemed to be the factors I needed to bring my books to print, so I opted, after a course at the local college, to take the e-book approach.

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

I have only had a poem published in a Canadian anthology.  I tended to write more than market, since I spent much of my time over the last decade away with the Royal Canadian Navy.  It’s only recently with a shore posting that I have had the time to concentrate on marketing my books.

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Helen Carey

Helen Carey is both a traditionally published author as well as an indie.  She offers her views on both camps and what marketing techniques, including a YouTube video, she’s used in her own efforts.

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

I am best known for my London-based wartime novels, Lavender Road, Some Sunny Day and On a Wing and a Prayer which were all commissioned by Orion.  My neighbor in London had lived through the Second World War and her stories of people showing courage in adversity gave me the idea for a series of novels following the lives of a number of people living on one particular street.  In On a Wing and a Prayer one of the characters, Helen de Burrel, joins the SOE and is sent into Nazi occupied France.  A lot of readers told me that they had found the final scenes of that book very exciting as Helen evades the Germans to blow up the ships in Toulon Harbor.  I enjoyed writing those scenes too and it gave me the idea of writing a contemporary thriller or crime novel.

My latest novel, Slick Deals, is a pacy, exciting crime adventure set in Monaco, London and West Wales, where I now live.  The main characters are a chic London city-girl oil trader, Ella Crossley, and a rather scruffy American environmentalist, Nick Jardine.

2. How have your sales been?

All the books are selling well.  I am pleased with the progress so far.

3. You’re relatively new to self-publishing.  How have you liked it so far?

I have enjoyed having control over the content and design of the books.  Doing it yourself takes away all the frustrations about publishers failing to do things they had promised to do.  On the other hand there is the knowledge that if mistakes slip through they are your own fault!

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Susan Hira

With a business background, Susan Hira knows how to approach self-publishing from a variety of angles.  In this interview she suggests a laundry list of marketing tips, including how she uses YouTube to promote her book.

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

Here’s a long summary of the book:

In Susan Hira’s bold debut, The Werwolf on Eagle’s Nest Mountain, Hira places the fictional child of the most infamous Nazi high up in the mountains of a Minnesota ski resort.  Written for middle school children to young adults, this mystery thriller adds a dramatic twist on history.

All Nick, Jack, and Mike wanted to do was have an epic snow session at a large resort.  But due to budget constraints, their new history teacher insisted that the ninth grade winter class trip be held at the Eagle’s Nest Mountain Ski and Snowboard Resort, a dilapidated dump with only three lame lifts.  When the kids attempt to shred the prime fresh powder in the Arctic Bowl at the top of the mountain, a sniper attacks and forces them to jump from a lift in mid-air.

Before the assassin can strike again, the boys decide to investigate and discover a secret lair inside the mountain used to warehouse and redistribute stolen goods.  They realize that all clues lead to an elite guerrilla movement started near the end of World War II known as the “Werwolf” organization and the long-lost gold and art plundered by the Nazis during the war.  The ringleader of the newly formed gang, a direct descendant of a Hitler Youth Werwolf, is raising money to fund the new regime.  Like an assault rifle firing at close range, the boys’ beliefs of good versus evil are shattered as they navigate the emotional fallout from those trying to live down the infamy of their ancestors, some with pride, while others with shame.

As Nick, Jack, and Mike battle for their lives armed only with skis and snowboards, they must figure out whom to trust – or their electrifying ride down the mountain will be their last.

I wrote this book because I injured my knee snowboarding and had to take a season off to heal and do physical therapy.  My father and I are snowboarding buddies and always shredded together, so I missed our time talking and goofing off when I was sidelined.  He is very knowledgeable about World War II, so he served as the historical editor on the book which allowed us to spend time together in a different way than in the past.  I think we both impressed each other with our contributions to this book!

Writing the snowboarding/skiing scenes were a blast!  I felt like I was on the slopes again; it made missing the snowiest winter in years bearable.

2. How have your sales been?

Not enough to quit my day job.

3. You have not been published by a traditional publisher. Why?

I knew when I started writing it that traditional publishers would not want to take a chance on a book for young adults that features a lot of World War II history including the Werwolf organization.  Also, I have a business background and enjoy the other sides of self publishing including marketing, accounting, and cost analysis.

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