Here’s where you can find me today! This interview was so fun! Many thanks to Lena Nelson Dooley for the interesting questions!
Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi, where she writes novels and short stories as well as blogs about writing when she isn’t spending time with her nieces and nephew. She has self-published an e-book, Piercing Through the Darkness, and has been published by Phyllis Scott Publishing in their book Blue Legs and Other Coming of Age Stories. And has a YA Romance, Read Me Dead, that will be released Spring 2012.
I love hearing different stories about someone’s journey into self-publishing. I met Marie Landry through the WLC Website. And it’s always nice to meet another diehard U2 fan!
Marie Landry has always been a daydreamer. She has created imaginary worlds for as long as she can remember, so it only seemed natural that she would become a writer. With a passion for words that started in early childhood, Marie has written a varied range of works, and has been freelance writing since 2009. She resides in Ontario, Canada, and most days you can find her writing, reading, blogging about writing and reading, listening to U2, or having grand adventures with her two precious nephews.
1. Tell me about your book.
Blue Sky Days is a contemporary young adult romance and coming-of-age story. It’s about Emma Ward, who’s spent her entire life trying to live up to her mother’s impossibly high standards, and has never lived for herself. At nineteen, feeling lost and unsure of her future, Emma decides to leave home to live with her Aunt Daisy, an eccentric, free-spirited artist, who Emma hopes will be able to teach her how to lighten up and really live. Between Daisy and Nicholas Shaw, Emma’s new love interest, Emma’s life changes completely. She learns how to enjoy life, and discovers for the first time what it feels like to belong somewhere, and to love and be loved. When Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer, Emma’s whole life changes again and she has to use her new-found strength, courage, and knowledge about life and love to help Nicholas through.
2. Who was your favorite character to write?
I had a lot of fun writing all the characters, but I think the most fun were probably Daisy and Nicholas, because they’re both slightly eccentric, and they completely took over so that I never knew what they were going to do or say next. They both had such a positive outlook on life, and saw the world the way most people don’t. I had to try to see things the way they would, and that was interesting.
3. Describe your writing career in five words or less.
A crazy roller coaster ride.
4. What made you decide to self publish?
There were a lot of factors. It wasn’t an easy decision, nor was it one I took lightly. I spent weeks researching and trying to figure out whether it was the right path for me. Ultimately, I liked the idea of taking my own future into my own hands and running with it. Writing is my passion, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, and I want my stories to be read. I knew that if I really wanted to be traditionally published it would happen someday, but I wasn’t interested in ‘someday’, I was interested in the present. I knew it could take years to find an agent and a publisher, and then for that publisher to actually get my book onto bookshelves, and in the meantime, the only people reading my book would be editors. I just wanted my stories out there so people could (hopefully) enjoy them.
5. How many hours a day do you devote to marketing?
At least an hour every day, but sometimes it feels like I spend the entire day doing nothing but marketing. Between Facebook, Twitter, my blogs, and different groups, I can easily spend the majority of the day working on marketing and promotion.
6. What is your favorite aspect of being a self published/indie author?
The freedom. I get to make all my own decisions, from editing to formatting to cover design to book trailers to price and promotion. I had several beta readers, proofreaders, and an editor for Blue Sky Days, but in the end, the decisions were up to me. If I wanted to cut something, or not cut something, it was my decision. If I wanted my cover to look a certain way, I was in charge of that. There’s a whole world of possibilities in indie publishing and you’re basically the boss.
7. What is your least favorite aspect of being a self published/indie author?
My least favorite aspect is like the flip side of the same coin. The freedom and independence are great, but everything is up to me. I couldn’t afford to hire a bunch of people to help with design and promotion, so it was – and is – all up to me. I enjoy it for the most part, but there are days when I wish I had someone else to do it all for me so I could concentrate on writing.
8. As an indie author, how do you find readers?
I started out as a book blogger, so I made a lot of connections in the book blogging world. When I finished Blue Sky Days and was looking for early reviewers, I started contacting the bloggers I knew, and asking if they’d be interested in reviewing the book. I talked about it on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter, and actually had people approach me asking for ARCs, which was great, because it saved me a lot of time. Other than that, I just blog surf, check people’s review policies, and email them if I think my book would be something they might enjoy.
9. What advice would you give to writers aspiring to go indie?
Put out a book that is the absolute best quality possible. There’s still a stigma attached to indie authors because of the people who write books, don’t edit them, and then publish them immediately. The appeal of instant gratification makes people impatient and careless, so they put out bad writing that then gives all indie authors a bad name. Go through the process of writing, rewriting, revising, and editing (and editing and editing again) – don’t skip any of those steps, because they’re all vital to a finished product that’s polished and looks professional.
Also, find support – I’ve found the indie community to be incredibly helpful and supportive. I feel like I asked other indie authors dozens of seemingly stupid questions, but they were always patient and kind, because we’re all in the same boat. One other piece of advice: do your research – read articles, read blogs, follow other indie authors on Twitter. Don’t go into it blindly because it seems like a good idea.
10. How do you come up with deadlines?
I set daily and weekly goals to write a certain amount each day or by the end of the week. I’m sort of fanatical about the goals I set, so I tend to get things done that way. As someone who’s self-employed, it would be really easy to let deadlines slip past because there are (usually) no huge repercussions, but it would be a dangerous habit to get into, and I’ve seen too many other people do it and then wonder why they never succeed.
11. What non-writing activities do you enjoy?
I’m an avid reader. Usually if I’m not writing, I’m reading. Other than that, I love music and movies, I’m a reality TV junkie (mostly wedding shows and home reno shows, which is strange since neither apply to my current life), and I’m an amateur photographer. I also knit scarves for charity – something my Grama got me into a year or so ago.
12. Where can we find you?
I’m everywhere! You can find me on Facebook at my main page Marie Landry, Writer, or my book page Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry. I also have a book blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer, and an author blog, Marie Landry, Author, and I’m on Twitter, GoodReads, and YouTube, too.
This week I’ll be interviewing authors who self published. As my first guest, I’m pleased to have indie author Andrew Cotto, with me!
Tell me about The Domino Effect.
THE DOMINO EFFECT is the story of Danny “Domino” Rorro, a charismatic kid from Queens staggered by the challenges of adolescence. The story follows his journey to a boarding school in New Jersey and back home to Queens, back to the person he was raised to be, guided by the benevolent teachings of his childhood.
Describe your writing career in five words or less.
Nothing else I’d rather do.
What made you decide to self publish?
Self publishing was not my first option. I have an agent, and we had great expectations for the book. She sent it out to dozens of traditional publishers and a few of the larger indies. I was hoping for a bidding war. What we got instead was a ton of flattering compliments but no one willing to publish the book (the reasons were fairly consistent around its non-contemporary YA components, which happened to be the things I liked best about it; in fact, I never saw it as a pure YA book, but one that readers, both young and adult, could enjoy). It was incredibly frustrating. After a while, my agent put the book aside and began focusing on my second novel (a noir she was able to sell to a small press; it comes out this spring). I was left with Domino, and I just couldn’t leave it on the shelf, so, I decided to self publish in hopes of proving to publishers that the book has critical and commercial appeal. So far, I’ve had lots of great reviews and two offers from mid-size publishers, but I’m holding out for the perfect partner.
How many hours a day do you devote to marketing?
I work full time teaching at a few colleges (I’m also married with two children), so I don’t have as much time to devote to marketing as I’d like, but I do manage to get an hour or so a day into marketing via facebook, twitter, etc. Forgive the flattery, but I’ve found blogs such as this one to be so helpful. I’m amazed by the community of people who love books and devote their time to spreading the good word about good books.
As an indie author, how do you find readers?
Great question. I’ll have to let you know when I find them. I’ve found lots of interest, but not a lot of readers…though I’m hoping said interest will lead to readers down the line. Fingers crossed…
What advice would you give to writers aspiring to go indie?
Make sure the book is done and professional before publishing. There’s a standard among the indie community, which is awesome, and there will be no place there for you unless your book meets those standards. Once the book warrants publication, invest some time learning how to market and self promote. Immerse yourself in the independent community and embrace the opportunities out there. Become a part of the community.
What or who keeps you writing?
At this point, I don’t think not writing is an option. It’s so much a part of my life that I just couldn’t put it aside, like a discarded hobby. That said, I’ve been doing more article work than novel writing (I’ve written dozens of articles for major journals, including the New York Times and the Good Men Project, where I am a regular contributor to both). I’m enjoying the short form of non-fiction very much, especially the ones in the personal essay or editorial realm. I do have a novella that I’m trying to stretch into a novel, though I have to admit that investing in another long work of fiction doesn’t inspire passion in me at this point. That will change, I’m certain.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Not surprisingly, I love coming-of-age novels – the types of books that are timeless and broad in appeal, like Catcher in the Rye, The Outsiders, To Kill a Mockingbird, Stand by Me, etc.). I also love “literary” noir/crime/mystery (“literary” as opposed to the pulpy, overly-violent, formulaic forms of the genre). In general, I’m open to any story that tells a good story in a manner that is well-crafted and accessible.
What writer most inspires you?
Roald Dahl is probably the writer I admire most because he tells such amazing stories via an incredibly descriptive, yet direct, writing style. I’m also blown away by the descriptive prowess of a mystery writer named James Lee Burke.
What non-writing activities do you enjoy?
My wife and two kids take precedence over all else, but I also love being with extended family and good friends, cooking…eating…laughing…listening to music. I’m also an Italophile, having lived in Tuscany for a year (it’s where I began writing Domino), so most things “Italy” are of interest to me. I love traveling, exploring new cultures. I love New York City (where I live), exploring new neighborhoods. I play guitar and someday need to get better and be in a band. Hopefully, when my books begin to sell, I’ll have more time for all of these things…
Where can we find you?
THE DOMINO EFFECT can be found at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and my own blog (links attached):
Today I have Karen Baney with me to discuss one of the most important aspects of self publishing–having a well edited manuscript! Anyone considering the self publishing route: please take to heart what she has to share!
Sometimes it feels like editing should be a four letter word. As authors, we hate it. Some of us are very bad at it. But it is a necessary evil—even more so for a self published author.
There are many different ways to get good editing without costing a fortune. One of the things I do is swap editing with other authors. I have one author who edits all my books. In exchange, I edit hers and give her advice on how to self publish.
What about your network of contacts? Do you have any former English teachers, professors, or editors in your network? If so, think about approaching them for editing help.
Take some time to brush up on your own editing skills. Even after I get my work back from my editors, I make changes and read through my manuscript several more times. I find things they missed or things I messed up when I made an edit they suggested. By spending a little time brushing up on my grammar, punctuation, etc., I am constantly sharpening my skills.
Of course, you can always hire a professional editor. There are many out there. If you do decide to go this route, get a recommendation or see if you can get them to edit a sample for you. Make sure you get your money’s worth.
Lastly, when a reader inevitably finds something in your final published work, don’t stress about it. Just take some time to fix it and re-upload it. No matter how many times a book passes through editing, there are always little things that get missed. Give yourself permission to be slightly less than perfect. After all, you’re only human.
Self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing. She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years. She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels. For more information about
Karen or her books, visit http://www.karenbaney.com.
Join Karen, Precarious Yates and 8 of their author friends at WoMen’s Literary Cafe’s Christian Book Launch, December 13-15. Ten authors will discount their ebooks to just 99 cents. Buy 3 get 1 FREE!
The story of self-publishing can be told in as many ways as there are authors who take this route. I hope you’re inspired by Jerri Lynn Ledford‘s journey–I certainly was!
1. Tell me about your book:
He hadn’t protected them.
When Homicide Special Investigator Jack Roe’s daughter is killed in an auto accident and his wife dies from a drug overdose, he abandons a promising career as a Military Police Officer. If only he’d been there when they needed him, he could have saved them both.
He didn’t protect her.
Six years later, Jack is in Biloxi, Mississippi to be close to his sister and her daughter, Lisa. As long as he’s around, nothing can happen to them. But then he’s called to the hospital in the middle of the night and learns that Lisa has been abused by her mother’s boyfriend. Jack must confront old wounds that never healed, and a burning anger that’s been buried for far too long.
She can’t protect him.
The same night, a woman’s body turns up on the beach. A few days later, so does another one. Jack must deal with his past and his present while he and his partner, Kate Giveans, race to find a killer before another woman dies. But Kate harbors a secret that just might get Jack killed.
The first book in the Biloxi Series
Available on Smashwords for $0.99!
2. If you took your main character out for dinner what would he/she order?
Jack would likely order a steak or burger. Maybe pasta if he’s in the right mood. He’s an ex-military guy, so he tends to have the military mindset about eating. It’s mostly just nourishment, but once in a while he enjoys the food, and when he does, his preference is something along the meat and potatoes line. Kate is actually pretty much the same. She’s not your typical Girly-girl. And she enjoys a steak as much as the the next guy. She can eat the Girly food, but it’s not her preference. One thing about Kate though…she would definitely follow any mean with a nice cup of coffee. She has a serious coffee addiction, though she’s not at the point where a good cup of coffee is like a fine glass of wine.
How would you describe your writing career in five words or less?
Varied, interesting, stressful, satisfying, and exciting.
What made you decide to self-publish?
Over the course of my career, I’ve had 18 nonfiction books traditionally published. I’ve also been a proponent of ePublishing since way back when the only ebook reader on the market was the Rocket eBook Reader. Along the way, I have learned something. Many publishers don’t realize the worth of the people who produce the products they sell – the author. Nonfiction is a little different from fiction, and I’ve had some pretty awesome publishers in the past, but the truth is, the author isn’t valued enough. So, when I finally finished Biloxi Sunrise, I knew that what I really wanted was to put the book out there for readers, but to stay in completely control of everything from the language and content of the book to the editing, design and layout. It’s not been an easy journey, but I currently have no plans to publish through traditional publishers in the future. I’m having far too much fun publishing on my own!
What is your favorite aspect of being a self-published author?
The control. Again, it’s a nonfiction reference, but I have worked on books in the past where the publisher dictated the wording of certain phrases and sentences that I was allowed to use. Quite frankly, I found it insulting to my readers. My preference would have been to leave the original wording in place, but I wasn’t allowed to have that kind of control. By self publishing, I have complete control. I have no one to answer to except the readers, which, as we all know can sometimes be a double edged sword. I’m okay with that, though. I think it makes for a better author/reader relationship.
What is your least favorite aspect of being a self-publish author?
Maybe the marketing? I state that as a question, because so far I’m having a pretty good time, though. Of course, it’s all new, and when loses the shiny-factor, then I suspect the marketing will be the part that I like the least. It is certainly the part that takes the most time away from writing the stories that keep me awake night…and there are quite a few of them.
What marketing advice would you give other self-published authors?
My best piece of advice is to be consistent, which of course, is something I myself struggle with. No matter what aspects of marketing that you might be doing, whether it’s blogging, social networking, or whatever, be consistent with it. I think it’s a good idea to schedule time every day to do it. Or to do some kind of marketing. It doesn’t have to be hours daily, but a little bit of time. My next best piece of advice is don’t cut corners. Self publishing isn’t cheap, even if you’re publishing electronically only. There are still cover designers and editors topaz, and marketing to invest in. Understand that going into it, and take the time and money to do it right. If you publisher your book the cheapest way possible, chances are you’re going to put out an inferior product. You’ll also probably upset your readers, because they’re going to expect quality in both your writing and the book that they purchase. And losing readers is not the end goal. Invest in quality. In the long run, it’s an investment in your future.
What is your favorite genre to read?
My brain candy, and incidentally what I love to write the most is suspense or thrillers. A cozy mystery now and again is great, and a romantic element is good too. But if I’m curling up with a good book, it’s likely tone Jeffery Deaver or Patricia Cornwell, or some other similar writer.
Tell us about your favorite non-writing activity?
You mean there’s more to life than writing? Okay, all jokes aside, my favorite non writing activity is spending time with my family. I have a couple amazing kids and a great husband. Anything we do is fun for me, especially if it include traveling. I’m a road trip junkie. Give me a good road trip anytime, whether its an hour away or 14 hours away. I love exploring new places. And i love it even more with my family along for the ride.
What writer most inspires you?
I don’t know that there is anyone writer. And I’ll be honest, the writers that I’m inspired by probably aren’t the same ones that anyone else would name. For example, I just finished reading Death’s Acre by Dr. Bill Bass. What a great book! I found myself wanting to dive into the stories that I’m working on and those that have been floating around in my head for so long. His book, although nonfiction, was very well written, and it contained so much information that I can use to make scenes in my writing more realistic. It just made me want to site down and write. And so many authors do that for me…I’d say whomever I happen to be reading ring at the moment is who inmost inspiring to me most of the time.
What (or who) keeps you writing?
I write because it’s who I am. I’ve tried to quit before, but that never seems to work out. After a while, I find myself writing all kinds of crazy stuff just to be writing. And I’ll weirdo scraps of paper,napkins, or whatever. I once wrote in chalk on the sidewalk, because the kids were young and that’s what was available to me at the time. Of course, the writing went away under the hose, along with the kids drawings, but I was writing. I couldn’t help myself. These days, if I skip a day or two of writing, my fingers start itching and the stories in my head will drive me crazy trying to get my attention. I’ve learned, it’s just way easier to be a writer than it is to not.
You can find Jerri Lynn Ledford at http://www.jerriledford.com/
As soon as I learned about the book Joab’s Fire, by Lynn Squire, I thought to myself, “I’d love to meet this author!” Two weeks later I was blessed with the opportunity to interview Lynn as part of my self-published authors series.
- Tell me about your book.
Joab’s Fire is about a family that loses everything and the mountie who investigates. But the story is much more than that. It is about the spiritual journey each person faces when they feel as though the hand of God is against them.
Joab Black and his wife Sarah overcame the worst of pioneer hardships in order to establish a prosperous farm in Alberta, Canada. But those challenges never prepared them for the tragedy they now faced—a staggering loss and intense pain causing them to doubt very thing they had ever believed. In the midst of their sorrow, even their closest friends interpret their sufferings as a result of God’s judgment. Has God abandoned them? Inspired by the Biblical book of Job, this novel includes a Bible study exploring the perfection of God’s plan and the bounty of His love even in the most inexplicable and intense sufferings.
2. What inspired you to write a novel based on the book of Job?
My own life. When I was nineteen and very sick I asked God why. He answered through the book of Job. Since then life hasn’t always been easy, but God has always been sovereign, faithful, and merciful. I wanted others to know the eternal hope we can have. We can’t focus on the things of today. This life, here on earth, is only a speck compared to all of eternity.
- If you had to describe your writing career in five words or less, what would you say?
A journey guided by God.
- What made you decide to self-publish?
In this particular case, because editors told me that American readers weren’t interested in a story from Canada. However, my over all decision for self-publishing had to do with my concerns with traditional publishers.
My family and I had the honor and pleasure of taking Dr. Benny Beckum out for supper last January. Dr. Benny Beckum is a multi-published and much sought after evangelist. He set up his own publishing company. Why? Because he did not want his work associated with some of the work being published by some traditional publishers. At the time of this conversation, I was having the same issues. I saw books coming into the Christian market that I know did not hold to the clear teachings, the precepts and principles, of Scripture.
Before this conversation with Dr. Beckum, I was going through the editing process with HigherLife Publishing. Even though this is not a traditional publisher, they employ a macro editor, a copy editor, and a proofreader. All of these people were great to work with. However, I did see potential for problems if an editor and myself did not agree. For example, I have determined that for my novels I will avoid the premarital kiss. This became an issue because traditionally a romance requires a kiss (not that Joab’s Fire is a romance). Now, this is one small issue, but what if the editor asked me to write something contrary to the clear teachings of Scripture, and my word was not the final word…the publisher could potentially follow the editor’s direction rather than my desire. The work would be published under my name with a truth I do not agree with. For me, upholding Biblical truth is more important than being published by a traditional publisher.
A third reason goes back to a decision I made a couple of years ago. After marketing my first book, I realized that at almost every opportunity I was sharing the Gospel message. My writing was not a business, but a ministry. I felt that if I were to follow wise Biblical counsel I needed to place my writing ministry under my church’s authority. To relate it to a business, my pastor and church would be my board of directors, holding me accountable. This meant that when issues arise via outside forces, I had the support I would need to stand on truth. And that is exactly how it has worked. My church has been a wonderful and faithful support. My pastor does not fear speaking the truth in love, and I am very grateful for that.
- What is your favorite aspect of being a self-published author?
Freedom. When the pressure of the release date came up and all the things of life I had to juggle circled around me, I realized that I could never handle the pressures many traditionally published writers would have to face. I’m not good with deadlines. Not that I can’t meet them, but I can’t handle the stress of them. I do crazy things like make spreadsheet after spreadsheet and never really accomplish anything. As a self-published author, I can adjust the timelines to meet my own personal needs, and I don’t have the pressure of having to net a certain income by a certain date.
- What is your least favorite aspect of being a self-publish author?
The loneliness. I often feel as though I’m immediately looked down upon by some traditionally published authors because I chose this route. They judge me by ‘self-published’ rather than on the merit of my work. This became very clear at a home school convention this summer. I’m sure the author wanted to be helpful and only saying what she believed was true, but her assault on self-publishing hurt. She didn’t understand why I chose this route, and yet she all but called me a bumbling fool for following it. I learned from that though. Not everyone is called to travel the same road I have, so I hope I am more careful about sharing my opinion with others (alas, I know I tend to speak before I think—a foible I’m working on).
- What marketing advice would you give other self-published authors?
Pace yourself. Plan your marketing a year in advance and know what works for the market you are targeting. Don’t expect immediate results and plan to market for many years afterward. My first self-published book sold out about five years after it printed. However, I covered my expenses long before that. My second full-length book sold enough to cover expenses within a few months. The printing process of these books were different (the second was POD) and so the expenses were substantially different.
- What is your favorite genre to read?
I love historical fiction.
- What writer most inspires you?
Sandi Rog. She has battled cancer for a long time. Her book, Yahshua’s Bridge, demonstrates a depth of faith and understanding of God few writers are capable of showing.
- What (or who) keeps you writing?
I have a compulsion to write. Even if no one else read my work, I’d still write. However, God’s encouragement keeps me putting it in front of others. The passion He has placed in my heart for Biblical truth and the love He has given to me for others, both Christian and non-Christian, drives me. I stumble along, rather clumsily addressing what I see, feel, and hear, and pray God will make up the difference.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lynn Squire is an avid writer who artistically intertwines Biblical truth with colorful narrative. Her childhood farm life,
coupled with her equestrian experiences, brings authenticity and heart to her stories. Lynn actively serves her church
through her writing in and in other ministries and is currently the president of the American Christian Fiction Writers San
Francisco Bay Area Chapter in California, where she resides with her husband and three children.
How to find Lynn Squire: http://www.lynnsquire.com/
It is my firm belief that anyone writing fiction should read at least one poem a week, if not fifty. I’d advise the same for anyone trying to navigate their way through life. I was privileged to be able to interview Jennifer Gillyard, author of the newly released book of poems: From Dreams, Through Wrestling to Fulfillment: Poems of Growth. Talking with Jennifer Gillyard is like encountering a living breathing poem: invigorating, joyful and surprising. I was so pleased to be able to meet this self-published author through friends at my church in Charlottesville. And I hope you get to know her, as well, through her poetry.
1. Jennifer, tell me about your book.
The poet Nikki Giovanni, said, “Poetry is a spirit and sometimes a spiritual experience. We can and do explore new worlds.” This book is a collection of poems that gives imagery to common thoughts and common journeys, as well as gives words to the silence in our relationships with nature, God, family, friends and ourselves.
There are five chapters, each chapter containing a different category, including wisdom and advocacy; family, friend or foe; and spiritual dialogue. At the end of each chapter there are blank journal pages, entitled Veins of Inspiration, where readers can transcribe their own feelings and process private thoughts.
2. What made you decide to self-publish?
For one, most people who get a book out there have a history of writing and have a publisher. I didn’t. Second of all, I had years worth of stacks of paper and poetry bubbling inside me. I thought, “What am I going to do with it?” And I felt God tell me to release it, to publish it, and not hold back. So don’t hold back. Let it be known. Wake the world and make them respond to your call. It is personal, but other people are going through it, too. When they come across my poem they’ll say, “Yes! This is how I feel!” We just need to write how we feel. We forget how freeing words can be, and putting it on paper can be so freeing. Poetry is an art, yes, but it starts with the words in your heart. It gives people images so they can say, “I am not alone.”
3. What marketing advice would you give other self-published authors?
Always have your book on hand. You are your project. Also, be strategic. Get ideas from other people around you. Gather all the resources around you. Dress the part, even if you are running errands. Make more connections. Use the time online wisely. I do e-mail marketing newsletters and find these useful to me.
4. How many hours a day/week/month do you devote to marketing?
I have a goal of four hours a day to marketing, but I do at least one hour a day. Sometimes that’s Facebook, e-mail, strategies with amazon.com.
5. What writer inspires you?
I started reading Maya Angelou at the age of 10 and she’s been my favorite ever since.
At UVA I learned to write from everything around me—to use imagery in every poem. I want people to go on a journey with me.
6. What is your favorite non-writing activity?
Well… I’m a WWE fan. That’s where the wrestling comes from. It’s a family thing. I’ve been watching WWE with my family since I was five and play wrestled with my dad. This was the one activity where the whole family would come together and enjoy each other’s company. It’s a bonding experience for us. It’s a family thing.
7. How can we find you/your book?
Additional information about the book:
From Dreams, through Wrestlings, to Fulfillment: Poems of Growth
by Jennifer C.W. Gillyard
“Poetry is a spirit and sometimes a spiritual experience. We
strive to understand and comfort. We seek to explain. A
journey is not so important at the end as it is that we began to
explore. We may not always find what we thought we were
looking for but we can and do discover new worlds. Such is this
fine work by a younger poetic voice in Jennifer Gillyard. Her
book From Dreams, Through Wrestlings, To Fulfillment dares
to venture into the spiritual world. This is a wonderful visit to
~ Nikki Giovanni (Poet)
“I’m not alone”…
Is what many of you might be saying after reading the book From Dreams, Through Wrestlings, To Fulfillment by a new poetic voice in Jennifer C.W. Gillyard. Through a collection of poems, this new author successfully gives imagery to common thoughts and common journeys as well as give words to the silence in our relationships with God, family, friends, nature, and ourselves.
From Dreams, Through Wrestlings, To Fulfillment is a thought-provoking, book with five chapters of poetry for all ages. It is a book about dreaming on purpose. It is a book about discerning friendships, appreciating lessons learned, and understanding the need for transitions. It is a book about family. It is a book about finding, losing and never attempting love. It is a book about seeking the essence of God. Simply stated, it is a collection of poetry addressing the matters of the heart. The reader will go on an exciting, powerful, emotional journey with the author, from page to page and chapter to chapter. The author gives each reader an opportunity to practice his or her own voice and talents through over 100 journal pages cleverly entitled “Veins of Inspiration.”
From Dreams, through Wrestlings, to Fulfillment: Poems of Growth (100+ Journal Pages Included)
by Jennifer C.W. Gillyard. An autographed copy of the book can be purchased for $15 through the author’s website: www.jenngillyard.com
Published By Author House. Purchase online and leave a review at: Author House, Barnes and Nobles, Amazon & Marketplace
Now I’m hoping Jennifer will come to the Dallas area to do an poetry reading!
I loved interviewing Lee Carver for the self-published authors series. She’s a member of the DFW Ready Writers, where I also attend since I moved to Texas this summer. She’s a fabulous writer and encourager, and has helped me with many of the formatting questions that come up for self-published writers. At her blog you’ll find fantastic advice and wisdom on the subject of self-publishing. I am indebted to the wealth of knowledge she’s shared on the subject! You’ll see the link at the end of the interview. But seriously, check out her book, especially if you’re a fan of romance.
- Tell me about your book. Love’s Second Verse is the courageous story of an Army widow in her forties, with two teenage sons. She must redefine herself, get a job to support her family, deal with the family con man, and rear those boys to be God-fearing men. And if she also has a second chance at a loving marriage, that would be so fine. The title comes from her past as a music teacher and soprano singer.
- If you took your main character out for dinner what would he/she order? She would definitely go to a fine seafood restaurant. All the men in her life feed her barbeque.
- What made you decide to self-publish? The short answer is impatience. I love the story of an overcomer with a sense of humor. I read a lot of traditionally-published books that are less well put together, have obvious errors and improbable characters. How do they get published?
- What is your favorite aspect of being a self-published author? Being in control of the entire process, from cover to final crit. Of course, the manuscript went through thorough vetting by an excellent writers’ crit group. But all the final decisions are mine. Another favorite aspect is that my normal (non-writing) friends don’t know the difference. I bought 40 copies at my author’s price, with low shipping cost per book, and people begged to buy them for $10.That’s 47% profit to me. Traditionally published books return a few cents per copy to the author, though they sell thousands to my hundreds.
- What is your least favorite aspect of being a self-publish author? Definitely marketing. Even FaceBook time is at cost to the creative time. Wouldn’t it be nice if the words flew from your computer to the eyes of the reader, with a soft “ka-ching” sound in the Ethernet?
- What marketing advice would you give other self-published authors? I’m just following the advice of others on marketing. I do FaceBook, my own blog and blog interviews by others, contact friends and family by e-mail, and have a very supportive group of friends. My church ladies are taking the book as their December book review. I’ve been on the radio and in the online newspaper of my hometown in Alabama. I just need to travel less and stay on the job at this point.
- What writing advice would you give to other self-published authors? Be the best you can be. Use Beta readers (non-writing readers) and writing crit group(s). Go to classes, take ACFW online classes, study the instruction manuals, get the formatting and spelling and grammar correct. Do it all! Don’t be sloppy just because you can put it out without passing through an editor.
- How many hours a day, week or month do you devote to marketing your books? I travel with my husband frequently and have lots of other activities, like our work with homeless women in Fort Worth. My work comes in bursts more than daily planned activity. I may do several days and evenings of concentrated writing and editing, and then play catch-up with real life. We’re about to do a three-week road trip for mission aviation concerns and visit both our grown children in distant states. I’ll be doing well to keep up with e-mails during that time, and I need to be nailed into my computer chair at home. This is my third total failure at Retirement 101.
- How do you come up with deadlines? I don’t have to earn a living, thank God. (A sincere praise, not using His name in vain.) My deadlines are self-motivated. Sure, I want the gratification of having my work read by others and receiving money for work, but Dear Hubby is pleased to support me and my writing efforts. He feels the value of God-centered fiction, and gives me free rein. I have a completed novel that I want to see published traditionally, so I do have hoops to jump through and keep an eye on the calendar as I write agents and publishers. And I’m writing another, totally different novel at the same time. Having a professional crit group every Thursday night keeps me writing and trying to perfect a chapter a week, at least. I don’t give them a half-baked chapter rampant with errors.
- Tell us about your favorite non-writing activity. They are many: sewing and quilting; I knit and crochet for the Prayer Shawl Ministry; sing alto in the choir and go to practices and both morning services for that; participate in an intensive Bible study with daily assignments; walk on a treadmill at home several miles most days (fighting Writer’s Wide-bottom Disease); I work with a women’s circle of hands-on do-gooders at church; I’m treasurer of the church women’s unit and secretary of DFW Ready Writers, the local chapter of ACFW, DH and I give talks on Brazilian missionary aviation in the Amazon, sell Stream Energy to benefit missionary aviation; and did I say travel with my husband?
- What (or who) keeps you writing? I love the wordsmithing activity, like a never-ending puzzle of infinite solutions. To be doing this and feel its outreach for the kingdom of God hits a lot of my hot buttons.
- How can we find you? www.LeeCarverWriter.com and http://leecarverwriter.blogspot.com/, Lee Carver on FaceBook, and by typing in “Lee Carver” on www.Amazon.com for the print and Kindle versions and www.Smashwords.com for all other e-book formats. My e-mail is LeeCarver2@aol.com , and I love hearing from readers.
Here’s to all the steam-punk fans–both writers and readers–what a great genre, eh? This evening I’m posting the interview with self-published author, Shelley Adina, where she shares about her book, Lady of Devices, and about wisdom she gleaned from the self-publishing process. I have to tell you, this book is definitely going on my wish-list!
Tell me about your book.
Lady of Devices is one of the novels that I produced while I was in the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University. It’s a steampunk young adult novel, which means it’s an alt-historical set in 1889 London, with airships, automatons doing the housework, and a heroine, Claire Trevelyan, who has an unfortunate habit of blowing things up. This is a terrible liability when you’re seventeen and about to make your debut into London society. Claire’s father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses (because everyone knows the world runs on steam) and Claire is forced out onto the streets. Here her talent for inventing devices and causing explosions comes in very, very handy.
If you took your main character out for dinner what would he/she order?
She wouldn’t be fussy. She’s living on the streets, and before she learned the ropes, she would eat anything you put in front of her before you could say “Jack Robinson.”
If you had to describe your writing career in five words or less, what would you say?
Too many pseudonyms.
What made you decide to self-publish?
I’d had 17 books published by New York (Harlequin, Warner, FaithWords) so I had a good track record, but this book was too different from what I’d done before. It wasn’t romance, it wasn’t contemporary glitz, it wasn’t even women’s fiction. So after 10 publishers turned it down, I decided to put it out there myself. I got an amazing cover image from PhatPuppyArt.com, had a friend do the lettering, and voila! It hit the bestseller list the first week and has stayed in the top 20 for Historical Fantasy ever since. Take that, New York. ::covers mouth:: Did I say that?
What is your favorite aspect of being a self-published author?
Covers. I adore making covers. Hours go by, I swear, while I noodle around with images and typefaces and design. I make the mockups in Pages, a Mac application, and then my designer transports them into Photoshop and makes them into something that can be seen in public.
What is your least favorite aspect of being a self-published author?
Trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. What will catch a browsing reader’s attention and what won’t. I also have a vampire story up called Immortal Faith. It’s selling, but not nearly as well as the Lady. It would be nice to know why. Maybe people are sick of vampires and steampunk is still fun and fresh.
What marketing advice would you give other self-published authors?
Make sure your cover is fabulous and your manuscript has been professionally edited. A good cover is more than slapping a few images together and throwing it up there. Have a professional designer do it if you can. Your book may only have a second or two to catch a reader’s attention, so you want that little thumbnail to work as hard as it possibly can.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I’m all over the map. I like Connie Willis for SF/F, I like Kristin Hannah for women’s fiction, I like Troon Harrison for children’s books, I like Jenny Crusie and Jennifer Skully for romance … and I really like Scott Westerfeld and Cherie Priest for steampunk. They’re my idols.
Tell us about your favorite non-writing activity?
I rescue chickens, so spending time with them and enjoying their company is high on the list. I also play the piano and the Celtic harp, and I love shopping. I like to garden, too, but I’m not very good at it. Things die. It’s a mystery.
What writer most inspires you?
Bella Andre, who writes sexy romance. She is a wonder … and a good friend. I aspire to have a career like hers someday.
What (or who) keeps you writing?
The characters nattering away in my head! They only quiet down when their story is finished, so if I don’t keep at it, they don’t stop. Right now Lady Claire is quite put out that she has to wait in line behind the book I have due on November 1 (an Amish women’s fiction novel called The Hidden Life, written as Adina Senft). Claire is anxious to get on with the second book in the Magnificent Devices trilogy, Her Own Devices, which I’ll be releasing just after Christmas.
Thanks for letting me stop by! You can find Lady of Devices here:
Amazon: Lady of Devices
Barnes & Noble: Lady of Devices
Smashwords: Lady of Devices
You can find Shelley Adina at: