Week two of Indie Author April has brought Loretta Boyett, author of Deadly Betrayal here to talk with us about her walk through the Independent Publishing world. One of the biggest things I’ve learned in this process is how each Indie Author has something to teach me through their experience.
First tell us a little about your book(s).
I write Christian romantic suspense and have one published novel, Deadly Betrayal, the First in my Hidden Danger Trilogy. You can check it out on my blog.
The last two Hidden Danger novels were already started when my twenty-three-year-old granddaughter, Melissa, who was like a daughter to me, died. I fell apart and have been too devastated to write much since. However, now I’m finally ready to dive in once more and hope to complete those two soon.
What formats of Indie Publishing have you used? (ex: Self-publishing House, Kindle, Smashwords, Create Space)
I used Book Baby to self publish my ebook because I knew zilch about publishing and they were offering a premium package at a special price of $149. One great thing about Book Baby is that they pay me everything they receive from sales, taking no percentage for themselves. They also offer their ebooks on many sites and formats in addition to Amazon—iBook, Nook, etc., but that’s not as important now as it was then because Amazon has free apps that convert ebooks into these formats.
For my paperback, I used CreateSpace. They are wonderful to work with. I will definitely use them again. One big advantage is that they offer the book on Amazon as a Print On Demand that ships quickly, and you don’t have to buy books from your publisher and then pay to ship them to Amazon. This saves a lot of money. Also, they are very reasonable in the price I pay to order copies that I sell myself. I usually make $8 – $10 profit when I sell autographed copies.
Do you have one you prefer above another?
I learned a lot from Book Baby but don’t think I will need their help any longer. My next ebook will probably be published with Amazon Kindle. I published a short poem with them just to see how they work and am totally satisfied with their process. CreateSpace will definitely be my choice for the paperback.
Is there a reason you chose the independent route?
- I want to own my book, not sell it to a company who can make any changes they want without my approval. (I have friends who’ve had this problem.)
- I love the challenge of learning how to do new things. Self-publishing was definitely a challenge, and I learned a whole lot.
- The Lord called me to write, so I don’t do it for the money (good thing, huh?), but I do make a lot more from book sales than I would if I had to pay a publisher and agent their cut. And, let’s face it. We have to do most of the marketing anyway, whether we go with a publishing house or self publish.
Do you do your own editing, cover design, and promoting as well?
Editing: Although we all must self-edit, every book should be professionally edited before publication. I have a great editor/teacher/mentor who also taught me how to write fiction when I first started.
Cover Design: Hiring a book cover designer is expensive. I knew that Emily Ann Benedict had created her own cover for one of her books and questioned her about it. Following her advice, I designed my own cover using Photoshop and really enjoyed the process. For the front cover, I received directions for dimensions, etc. from Book Baby. For the back cover and spine, I obtained the necessary information from CreateSpace. I had difficulty doing the spine, so I paid CreateSpace $45 to do it.
Promotion: I’ve done very little marketing because of my granddaughter’s death. I attended two book fests, but children’s books seem to be what most people buy at these gatherings. Most of my paperback sales came from autographed copies bought by family, friends, past students, my physicians, and others whom I met in different places. I usually carry a book with me and have a box full in my trunk. I’ve sold quite a few just by having one out where it can be seen. I sold five one day in the beauty shop while I was waiting on my husband to pick me up. I had bookmarks printed and put one in every paperback I sell and everything I mail, including Christmas cards and bill payments.
What did you not expect when you came into the Indie world?
Being somewhat ostracized by some published authors, although this was not true of many who interviewed me on their blog. This might not be a problem now since a lot of “published” authors are beginning to self pub themselves, and self-published books can now be listed under Fiction Finder on the ACFW website.
Are you considering traditional publishing any time in the future? Not right now.
Any last words of advice for fellow Indie Authors?
— Hire a good editor. You don’t want to put your name on something that isn’t professional.
— Prepare in advance for your book release.
— Bookmarks are excellent, inexpensive giveaways. Also order a poster of your book cover to use at book signings. I used UPrinting.com for mine and they did an excellent job.
— Get an article about your book in your local newspaper, if possible. The small, neighborhood ones are easier.
— Schedule as many book signings in advance as possible.
— Of course, post an announcement on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Linkedin, Pinterest, etc. and have your Facebook author page and website ready to launch (or already out there.)
— Don’t hesitate to ask questions of other Indie authors. Most are quite willing to help you.
Finally, since this business is all about word of mouth, do you have any Indie Writers you enjoy?
This is an interesting question because it is becoming difficult to tell a self-published book from one published by a small publishing house—unless, of course, you know the names of different publishing houses. Also, a lot of famous authors are creating their own publishing house. For example, Angela Hunt, whom I read often, now has her own publishing house, and, therefore, could be considered self-published. I believe Emily Ann Benedict was the first self-published author I read. I also read a short story self-published by James Scott Bell. Catherine Leggitt’s first novel in her Christine Sterling Mystery series was self-published by WestBow Press, but the series was later picked up by Ellechor Publishing House, LLC. Right now, I’m reading a self-published novel by Jessica Nelson, who also publishes novels with Love Inspired. Rosemary Hines is another self-published author I’ve read. There are others I’m sure I’m missing. The point is, I think self-publishing is here to stay.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences and answer my questions, Loretta!
As with all Indie Author April posts one reader will receive a $5 Amazon gift card.