My Indie Story + Giveaway

Bio PicYes, I am ending the month of Indie Author April by actually interviewing myself. Strange, I know. But I’ve been asked before to write about my publishing experience, so I figured this might be a good opportunity to go about it. And, yes, this does end with a chance to win one of my books. :)

First tell us a little about your books.

My first mystery novel, Only Angels Are Bulletproof, was published in 2008. Since then I’ve published two novels in The Father Christmas Series, and have one novella, The Moment Max Forgot Me, available as a free download.


Angles CoverWhat formats of Indie Publishing have you used?

I used a self-publishing house for Only Angels Are Bulletproof. Both Christmas novels were published through Kindle’s ePublishing program. I used Smashwords for The Moment Max Forgot Me. They will host free books.

Do you have one you prefer above another?

While I enjoy the fact that a self-publishing house allowed me to have physical copies of my book, did editing and cover design for me and set up a few interviews, over all I’ve had a much better end result from Kindle’s program. Straight to the point, I lost money on a self-publishing house, but I’ve actually been able to make a little on Kindle. Their system is pretty comprehensive, including providing yearend tax statements.

Is there a reason you chose the independent route?

I think my initial decision to independently publish had a lot to do with both fear and impatience. Just the slightest bit of research on the publishing industry will scare you into certainty that your book will never see the light of an editor’s office. I was in my early twenties at the time, just coming off the recovery of a serious illness and not the least bit ready to face rejection like what I was reading about. I mean, really, are we ever ready?
However, in the end I’m glad I chose this route to start with. It allowed me to build some confidence, know trials and frustrations and failures in its own way, connect with readers and have amazing experiences like book signings and school events. Did I tell you I got fan art? (look here)

Do you do your own editing, cover design, and promoting as well?FCC JPEG 1

Nowadays I do it all. I actually love cover design. I did both Father Christmas Novels and The Moment Max Forgot Me. Photoshop and I have fond feelings for each other. Editing and I are trying to get along. I’m kind of an intense, get it all on the paper at once, writer. So, without the help of some very patient family member-proofreaders, I would be incoherent. I am looking into a professional proofreader, but I’ll just have to see what is in the budget for this year.

Any technical issues?

Kindle does not format itself!!! If you have never published through Kindle I will stress above all else that you have to learn how to format. If you just write a manuscript in MS Word and hit upload you are going to end up with tons of weird gaps and breaks in the middle of your sentences. Do your research on this one. Kindle doesn’t get along with most word-processing programs and its “Preview” feature lies!

What did you not expect when you came into the Indie world?

I didn’t expect to have to become so technical. When I started writing I was typing up simple manuscripts on a shared family computer. These days I work off of dual screens, know how to write some basic code, design and support my own website, Photoshop covers together and feature my work on multiple social media platforms. I’m no IT wiz, but I have to know my way around.

Are you considering traditional publishing any time in the future?

Yes. I would still like to traditionally publish a book and am currently working my way towards that goal. My life never works out the way I think it should and sometimes it just plain works out irrationally, so we’ll just have to see how things go.

FCP JPEG 1Any last words of advice for fellow Indie Authors?

Tons! Pay attention to your proofreading and formatting. A good cover is unfathomably valuable. Always be good to your readers and cordial to your critics. Try not to get bogged down by the people who are still trashing independent publishing like carriage company owners at the advent of the automobile, but also don’t be afraid to take a step into the traditional publishing world. And don’t Indie Publish if you aren’t going to enjoy at least a little bit of the ride. ;)

Finally, since this business is all about word of mouth, do you have any Indie Writers you enjoy?

All of the writers featured here over the last couple of weeks come highly recommended. Please, check each one of them out!
Tyrean Martinson
Loretta Boyett
Sarah Scheele
Warren Baldwin

And now for the giveaway!

Enter to win a $5 Amazon Card + a free copy of any of my books. By leaving a comment. (The Moment Max Forgot Me is always free, so don’t pick that one)Free MFM

And thank you again to all of the authors and readers who have joined me over the last month. I learned something from each author’s experience. Hopefully this month has helped writers considering this route of publishing, or opened someone up to the idea of reading independent authors.

Indie Author April: Loretta Boyett + Giveaway!

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, LorettaDeadly 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? 

  1. 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.)
  1. I love the challenge of learning how to do new things. Self-publishing was definitely a challenge, and I learned a whole lot.
  1. 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.

Deadly Betrayal Bk CoverAny technical issues? None that I remember.

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.

To enter to win, please leave a comment on this post with your email address. Additional points given for following Loretta’s Blog and Twitter Account!

A Paranormal Writer? Me?

I was delighted recently to find myself listed on a book review site’s recommendation list. However, I was startled to find it listed my geParanormalnre as “paranormal.” Paranormal? Me? I don’t know about you, but when I hear the term paranormal in conjunction with writing my mind jumps to Twilight or the Vampire Academy. After all, the vast majority of slots on the paranormal shelf are occupied by vampires, zombies, wizards and super heroes. In that same vein, with all the dark arts cluttering this genre, I really don’t think of paranormal even being a segment of Christian fiction. Sure, there is a guy who is currently writing Christian vampire novels because he feels like the real issues of vampirism are not being dealt with in popular fiction. To which I can only say, Dude, there are no real issues of vampirism because there are no real vampires.

Anyway, I’ve always classified my first novel, Only Angels Are Bulletproof, as a mystery/detective novel and The Father Christmas Series as Romantic Comedy, but then I started to think about it. Well, yes, Only Angels Are Bulletproof is the story of a FBI agent investigating a series of bank robberies…but then there is that whole part about the apparent miracle occurring during one of the robberies. And The Father Christmas Series is simply a new take on the legend of Santa Claus…of course, Santa Claus’ have “gifts” which are outside normal human abilities. The only novel I have that doesn’t include anything a little out of the ordinary is The Moment Max Forgot Me, and I’ve never felt that story has a definable genre (legal-drama-comedy?). So, yeah, I guess in a way paranormal can be used to describe me. And in that case I guess you can say there is place for paranormal in Christian fiction.

….But I’m still a Romantic Comedy-Mystery writer in my head. I think that counts for something. ;)