Sabrina Ricci

cover1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.

The world will not end in 2012, Amara just knows it.  The 20-year-old college reporter is set on debunking the Maya calendar myths and restoring the peace. But when a covert group starts hunting her, she and her roommate Cayden are forced to uncover her grandfather’s mysterious past.

At 20-years old, Mahaway is the brightest scribe in Ox Te’ Tuun, a powerful ancient Maya city.  Then in 900 A.D., her life is torn apart by a greedy new king’s war.  She, her best friend Yochi, and a new friend Ichik must band together to fight back and save their home.  In doing so, they expose a deadly weapon, one that threatens to ruin everything.

Though these two young women live in different ages, their paths’ cross when Amara is tasked with discovering and stopping a secret before December 21 to save herself, and the world.

(On a side note, you’ll learn some interesting facts about the classic Maya reading my book. I did a lot of research, and tried to incorporate as much as I could.)

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

For a few reasons.  Writing is something I have to do—if I go for long periods of time without writing, I feel anxious and restless.  After getting my M.S. in publishing and working for a couple publishers, including Simon & Schuster and Random House, I decided that I really liked e-books and experimenting with different models.  Digital publishing has really leveled the playing field for indie authors, I think, and I wanted to learn everything I could about it.

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David Carroll

David Carroll has found a way around the boundaries of traditional publishing, going it alone as a self-published indie author. Learn more about his writing and which marketing methods have worked best for him.

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

Princess Nenji is named as the next queen when a dragon hunts down the royal family. But before she can claim her throne, she must resolve the politics about her being a Mage’s apprentice, and embark on a quest to stop the Dragon King from finishing the job. She meets fascinating creatures, and learns a lot about herself along the way.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

The publishing industry has been in chaos since 2009. Very few new authors are given the royal treatment anymore. No one can be “just an author” until they sell enough books to pay someone to do everything else. While distribution methods have been accessible to everyone, and marketing is required of authors whether indie or traditional, it seemed like a good time to go it alone.

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

I have not been traditionally published because the big publishers need me to prove myself first, and the small publishers might not survive long enough to get my books to print.

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Florence Osmund

Florence Osmund self-published her first book, The Coach House, earlier this year.  In that time she has picked up a lot of great marketing tips, and she shares them here.

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

1945 Chicago.  Newlyweds Marie and Richard Marchetti have the perfect life together.  Or at least it seems until Marie discovers he secretly attends a mobster’s funeral.  And when she inadvertently interrupts a meeting between Richard and his so-called business associates, he causes her to fall down the basement steps, compelling her to run for her life.  Ending up in Atchison, Kansas, Marie quickly starts a new life for herself in a coach house apartment.  Ironically, it is the discovery of the identity of her real father and his ethnicity that changes her life more than Richard ever could.

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

One thing is for sure: books don’t market themselves, so we indie authors have to be diligent and creative in our marketing efforts.  Two ‘musts’ I believe are creating a website and maintaining a blog.  People just expect it, and if you want to get the word out about yourself and your books, you have to have these.  Some other methods I’ve used are the creation of Amazon and Facebook author pages, adding links to my website and blog in my e-mail signature block, participating in online discussion groups, seeking out book reviews, subscribing to book promotion sites, sending out a good press release, including testimonials in my website and blog, participating in online interviews such as this one, contacting book club members, and networking with family and friends.  If all my Facebook friends were to re-post my book announcement, I would reach close to 10,000 more people.  That’s a lot of potential book sales!

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Guy Portman

Guy Portman is relatively new to the self-publishing world but is already picking up a lot.  Find out what he’s learned about effective use of social media and what he would do if he could start the process again.

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

The following is the blurb for Charles Middleworth: What happens when Adrian, an actuary, has his banal and predictable existence turned upside down by sinister forces that he can neither understand nor control?  How will he react to a revelation that leaves his life in turmoil? Will he surrender or strive for redemption in an altered world, where rationality, scientific logic and algorithms no longer provide the answers?

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

It seemed like the most rational decision considering the current publishing situation.

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

I have not attempted to go down the traditional route.  Charles Middleworth is not what I imagine publishers would necessarily consider a commercially viable commodity, like a vampire and/or erotica book for example.

4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?

It’s been a rewarding journey into the unknown.  I have a great deal yet to learn and appreciate the fact that it is going to take time to generate sales.

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Kevin Kierstead

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

We are focused on small-time threats in America right now: terrorists, “lone-wolf” scenarios, gangs, etc.  We don’t see a real threat in the way of an entire country attacking us.  China, though, is fully capable of attacking us and they have a massive amount of strength–the only thing holding them back, if they decided to do it, would be the threat of a nuclear strike, so this book ponders what might happen if they could figure out a way around that problem.  Ultimately, though, with that as the background story, this is a story about survival after a devastating tidal wave that was over 100-yards tall.  One young man, one young dog, one young woman and one old man come together in unlikely ways and begin to fight through their struggles together.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

Honestly?  I have a problem with authority!  But it wasn’t just that.  I did the whole agent/publisher dance on and off for 20 years.  Back in 1994, when I finished my first novel, I had it accepted by an agency called the Thornton Literary Agency and it was scheduled to be published under the Electric Umbrella but their company went into a hiatus and the rest is history.  That kind of unpredictability along with the growing trend of agents/publishers chasing “what’s hot” vs. looking for new talent in any genre is what pushed me here.  I love nothing more than having total control over my work.  Except for writing.

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Glenn Langohr

His time in prison, and the life he turned around afterwards, form the basis of Glenn Langohr’s writings.  Learn how he got all seven of his books in the top 100 of their categories and what you can learn by studying other authors.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.

Curious about the drug war, gangs, or the atmosphere in the hardest core prisons in California?  I take you on a journey from a runaway childhood, to addict and drug dealer, into the drug war for an inside look at Mexican cartel wars, corrupt narcotic detectives and a California Prison Union bent on breeding bigger criminals.  Here’s a couple of reviews for my crime thriller, Underdog (Prison Killers Book 4).

“Ex-con Langohr can describe the hell of life inside better than any other writer.  His vivid passages on just surviving in prison describe a nightmare we’d rather not know about.  He compares the plight of abandoned dogs, locked and horribly mistreated in rows of cages in animal shelters, to California prison inmates, locked and abused in the same cages.  Not a book for the faint of heart.  We who sleep peacefully in our beds at night, unaware of the savagery going on behind prison walls, can only thankfully say: ‘There, but for the grace of God, go I’.”  John South, American Media

“With lazer-like precision Glenn Langohr lays bare the festering under-belly of our criminal justice system in a driving, graphic narrative that somehow finds the humanity in this most inhuman setting.” Phillip Doran, TV Producer and Author

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

My first novel Roll Call was written from prison and when I got out, I read the Publishing Guide for Dummies and studied a lot of other self-publishing guides.  What I learned excited me to the point I went with Amazon and Createspace to put it in print and on the Kindle.

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

For all seven of my books, I’ve gone indie.  I love the control and freedom of being able to lower the prices, personally engage with readers, and not have to give most of the profits away.  I have published a few articles about the drug war and prison conditions in magazines to build up the expert status on the subjects.

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Frank Coles

Frank Coles brings a wealth of experience to his writing and has enjoyed success in indie and traditional publishing.  Learn how he’s mastered marketing across a variety of media (social and traditional formats) and why reviews are so important.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.

Dark Market (Assassin’s Rule): Kill anyone, anywhere, anytime.  Never get caught.

John Savage is a special force of one.  A corporate investigator who had to leave when an investigation went wrong.  He’s become a 21st century warrior serving overseas, but not for any one government, only the highest bidder.

When he finds a dead body with links to his old life, he returns and finds that what forced him out was only the beginning of a conspiracy to commit murder on a grand scale: the Dark Market, in which anyone can take part and anyone can be a victim.  Now Savage must battle to finish what he started.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I get a buzz from writing, the blank page is like siren call from another world for me.  I’ve been writing professionally in one way or another for nearly two decades – TV, journalism, advertising, branding.  Writing has taken me to the North Pole and all around the world.  Then I became an ‘author’ four years ago.  Since then my writing output has dropped.  It became all too much about guessing what agents, editors and sales departments were up to.  Learning all about the shadier parts of the business that are in plain view and pitching all the time – but so slowly – because the business is so slow.

Now don’t get me wrong, my bread and butter has always been pitching, whether it’s TV programs and formats or journalism and brand concepts.  But there is a big disconnect in publishing between, well, everything: traditional and indie, agents and editors, slush piles and proper business development, taking risks and playing it safe, publishing times.  It’s a book in itself!

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