Fred Gordon

fredgordon1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.

My name is Fred Gordon, I’m a C5-C6 quadriplegic.  I wrote an autobiography of my life called Still Looking Up.  I wrote the book in hopes of inspiring any reader but especially people with spinal cord injury.  In my years of being in a wheelchair I’ve heard horror stories of depression, not wanting to live and the hard times of adjusting to a new situation.  I’ve been blessed to have not gone through any hard times with adjusting, and I want to give back to those that do.  Not just SCI or wheelchair individuals but anybody that has gone through something that had the potential to stop their progression through life.

I try to give a picture of my life before the chair, so when they see my life after the chair they can see not much changed as I grew from a misguided teenager into manhood.  I tried to tell my story as it happened, from going to jail, to losing the love of my life, to the initial accident, to getting saved and married.  I put it all on the table, good and bad.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

It’s funny you asked that because I wasn’t sure what an indie writer was before this interview.  I don’t know, when I used to get sick and had to go to the hospital, I would talk to the nurses and share my life with them, and a lot of them would say I should write a book.  I heard that for years and then one day, a quiet voice said, you need to write that book.  So I started writing.  I didn’t have a real plan, I’ve been winging it for real.

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Lynette White

Lynette White avoided the vanity press route and opted for self-publishing instead.  Find out which vendor she uses for marketing and the one thing she’d do differently if she could start over.

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

Betrayal is tearing at the very fabric of the twin cities and they are on the verge of collapse.  The frightened citizens are turning on the garrisons, the gods, and each other.  Commander Shadoe Van Ives discovers how to save them if he can stay alive long enough to find someone he can trust.  Shadoe must outmaneuver the enemies inside and outside the walls of the twin cities before time runs out for him and for them.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

I have wanted to publish my work for a long time but kept letting life get in the way.  It took my dying mother to make me realize I am the only one who can make my dreams come true.  Being an unknown, I was lured to a vanity press.  Fortunately for me I was pointed in the direction of indie publishing before I made a critical mistake.

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

Not yet.  I am still working on finding the way in.  I have the tools now to pursue that avenue and will begin the process soon.

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R.G. Taark

R.G. Taark is a sci-fi writer who has already experienced success with the indie writing process.  Learn which marketing methods work for him and what he would have done differently he could go back.

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

My Guardsman series is a science fiction mystery, set in a “Bladerunner” style world, with direct action and very human goals and desires.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

I first started writing as a hobby.  My life was turned upside-down and I had to start over again at 33.  While I was working on the state licensing requirements for my “real life” business I started writing books and stories I had in my head during my spare time.  I enjoyed writing and found a mentor who taught me what I needed to do to make my disparate scribblings into a coherent book.  When I was done I published my first book and the second followed quickly.

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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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Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald has been writing in a variety of formats for years, and has enjoyed the self-publishing process. Find out why she likes the free promotions on Amazon’s KDP Select, and which vendors she chooses for her marketing.

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

Have you ever noticed that two people can be faced with the same crisis and while one becomes hopelessly mired in a web of negativity and feelings of helplessness, the other is able to overcome adversity and bounce back stronger than ever?

The hard truth is that from time to time we are all going to stumble; encounter unexpected detours, and fail. No matter how much we try to outrun or sidestep adversity, it is going to happen. So the real question then becomes not how to avoid obstacles, but how to use them to our advantage.

By choosing to look at all experiences as opportunities for growth and greater long-term resilience, we are able to approach life on a whole new level and embrace our experiences with much more enthusiasm. Adversity can present us with the opportunity to realign ourselves with what is really important in our lives and in the process strengthen confidence in ourselves and our abilities.

The good news is that research has proven that resilience is not a genetic gift for the lucky few. It is a set of skills that can be practiced and mastered over time and Stepping Stones to Greater Resilience is a self-directed learning guide that shows the way.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

I’d have to say I was technically an “indie writer” long before the term was coined. I live on a small island so it’s natural to end up a sort of jack of all trades. In every job and volunteer position I’ve ever held I’ve ended up as the official scribe and written everything from materials for fundraising to scripts for travel industry promotional films and public relations kits, to marketing materials for the local arts and cultural center. I even co-authored a native Hawaiian cookbook for a local nonprofit. So I was already comfortable with the role of an independent writer when I began blogging a couple of years ago and over time that naturally evolved into my first book.

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

To be honest I never considered approaching a traditional publisher. What I find most appealing about self-publishing, particularly in a digital format, is having the ability to try new things and control the process, which suits my independent and creative nature.

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

Overall I love it. Of course with anything in life there are pros and cons and this is no different. I had no clue what I was doing when I started, so I faced a huge learning curve. Fortunately I’m not shy about asking questions or trying new things and I have learned to define my occasional stumbles as ‘growth’ opportunities.

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

While I don’t view it as a long-term strategy, I am a big fan of Amazon’s KDP program as an opportunity for new authors to get their work into the hands of large numbers of readers. I know there are a lot of people who view the ‘free’ promotions as a negative, but my experience has been that my sales spike sharply right after a free day, so for me it’s worked well.

My blog has been a very important tool as well. I’d already been blogging for a couple of years and had a good size following before I published my first book, so there’s been a lot of support there.

Otherwise I’ve found author communities to be incredibly supportive. Most authors are very generous with advice and cross promoting on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

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

Living on a small island tends to automatically eliminate a few of the traditional promotional activities. For example there is only one bookstore here, it’s on the other end of the island and I’ve never known them to host author readings or book signings.

I have listed my books in quite a few directories, as well as sites such as Goodreads, but don’t invest a lot of time attempting to pursue readers on these sites. It’s not that I don’t see the value of every single reader, it’s that you have to draw the line somewhere or you’ll end up spending more time promoting than writing.

7. Which services or vendors do you recommend for the marketing methods you used?

I don’t do a lot of direct mail because of the expense, but I do think it’s important to have a quality business card and media kit. For business cards and postcards, actually any business materials, I go with Vista Print. Their prices and service are excellent, but what I also like is how user friendly their platform is when it comes to customizing your materials. As a hands-on artist that is very import to me.

Another vendor I love and have used for years is Zazzle to create promotional materials like logo pins and t-shirts and you can customize pretty much every item they carry. Again the service and pricing are terrific, but the best thing is that unlike most promotional outlets they do not require bulk purchases. So let’s say you have a special event coming up and you want to create a logo pin or t-shirt promoting your book just for you to wear, you can do that!

8. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?

It was quite an eye opener to learn how many professionals continue to only review books that have been published traditionally. As if that weren’t challenge enough, I’ve also learned just how tough it can be to get professional reviews for nonfiction books. I had no idea there were so many reviewers who will only review fiction.

9. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?

I now have a far better understanding of the value of creating a ‘launch event.’ I’ll be publishing my third book in a couple of weeks and I’m doing a lot more advance work like building an ‘interest’ list, working with affiliates and offering special bonuses for the launch. I’ll keep trying new things and evolving the process with each new publication.

10. Indie authors face the challenge of marketing their books without the resources of traditional publishers. What advice do you have for an indie just starting out?

Take a deep breath and plan for the long haul. Don’t believe the people who tell you you’ll never make a dime, or the people who try to sell you a formula to make an ‘easy’ bundle. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, just don’t repeat them. And, most important of all, write more than you promote. It’s very easy to get caught up in the promotion of your current book and let days and weeks go by without writing a word. Whatever you do, keep writing.

11. What are you currently working on?

The name of my new book is It’s Your Time Now – A Guide to Living Your Life by Design.

Most people are familiar with the term ‘life design’ but few people really understand what that really means, or where to begin to live life intentionally when you’re already up to your eyeballs in life and responsibilities. This book is a guide to bring into focus the steps to begin the journey to mastering your life by design.

12. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?

Life doesn’t get easier – we get better.

13. How can readers learn more about your books?

Either at my blog, IGG – Tips, Tools & Tantalizing Ideas, or my new Facebook page, Living Your Life by Design. Both sites include links to download a free chapter and to the product pages at Amazon.

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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R.M. Kelly

Author R.M. Kelly enjoys the art of writing and was inspired by her work with a small indie press to go into self-publishing.  Learn why she focuses her marketing efforts on the indie community, rather than traditional media, and which vendor she favors for book covers.

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

My collection of short stories, Shorter Than The Wick, includes three about the Ghost Files team and their tales on a reality ghost hunting show run by idiots who happen to meet spirits from the other side. Another story is about a husband and father looking for any kind of forgiveness from his family during the Arab Spring after a tragedy.  One of my favorites is about the oldest vampire on earth loosing her ability to seduce blood from mortals after falling in love with a very modern man.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

Because telling stories, creating worlds for a reader to live in, really comes naturally to me.  Writing is simply a part of me and the way I look at the world.  It’s fun and enraging at times but always important for me to have the time and opportunity to tell stories.

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

Well I’m an editor for a small indie e-book publisher, nuever.com, so that was simply what felt like the best approach to publishing. Getting my books out in the new medium as the e-book market grows.

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