Suzy Milhoan

Suzy Milhoan has managed to turn her grief into a learning experience, one she seeks to share with the world through her writing.  Find out more about her proactive marketing approach and how social media enhanced her networking.

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

The Healing Game shares Suzy’s journey of losing her beloved husband, Kevin, hitting rock bottom, and painfully finding her way back to her life. Suzy’s deeply personal writing reveals how she learned to grieve, work through her emotions, remember the good times, and once more embrace love.

For those who have lost a loved one, The Healing Game not only offers comfort and support, but also shows you that God is ever-faithful and always by your side.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

This was my first book, and I thought I could get my book finished and published sooner by going this route.  I didn’t have a platform yet to try to sell to a publisher or agent, so I went off on my own.

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

No, I didn’t have the confidence to seek out traditional publishing because I was just starting a new career (writing) with a brand new book, and a non-fiction at that.

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C.N. Bring

C.N. Bring writes in the military suspense genre and has stuck to her own style of writing despite pressure from traditional publishers.  Learn why she’s skeptical of Facebook as a marketing tool and why word of mouth is so important to promoting your book.

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

Commander Celia Kelly is a perceptive Naval intelligence officer rebuilding her life after the tragic death of her husband.  The suspicious suicide of a fellow officer has Celia questioning the mission she’s been assigned.

With the help of a one of a kind secretary, a by-the-book assistant, and a Navy SEAL, Kelly discovers she’s been set up.  Digging relentlessly, nothing is as it seems.  Someone is after twenty million dollars that disappeared when Kelly’s husband died and now that someone is after her.

2. Why did you become an Indie writer?

I was almost published traditionally, but I was asked to change the story too much.  The series is not a romance, but instead a military mystery, suspense.  The traditional publisher wanted to add a formula romance to the story. Though I wasn’t opposed to changes that might enhance the story, I was against losing my original audience. Truthfully, romance isn’t really my thing.  To be successful, we all have to find our own voice unlike anyone else’s. The hardest part about the business is they (publishers) want a safe sell.  They want a familiar story with a new voice.  It’s the publishing catch-22.  So I started to explore indie publishing.

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Diana Nixon

Belarusian author Diana Nixon has realized numerous benefits with self-publishing and has begun her own fantasy book series.  Learn more about the sites she uses to promote her work and the one thing any author needs to ensure quality writing.

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

The name of the book is Love lines.  It’s the first book of a fantasy series under the same title.  It shows the inner world of supernatural beings, their talents and powers.  Love lines is a story about beautiful love and true friendship. It’s a book for all ages with some humor and complicated relationship.

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

I’m a self-published author and I’ve never published my books traditionally.  Before publishing my first book I read a lot of blogs discussing the advantages and the disadvantages of self-publishing.  The control over the process was the main thing that made me choose self-publishing.  I can create covers I like, I don’t have to make changes about the book which I wouldn’t like, and I can choose marketing techniques I’m sure will be successful.  And finally, I want to be sure I have done everything possible and maybe even impossible to promote and sell my book, as sometimes the authors are not satisfied with the same work most publisher do.  I know how I want things to be done and I’m sure no one else can do them better than I do.

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Shaun J. McLaughlin

Shaun J. McLaughlin believes every writer must be in it for the art, and strives to make his writing stand out from the rest.  Shaun discusses his success with blogging and what he believes it takes for a writer to succeed.

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

My self-published novel, Counter Currents, is a story of smugglers, river pirates, rebels, love, and war.  Most scenes are set against the grandeur of the Thousand Islands during the drama of North America’s forgotten war, the Patriot War of 1838.  Among the raiders was Bill Johnston, the Thousand Islands legend.  The protagonist, Ryan, a young immigrant, is drawn into Johnston’s world of piracy and secret societies.  Ryan falls for Johnston’s daughter, Kate.  Tugged by the opposing currents of romance and war, Ryan struggles to reconcile his troubled family history, his duty and his heart. Counter Currents is history illuminated by fiction.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

I worked as a writer – journalist and technical writer – for over 30 years.  Since my teens, I wrote fiction on the side. For my first novel, I queried dozens of agents and publishers in Canada and the US.  Over half never responded. One small publisher in Iowa offered to publish it, but they closed down shortly after I signed the contract.  Weary of rejection, I studied the self-publishing arena and the related technologies, and made a decision to be my own publisher.

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

I do both.  In the same month (March 2012) that I self-published my first novel, my first history book, The Patriot War Along the New York-Canada Border, was published by South Carolina-based The History Press.  It covers the eastern half of the Patriot War of 1838.

There is an interesting story behind that.  I created a history blog in January 2010 in advance of my novel to help promote the book and the era.  An editor at The History Press discovered the blog and asked me to write a book about it.  I said yes, of course.

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

I am astounded at how simple it is to be self-published.  Between Smashwords, CreateSpace and Kindle/Amazon, anyone who can follow step-by-step instructions can produce books in multiple formats.  There is no barrier to publishing.  Technology has sidelined the gatekeepers and unleashed writers.  You’ve got to love that.

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

I have tried most of the popular marketing techniques: blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and guest posts on other blogs and e-magazines.  I had both books reviewed, and even paid for an ad on Goodreads.

My history blog, raidersandrebels.com, is the most successful.  It gets over 600 visits per month from history lovers. The key is to provide readers with free, interesting content.  That blog links to my imprint blog where I describe my books.  A small percentage of visitors become customers.

Two history articles that I wrote for the Thousand Islands Life e-magazine early in 2012 did well, as did a book review on that mag.  The magazine’s audience is in the heart of the region where both my books take place.  The exposure led to a regional spike in sales, especially for the history book.

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

My research into the business of self-publishing taught me that my book is one of millions available.  It is one leaf in a forest of 10,000 trees trying to be noticed.  You cannot be in this business for the money.  Like a painter or musician, you must be in for the art.

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

Next time I will spend no time trying to find a publisher for my fiction.

8. 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?

From my observation, the authors that succeeded financially did not hit the big time with their first book.  They built up a fan base, good book by good book, until they broke out.  In brief: write well, write often, be patient.

9. What are you currently working on?

I have a detailed outline for the sequel to my novel.  It will be set partly in Australia, which I will visit in the fall of 2012 to scout locations.  I plan to research a second history book on the Patriot War to cover events along the western front.

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

I write about history (and by extension, historical fiction) like a good journalist covers current events: how people face their trials and triumphs never gets dull.

11. How can readers learn more about your books?

My publishing imprint has info on both books: raidersandrebelspress.com.

Una Tiers

Una Tiers took a run-in with the law and turned it into a book, uniquely using the experience to relieve stress.  Here, she offers numerous marketing suggestions in varying media and explains her take on the publishing industry.

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

Judge vs. Nuts is about a lawyer, a goldfish and a dead judge.  It explores Chicago and murder.  It will make you laugh.  I think you will like my characters, puns and self-effacing remarks.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

Honestly, a judge tried to arrest me and I eliminated my stress by murdering him (on paper).  Occasionally I added to the details, adding more victims as warranted.  Pretty soon I discovered mysteries outside of Sherlock Holmes and the result was Judge vs. Nuts.  Book signings became a hobby and I learned something at each one.

3. What is your opinion of the future of publishing?

Self-publishing has clearly rocked the publishing industry to its foundation.  It presents many opportunities for new authors.  My Kindle is packed with new authors and those without big exposure and I love what I am reading.  It isn’t pushed into what the big houses feel will sell.

E-books are here to stay, without a question.  I think they will exist companionably with print books.  The combination of e-books and self-publishing opportunities is also changing the publishing world and making it attainable to make your dream of writing a book come true.

At the Chicago Tribune book festival last year, e-books were almost ignored.  People toted around huge bags of paper books.  I don’t expect that to change but what an opportunity we have with the electronic options.

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David Therrien

David Therrien is a writer in the inspirational Christian genre who is looking to become professionally published.  He explains which methods have worked and which haven’t, as well as what indie authors should prepare for when they’re ready to market.

1. Tell me briefly about your books – what are they about and what motivated you to write them?

I see so many hurting people in my life and this world.  There is a lot to take their minds off of their problems (for a while) but not much to change the way they see their problems.  I like to write true stories based on biblical principles to give people a more encouraging and optimistic outlook on life.  All is not forsaken.  They can salvage their lives and live in hope.

2. How have your sales been?

The books I’ve been able to sell, a few hundred of each title, are from my own personal marketing.

3. You have not been traditionally published. Why?

I am in the process of looking for a professional editor so I can submit a few of my titles to a traditional publisher.  I believe I have a few titles that would hit the mark with quite a few people.

4. You’re relatively new to self-publishing.  How have you liked it so far?

I love writing.  I feel it is something I can offer to my fellow-man.  Everyone can make a contribution in some way and writing is my way. (I hope).

5. What sort of marketing techniques have you used to sell your books, and which ones have been most successful?

I have used Facebook, to no avail.  I have used the newspaper, to no avail.  I have used the radio, to no avail.  I believe it is my faithful following that just keep buying my books.

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