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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Gary Goldstein

Gary Goldstein turned his personal struggles into an inspiring story about the wages of addiction and the mistreatment he endured in prison.  Learn more about his unorthodox and creative marketing approach and his advice to new writers.

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

Jew in Jail is the remarkable true story of the nearly six years I spent incarcerated for robbery, which was a direct result of my past addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling.

If you are fascinated by prison tomes, this book is for you.  It deals with not only the ins and outs of the New York State prison system, but my attempts at recovery from a lifetime of alcohol, drug and gambling abuse, all the while dealing with the constant prejudice and mistreatment I experienced at the hands of the corrections officers and my fellow prisoners alike.  If you have ever been an addict, or know a family member, spouse, friend, or co-worker who is currently battling an addiction, then this book will open your eyes and provide insights into this dreaded disease, and what it takes to get clean and sober.  Read Jew in Jail today.  It just might save your life, or the life of someone you love!

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I had a story to tell, and wanted to help people avoid all of the mistakes and pitfalls I made in life.

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

No, Jew in Jail was self-published through CreateSpace.  As a first-time, unknown author, I found it difficult getting accepted by traditional publishers.

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

Being hands-on, I like the fact that I am involved in every aspect of the process.  But, by the same token, doing so much of the work pertaining to the marketing of my book leaves little time for anything else.

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JK Mikals

JK Mikals, author of A Chip in Time, has found the self-publishing process enjoyable and educational.  She discusses how she listed all the marketing tasks she wanted to use and which methods ended up on that list.

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

Unkempt, lonely and full of self-pity after her recent divorce, the last thing on Cybele’s agenda is saving the world.  But saving the world is exactly what the Goddess of Time insists that she do.  Dead bodies are multiplying in Xanadu and the surrounding loco-weed filled mountains.  Fertility gods are reluctant to mate.  And worst of all, her only supplier for the Sacred Brine Shrimp so key to all godly technologies (and addictions) has run mad and can no longer supply them.  So when the goddess finds the naïve but well-meaning Cybele through a cosmic computer glitch, she is desperate enough to snatch the girl into the Akashic Records.  There, an appalled Cybele is equipped with special cameras and a crew of ghosts, told to re-arrange certain life sequences for different outcomes and to film her efforts to prevent future rewrites.  She is to give the head fertility god an attitude adjustment and then repair the time warp – she is to save the world.  If you like sci-fi, fantasy and/or romance novels, don’t take it all too seriously and like to laugh, you’ll love this book.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I’ve always been a do-it-yourselfer.  If I can possibly get my hands dirty with a process, then that’s for me.  If I were a guy and had been born 50 years sooner, I would have done the freighter-around-the-world thing just so I could have that background for writing.  I have really enjoyed learning how to publish and market.

3. Have you been traditionally published? 

Hee.  I guess you could say so.  When I was a freshman in high school my brother found an essay I had written about our grandfather.  I guess Bro thought it was pretty good, because he sent it off to Readers Digest.  And they apparently also thought it was decent, because they published it in The Most Unforgettable Character section and sent him a check for $25.  He never breathed a word until we were both in our forties.  I was also privileged to write and edit a stack of computer instruction books, and a whole lot of software specs.  As to novels, Chip is my first finished child and I obviously chose the indie route.

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

Self-publishing has been loads of fun for me.  I published on Smashwords.com and on Amazon.com and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

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Chris Stralyn

Chris Stralyn is a suspense writer who started his career with a simple essay contest and is today a self-published author.  Read about his unique marketing approach involving coffee mugs and how it’s bearing fruit with increased sales.

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

This Time You Lose is an intense read.  It is the terrifying story of Lisa Kaamp, who operates a small childcare business out of her home in the sleepy little town of Nogeksum, Michigan.  Highly respected and known for going the extra mile for her daycare kids, Lisa thought she had handled every daycare emergency possible.

But nothing prepared her for the nightmare she now faced.  Lisa awakes one morning to find herself bound and gagged, four strange men in her home, and the daycare children being held hostage in the next room.  Terrorized by her captors as the authorities work to meet the ransom deadline, she tries negotiating with the men for the release of the children, and soon realizes that at least one of them has no intention of letting anyone go.  With the deadline quickly approaching, Lisa must do the unimaginable to protect the children and get everyone out alive.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I never intended to be a writer.  Short-order cook, security guard, safety officer, childcare provider, and teacher were all titles I’d worn – but never writer.  Then I entered an essay contest for “The Worst Vacation Ever” and won.  Writing became my new hobby, and soon I had several articles in print with local publications.  This was followed by a short story, The Khaki Pants, which was published by RDR Publishing in an anthology that went on to sell over a million copies.

A suspense thriller was my next undertaking, and in 2008 This Time You Lose was named a finalist in the TNBW Strongest Start Novel Competition.  Four months later it earned the distinction of being a TNBW Readers Choice Top Ten Novel, and has remained on the Top Ten list ever since.

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Sylvia Ramsey

Sylvia Ramsey is a 17-year bladder cancer survivor who uses her experience to both shape her writing and advance cancer awareness.  She offers multiple ideas for marketing and compares the indie and traditional routes.

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

This one is for the new book, Traveling a Rocky Road With Love, Faith and Guts:

Let me share with you what a couple of reviewers said after reading the book.  The first was Dr. Aman Kay: “Taking the rocky road with Sylvia is a joyful challenge.  It takes the reader through the most common and uncommon hardships, but at the conclusion of this delightful journey, the reader feels more joy and satisfaction: Love, faith, and incredible guts turn the rocky road into an assuring path that all of us so humanly desire.  This book is so uniquely universal in every essential aspect that I enthusiastically recommend it to all readers regardless of their age, gender, and race.”

The second reviewer sent me an email saying, “I just read the book, wow!”

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?  Have you been traditionally published?  Why or why not?

I am a cancer survivor of 17+ years.  I have been writing for years.  I have had by-lines, feature articles, short stories and poetry published since I was about nine years old.  I was reading at an open mic, and the editor of a small publishing house liked my poetry.  My first book, Pulse Points of a Woman’s World, was thus published.  Because I had been working for several years to establish a foundation for bladder cancer, I was giving all my proceeds from my royalties toward this endeavor.  After a couple of years, the publisher decided to return the publishing rights to me because of what I was doing with my royalties.  That was when I decided to become my own publisher of my books.  The latest book being Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts.

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

It doesn’t seem much different than using a traditional publisher.  Regardless of the route you go, you must still do you own marketing (unless you have lots of money to hire a publicist).  That holds true both ways as well.

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Edina Jackson

Edina Jackson is an author and businesswoman who wrote her first children’s novel after being inspired by her newborn son.  She offers a variety of marketing strategies that don’t cost much money.

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

Dusty the Ditsy Dog is a fun, vibrant, easy to read book for the under fives.  It does not just tell a story, it has a message behind it.  The message is that if you put your mind to it, you can change the world.  It is a is fun book with a positive message.  Your child will enjoy getting to know Dusty and his friends in the fictional setting of Mistytown.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

Going down the route of forcing your book down a publisher’s throat did not appeal to me.  With e-books, and other book formats, the publishing industry has taken a hit. They are not publishing books like they used to.  I decided to publish my book without the help of a large publishing house because I wanted to retain the authenticity of the story.  I decided to go with a small publishing company called BrightSpark Publishing.  I published in association with BrightSpark and my own company Intrigue Media Group.  I feel like I have more creative control, and I am able to decide how I want my book to be marketed.

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

Like I said, my publishing deal was a collaborative one.  So, it was a combination of indie and traditional.

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

So far it has been an interesting experience.

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Ron D. Voigts

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

In Penelope and The Movie Star, Marvel Movies comes to Penelope’s school to shoot a motion picture against the backdrop of the old Windorf Hotel that now houses the school.  She sneaks onto the set and watches a scene being filmed. Famous actors Priscilla Young and Clarence Dodd star in the movie and Penelope gets to see them up close.  Regrettably, she also sees a spotlight fall on the director and kill him.  Penelope claims she had her eyes shut when it happened, but the police think she may remember something.  Unfortunately for her, the killer also thinks she may recall something.

A Penelope mystery story (there are two others) can be enjoyed by tweens and adults alike.  The stories are laced with humor while presenting a whodunit that will leave you guessing until the end.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I had two books with an agent for a number of years.  While she got close calls, she never landed a publisher.  I believed in my work and, by mutual agreement, I withdrew the books.  I have no regrets.  Before, I waited for the big break, wondering if I it would ever come.  As an indie writer, I can hardly wait to publish the next book.

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

I had a few short stories with a literary magazine many years ago. The Penelope mystery series are my first books published.

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

It’s great!  Self-publishing is a lot more fun than waiting around for a publisher.  And look at all the people who have self-published and later found a traditional publisher.  The experience gained cannot be matched.

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