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Welcome back for another installment in the Self-Published Interview series! If you’ve missed the previous interviews, there are icons along the left-hand side you can click on to read. Today I’d like to introduce you to Anna Markland!

PUBLISHING QUESTIONS…

  • What was the deciding factor in self-publishing your book(s)? Did you decide on ebook or print only or both?

I made the decision that I was too old to spend years writing query letters and when I saw the opportunities offered to indie authors to self publish for FREE, I jumped at it. I wanted to let readers decide if my books were enjoyable and saleable. I have four of my seven books in both digital and print. The last three are novellas and I plan to print an anthology of those. I use CreateSpace for print.

  • What went into the process? Writing, editing, cover design, formatting, etc… Share your ups and downs and how you went about it. If you used a service from a someone, could you share who?

It was a learning curve at first. I did Smashwords initially because I found their instructions clear and consistent, whereas there seemed to be different versions and “rules” for Amazon. Now I can format a book for Kindle as I write and that saves me a lot of messing about at publishing time. I do all my own covers and I am improving at that. The biggest problem with covers is the time it takes to find a suitable picture. I took a number of on-line courses, including one on medieval research given by Eliza.

  • What did you do to promote your work?

I have a website and blog, and I Tweet and post to Facebook. The best tool to help with the latter, I find, is Hootsuite. I have also participated in Free promotions with other authors through the Indie Book Collective. I collaborate on another blog with a dozen authors who write historical books, and I have blogged as a guest on other blogs. Belonging to the Yahoo groups for Indie authors has helped enormously, both in terms of advice and Amazon LIKES etc. I am a Goodreads author and have offered my books as prizes in their draws. I have had some success with Facebook ads. I’ve tried Goodreads ads, but nothing tangible there to report. I paid for an inexpensive ad on Night Owls Reviews and that led to a review from them. I have also belonged to several Linked-In discussion groups, but you cannot do everything and I have abandoned that in favour of Twitter and Facebook. I am also trying to fathom out Triberr.

  • What was the hardest thing you’ve found in the process of self-publishing? What was the easiest part of self-publishing?

Getting reviews, especially from trade publications. The easiest part is the actual uploading once you’ve done it a few times.

  • Can you list some Pros/Cons of self-publishing?

Pros: I can revise my cover, my manuscript, my front and back matter, my price as often as I wish. Amazon’s reporting system allows me to track sales on a daily basis if I wish and react accordingly. I have a great sense of achievement. My books sell and people enjoy them, and I did it all myself! I set deadlines for myself, but I don’t stress over them. I believe the quality of my work would suffer if I was writing to some external deadline written in stone.

Cons: readers have a hard time understanding why they can’t buy my print books in major retail stores. Not everyone wants to pay the freight to have a book shipped to them.

  • How long have your book(s) been out? How long between books if you have multiple sales—and if you have multiples did you see a bump in sales with subsequent publication?

I published my first book in December 2010. I now have 7 available digitally, four of them in print. I write Family Sagas in series, so my books feed on each other.

  • What advice can you offer to anyone deciding to self-publish?

Believe in yourself. Digital media is forgiving. If you discover a typo in your ms, correct it and upload it again! Join a supportive email loop. You’ll learn a lot. Create relationships with other authors. It is a very giving and sharing community. Make judicious use of Amazon’s FREE promotions if you’re on Select. Every author has ups and downs in sales. For goodness sake read your book on your own kindle before you upload it. It is completely different from editing a typed manuscript.

READER QUESTIONS…

  • What genre(s) do you write in? How many books do you have out? Titles?

I write medieval romance. The Montbryce Legacy Series: Conquering Passion, A Man of Value, If Love Dares Enough, Passion in the Blood; Sons of Rhodri Series: Defiant Passion, Dark and Bright, The Winds of the Heavens

  • What do you love about the genre(s)?

Learning and writing about the early Middle Ages is like visiting another planet! Also, there is so much rich history to base story lines on! Lots of interesting historical characters to round out your cast! Who, for example, could dream up someone like William the Conqueror?

  • Where can readers find you?

Amazon mostly. I still have a couple of books on Smashwords and they distribute to B&N, Apple etc. However my sales there are not that high, so I have put my newer books into Kindle Select. (exclusive to Amazon) Because I am Canadian I cannot publish directly to B&N myself. Kindle version can in any case be changed to any other format with free software and read on any device.

  • Where can readers find your books? Print/Ebook?

Conquering Passion http://amzn.com/B006FA0R02

If Love Dares Enough http://amzn.com/B006QYG9FY

A Man of Value http://amzn.com/B006JEQLH2

Passion in the Blood http://amzn.com/B007E2WW6W

Defiant Passion http://amzn.com/B007Q4Z3AU

Dark and Bright http://amzn.com/B007RR0KQ8

The Winds of the Heavens http://amzn.com/B007Y70AKM

  • What works do you have coming out in the future?

I have a new series in the works, another offshoot of my first series. Book I of The FitzRam Family Series, will be entitled Carried Away. Should be available by summer.

  • Are you participating in any reader contests?

Only the Goodreads draws.

  • There is a rumor going around that all self-pubbed books are shoddily created. What do you say to that? 

Rumors are often started by people who are jealous or who don’t know what they are talking about. I admit I have downloaded some pretty crappy ebooks, but not all of them have been indie.

  • What advice can you offer readers of self-pubbed books in making a decision on what to read?

I am addicted to reading, especially now I have my kindle. I don’t pay much attention to reviews. If I enjoy the free trial download, I buy the book. Readers should be elated that the decisions about what’s available for them to read are no longer made solely by the big publishing houses. There is a wealth of excellent self-pubbed material out there and it will only improve as readers support the good ones. It takes a leap of faith to publish your own work, given the stigma attached to doing that (by the traditional publishers).

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