Welcome back to the next installment in the self-publishing author interview series. Today’s guest is Tess. St. John!

Don’t forget to join us next week for best-selling author Bella Andre’s interview!


  • What was the deciding factor in self-publishing your book(s)? 

My road is a bit different than most. For years now, I’ve had a dizziness disorder. I even had to quit my accounting job because of it. From day to day, I never know how I’ll feel or if I’ll be able to read or write—some days I’m just too dizzy to do either. I have only sent requested manuscripts to five agents I’ve met in person and never mailed the first query letter. I knew if I got a contract from a publisher, I would always be worried I wouldn’t feel well enough to get rewrites and edits back on time. So traditional publishing never seemed like an option for me. I just worked on the craft for years. Indie publishing really caught on about the same time I got some really positive feedback from the few agents I submitted to, so it seemed the perfect choice for me. Something I could do at my own pace and on my own time, which honestly, for me, was, and is, peace of mind! Did you decide on ebook or print only or both? I only wanted to put out e-books, but hubby said my mom (who has been my biggest cheerleader) needed to have print books, so I have print books available too!

  • 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? I believe story is key, so I work on my stories first and foremost. I have super cps and editors who are fantastic. I’m anal about typos and read, read, and reread the manuscript before I release. I do the formatting myself, and I’ve done most of the covers (so far I’ve only bought one cover, but she no longer makes covers on demand) and another girl is currently working on my latest cover.

  • What did you do to promote your work? 

I started a blog and other authors had me on their blogs. I joined kindleboards, nookboards, other boards like that. I bought different ads on blogs, FB, goodreads, which I think helped in the beginning, but I no longer have those.

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

My eyes are final!!! What was the easiest part of self-publishing? This goes back to being able to do things on my time…so the days I can’t do as much as I would like, I don’t feel like I’m letting anyone down. With my illness, I can’t dwell on those days…Concentrating on the good days is key!

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

Pros: 1. Everything is done in my own time. 2. The proceeds are mine alone and I can set prices for the books wherever I want. I am a control freak, so being in control is really good for me.

Cons: 1. I would love to have a final editor who checks everything before it goes to the public! 2. I would love someone else to do promotion.

  • How long have your book(s) been out?

I released the first book (a historical romance) in April 2011. Since then, I’ve released three books in my contemporary romantic suspense/mystery series. So I have four full-length books out now.

  • Can you give a rough breakdown of your sales numbers from your first month to the present?  

These are my ebook sales only. My books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords (and all their distributors).

April 2011 ~ 92

May 2011 ~ 235

June 2011 ~ 380

July 2011 ~ 420

August 2011 ~ 410

September 2011 ~ 305

October 2011 ~ 500

November 2011 ~ 465

December 2011 ~ 435

January 2012 ~ 520

February 2012 ~ 850

March 2012 ~ 1,720

April 2012 ~ 3,070

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

Learn your craft. Learn everything you can about it and study it! Then tell your story! Remember writing isn’t in the first draft, that’s the easy part. The real writing is in the rewriting until you get it as close to perfect as you can! Find a great support group of writers for critiquing and BETA readers!  Also, and not everyone wants to hear this, but not everyone is going to like your writing. It’s an impossibility. Know that and accept it. Concentrate on the readers who enjoy your work. And write, write, write!


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

SECOND CHANCES (Book 1 ~ Chances Are series) is historical romance. I also have three books in my Undercover Intrigue Series out, which are contemporary romantic suspense/mystery. DON’T LET IT SHOW (Book 1), EYES OF JADE (Book 2), and ANGEL EYES (Book 3).

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

I love how historical romance brings you to another place and time—the sweeping narrative, the innocence, and the dashing men. Romantic suspense/mystery has always held a close place in my heart, because I used to read a lot of mysteries and thrillers. When I began writing I found I didn’t have that ragged edge for thrillers, but loved the tempering romance brought to the story. And romance is my genre of choice, because I want that HAPPILY EVER AFTER every time! Critics can say romance is predictable…I’m okay with that…I want that assurance of love in the end!

  • Where can readers find you? 



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

I hope to have another historical romance (CHANCE FOR FREEDOM ~ Book 2 in the Chances Are series) out by the end of the year. The fourth and fifth books in the Undercover Intrigue series will hopefully be out shortly after that. I’m also planning other works…a non-fiction, a YA, and a series about reality shows. The ideas never stop, which is a wonderful thing. If only I didn’t need to sleep—maybe I could get them all down!

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

I agree that some are. But I’ve also read traditionally published and e-published books that were rather poorly done too! Especially the formatting and typos…or even the book content. So, as always, buyers beware and check out the excerpts for the books you plan to buy. I promise, I do take painstaking time to try to get my books in the best possible shape before I upload them!