Welcome back to another week of the self-published interview series! This week’s guest author is Vonda Sinclair! She is one of my favorite Scottish romance authors and she gave me a cover quote my latest release! YAY! Today, not only are we getting some sage advice about her journey, but Vonda is offering up an ecopy of the first novel in her Highland Adventure series, MY FIERCE HIGHLANDER. Leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win! Winners will be drawn at the end of this week.
- What was the deciding factor in self-publishing your book(s)? Did you decide on ebook or print only or both?
Thanks for allowing me to visit your blog! My books are (or soon will be) in both ebook and print. This allows me to reach the largest number of readers. I sell more in Kindle format, but some readers still want print. I decided to self-publish because it is an awesome new opportunity for writers to succeed and get their books out there for readers without waiting for a NY editor to give the okay. Plus, the royalty rate is much better. I knew my books were ready because many editors, agents, published authors, contest judges and others told me my work was publishable quality after they read it.
- 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?
My books were critiqued by my critique group and edited by an agent. After that, I re-edited them and a couple of beta readers went over them for final errors. Since I have a studio art background, I learned Photoshop, designed and created my own covers. I truly loved making them even though a lot of time and work went into them. I learned how to do all the formatting for Kindle, Pubit!, Smashwords, print, etc. and did that part myself also. Guides are available, such as Mark Coker’s Smashwords Style Guide, which is free at Smashwords. Amazon KDP has detailed instructions about how to format and upload your book. If you can’t do any of these things, don’t worry. There are lots of professionals out there you can hire to do the work at a good price.
- What did you do to promote your work?
I blog once per week at my author group blog, Fierce Romance. I also try to get interview spots or do guest posts at book bloggers and review sites. I ask for a lot of reviews at review sites, also I try to get excerpts posted and do contest giveaways. I buy ads at review and romance reader sites. I also use Twitter and Facebook.
- What was the hardest thing you’ve found in the process of self-publishing? What was the easiest part of self-publishing?
I didn’t actually find any of it terribly hard, at least not any harder than trying to get published with a NY publisher. Either way, the story and manuscript have to be the best it can possibly be. I feel covers are incredibly important for sales and I put a lot of time and effort into that. Formatting can be annoying, tedious work but it really isn’t that difficult. Anyone who can format a manuscript for traditional publisher submission can probably learn to format for self-publishing.
- Can you list some Pros/Cons of self-publishing?
Pros: I love the freedom. I make all the decisions about my book–creating a story I love, creating a cover I think will help the story sell, promoting where and when I want. I also make my own deadlines and write at the speed that works for me without worrying about an editor calling and asking me where the manuscript is or asking that I change the story to fit their vision. I love the direct link between author and reader. If I decide to change my cover, my blurb or anything about my story, I can revise, redo and re-upload. Not that I’ve done that but I know a lot of people who have and it’s a great freedom to have. The royalties and income are great.
Cons: Honestly, there are not very many cons. (If you’re a RWA member) one that comes to mind is that not many RWA published contests allow self-published books to enter. Some people discriminate against self-published books and refuse to give them a chance.
- 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?
My first novel, My Fierce Highlander, was released at the end of July 2011 and the second book in the series, My Wild Highlander, was also ready to go so I released it a month later. The third book, My Brave Highlander, which I had to write from scratch, will be released in a few days.
- Can you give a rough breakdown of your sales numbers from your first month to the present?
My sales didn’t really take off until about two months after the second book was published. I was amazed at how the sales skyrocketed in October of 2011. I’ve sold about 25,000 copies total of the two books.
- What advice can you offer to anyone deciding to self-publish?
Make sure the book is truly ready to be published. Have it read and edited by others. Get the best cover you possibly can because this will impact sales.
- What genre(s) do you write in? How many books do you have out? Titles?
I write Scottish historical romance. I have three books out, or will soon. My Fierce Highlander, My Wild Highlander and My Brave Highlander. This series is called the Highland Adventure Series. The way they are related is that the heroes of the first two books are brothers, and the heroes of the second and third book are best friends.
Here is what the first book is about: My Fierce Highlander – Gwyneth Carswell, an English lady banished by her father to the harsh Scottish Highlands, wants nothing more than to take her young son away from the violence of two fighting clans–her own distant kin, the MacIrwins, and their enemies, the MacGraths. She risks everything to rescue the fierce MacGrath warrior from the battlefield where he’s left for dead by her clan. She only knows she is inexplicably drawn to him and he wants peace as she does. When her clan learns of her betrayal, they seek vengeance. Dare she trust the enemy more than her own family?
Laird Alasdair MacGrath is driven to end two-hundred years of feuding with the MacIrwins. But by taking in and protecting Lady Gwyneth and her son, he provokes more attacks from his mortal enemy. As the danger and conflict surrounding them escalate, Alasdair and Gwyneth discover an explosive passion neither of them expected. With the arrival of a powerful man from her past, a horrible decision confronts her–give up her son or the man she loves.
- What do you love about the genre(s)?
I’ve loved Scottish historical romance since I read the first one years ago. The hot, rugged Highland heroes are impossible to resist. They wear kilts and carry big swords. They defend their loved ones, their clan, and their country with intense fervor. I love Scotland too and visit the amazing and beautiful country every chance I get.
- Where can readers find you?
- Where can readers find your books? Print/Ebook?
My Fierce Highlander (ebook) Amazon: http://amzn.com/B005ESI94C
My Fierce Highlander (print) Amazon: http://amzn.com/1469941082
My Wild Highlander (ebook) Amazon: http://amzn.com/B005JFBISE
These books are also available at most other popular bookseller sites such as iTunes, Kobo, Sony, Diesel, Smashwords, All Romance eBooks, etc.
- What works do you have coming out in the future?
My Brave Highlander should be out within a few days in various ebook formats. This book is not being submitted to any agents or publishers. Self-publishing is my first choice. That’s how much I love it. I’ll also be putting My Wild Highlander and My Brave Highlander into print. After that, I plan to write the next book in the Highland Adventure Series.
- Are you participating in any reader contests?
After My Brave Highlander is released, I’ll be doing contests and blog giveaways. Please check my website and Fierce Romance Blog for more info. I’ll be announcing these on Facebook and Twitter, too, so please follow me on those sites.
- What advice can you offer readers of self-pubbed books in making a decision on what to read?
Read the blurb and read a sample of the book, a chapter or two if possible. This should tell you whether you’ll enjoy the book before you buy. Thanks so much! I’ve enjoyed this interview!