- What was the deciding factor in self-publishing your book(s)? Did you decide on ebook or print only or both?
An online friend was one of the first writers I knew to self-publish. Her books have always sold very well. When I got back the rights to my RS, “Logan’s Redemption,” from The Wild Rose Press, my friend urged me to self-publish it. I was afraid to take the chance. I submitted it to another epub who said they would take previously published works. They turned it down. And I’m so glad they did because their rejection made my decision to self-publish. I needed a new cover, and I found a hot guy who looked like my hero. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on that cover, and I think my hot guy has helped me sell lots of books. My online friend did the formatting for me, and in August 2010, I put up “Logan’s Redemption” myself. In five weeks I made more money than I had in two years with my epublisher. (Nothing against the epub. It’s a good publisher). I loved the control, loved that most of the money went to me. “Logan’s Redemption” has been my top seller, although sales go up and down. For a long time it was in the top 100 of Suspense on Apple and for awhile it was in the top 100 in Suspense on Amazon. After my experience with “Logan’s Redemption” I decided I would no longer submit to publishers. The new version of that book isn’t in print. I have some print copies with the original cover when it was with The Wild Rose Press. The only one of my indie books that is in print at this time is “Loving Or Nothing.”
- 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? Since “Logan’s Redemption” had been edited by The Wild Rose Press, I went over it and did some small revisions. I’ve had all of my other indie books edited by the terrific Laura Kelly. I won’t publish a book that isn’t edited. Laura edited my second Wild Rose book, “Murder, Mi Amore.” That book was a 2012 EPPIE finalist and a finalist in the Oklahoma Romance Authors First Annual International Digital Awards. I’ve since gotten the rights back to “Murder, Mi Amore” and published it myself. Sandra Edwards does all my formatting. She is very good. I’ve had reviewers remark on how good the formatting is, and I’ve had Amazon reviewers remark on the good editing. Finding the right cover is probably the hardest part of self-publishing. Sandy does some of my covers. I’ve hired a cover artist to do others. I usually spend hours going through the royalty-free sites looking for cover pictures. I have a critique group that helps with my writing. Once a book is critiqued, I do more revisions and send it to Laura for editing.
- What did you do to promote your work?
Promotion is never-ending. It takes up a good part of my day. Since I’m not a big name, I need to find ways to help readers find me. I’m on several promo loops; I don’t have my own blog, but I guest blog every chance I get. I’m a member author of Romance Books 4 Us and blog the 24th of each month. I comment on others’ blogs. I’m on Twitter and Facebook, but I seldom promote on them. I use them to chat and to hopefully get readers to know me. I try to participate on the various loops to get my name out there, but I don’t constantly promote my books. I think that turns readers off.
- What was the hardest thing you’ve found in the process of self-publishing? What was the easiest part of self-publishing?
The hardest is getting a good cover. The easiest is having the flexibility of trying different types of promotions, like offering free books. With a publisher, there’s a lot you can’t do.
- Can you list some Pros/Cons of self-publishing?
Pros-Control; Money; Flexibility. Cons-Pay for editing; pay for covers. One thing to remember–unless you’re a big name with a big publisher, your publisher will do very little to no promotion. You’ve still got to promote whether you publish yourself or with a publisher. As an indie author, you have more flexibility in how you can promote. Editing is my biggest expense, but it’s worth it. I’ve always earned back what I paid for editing.
- 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’ve been indie publishing since August 2010. I now have a total of eight books out. All but one are indies. As for the one that’s still with a publisher, I’m so sorry I didn’t indie pub that book. I do see a small bump in overall sales when I release a new book. Readers love series, and my friends who have series are making lottery-sized money. I’ve just completed a sequel to “Logan’s Redemption” called “Franco’s Fortune.” I plan to start on book two of my Stormy Love series (tentative series name). The first book in the series, “Storm of Desire,” is out now. I go about six months between releases.
- Can you give a rough breakdown of your sales numbers from your first month to the present?
I don’t make the lottery-sized money some indie authors make. I’m not even close. Indie publishing is a roller coaster for me. Some months I make terrific money and I’m thrilled. Other months, not so much. But I’m making lots more than I’d make with an epub or a small publisher.
- What advice can you offer to anyone deciding to self-publish?
If you’ve never published before, I recommend trying to sell to a good epub. You’ll gain experience working with an editor and cover artist and learn a little about promotion. Then you can spread your wings and try indie publishing. A combination of traditional publishing plus indie publishing works for many authors. If you have a book you love, but which doesn’t “fit” into publishers’ narrow categories, definitely consider indie publishing. It can be scary, so be prepared. And please, please have your ooks critiqued by people you trust and have them edited.
- What genre(s) do you write in? How many books do you have out? Titles?
I mostly write contemporary romance, but I also do romantic suspense, paranormal and short stories. I have eight books: An anthology of short stories; a short story; a paranormal (not an indie); two romantic suspense; three contemporary romance. Titles: “A Cat’s Tale & Other Love Stories;” “Accidental Love;” “Cursed Mates;” “Logan’s Redemption” and “Murder, Mi Amore;” “Loving Or Nothing” (third place winner in Gulf States Silken Sands contest and semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Reviews Best Indie Book of 2012); “A Catered Romance” (previously published by Avalon Books);” “Storm of Desire.” I’ve published a dozen short stories in national women’s magazines.
- What do you love about the genre(s)?
I love a good love story with a hot hero and an independent heroine. I love happy endings. I write contemporary romance because I like to put my characters in real-world situations. While most of my books are contemporary romance, including my short stories, I also love writing romantic suspense and plan to write more of them. The thing I love about romantic suspense is putting ordinary people into extraordinary and dangerous circumstances.
- Where can readers find you?
My website lists all my books and short stories, along with excerpts from my books.
- Where can readers find your books? Print/Ebook?
One book is in print, “Loving Or Nothing,” in addition to being an ebook. The print book is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The rest are ebooks and can be found on Amazon, BN, Kobo, Smashwords and Apple. I plan to eventually have all my books in print. When I get the rights back to my paranormal in two years, I’ll have it edited and put it up myself.
- What works do you have coming out in the future?
“Franco’s Fortune,” a romantic suspense sequel to “Logan’s Redemption” should be out in early 2013. Tagline: “When a female bodyguard is hired to protect a reformed playboy, she finds saving his life is easier than protecting her heart.” Later in the year I hope to release the second of my Storm series.
- Are you participating in any reader contests?
I’m participating in The Romance Reviews Year-End Splash party from Nov. 15-Dec. 15. I’ll be giving away a copy of “Storm of Desire.”
- There is a rumor going around that all self-pubbed books are shoddily created. What do you say to that?
Bonk. No doubt there are some books that are shoddy. But like anything else, the cream rises to the top. Readers will find the good books. And most of the indie books I’ve read, especially the romances, are well-written and edited. Many big name romance authors are now indie publishing their backlists. I agree that editing is very important, which is why I pay to have my books well-edited. Self-publishing had a bad reputation at one time. But now, so many good, seasoned authors are going the indie route because of the money, control and flexibility that the bad rep label no longer applies.
- What advice can you offer readers of self-pubbed books in making a decision on what to read?
Read the book’s blurbs, read the reviews (with caution), check to see if the author has other books. A caution about the Amazon reviews. Look over the reviews, but remember you can’t believe all of them. If a book sounds good to you, ignore the reviews and buy it.
Thanks for having me today. I wanted to give your readers contacts for my editor, Laura Kelly and my formatter, Sandra Edwards.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR…
Award-winning author Cara Marsi likes to describe herself as a former corporate drone and cubicle dweller. Now that she’s no longer a slave to the corporate world, she can more fully indulge her love of romance. She likes to write about feisty, independent women and the hot guys who love them. She’s published in traditional romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance. In addition, she’s sold more than a dozen short stories to women’s magazines.
Cara and her husband like to travel, and she loves to write about the places they’ve visited. They share their home with a fat, black diva of a cat named Killer.
Please visit Cara’s website, www.caramarsi.com, to learn more about her books and her life. And to see a picture of Killer all pumped up for Halloween.