Welcome back to another week in the self-publishing interview series! This week’s author is Zoe Dawson. Enjoy!
- What was the deciding factor in self-publishing your book(s)? Did you decide on ebook or print only or both?
I have been published with Harlequin Books for 17 years under the Karen Anders pen name. The process of getting books through the traditional system and published is slow. So, I can only get so many books out there for readers to enjoy. Part of the reason that I wanted to self-publish is to write and publish faster in a non-traditional way. The other part of the draw to self-publishing for me was the creative freedom.
Right now my books are available in ebook format, but down the road, I intend to include print books as well.
- 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 someone, could you share who?
As the sole proprietor of my own self-published works, the most important task for me is the product and if I don’t sit down and write, there will be no product. I made the decision that to free up my time I would hire professionals to do some of the nitty gritty tasks for me. I hired Faith Freewoman (website) to edit. She did an excellent job on book #1 and #2 of the Going to the Dogs Series. For the cover design, I was lucky enough to get Robin Ludwig at Robin Ludwig Design Inc. (http://www.gobookcoverdesign.com/). She did an excellent job on my series covers, giving them all a simple, eye-catching, cute design with a clear series brand. All the covers are now done and I’ll be revealing them on my blog (http://zoedawsonauthor.blogspot.com/). I also have a fabulous formatter, Michael Zapp. He can be reached at his email address firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s a very patient, fast, thorough, and affordable formatter. With the help of these people, there were few downs.
- What did you do to promote your work?
Reviews: As a traditional author, my books were normally picked up by the usual book review sites, including Romantic Times. But the process for getting reviews for my indies has been difficult. I’ve submitted to many reviewer sites and have received some reviews, but the process is slow. My guess is that there are such a large quantity of indie books that need review many reviewers are juggling very busy schedules.
Promotional Ads: I’ve bought promotional ads at several sites to get the word out about my book.
Facebook: I regularly post information regarding my book on my Zoe Dawson Facebook and Karen Anders Facebook pages.
Blog Hops: I blog hops that have been very successful. I intend to do many more. Blog Hops are a fun and engaging way to connect with readers, writers, and reviewers.
Twitter: Used the medium to announce information, but have recently focused more on connecting with people on Twitter rather than advertising. It’s been quite fun.
Goodreads: Set up a profile and I had originally blogged there before I set up my blog on blogspot. It’s also been a dynamic way to interact with readers, reviewers and writers. I think once I have more books out, I may buy an ad and see how that goes.
- What was the hardest thing you’ve found in the process of self-publishing? What was the easiest part of self-publishing?
The learning curve when I released my first book was steep. Luckily, I had a lot of help from great loops and from personal friends who are also in the writing business. Also, the promotion can be time consuming. The easiest was the uploading of the book.
- Can you list some Pros/Cons of self-publishing?
For the pros: I get to write exactly what I want to write. I can easily track my sales through the dashboards of the various sites where my book is for sale. Getting paid monthly instead of twice a year. Better royalty rates. Books never go out of print. I have control over my series. I have the ability to make changes. I keep all the rights to my book. Short publishing time. Control over content, cover, and description. Lack of a hard deadline.
For the Cons: I have all the responsibility. I front all the costs. Limited distribution of the print book. Reach fewer readers. Limited review choices.
- 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 have two books out and I uploaded one in September 2012 and the second in December 2012. I am shooting for as little time as possible between the publication of the books in my Going to the dog series (tentatively scheduled for June 18, 2013 and November 17, 2013).
- Can you give a rough breakdown of your sales numbers from your first month to the present?
To date I’ve sold 131 copies of Leashed and 61 copies of Groomed for Murder across all the sites who carry it.
- What advice can you offer to anyone deciding to self-publish?
Be patient with yourself and with the process. Get on a helpful loop and read as much as you can, but temper that with your own decision making. There are so many people who are willing to help. Two fabulous blogs that I have found invaluable are: http://thewritersguidetoepublishing.com/ and http://www.molly-greene.com/
- What genre(s) do you write in? How many books do you have out? Titles?
I write contemporary romance in mystery, comedy, police procedural, suspense and paranormal romance.
To date, I have two ebooks out, titled Leashed and Groomed for Murder. The first and second books in the Going to the Dogs series.
- What do you love about the genre(s)?
For mystery, police procedural and suspense, I love the danger aspect, the discovery, the woman in jeopardy and the action. For the paranormal, it’s all about exploring a new world either within our modern world, or other worlds yet to be discovered or created. I love the kick ass aspect of urban fantasy. As for comedy, I used to love to read it. I had no idea that I’d be competent in writing it, so that was a wonderful new discovery for me.
- Where can readers find you?
- Where can readers find your books? Print/Ebook?
Jack has some ‘splainin’ to do!
That’s right! Callie Lassiter’s normally well-behaved Great Dane Jack has run off and done the wild thing with the neighbor’s dog. It must be puppy love! It’s doubly embarrassing since she’s a professional dog trainer. Of course, the neighbor would have to be hot, hot nightclub owner bad boy Owen McKay, just the kind of man Callie is determined to avoid.
Owen’s comfortable with his playboy status and the hype in the media. But the ground moves beneath his feet when he gets an eyeful of the girl next door. The Dog Whisperer never looked this good! How can he convince this wholesome honey that his player days are behind him? Maybe Jill, his Great Dane can help him with this dilemma now that she’s pregnant and Callie’s dog is to blame.
Is this bad boy a bad bet?
Groomed for Murder
Can a dog have a bad hair day?
Brooke Palmer owns Pawlish, an exclusive doggie spa and grooming business in upper Manhattan, but when a client’s champion poodle gets a bad poodle cut and has to undergo therapy to recover, the client sues. The lawyer they send is drop dead gorgeous, but Brooke won’t be wooed by a corporate shark in a sharp suit.
Corporate lawyer Drew Hudson has better things to do then take on this ridiculous lawsuit, but since he works for the client’s husband, he has no choice. After meeting the beautiful, sweet-tempered owner, he can’t keep his mind on the silly case. But when the client turns up dog gone dead, Brooke may be a conflict of interest when she’s charged with the murder. All Drew wants to do is prove that this sexy entrepreneur is not dangerous, except to his heart.
Can she take a chance on him?
- What works do you have coming out in the future?
Hounded, Book #3, Going to the Dogs series – Summer 2013
Collared, Book #4, Going to the Dogs series – Fall 2013
In Her Sights, Book #1, LAPD Heat series, Entangled Publishing – Winter 2013
I have an urban fantasy series with romantic elements planned. I am also planning a female former-Marine turned motocross competitor who uses her recovery agent exploits to fund her motocross addition.
- Are you participating in any reader contests?
I have Leashed and Groomed for Murder here:
- There is a rumor going around that all self-pubbed books are shoddily created. What do you say to that?
I strive to make all my novels as professional, easy to read, and entertaining as I can possibly make them and I invest in professionals to help me do that. I see it as investing in myself. It’s well worth it. I believe that with any kind of generalization, something truly wonderful can be overlooked and, although, there may be self-published authors who are not doing as professional work as they can, all self-published books shouldn’t be lumped into the same category.
- What advice can you offer readers of self-pubbed books in making a decision on what to read?
Only that, on the whole, self-pubbed authors are writing for your enjoyment. I’d imagine that when they are writing for the money or status, it’ll come across in the writing.
Also, if you like an indie author, like their page, their author page on Amazon, and if you can write a review or drop them a line and let them know how much you enjoyed the book, it’ll make their day. I know it makes mine.
Zoe Dawson is the alter ego of Karen Anders, award winning, multi-published author. Her writing journey started with poetry and branched out into fiction. With a couple of college English courses under her belt, she penned a historical, then moved onto contemporary romance fiction.
She’s launched the first book in her self-published Going to the Dogs Series. Leashed begins the tails (pun intended) of four New York City dog professionals who meet at a dog park and become fast friends. Out now, Groomed for Murder, Book #2
She is also publishing with Entangled Publishing and will have her debut novel out with them in 2013. It’s the first book of the six book The Misfit Squad Series of police procedurals, featuring a group of troubled homicide detectives who have landed in the “last chance” squad. If they don’t shape up, they’re out.
Today, she is happy producing romantic suspense, romantic mystery, and soon paranormal and urban fantasy novels. The words feed her soul and the happily ever afters feed her heart.