- What was the deciding factor in self-publishing your book(s)? Did you decide on ebook or print only or both?
I wanted my story Beauty and The Best out there for readers. The story had been in the American Title Contest sponsored by Romantic Times Magazine and had gotten a lot of exposure. It’d come close to selling to NY twice. Readers were asking for it. When it was rejected yet again because “it doesn’t fit out line” even though the editors LOVED it, I decided to put it up on my own.
- 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 put my (very) limited budget into the thing I thought I couldn’t do well: the cover. But the rest… I’m fairly tech savvy, so I figured I could do that on my own. Turns out, not only can I do it, I am now doing it for other authors. I’m also doing covers—and yes, I do my own. A recent release, Beefcake & Cupcakes won Cover of the Month from Ind’tale Magazine, a magazine for the indie-pubbing world. I barter with other authors for editorial assistance because even though I also do editing for other authors, it’s hard to edit your own work because you are so close to it.
www.formatting4U.com is my service and my client list is growing steadily.
- What did you do to promote your work?
I’m traditionally published and have gotten a lot of great reviews for my Mermen and Genies series, so I contacted those review sites and bloggers directly. I’ve been very blessed to have a loyal following among those folks as well as my regular readers. I have an extensive email list compiled from my online contest days. And of course, I use social media.
- What was the hardest thing you’ve found in the process of self-publishing? What was the easiest part of self-publishing?
The hardest part is the same thing it is for traditionally publishing: time. There’s never enough. Easiest? Throwing off the “will my editor, publisher, marketing team, buyer” like this? Now I write directly to the readers and it’s great to see they have the same sense of humor that I do.
- Can you list some Pros/Cons of self-publishing?
Pros – ability to focus on the story. To write what I want without worrying if I’ll get another contract if my sales don’t hit benchmarks. The ability to respond to reader requests. So many readers want the rest of the Tritone series and since my publisher elected not to go with them, I’ll be putting out Marianna and Pearl’s stories (as soon as I get the chance to write them). Another pro is the money. Monthly and in many cases more than I make traditionally.
Cons – Setting up the network of people to help you. But once you have it set up, it’s there and it’s awesome.
- 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 put my first indie-pubbed title up in April. I want to get the second and third in that series up, but another series called to me, the BeefCake, Inc. series about male strippers (coincidentally, it came to me before I heard about the movie Magic Mike, but I totally capitalized on that wave), so I wrote the first two of that and have Tanner’s story in the works. I’ve definitely seen a bump in sales as the second book came out. I also have a series of erotic short novellas under the name Raven Morris and those sales have definitely accelerated as subsequent books came out.
- Can you give a rough breakdown of your sales numbers from your first month to the present?
I started out nominally and while I’m not making gangbusters, sales have increased exponentially.
- What advice can you offer to anyone deciding to self-publish?
Don’t shirk on the important stuff. Hire out what you can’t do. Covers are EXTREMELY important, but so is the blurb and especially the story. Work on your writing, hire an editor, and make that story the best it can be. Readers who fall in love with your work will buy whatever you write as long as the quality is there. Don’t skimp on quality.
- What genre(s) do you write in? How many books do you have out? Titles?
As Judi Fennell
A. Paranormal romantic comedy
- Tritone series: In Over Her Head, Wild Blue Under, Catch of a Lifetime
- Bottled Magic Series: I Dream of Genies, Genie Knows Best, Magic Gone Wild
- Once-Upon-A-Time Romance Series: Beauty and The Best, If The Shoe Fits*, Fairest Of Them All*
- BeefCake, Inc. Series: Beefcake & Cupcakes, Beefcake & Mistakes, and Beefcake & Retakes (hopefully in December)
- Manley Maid series: coming 2014 from Berkley
As Raven Morris
- Tied With A Bow:
JACKED, MAXED, ROCKED, MARKED, DICKED, TYED
- An anthology with Olivia Cunning, Cari Quinn, Cherrie Lynn, and Stephanie Julian:
A Very Naughty Xmas, coming Thanksgiving 2012
- What do you love about the genre(s)?
I love writing. I love telling stories. I love being able to put my silly one-liners out that make me giggle and hearing other people giggle. I love that little “pit” in your stomach feeling you get when you meet someone special. So often that dissipates through the years, but writing about it with new characters lets you revisit it time and again.
- Where can readers find you?
- Where can readers find your books? Print/Ebook?
All of my books, both traditional and indie-pubbed, are available in both digital versions and print.
- What works do you have coming out in the future?
The upcoming Christmas anthology as Raven Morris, then hopefully the next BeefCake, Inc. book, but I’m also editing my time travel, Through The Leaded Glass, per reader requests to get that up.
- Are you participating in any reader contests?
At the moment, no.
- There is a rumor going around that all self-pubbed books are shoddily created. What do you say to that?
I say that if you don’t put the work into it that a publisher puts behind the books they publish then you’re perpetuating that image. Perception is 9/10ths reality – do the work to make your product the most professional/best product it can be.
- What advice can you offer readers of self-pubbed books in making a decision on what to read?
Utilize the Look Inside feature on Amazon or the Sampling feature on other sites. Word of mouth is usually the biggest way people find new authors. I’d say to give a new author a chance. You had to give the first book of any of your favorite authors a chance and there are a lot of new authors who are just as great as the authors you’re used to reading. Who knows, you might discover a whole new world…
Judi Fennell has had her nose in a book and her head in some celestial realm all her life, including those early years when her mom would exhort her to “get outside!” instead of watching Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie on television. So she did—right into Dad’s hammock with her Nancy Drew books. These days she’s more likely to have her nose in her laptop and her head (and the rest of her) at a favorite writing spot, but she’s still reading either her latest manuscript or friends’ books. A PRISM Award and Golden Leaf Award winner, Judi is the author of the Mer series: In Over Her Head, Wild Blue Under, and Catch of a Lifetime; the Bottled Magic series: I Dream of Genies, Genie Knows Best, and Magic Gone Wild; the Once-Upon-A-Time Romance series featuring: Beauty and The Best, If The Shoe Fits, and Fairest of Them All; and the BeefCake, Inc. series, beginning with Beefcake & Cupcakes..