A friend of mine, Edie Ramer, told me about an indie author who’d self-published and has had great success. Interested in self-publishing, I looked up the author, Zoe Winters. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Zoe has a plethora of information on self-publishing. And fortunately for us, we’re all winners today because Zoe has a free ebook, Kept, on her website. I highly recommend you download the novella. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened the book, but I was more than impressed. Read the ebook and you’ll understand why Zoe has had so much success. If you like it, try out her other books as well! The great thing about self-publishing is usually the books are inexpensive.
Join me in welcoming Zoe to the blog!
Tell us a little about your books:
Oh goodie, the first question is copy and paste. You’re spoiling me here!
Kept, Claimed, and Mated are paranormal romance novellas that all happen in the same world. They’re available individually in ebook, and are being combined as an anthology called Blood Lust. Blood Lust is the first book in a larger series, though future books will be full-length novels rather than novella collections. (I go out of my way to confuse people! 🙂 )
As a cat therian (shifter), Greta’s blood is already sought after to enhance spells and potions, but due to a quirk of her birth, her blood is potent enough to kill for. When her tribe plans to sacrifice her, Greta must ally herself with Dayne, the dangerous local sorcerer, and the only person strong enough to protect her.
For a vampire, Anthony isn’t a picky eater, but he’s drawn to Charlee’s blood more than any other. Like a fine wine saved for a special occasion, he’s denied himself this pleasure. But one night, high from the potent magical blood of another, he claims his prize and loses control. Ashamed of almost killing the one woman who means anything to him, he wipes her memory of the event. When Charlee awakens with complete amnesia, Anthony is the only one who can clean up the mess he’s made.
Because of the vampiric blood that has run through her veins since birth, Jane has been a target for vampires who resent a human being “kindred.” She’s forced to disguise herself as a vampire groupie to appease them and safeguard her life. When she’s abruptly given to Cole, the leader of the werewolf pack, to satisfy a gambling debt, she discovers the blood running through her veins has a far greater impact on her destiny than she ever imagined.
Tell us about your road to publication :
I wanted to be an author even when I was a little kid. I remember writing short stories in junior high (which were probably awful) and submitting them to publishers. I got a lot of rejections, but I also got some nice notes in there too. For some reason, publisher rejections never really bugged me that much even back then.
I used to hear about people crying over rejections and I remember feeling a little disappointed but I never cried over it. All the writer magazines said it was a normal part of the process, so I never got that emotional about it. Which is funny, since I’m a pretty emotional person. The stupidest things will send me into a tailspin sometimes, but rejection letters? Meh.
I kept trying to write a novel and eventually succeeded. But by the time I did and had written a few of them, I didn’t know if I really wanted a traditional publisher anymore. I’d observed too many other writers’ journeys and it seemed like
the brass ring w
as a little rusty. Wait? Can brass rust? I’m not even sure.
Why did you decide to go the self-publishing route?
I wanted creative and business control. Plus I just saw so many opportunities to reach an audience through things like podcasting and ebooks and social networking, that I really wanted to create and build something that was solely mine. The challenge seemed fun. It also allowed me to not have to wait on anybody else to give me “permission to publish.” I’m a fiercely independent person in a lot of areas, and I’m basically unemployable. I can’t stand working for other people. And traditional publishing with all its deadlines and requirements seemed a bit too much like “working for other people.”
Can you give us a short excerpt of any books (maybe newest release)?
Sure, I’ll give you a little snip from Mated. The blurb at the top hopefully should be enough set-up. Basically Jane and the vampire who has been mistreating her are in the back of a bar in this scene. Cole is about to blow in and rescue her, while convincing himself he’s just taking her as payment. He overhears a lot of
this from behind a curtain:
“You know what she is, right? You can feel it?”
The other vampire nodded, “Kindred, but . . . not. She’s human, but she feels like vampire.”
Paul snorted. “She’s an insult, is what she is.”
“But she’s different. You have a commodity here. Something unique you could sell if you had a better business head on ya.”
Jane stared at the cards in Paul’s hand, avoiding looking at the vampire with the entrepreneurial ambitions. She wouldn’t cry. She wouldn’t scream. She wouldn’t give them anything that would make them want to come back and get more.
If a writer wants to self-publish, what’s the best advice you can give? Also, can you tell use the best way to promote a self-published book?
Take lots of drugs. Just kidding. Research and learn everything you can. There
are a LOT of great resources
out there now. Lots of information on Print-on-demand (I highly recommend using Create Space or Lightning Source ra
ther than an author services company).
Though the best place to start really is in ebooks because it requires low start-up capital and frankly is easier to make a sale. With ebooks you can price yourself low, 2.99 or under, to help build a following. Also, people buy ebooks online. They don’t walk into a brick and mortar bookstore for them, so your audience is already right here where you are. It’s a lot easier to get a reader to plunk down 99 cents or 1.99 for your ebook when they don’t know you, than it is for you to get them to pay $15 or more for a paperback they’ll have to wait to have shipped to them.
It’s very difficult for an indie author to get on physical bookstore shelves. And even if it wasn’t, you really don’t want to go there starting out because it’s too much work for too little pay-off for most people. A few books on consignment in the local bookstore won’t do much more than stroke your vanity a little.
If you managed to get wider distribution you’d be mixed up in the bookstore returns system, which I’m convinced is part of what’s killing NY publishing. Just stay off the big pretty boat labeled ‘Titanic’ and you’ll probably be okay.
If you’re looking for some good resources to start exploring this option a little further, here are some sites I can recommend online:
http://www.indiereader.com/blog (full disclosure: I’m the blogger here)
By the time you get through all that, you’ll have a much clearer idea if this is something you want to jump into or not.
For me, the best way to promote my work is online. Social networking, blogging, guest blogging, podcasting, requesting reviews from book bloggers in my genre. You’ve just got to get out there and start talking and connecting with people. There is no magic bullet. It’s just all about connecting with people in places where fans of your type of writing congregate.
For me, I’ve used the “indie author” thing as a big part of my platform. As a result, I have a lot of indie author readers who don’t necessarily normally read romance, or vampires. A lot of those readers are male, which I always find interesting.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?
LOL I wish. I don’t have time for hobbies. Seriously, I love self-publishing. I wouldn’t trade being indie for anything. But it’s a lot of hard work, and I don’t have a job outside this. I work 10-12 hours a day
every day, often including weekends, writing and promoting. So it’s not get rich quick. It’s not even get modest livable wage quick. I don’t want to discourage anybody, just know it’s a lot of work. And I truly don’t think I could do it if I had a job, or kids, or any of that. I know some people DO manage to juggle those things and be indie, and I admire the hell out of them. But I honestly don’t know where they find the time or energy.
What are you working on now?
I’m working right now on finishing up the print release for Blood Lust, then I’ll be moving into edits for Save My Soul, which is the second book in the series.
Save My Soul gets into the incubus side of my world. Being a longer work, it gets a little deeper into the mythology. Some things like gods and reincarnation have been hinted at a little in the novellas. Those things are expanded on in Save My Soul.
I’m also working on the podcast of Blood Lust.
Where can we find you on the web?
http://www.theriantype.com (This one is just a fun one. It’s a fictional company from my verse.)
I have a Facebook but those addresses are so long and insane. You can find my Facebook and GoodReads from the Contact page on my main website.
Feel free to ask Zoe any questions about her books or about epublishing. And don’t forget to download Zoe’s book, Kept.
P.S. I’m having big problems with the Blog this morning. Comments do seem to be working…finally. But if you want to leave a comment and it won’t work, email me your question/comment for Zoe. loribrighton at yahoo dot com.