After a successful traditional publishing career, what made you decide to self publish your backlist?
When my traditionally published books went out of print, the rights reverted back to me. When Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo and other retailers opened their doors to self publishing, I decided to put up my backlist books, some of which had not spent very many weeks out on the shelves. Brick and mortar bookstores have limited shelf space, and they have to keep the old books flowing out to make room for the new. But online digital retailers have unlimited shelf space, providing authors and publishers the opportunity to keep their books available for readers. It’s definitely a win-win for authors and for readers.
You’re having a lot of success self publishing — would you recommend this path to other authors?
Absolutely yes! I love self publishing, but I am also the kind of person who likes having control over my books as much as possible. It is a tremendous amount of work. A self publisher has to wear many hats, not just writer, but editor, proofreader, technical formatter, cover designer, marketer, pricing expert … it’s exhausting. But it’s also very rewarding. There is a bigger piece of the pie for self published authors in terms of royalties, but there is a trade off in the amount of work the self publisher has to do. For me the work is worth the increased money and the opportunity to publish my books frequently!
One piece of advice I would give writers is to understand that no matter what path of publishing you take it’s a long haul. Very few people make a career off one book. You put up one story and start working on the next. And some day you’ll have a full list of books and hopefully a booming career!
Do you hire outside help to publish your books now that you’re self publishing?
About a year ago, I convinced my daughter to ditch her TV news career and open up a digital publishing company to help authors with every facet of self publishing. She now does all my technical ebook conversions, proofing, helps me manage marketing through social media and assists with all of the other many tasks involved in self publishing. She currently works with about a dozen other authors. If you need help with your own publishing efforts, feel free to contact Kristen@klfpub.com for more information.
I also hire copyeditors and additional proofreaders as well as audiobook narrators and foreign translators.
Are any of your books available in audiobook format?
Which one of your books is your favorite?.
This is an easy answer — it’s always the one I’ve just finished writing! But here are a few personal favorites…
SO THIS IS LOVE – Yes I know, this is the most recent book, but it is one of my favorites. I love Emma, who is a feisty, smart, sexy fire investigator who meets her match in Max Harrison, a calm, cool, but smoking hot police detective. I also love writing about all the Callaway siblings, so this series lets me keep some story lines in play over several books.
DANIEL’S GIFT was my first breakout book. The story of a young boy who wants to meet his biological father but gets in an accident along the way, touched many readers. I wrote the story after my 13-year-old niece died from a sudden illness and I had done some reading about near-death experiences in children. I think I had an angel on my shoulder when I wrote that book. It went on to win the RITA for Best Contemporary Romance and was optioned for a TV movie. (It didn’t get made but maybe someday).
Another favorite book is SUMMER SECRETS, which is the story of three sisters who grew up with their father, an avid sailor, who took them on a race around the world when they were teens, a race that resulted in a life-changing secret that’s about to be unveiled. And if I had to pick one more book, I’d have to say GOLDEN LIES. The story begins when the hero takes his grandmother to an antiques roadshow and discovers that the ugliest dragon statue he’s ever seen might just be a priceless artifact from an ancient Chinese dynasty. I could go on and on, because the truth is every book I write I love. Did I mention DON’T SAY A WORD where a woman visits a museum and discovers that she bares an uncanny resemblance to the painting of a famous Russian orphan?
Where do you get your ideas?
As soon as I start talking about my books, I often get an incredulous look and the above question. The truth is — the ideas are everywhere. I’ll be having an ordinary conversation with friends and an idea will spark. Case in point — I was talking to a sorority sister about how we used to climb out on the second story roof of the sorority house to sunbathe. ALL SHE EVER WANTED was the story of a girl who died in college after falling off the roof of her sorority house and her friends who know more about her death than they’re willing to say.
SILENT RUN was borne of an idea that simmered in my head for a long time. I had this vision of a car accident and a woman who woke up not remembering one thing about herself. Then a police officer comes into her hospital room and asks her where her baby is. She’s the only one who knows, and she can’t remember. As she realizes that her baby’s life might be in jeopardy, she has to figure out who she is so she can save herself and her child.
Do you ever quit writing a book in the middle? And go on to something else?
I’ve been tempted, because the next story always seems easier and more exciting. But I’m usually pretty disciplined, and once I get into a story, I find a way to write through the tough times. Every novel has ups and downs, and every writer has to climb over obstacles whether it’s in the outlining or the actual writing. So if you have a story to tell, don’t give up.
How do you write? Do you start with an extensive outline?
I have a fluid writing process. I start with knowing the key turning points and the main characters and what I envision as their arc. That’s about it. Even when I force myself to write a longer outline, I almost always veer from the path as I write. I find my best ideas come out of the writing and as I get to know the characters. When I’m in their head, writing their words, things change. I’m not averse to rewriting and most of my books go through many drafts, but I usually revise as I go along and then again at the end.
What advice do you have for beginning writers?
Read in the genre in which you want to write. Join writers groups which offer opportunities to network, participate in workshops, and learn everything about that particular genre. If you’re writing romance, definitely join both the national Romance Writers of America and find a local chapter.
How does a new writer find an agent and/or an editor?
Join a writers group and network. Most groups offer opportunities to hear from agents and editors in the field whether it be through articles, conferences or online chats. Talk to other writers and do your research so that you’re sending material to someone who represents that kind of book. With the publishing world in a state of flux, ask yourself if you really need an agent and/or a publishing house. If you want to sell to a traditional NY publisher, then you probably do need an agent just to get your book read. But lately, a lot of self published authors are answering calls from agents and editors who want them to consider a traditional publishing deal.
Where can I find your books?
All of my books can be found online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the Apple iBookstore, Google eBookstore, Diesel Books, Books A Million, Sony as well as other retailers and libraries. Many of my digital books also have print on demand copies available through Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com. Since giving up my traditional publisher, I don’t have massive print distribution into physical bookstores any more, but hopefully some day that may happen again.
Are you available to talk to my Book Club?
I’m happy to do online chats with your book club. I can also provide a Readers Guide with provocative questions for your discussion as well as promo materials. Please email me with your request.