I wanted to be a writer, and to write novels, from an early age. But I didn’t realistically see how I would make that happen until I stopped over to my sister’s house one day and picked up a paperback romance novel she was reading. My first thought was, “I could write one of these.” She mentioned they were hot sellers. I decided to try to write one, came up with an idea, then started writing in a notebook every day. It was fun!
Did you query agents or traditional publishers before publishing on Amazon?
Yes, first traditional publishers, waiting two months or more for a form rejection letter, plus the cost of postage to send a complete manuscript. What a bummer. I tried that a few times, and then decided to try the agent route. I got lucky. A New York agent liked my one page query letter, asked to see the book, then signed me on. I was thrilled, and started singing in my car everywhere I went. The song “Celebration” was popular then.
What factors influenced your decision to self-publish?
After the agent came very close to a sale with several well-known publishers, the deal fell through. I won’t go through all of the disappointment and grueling effort I experienced after that, but eventually I decided to become a publisher in order to publish my own books.
Will you try to garner a traditional publishing contract for any future books?
If someone wants to offer me a deal worth looking at, I would still consider it. Big publishers and big agents are much better at selling lucrative foreign rights deals than I will ever be. But, of course, if one of my books takes off in a big way (always hoping) I could also try finding a foreign rights agent myself. I haven’t really done much with that yet.
Did you design your cover art? If not, would you care to share your graphic designer’s information?
I came up with the idea of what I would like to see on the cover. My daughter, a wonderful graphic designer, made it real. And she did a great job of it! I love the cover of my book. It is different, very appealing. Many readers have mentioned how much they like my cover. But my daughter Angie is so busy she doesn’t have time to do covers for authors, other than me. Lucky me. J
If you used a graphic designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
Angie showed me several sample covers. It didn’t take too long to decide on the cover which now graces my book. She had also read the book, so she knew what I was looking for.
How did you feel when you got your first sale? Are you pleased with sales so far?
Actually, I barely remember the first sale, but it was to someone I knew. Of course, I was thrilled! And I am still elated every time I sell some books. I am so pleased and grateful when I think about the number of people who have purchased my book … me, a relatively unknown author. And the paperback wasn’t cheap, though it was as cheap as I could make it considering the discounts I had to give, plus all the other expenses involved in publishing a book. I’ve learned a lot since then. My Kindle book is only three weeks old and I am very pleased at how well it has done in such a short time. Far exceeding my expectations. I hope Kindle sales continue to grow. I’m crossing my fingers…
What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
I just got on Facebook today. I’m still filling out my profile. I will join Twitter soon. I’ve been blogging for three years, and have links to my website there. I joined Author’s Den relatively recently too. I use the Kindle Book Bazaar a lot, and other Kindle forums. It’s all helpful, I’m sure. I’m never really sure how people find my books.
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
I’m checking into all the ebook sites I’m finding out about, and will do a lot of that. My paperback books are available at Barnes & Noble, and I will join their ebook program soon. You can order my paperbacks from any bookstore, as I have an account with Baker and Taylor. Bookstores like that. They would rather not order directly from the publishing company. I have plans to also become associated with Ingram for my next book. Again, if one of my books hits, I want bookstores to be able to order lots of books!
What’s next for you?
Writing my next book … getting that out. And doing as much inexpensive marketing as possible. You can’t write just one book and expect to become well know, or even marginally well known. You have to keep adding books. And since I love to write books, I have no problem with that at all!
Thanks for this interview. I appreciate it so much!
Nancy C. Johnson
Website: http://www.nancy-cjohnson.comAuthor’s den: http://authorsden.com/nancycjohnson