Monday, April 4, 2011

Nancy C. Johnson - A Year Later and a NYT best-selling Author

I originally met Nancy last year on Kindleboards when so many of us dipped our toes into the e-publishing waters.  Now almost a year later, Nancy has had a number of wonderful surprises among them being named on the New York Times best-sellers list.  I'll let Nancy tell you all about it.  

Do you want to talk about what's happened in the past 10 months?
Hi Debra! It’s been an amazing and surprising 10 months since I published my novel as an ebook. Of course, I spent lots of time working on Her Last Letter so it would be the best book I could write, and hoped readers would enjoy it, but I never visualized making it to The New York Times ebook bestseller list, or Amazon’s top 100 list for ebooks. That’s something you only dream about! I think making my ebook so affordable convinced many readers give it a try. Of course, I believe my novel is worth more than the price I’m currently charging for it, but I knew if readers liked this book, they would probably buy the next. I plan to make my next book very reasonable too.

What kind of marketing did you do to get the book out in front of readers?
I put up a website when I published my paperback a few years earlier, and a blog, and did some local book signings, so I already had a following of sorts. Once the ebook was available I did some blog interviews, yours being one of them, and signed up with Goodreads. I also spent time on Amazon’s Kindle Boards to let readers know about my book. I mentioned it frequently on the Amazon forums too, where many readers go to find new books. I also requested reviews from two professional review sites, Huntress Reviews and the Midwest Book Review early on, and believe me, that was scary! Fortunately, both Detra Fitch from Huntress Reviews and Shelley Glodowski, senior editor for the Midwest Book Review really liked my book.

Do you have an agent now?  The same one you had before?
I’ve signed with an agent, Erica Silverman at Trident Media Group in New York City, and I feel very lucky to have her and the entire agency behind me. I had another agent many years ago, and he was excellent also, and sold many books, but unfortunately was unable to sell mine.

Do you have a publishing contract for future books?
No, I do not, but possibly someday. I do eventually hope to sell a book or two to a major publisher, but I’m very happy on my own right now. I am a small publisher myself, though I only publish my own books. I do enjoy being in control and making all the decisions regarding editing, covers, and all facets of the publishing process. My daughter is an excellent graphic designer and helps me immensely.

Any foreign rights sold?
Trident has sold foreign rights for Her Last Letter to Truva, a well-known Turkish publisher. I can’t wait to see the book when it is done! Of course, I won’t be able to read it. I hope to sell rights to other foreign publishers as well.

Have you written the next book?
I am writing a new book, and also planning to release one of my previously written novels.

Is there a sequel to Her Last Letter?
Yes, I am writing a sequel, and hoping to complete it in the near future. I really am enjoying spending time with the characters again, and hope readers will enjoy revisiting them too once the book is published.

Any advice for newbie authors just starting out?
First of all, I would say for them to rejoice that we now have the opportunity to publish our work through sites like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, Barnes & Noble’s Pubit, Smashwords, and many other sites, with more available every day! It is very difficult to break into traditional publishing, and so many talented authors now have the chance to publish their books. I hate to think of how many wonderful authors who could have been published and found readers did not, because they had not been picked up by traditional publishers. Now that doesn’t have to happen.  Of course, as far as authors just starting out, I would advise them to do their best work always, and not put a book out in a hurry. Take the time to do it right. Read books on writing, join writer’s groups, take classes in creative writing. Whatever you can do, it all helps.

And of course, read. Nothing teaches you to write, in my opinion, as much as reading good books. Write what you love, and what excites and interests you. You’ll relay that excitement to your readers.

What's up next for you?
Completing my new book and starting on another one. I have ideas for several I would like to write. I would also like to spend more time reading, but time seems to be very scarce these days. But hey, I’m not complaining!

Thanks for this interview, Debra.

You're welcome Nancy and please come back again and let us know how you're doing!

Nancy's interview from May 31, 2010

Author’s den: