Thursday, May 3, 2012

Interview with Kersten L Kelly


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
The book is entitled ec·o·nom·ics: a simple twist on normalcy. It is a narrative non-fiction compiling economic theory, pop culture, business, history, and social trends into digestible and enjoyable snippets of information. Professional football players, corporate tobacco advertisers, volatile gasoline prices, and the Cold War all share an undetected commonality—each is an intrinsic part of economics. Though not obvious to the naked eye, each entity shares a pattern with the others. This book helps to shed light on these mutual characteristics. It is an extensive compilation of theories interpreted using supportive examples.  Economics is part of daily life, and this book challenges readers to question how and why people make decisions by adding a simple twist on normalcy.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
No, I didn't try the traditional route to publishing. I've always been an ambitious person, and I wanted the experience to input every part of the book myself. Although it was quite a challenge, I'm glad I self-published my book. I feel rewarded knowing how much time and effort I put forth to create the finished product.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
The critiques that I received for the book were directly from my editor and my colleagues that work in the publishing industry. My writing greatly improved through their suggestions, edits, and advice. It is always helpful to get a different perspective on your own written work. Each person that worked on the critiquing process added value and a unique outlook that I would never have thought of myself. I cannot thank them for their invaluable input.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
I decided to self-publish to Amazon for a number of reasons. First, I wanted to make sure my finished product was readily available for readers and Amazon gave me that piece of mind. I also know that online mediums to purchase books are rapidly growing compared to brick and mortar stores. If you want to be successful, an author needs to follow the industry standard. I did this by publishing on Amazon.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes, it is critical to have a professional editor take a look at your work before you publish a manuscript. Not only did my editor find mistakes, but she also helped me to reword some of the sentences that were hard to understand. This was probably the most valuable piece of feedback I've gotten thus far.

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
Aside from the actual process itself (i.e. editing, designing, proof-reading), I've learned how important it is to at least attempt self-publishing. I had no idea at the beginning of this journey how difficult it would, but the reward of being able to see my book in print is euphoric. Not only do I get to be proud of the words on each page, but the book in its entirety. I am elated to be directly involved in the entire process.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Yes, my book is listed on BarnesandNoble.com, Smashwords.com, and the CreateSpace.com, and it will soon be on Apple's iBook website.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
The social media marketing I am using is on Twitter (@KerstenLKelly), Facebook (Author Kersten L. Kelly), AuthorsDen.com, Book Blog (theeconomicsbook.com/blog), press releases on a variety of websites, the book website (www.theeconomicsbook.com), and exposure through BookBlogs.com.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Yes, this has been extremely difficult. My next book has actually been on hold for the entire month of March because of the launch of this book. The amount of time spent marketing the book has far exceeded my expectations. I am dedicated to selling my book though so I am enjoying the process.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Stay focused.
Read as many "how to's" as you can. You are guaranteed to learn at least one thing from each.
Don't let small issues frustrate you. I can promise there will be a lot of them.
Find a great designer. I did, and she was well worth it. Remember, the cover of your book is the only true selling piece.
Edit, edit, and edit again. Don't ever think you've found every error. The book can always be improved.
Get in touch with a self-published author and ask for their 5 "best practices." I did, and this was one of the most helpful pieces of information I received in the process.

What’s next for you?
I have started writing my next piece. At the same time, I started a resume reviewing business to help people earn their dream jobs. I hope to have my next piece completely written by the end of the year.