The Self-Publishing Report: Interview with Marie-Thérèse Browne (Marie Campbell)
Today begins a new series at Literarily Speaking called The Self-Publishing Report. I wanted to build another blog to talk about the self-publishing experience, interview self-publishing authors, so forth, when I nixed the idea being as Literarily Speaking is already established and growing well and could surely use all the wonderful information we could gather from those authors who have decided to take the self-publishing route. Today’s guest is Marie-Therese Brown, aka Marie Campbell. She talks about her first book, Olga – A Daughter’s Tale, and why she decided to self-publish it.
Thank you for this interview, Marie. You self-published your first book, ‘Olga – A Daughter’s Tale’. Would you please tell us why you chose the self-publishing route?
I chose the self-publishing route because I wrote ‘Olga – A Daughter’s Tale’ initially for my family only. It was written as the result of discoveries made while researching my mother’s past and her family in Kingston, Jamaica and I was so overwhelmed by what I learnt about my mother that I wanted future generation of my family to know about her.
Take us through the process. You had an idea for your book, you wrote it, then you decided to find a publisher. What were your experiences with that? Or did you decide to self-publish without looking any further?
Yes, self-publishing was my first and only option for the reasons I’ve mentioned above. I self-published my book with Lulu.com in 2007 and have to say it was a very simple process. I found the instructions very clear and easy follow and they had a great interactive online help system where you’d get answers to queries immediately. Unfortunately, they don’t have the same system now.
What different online stores carry your book?
Because I’ve opted for KDP select currently ‘Olga – A Daughter’s Tale’ can only be downloaded from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004J4W024
However, the paperback can be purchased from http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/mariecampbell and Amazon.
Do you think that having your book self-published makes any difference to the media? Are they open to interviewing self-published authors or reviewing their books?
I haven’t found the media receptive at all to my book in spite of the number of press releases and requests for reviews I’ve sent out. I think the combination of my being self-published and a new author makes it extremely challenging for me to gain the media’s interest. Blogs are a different matter.
Authors who go the traditional route have an edge over self-published authors in regards to distribution to bookstores. How did you handle that as a self-published author?
So far I’ve found two bookstores receptive to my being a self-published author and were happy to take ‘Olga – A Daughter’s Tale’ on consignment. I’ve made enquiries of other bookstores and they seem to be amenable to stocking of self-published authors so my opinion is that bookstores are more embracing of self published authors than publishers!
On the other hand, self-published authors have the edge over traditional books in the regards that the author has all the control. I’d like to begin with your cover. Did you make it or did you have someone else design it? If you had someone else, can you tell us who it is?
I designed the cover for ‘Olga – A Daughter’s Tale’ myself and am very proud of it. I wanted the cover to give an indication of the story and I think it does.
Did you get someone to format it for you or did you do that?
No I formatted the book myself. It took a while because I would check and double check the formatting by printing off copious copies of the book.
What was the hardest challenge for you to self-publish your book?
The hardest challenge and ongoing one is the promotion of the book. By comparison everything I found relatively easy including writing the book!
What steps are you taking to promote it?
After I accepted that I wouldn’t find a literary agent to represent me for the reasons I’ve given above, I decided to promote ‘Olga – A Daughter’s Tale’ myself. I discovered Smashwords.com which I thought was brilliant at first but in reality has generated very few sales. However, it is a good tool to gift books to others. I use social media a fair bit, particularly Twitter and some Facebook pages. I also think Linkedin is valuable promo tool but I’m not utilizing it to it’s full potential at the moment.
What has been the best marketing tool or method you have used that has resulted in the most sales?
Without a doubt the free promotion that KDP offers! I don’t understand how, after giving away hundreds of copies, when the free promotion ends I actually get revenue generating sales over the following days. But I’m not knocking it – love itJ I also believe the best promotion tool is ‘word of mouth’.
Do you have any advice you’d like to share with other self-published authors?
Yes – Pay to have your book proof read by a professional. It’s one of the best investments you can make.
Thank you for this interview, Marie, we wish you much success!
You can visit Marie on the web at http://olgasdaughtersblog.wordpress.com/.
If you are a self-published author and would like to inquire about an interview for our The Self-Publishing Report feature here at Literarily Speaking or would like to submit a guest post talking about your own self-publishing experience, email Dorothy at thewriterslife(at)gmail.com.