Literarily Speaking’s Self-Publishing Report: Interview with Romantic Short Story Novelist Barry Eva
I don’t know about you, but I am so interested in self-publishing. The more we learn about it, the more we can succeed at selling our own self-published books, right? Today I’m thrilled to have Barry Eva, author of The Bathroom Book of Romance, here to talk about how he self-published his own book.
Born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England, Barry left his beloved England in 2000, moving to the USA. Under the name “Storyheart” he released his best selling YA novel “Across the Pond” which currently has over 100 reviews on Amazon.
Barry is also well known as the host of the popular radio show “A Book and a Chat” with over 450 shows under his belt. Popular for narrating his stories on local TV or as a guest on other media stations, Barry’s whit, oratory, and old-fashioned English charm make him a popular interviewee.
The Bathroom Book of Romance – Book 1 is the first of a series of book sharing his previously published online, short romance stories.
Find out more at http://romance2read.com
ABOUT THE BATHROOM BOOK OF ROMANCE
This compilation, the first in a series of books with short stories, is short enough to read over a cup of tea or coffee, or whenever you have some time to yourself, yet long enough to bring a tear to your eye or a smile to your face. In fact some people call them “bathroom stories” as that might be the only place you get five minutes peace and quiet to yourself.
Thank you for this interview, Barry. You self-published your latest book, “The Bathroom Book of Romance”. Would you please tell us why you chose the self-publishing route?
I have had many of these stories knocking around for year, and after everything I have learned with the publication of my YA novel “Across the Pond” feedback from narrating some of the stories on radio and TV and everything I have learned from my nearly “A Book and a Chat” radio shows, I decided to bring some of the stories out for now, as an E- Book. I say for now as there are several follow up E-Books planned after which with the aid of my publisher “Bookateer Publishing” to merge the E-Books into a paper book.
Self Published E-Books are after all possibly the ways forward. It was only in June last year that John Locke became the first self-published author to join the Kindle Million Club–the eighth author to sell one million eBooks through Amazon. I’m not looking for that hence my 99cent price, just for people to read and enjoy my stories.
Take us through the process. You had an idea for your book, you wrote it, and then you decided to find a publisher. What were your experiences with that? Or did you decide to self-publish without looking any further?
I went through the whole, finding a publisher maze when I originally was looking to publish some of these stories about seven years ago, but as they say even the top authors have their walls papered with rejection slips.
I have always been an advocate of the future being online, e-books etc, times change, requirements change, what were yesterdays top seller could be tomorrows, not interested. I did publish some of these stories in a now out of print book “Stories from the Heart” but the editing was terrible and the book though getting some very good reviews just was not up to what is should have been. Since that time I have written many more of these short stories, and after talking to a friend who I do many book signings with I decided to work with them and their new publishing company “Bookateer Publishing” to do the self publishing route. Of course the knowledge gained over the last several years has helped with that as well.
What different online stores carry your book?
All E-Book stores, Smashwords, Amazon etc, I try and link everything to the web site http://romance2read.com
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?
The days of the very large publishing houses are over, smaller ones have taken much of the space or the large ones have split into sub-sections. I have never discriminated self published to non self-published to even bloggers on my radio show. From multimillion selling authors to a person who has just started writing a blog all are welcome on “A Book and a Chat”.
If a book is good, if people enjoy reading it, or it helps them, what difference does it make who published it. Even the launch and publicity is more and more down to the author, so what is the difference?
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?
This is the one item that traditional publishers have over self published, however as the majority of books I would think are now purchased online, it is perhaps not as wide a gap as it once was. Many of the larger book store chains are more like warehouses they get books in if they don’t sell they take them out, your there one minute the next you are forgotten. Most authors, especially self published are just looking to share their writing. The first, second, third even fourth book might not make huge money but it does the important part of getting your name out there. So one day, you never know fame might well come knocking on your door.
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 had an idea, re the title, which comes from the fact that the stories have in the past been labeled as “A short read for when you have five minutes peace and quiet” and of course that quiet time might well, be just while you’re in the bathroom. This being the case ideas around bathrooms, romance, rubber ducks (there was a good one with that) came up and the final drawing was done by the people at “Bookateer Publishing” the second book will be a different color, but with 2 flowers and then the Christmas special will have same sort of cover but with a Christmas favor.
Did you get someone to format it for you or did you do that?
Many of the original stories were published on the internet so the format was different, chapter pictures, etc. So again I worked with the publisher and worked out the best format to fit with it being an E-Book
What was the hardest challenge for you to self-publish your book?
That is easy… “time” with work, radio shows, family, and the odd nights karaoke it was many times waiting for me to complete some of the work/corrections.
What steps are you taking to promote it?
I am very experience in self promoting with the experience from all the radio show guests, my own writings such as how to promote on a budget, the lessons learned from my previous book “Across the Pond”. I have over 120 reviews on Amazon for that book so word must have got out about it. I am a huge fan of bloggers, especially the YA bloggers, as anybody knows who’s listened to the radio show; I call them the Sham-Wow of YA literature as they just soak everything up. Virtual tours, blogs, online applications, and also at where I do other book signings.
What has been the best marketing tool or method you have used that has resulted in the most sales?
Getting reviews, radio interviews, my own TV show (doing like a Mr Rogers coming onto the set and reading a story or two), appearing with other Connecticut authors at the New England fair the “BIG E” has always gone down well. I always carry books with me so even singing at karaoke is a point of possible sale.
The weirdest option was when I went back to England a year ago, I took a few copies with me on the plane for family back in England. Coming back and at the airport I still had 3 copies of the book with me. At London airport after customs you are basically in a shopping village, with numerous shops, stores, etc. One of the stores is W.H Smiths one of the main place for purchasing books, newspapers etc.
I noticed that there was an empty slot in the top 20 selling novels display, so I slid my three copies into the empty slot. I then sat down and watched as people came up and looked at the books, several picked up mine and soon a person picked a copy up and went to pay for it. Of course the bar code would not scan, leaving the shop assistant trying to work out how she could charge for the copy. At this point, trying not to laugh I had to go catch my plane… Even to this day I wonder if the books ever sold..
Do you have any advice you’d like to share with other self-published authors?
Check around there are many option to self publish, don’t necessary go to the first option that promises a big package for perhaps equally big money. There are many smaller locations that will help, and many, many online blogs, reports and helpful articles about the way to do this.
Thank you for this interview, Barry. We wish you much success!