Karen McQuestion is the author of several novels, including Easily Amused (AmazonEncore 2010) and Celia and the Fairies (AmazonEncore 2010).
Q: What do you see as the benefits of self-publishing over traditional publishing?
A: Control! Not all writers feel this way, but I love every part of the process: editing, formatting, cover design, and marketing. I especially enjoy writing the descriptive paragraph that sums up the story. Combined it’s a lot of work, but I believe writers are the best advocates for their books. No one has more on the line or knows the story better than the author.
Q: Why did you choose Amazon as your publisher among all the other independent publishers out there?
A: For years I attempted to get published traditionally. I was agented for three different manuscripts, entered contests, and submitted directly when the agent thing didn’t work out. I attended workshops and conferences, and networked to the best of my ability. Oh, and I wrote a lot too. And revised extensively. I also researched the business end of publishing and read agent blogs. In short, I explored every avenue I could think of, and still I was a failed novelist with several books languishing on my hard drive.
That all changed the day I read an article about another writer named Boyd Morrison. He had a terrific agent but wasn’t able to sell his novels, so he uploaded three of them to be available as ebooks on Amazon’s Kindle. In a short period of time, he sold thousands, which led to a publishing deal with Simon & Schuster. His story resonated with me, and I decided to do the same thing. I chose Amazon because, simply put, that’s what worked for Boyd. If I had thought it through, I still would have gone with Amazon because of their market-reach and innovative approach.
Q: Was your experience with E-publishing a straightforward process or are there obstacles to keep a look-out for?
A: It was fairly straightforward, because others had paved the way before me.
This is the part where I get to give credit to author J.A. Konrath. Mr. Konrath is a prolific writer of horror and thriller novels and a font of knowledge for the indie author. His blog became my guidebook for self-publishing on Kindle. The information on his site was invaluable when I started out, and helped me to avoid a lot of potential obstacles. I am forever grateful.
Q: Do you have any advice for new writers on building an audience?
A: Marketing strategies are as varied as the authors themselves. I don’t believe there’s any one way to get the word out. For me, there were a few things. The Amazon site is set up so that those who self-pub ebooks can designate twenty keywords, five categories and multiple tags. My advice would be to take advantage of these options because this is how potential readers can find your books. I also posted on the message boards every day, not just to promote my books, but also to be part of a community of people who read and buy books on Kindle. It gave me insights into what readers look for and enjoy. Plus, I met some wonderful people, and those folks recommended my books to other posters. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. It benefited me in a big way. I’m still amazed.
Q: What have you learned from this journey of self-publishing that you wish you had known when you were starting out?
A: I had no clue how big ebooks would become. When I started out in July 2009, I only knew of one person who owned a Kindle, and I had not seen an ebook device myself. I was old school where books were concerned. I couldn’t imagine reading off of an electronic device. Oh boy, has that changed! I still love traditional books, but I also enjoy the ease and convenience of my Kindle. I can see now why they call it an ebook revolution. I’m thrilled to be part of the first wave of writers who achieved success through this new technology, and I honestly believe that my story will be eclipsed in the next year or so by many, many authors. This is an exciting time to be a writer. We have more options than ever before.
—Melissa Corliss DeLorenzo
Karen McQuestion‘s essays have appeared in Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Christian Science Monitor and several anthologies. She is the author of six books self-published on Amazon’s Kindle, one of which, the novel, A Scattered Life, caught the attention of an L.A. based production company and became the first self-published Kindle book to be optioned for film. Five of her previously self-published books will now be published by AmazonEncore. McQuestion lives with her family in Hartland, Wisconsin.
Learn more about Karen at her website, www.karenmcquestion.com.
Book Giveaway Winner!
Congratulations to Christine D. who is the winner of a copy of Karen’s book, Easily Amused! She will also receive a copy of Karen’s children’s book Celia and the Fairies! Congratulations, Christine D.!
Want to write for The Writer’s Life blog? Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.