Saturday, September 11, 2010
Here is the interview with Julie Cox, author of Hearth and Harvest.
KR: Why Smashwords? Did you try traditional publishing as well, or did you go straight to DIY publishing? Why did you opt for only an electronic version? How did you get your cover design?
JC: I chose Smashwords as an avenue to self-publishing for several key reasons. First, it would make my book available through the vendors my readers were most likely to use - Barnes and Noble, Apple and, eventually, Amazon, and did not require that readers have any particular piece of equipment to be able to read the file. Second, it was free. This was key! Third, they had a comprehensive style guide available that made it easy to format my manuscript for optimal presentation. Really, I couldn't have asked for anything else.
I have a number of works, short stories and novellas, that have been published in anthologies and magazines, so I have some experience with traditional publishers. Had I only had one or two stories, or a novel, I would have gone with a traditional publisher. With a collection of short stories, however, traditional publishing options are relatively few and far between. What I wanted with this ebook is a way for readers and editors to have easy, free or low-cost access to my work. So I did not publish with Smashwords as a way to make money on my own (though I have seen a little come my way, as a happy side benefit) but as a promotional tool for my work with traditional publishers.
I designed my own cover, using filters and fonts on Photobucket and a scan of one of my own drawings. What can I say, it's nice to have an art degree, even if I only use it for this kind of thing these days. I have seen a lot of great graphic artists on Etsy and Deviant Art who can produce high quality work for a very reasonable price. If I hadn't already known how to go about making my own graphic, I would have found someone on Etsy.
KR: Who is the intended audience for the book? How many copies have you sold? What marketing has worked best for you?
JC: The intended audience for this book is ... well, people like myself, not to put too fine a point on it. Literary, imaginative people, male and female, and I imagine young adults would enjoy it too. I have sold 46 copies, 7 paid through Barnes and Noble and the rest as free downloads. The best marketing I have found is, quite simply, word of mouth. I told everyone I know about it, sent them links, and in a few cases, held their hands through the download process. I contacted my alma mater and informed them of the publication. I am active on a number of writing and craft forums, and posted about it there. I talk about it on Twitter, Facebook and my blog. People need to be told about the book more than once, it seems, for it to stick, to prompt them to download it and read it, so I bring it up every few weeks.
KR: Are you working on more stories/novel/etc.? If so will you self publish again in the future?
JC: I am always working on more stories and novels. I have a book coming out later this year with Circlet Press, though my work with them is erotica, so a slightly different audience from Hearth and Harvest! I intend to publish more books of short stories through Smashwords as I collect stories that go well together and need to be told. I find it more rewarding to publish myself, because I get more feedback, and it is exciting to watch the numbers go up. I feel a greater connection to my audience. After all, publishing is a long game; it can take a decade to be an overnight success!
If you want to get to know Julie and her writing better go check her our at juliecox.net.
Posted by Keryl Raist at 12:52 PM