Author Accepts the Self-Publishing Challenge with Open Arms
When biology and equine science professor Christine Marks decided to publish her first book, Elfhunter, she had modest goals. Knowing exactly what she wanted for her book and having heard horror stories from friends who tried the traditional publishing route, she knew that independent publishing was right for her.
“I like to keep control of my work, and I dislike waiting around for others to perform tasks I’m perfectly capable of performing myself. Indie publishing suited me better,” Marks said of her decision to self-publish.
Marks quickly decided to publish with AuthorHouse. Able to control every step of the process and pick and choose the services she wanted, she says that AuthorHouse provided her with the hands-on experience she’d hoped for. As a gifted illustrator, she was able to use cover art she created and provide her own illustrations. She took advantage of AuthorHouse’s Bookseller’s Return program (which she feels is absolutely essential if you want to be carried in bookstores) and the Search Inside feature on Amazon. The most valuable thing AuthorHouse provided for Marks was the guidance she needed through the publishing process.
“[AuthorHouse] really showed me the ropes,” she said. “I am probably one of their more hands-on authors, and I was afforded the chance to do that. AuthorHouse let me know what was realistic and what wasn’t. [My publishing consultant] helped me choose wisely when it came to services, royalties, promotions, and so on.”
Marks published all three of the books in her Tales of Alterra series with AuthorHouse: Elfhunter, Fire-Heart, and Ravenshade. She’s quite pleased with the results and has had more success than she originally expected.
Considering herself a reasonable person, Marks didn’t have lofty sales expectations when she began to market her book, but when she reached her early goal of selling 100 books, she realized that her books had potential. She began to market aggressively at conventions and signings within her genre (fantasy fiction). She submitted her work to contests and won awards. With each success, she set her goals a bit higher.
“The more successful you are, the more successful you’re likely to become,” she said. “Potential readers respect success.”
Marks continues her hard work and asks herself each and every day what she has done for her book.
“Keep your energy levels up,” she said. “This is very important, and sometimes difficult, especially for those of us with busy lives.”
She has been able to utilize Amazon to her advantage, which has helped her reach more sales than she originally thought possible.
“[I participate] in forum discussion threads, offering what I hope are tasteful and insightful contributions. The other participants check my profile, and they find the books,” she explained. “I do not self-promote on Amazon. My conservative strategy has worked very well for me. I am now well-known and respected on Amazon forums.”
Marks stresses the importance of making sure your book is of professional quality before you promote it and says an author can’t overestimate the importance of correct grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. She has learned to accept criticism and take it into consideration. Above all, she knows that her book will only go as far as she makes it go.
“Whether indie or traditional, you are the major promoter of your own work. Depending on your expectations, you must be prepared to invest time, money, and effort,” she said.
Marks plans to continue with AuthorHouse for future works, largely because of the dedication and meticulous care displayed by her production team.
“They cared about the quality of the final product almost as much as I did. I know that wherever my marketing efforts take me, they are cheering me on!” she said. “It’s that brand of personal commitment to authors that has so greatly enhanced the quality of my publishing experience.”