The world of publishing has been revolutionized by the digital domain. No longer does an author need to go door to door of the traditional publishers begging them to read her work. Online bookstores like Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Apple have brought to the fore fresh talents through self-publishing.
Today, I give you Ms. Tammy L. Gray, Kindle best-selling author for her Winsor series and Mercy’s flight. She self-published her first novel of the Winsor series, Shattered Rose, two years back on Kindle. Her genres encompass Romance and Young Adult. In her books she says that her mission as a writer is “to provide clean, culturally relevant romances that incorporate messages of hope and healing.”
Shattered Rose is available for free on Amazon Kindle, and it was through that I came to know Tammy. With the very first few pages she had hooked my attention, so much so that I finished to novel in a single day. I intend to go back to it from time to time, for such is my love for Avery, Parker, Jake (that’s the one I loved best, in spite of all his flaws) and Issy. Y
You can imagine my delight then, when after hardly much convincing, Tammy agreed to be interviewed for this blog, which is also the first interview on Scribbles@Arpita. Thank you so much, Tammy.
So, read on as Tammy talks about the writing process in general and gives out these great tips on how to be successful in the world of self-publishing.
When did you first decide to write a book and publish it?
For the last ten years, I felt a call to write a book about self-esteem and how Christ is at the center of our worth as women. I didn’t know what it would look like, but I just knew I would write it one day. In November 2012, after a very hard weekend, I felt absolute surety that it was time to write my book. Only, instead of a non-fiction memoir, I decided to write a fictional story about a young girl who suffered from a terrible sense of self worth. I published that book in April 2013, and the response was so positive that I kept on writing.
You first self-published your books 2 years back.Tell us about the journey so far.
After I finished writing Shattered Rose, I did go through the process of trying to find a literary agent so I could get a publishing deal. What I found what that the window is very small when it comes to traditional publishing. They are looking for very specific types of books. My book really didn’t fit within any of the boundaries. So, I decided to self publish at that point. It’s been a fantastic experience for me. Amazon makes self-publishing easy and I’ve been very successful in sales through the eBook market. Now, I am considered a hybrid author. I have books that I self publish and also books that were published through a publishing house.
What have you learnt in the process of self-publishing? Any tips for new self-published authors?
Look for high quality, freelance cover artists and editors. This is the biggest thing. You want to produce a high quality book with a great cover. That will get readers to pick your book out of millions on Amazon. Once you do that, use the price marketing tools to bring in new readers. I highly recommend you have 2-3 books ready to go before you self publish. Amazon likes quantity, so the more books you have uploaded, the better they are seen. After the first six months, put your first book out for free. You will have thousands of downloads.
Do you edit your books yourself?
No. I have beta readers and also editors that I hire out.
What are the required skills to be an author?
We all have different talents or skills, so I can’t say there is any one type. But I will recommend that you get some training or education on writing craft. Margie Lawson academy is very good. Also, there are great plotting and characterization books on the market. Your first book will not be your best one, but with each new novel, you learn and grow and get better and better.
Do you think the promotion that an author has to do today (especially on social media) takes a toll on her creative self?
No. It takes a toll on your time, but if you are careful to organize your time, then you should be able to write and market effectively. Marketing has always been a must. It just looks different in this technology era.
Most of the published fiction books these days are novels. Is the short story dead?
I really don’t know. I don’t read short stories or write them, but I’m sure with research, you can find a way to do it effectively. There is a website, WATTPAD that is good for uploading stories. It’s free, though.
Does the process of writing get easier with time, as one writes more or does it depend on the topic/genre the author it writing on?
Yes and no. Yes, the process gets easier. As a writer, you find your voice and feel comfortable in your skill. You know what works for you and what doesn’t. You have a trusted circle that can help you stay focused. No, because the more you learn, the more you realize you need to learn. So as you get better, you continue to see flaws and challenge yourself. If writing ever stops being a challenge, an author should probably take a step back and see if they are growing.