Amy had so much information to share that I couldn’t get it all in one post. So I am happy to present the other half of her interview:
Dawn Ross: Do you have any technical writing tips?
Amy McGuire: Get your work professionally edited if you can afford it and get at least five or six of your friends and family, writers and readers to edit it before you put it up for sale if you can’t afford professional editing. Yes, you can edit your own work and probably should to a point, but make sure you get other eyes for things like grammar, spelling etc. I learned this one the hard way. I had my first edition of The Heart’s Discovery out with some grammatical and typing errors and the reviews reflected it. My second book I won’t be making the same mistake. Crazy thing is, I thought I went over it with a fine tooth comb. Unfortunately, even reading it aloud (which I highly recommend you do by the way) didn’t get all the errors. When you’re the writer of a manuscript and you’ve seen the same scene over and over again, your mind will start to fill in any blanks and change any errors. The mind is a sneaky thing. This is why I highly suggest you get an editor, whether professional or a friend or family member to give your manuscript a good looking over before you put it out. Especially in the self publishing field writers need to be extra careful to make their manuscripts look as professional as possible before trying to sell them. Take the sentence I just wrote. It’s grammatically correct and spelled correctly, but it kind of reads awkwardly, doesn’t it. Now I’ll take the sentence and rewrite it. Writers need to be extra careful to make their manuscripts look as professional as possible before selling them, especially in the self publishing field. We are scrutinized more heavily because we don’t have a traditional publishing house backing up our work. We also have to be head and shoulders over all the really poorly written books in our field. It drives me crazy when I find a book for free or .99 on Amazon because I can almost guarantee it’s poorly written or edited. Yes, that seems like a bit of a biased statement. I know there are many out there for that price which are edited and written well. Sadly very few readers will buy them because they know about the other poorly written and poorly edited books out there for the same price. I also think it’s frustrating to have to sell your book for cheap when you’ve been a lot of effort in, just because everyone else is trying to undercut you, but that’s another topic for another time. My final advice is this; as an indie author you are not in an easy field, but if you’re going to self publish, do it well.
Dawn Ross: In which venue do you sell the most books? Amazon, Smashwords, or other?
Amy McGuire: Interestingly enough, my website has garnered the most sales. Perhaps because I push it so much. I guess I figure, if I’m going to put so much effort into my site, I may as well use it as a major marketing tool. My book is on Amazon and Smashwords as well and I send people who buy my book off my site there to write reviews sometimes, but mostly, it’s been my own site. So I guess I’m not typical of all the self published writers out there. Or maybe I am. I’m not sure who to compare myself to at this time, still being a bit new to the game. I guess you could say I’m the opposite of John Locke in that very few sales came from Amazon. If I was to use a pie chart to say how many of my sales come from each distributor it would probably look something like this: 5% Smashwords, 10% Amazon, 85% my site at www.shesanauthor.com.
Dawn Ross: What do you do to market your self-published books?
Amy McGuire: I use Facebook mostly, with my own group, multiple groups I belong to, and my own page. I use Twitter a bit and have been greatly helped in that area by members of the groups I belong to who generously tweet for me every once in awhile. I also do a bit of word of mouth when I see people. I actually had a stack of business cards made up that I give out to people or post in public places as well. I don’t know if I’ve made any sales using those tactics yet, but time will tell. It’s also nice when someone you meet says, ‘You’re an author? How do I check out your site?’ or ‘How do I buy your book?’ and you can just hand them a card with all your information on it. I have my website, twitter account, Facebook account name and email on there along with the name of my current book and the saga. My books (paperback format) are also in the store of a friend with a little display. I haven’t seen any results from that yet, but probably because I haven’t advertised it as much as I should be.
Dawn Ross: What was the most difficult part in self-publishing your books and how did you overcome it?
Amy McGuire: Believe it or not, it was the actual motivation to do it. There is such a stigma around self published books because they have been done so poorly in the past, that I was afraid I wouldn’t be taken seriously if I did it. I overcame it with the help of a wonderful author, Jason Matthews, who wrote How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks-All For Free. He has been my mentor through the process and beyond. Sometimes you just need a little nudge and encouragement when trying something new and scary. That was the case with me.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Dawn. If any of your readers are interested in purchasing my book they can do so at any of the following locations:
My site: www.shesanauthor.com/apps/webstore
You can also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, Amy! :0)