As more and more authors leap into self-publishing, there are a handful that have proven themselves well above the ordinary. These writers not only take the craft seriously, but have a knack for marketing their product.
Debut novelist Alysha Kaye is one of these authors.
As a biographer and nonfiction author, our paths would never have crossed if it weren’t for our mutual interest in self-publishing. We read the same blogs, listen to the same podcasts, and follow the same authors. Kaye isn’t just on the sidelines watching and studying what others do; she’s on the front lines, establishing a name for herself.
In fact, recently she was offered a publishing contract by a small press, which she declined.
As she put it in her blog, “I was led to believe that their marketing wouldn’t be any better than my own.”
By day, the author teaches high school in Austin, Texas. But when Kaye is not grading papers, she’s spending time Tweeting and blogging about her book, The Waiting Room. It’s a story, she explained, that began as an innocent “love poem” to her boyfriend.
Having spotted a post of mine on WordPress, Kaye asked if I’d review her book. Instead, I preferred to conduct an interview about her experiences as a self-published author.
Tell us about your adventures in self-publishing. Harder than you thought?
MUCH harder than I thought. I was lucky enough to find an amazing editor, graphic designer, and website designer through Expert Subjects. I’m so grateful to them. But the marketing aspect of this roller coaster? Geez. It’s been so time-consuming, especially now that I’m back to my teacher’s schedule! Who has time to Tweet, blog, Instagram, Facebook, etc.?
What self-publishing blogs and podcasts do you follow? And why?
I’m WordPress obsessed. You should know this, Adam, since that’s how I came across your lovely blog. I search under tags like “self-publishing” and “book review”. I read more blogs than books these days. I love feeling like I’m part of that blogging community.
What are 3 mistakes/lessons you have learned from self-publishing your current novel? What do you plan to do differently for your next book?
I learned that even after edit #1, there will be mistakes. A second edit is needed! And probably a third, fourth…. I very foolishly thought, “I’m an English teacher, I got this!” Yeah, right. Lots of red marks! I also learned the importance of social media. If I could go back in time, I would have started promoting the novel MUCH sooner. Lastly, I learned not to be afraid to simply ASK. Now I know that many book bloggers, for example, will gladly help you out—all you have to do is contact them!
What’s your next project about?
I’ve written one chapter. And I’m not sold on it. It’s realistic fiction- no fantasy aspect in this one, which makes me sad.
What book (or author) inspired YOU to become a writer?
Whew, so many. When I was interning at a publishing company in New York, I read The Time Traveler’s Wife and I immediately wanted to create that same heart-wrenching, punch-you-in-the-gut love that Audrey Niffenegger is so great at.