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Winner, Author Edie Ramer and Three Book Giveaways!


The winner of Annie West's Spotlight from last week is LYDIA. Congratulations! If you contact her at annie@annie-west.com with your postal address she'll organise to send the book to you.            

And without further delay, I'd like to introduce you to today's author...
Today, we have Author Edie Ramer, whom I met through a mutual aquaintance and decided to introduce to you all. Her writing journey to publication is inspiring!

Nas, thank you for having me at your place to talk about my writer’s journey. It’s been a long one, with highs and lows. Sometimes it’s been a roller coaster. Other times a train standing still.

I started writing 20 years ago. I had a promising beginning, soon selling short stories to well-known short-story mystery magazines. I also wrote nonfiction and sold greeting card verses. But my goal—my dream—was to sell my books.

People say now that it was easy to sell back then, but publishing has never been easy. I’ve had agents along the way, four of them. I’ve also finaled and won writing contests. I’ve had close calls, where my book was under consideration and passed around to other editors. Agents have referred me to other agents. But that elusive sale to a NY pub just never came.

A few weeks ago, Connie Brockway wrote a great post about her decision to self-publish original work instead of going with a traditional publisher. She said “Over the last couple years, as print publishers have been facing numerous financial crises, it has felt like they’ve become less likely to buy a book that doesn’t fit snugly within the parameters of last month’s success and since last month’s success was dictated by the previous month’s success (and so forth and so on) there hasn’t been a whole lot of room left in which to play.’

That’s how I’ve felt. I write books that don’t fit parameters. There’s a quirk to my writing, and there’s a quirk to my characters.

Self-publishing was never on my horizon. I had friends who did it, and I hoped they’d do well, but I knew it wasn’t for me.

About a year and a half ago, I started writing the Industry News column for the RWA-WF group, which forced me to read the articles and blogs about the business. J.A. Konrath’s blogs were all about his e-book sales and experiences, and how well he was doing in it. So I knew times were changing and it was possible to make money self-publishing. But not for me. I remember posting a link on one of my Industry News post, adding that it would be something that would work for already published writers, because their name was known.

Then last April, Konrath posted an interview with Karen McQuestion. Karen is a Kindle bestselling author who had sales in magazines (like me!) but no book sales.

There went my excuse to not self-publish. About this time, Zoe Winters, a friend who’d been self-publishing in ebooks for a year and a half, started doing very well. Again, that took away any excuse I might have.

I was in the middle of writing a book and had some other things going on, so didn’t self-publish Cattitude until late in August of 2010. I got terrific reviews soon after. (I credit reviewers reading the debut book of an indie author to a good blurb and to the fact that they love cats. lol)

Despite the great reviews, my sales crept along in the beginning. I’ve since uploaded two more paranormal romances, Dead People and Dragon Blues, and one short story. In January, I was excited when I sold 500 books. For the month of March, I sold 1500 books.

I’m super happy that so many people are buying my books. Dead People, the first book of my Haunted Hearts series, is in the Kindle top 10 in the Ghosts and Gothics categories, which is very cool. I’m still not making a living wage, but I’m closer to it. And this is just the beginning! I’m writing the second book of my Haunted House series, my best seller. I’m hoping to have it online in two months. After that, I have other plans, other books to write and revise.

I’ve learned a lot during the last twenty years, met many fantastic writers, and reviewers, and readers. My goal is to make every book better than the last.

If anyone has any questions about self-publishing, feel free to ask. I’ll do my best to answer them. And I'll also be giving away an ecopy of my books to three lucky commenters!

70 comments:

  1. Edie, I've always imagined self-publishing as a humongous expense with no way to sell enough books or e-books to break even. But 1500 books in one month? That's totally awesome. It seems like a lot of writers are turning to this.

    I know that since you self-published that means EVERYTHING was on your shoulders. From copy-editing to marketing. Was it a heavy burden to carry?

    Thanks Nas and Edie. Very interesting post.

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  2. Wow! That's a lot of books. Do you have a specific marketing strategy?

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  3. Edie, can you describe the venues you've selected for self-publishing, and give an idea of the kind of costs you're looking at? I follow Konrath, too, so I have a pretty good idea, but others who read here may be unaware how easy it is to self-publish, at least on Kindle.

    (Okay, "easy" is an exaggeration. There's a bit of a learning curve involved. Maybe you could tell us about that, too? ;-) )

    I see from your website that Cattitude is also available at B&N and Smashwords. Did you publish there simultaneously with your Kindle publication, or did you do it in stages?

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  4. Hi Edie, I am always a lover of book covers...that and the blurb hooks me in usually!

    Your's are fantastic! So any insight on how you managed those would be useful! Did you get the idea of how the cover should be, or did you have a designer for it?

    It's fantastic to see the path you've taken and you've hit the nail on the kind of doubts/inhibitions/aspirations that unpubbed authors have! Thanks for sharing your journey and wishing you a lot more sales :) !!

    Nas, thanks for bringing us another fab author :)

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  5. Wow, great questions! Robyn, Azarimba and Ju Dimello, the wonderful thing about self-publishing a digital book is that it doesn't need to cost anything. Money should flow to the author, not away from her. So even if it takes awhile to start making money, it shouldn't cost much, if anything.

    But I know my limitations, and one is that I'm technically challenged. I do have a cover artist. Laura Morrigan, and I love her, love her vision -- which is much better than mine. Her covers pop. She's also fast and reasonable.

    I know people who format, too, but I do my own. I write a monthly column on the How To Write Shop. One was on Self-Publishing Basics, which includes formatting. If you're technically savvy, check out Laura's article on creating a book cover.

    Dean Wesley Smith also about formatting digital and print books. I'm not doing print books now, but my system of formatting ebooks is similar to his.

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  6. Robin, some self-pubbed writers pay freelance editors. You can go on Kindleboards and ask if anyone knows a good editor. I'm sure you'll get replies.

    I haven't gone that route yet, though I might do it in the future, possibly my wip. Cattitude, my first self-pubbed book, was critiqued by 2 CPs and 6 beta readers. For Dead People, I didn't have as many. (That was my American Title V final book.). For Dragon Blues, I had only 1 CP and 2 beta readers. With each book, I get a little more self-confident.

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  7. Hi Edie,

    Welcome. Thanks for answering my lovely friends questions.

    We all learn something new each day, don't we? You journey is so inspiring for is all getting R's!!!

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  8. Ju, thanks! I learned a lot about writing blurbs during my years of writing queries. Plus I get great advice from my CP Michelle Diener.

    I wrote a recent column on the How to Write Shop on my marketing strategy. I write a column there on the third Monday of each month.

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  9. Hi Nas,

    Thanks again for inviting me! So far this month, I've sold over 1700 books, and I'm sure I'll make 2000 by the end of April. I'm thrilled! I know it will get better, especially when I get my next book out. I feel that this is just the beginning.

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  10. That's an inspiring story Edie! Do you find self-publishing had cut into your writing time at all, or are you able to balance the creative side with the business side?

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  11. Hi Edie,

    I love the success that you have created for yourself! It's so well deserved. I loved both Dead People and Cattitude. Now need to get you third one!

    Congrats!

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  12. Lorraine, my marketing advice that I mentioned earlier was for you. If you'd like to know anything else, just ask.

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  13. Deniz, it's not self-publishing that cuts into my writing time, it's social media. I'm addicted to it. For the month of May I plan on cutting way down on my social media, even email.

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  14. Dale, thanks! I know you'll have much success. I'm glad you jumped into the self-publishing pool.

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  15. Thanks for sharing this information. I'm studying up on self-publishing for one particular writing project, so every bit of information is useful.

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  16. Congrats on all your sales Edie! And thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.

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  17. That is so encouraging, Edie! I love these kinds of stories--they give me so much hope for my poor babies that just can't seem to find an agent yet. :)

    Thanks, Nas!

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  18. Thanks for sharing your story, Edie. I found it very inspiring. How much time do you tend to spend on promo?

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  19. Another positive story from a self-published author. It's always great to hear! And it was helpful to read the answers to the questions in the comments. I'm off to visit some of those links.

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  20. Looks like it's been a long road. I'm glad you found success in e-publishing.

    Were there a lot of upfront costs involved? What did you need to spend on?

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  21. Bravo to you for not giving up and believing in your work. You're an inspiration.

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  22. Edie congrats on your success! Stories like this are inspiring for us trudging along. I'm considering going this route and was wondering how difficult formatting is. Do you have any advice for anyone considering self-pubbing?

    Thanks Nas and I look forward to reading these books :)

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  23. Such an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing. And, thanks, Nas, for hosting her!

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  24. Wonderful post!!! So inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story!

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  25. First off congrats to the winner...I must say I love the covers for those books...It is great to meet you and find out about you and your work.

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  26. Hi, JL. I've learned a lot from other writers. I'm happy to pay it forward.

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  27. PK, if you feel confident about your books, go for it!

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  28. Shelley, my promo isn't that bad. This week is busier than normal. But what's a problem is my social media. Next month, I'm cutting way down. I want to finish my wip and then I have a short story that's due for an anthology in June.

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  29. Rachel, I'm glad if my blog inspired you.

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  30. Theresa, the only costs for me are my covers. And my cover artist did my first cover for free, so that didn't cost me anything.

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  31. Liz, I'm so glad I took the plunge. I owe a lot to Konrath for his blog. And to Karen McQuestion. It was her success story that made me decide to go for it.

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  32. Kerri, if you believe that people would pay money to read them, go for it. The worst thing that can happen is that your books don't sell or you get horrible reviews (which happens to every published writer sooner or later).

    The best thing that could happen is that you have a runaway bestseller.

    As for formatting, it's not difficult but it's usually a day-long process for me. Just to make sure that I'm doing it right. And I'm adding excerpts from other books and links, etc. I'm learning more with each book.

    As for advice on formatting, follow the links I gave in my first comment.

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  33. Tara and Indiamond, it's been my pleasure.

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  34. Savannah, I have the best cover artist. And it's great to meet you and the other commenters.

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  35. Thanks for answering my question and all the great info Edie. Found the links and will check them out!

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  36. Thank you Nas for hosting Edie.

    Edie, I'm so excited to meet you. Your explanation of the publishing industry mirrors my own experience. I follow Joe Konrath and now I will add you and the others you mentioned. I tell myself when I get down that this e-publishing is a numbers game. I want quality work and so my effort is to produce well written books but also in enough quantity so I can reach my goal. There are many financial hardships in my life right now and it doesn't look like it will get better soon.

    That said, for anyone out there reading the comments to this excellent post, don't by pass the need to hire an editor. Mine is excellent and she works with me. I will keep her for the long run because of that.

    Edie, I'd love to host you on my blog. My email is below.
    gillael@aol.com
    Nancy
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

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  37. Nice interview!

    The industry is changing. FACT.

    I will have to check out her books!

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  38. Edie, your story is inspiring. The explosion of independent publishing is now putting so many compelling authors before an eager reading audience. Here's wishing you all the best in your expanding publishing career.

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  39. Kerri, it's my pleasure. Good luck!

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  40. Nancy, I just looked at your book on Amazon, and it sounds like a fun and fabulous story.

    I'd love to be your guest. I'll email you.

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  41. Jo, it's changing bigtime! I'm so glad for bloggers like Konrath and Dean Wesley Smith for sharing their knowledge with the rest of us.

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  42. Christine, I recently bought a Kindle book by Theresa Ragan. After 2 agents couldn't sell her books, she finally self-published her first one in March and then another one. She's now selling 450-550 ebooks a day. And these are books that New York passed on.

    Like you said, there was an eager reading audience just waiting for her books. And maybe yours, too. :)

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  43. Hi Edie!
    Self publishing seems very scary to me! I just looked over the comments and you answered my questions. LOVE your covers!

    I'm not sure if you are aware, but here's a great site I follow, specifically for epublished authors with a focus on self publishing. http://thewritersguidetoepublishing.com/

    Good luck on your quest to exceed 2,000 sales for the month!

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  44. Edie, congrats on your continued success. It does take a lot of work to self-publish. I think your success is because you have worked so hard and you do try to put your best into your stories.

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  45. Wendy, I love my covers, too. I'm so happy with my cover artist, Laura Morrigan. She's the best!

    I've been to The Writers Guide to e-publishing, and am a cyber acquaintance of D.D. She's doing very well. Good for her!

    I just did the math, and should read the 2000 mark in 2 days. thanks!

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  46. Lynda, it takes an awful amount of work to do any kind of publishing. I can't tell you how happy I am not to have to send out another query letter. Or write another synopsis. Though it's because of my query experiences that I'm able to write good blurbs.

    Thanks so much for saying I put my best into my stories. That's what I strive to do.

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  47. I can't tell you how encouraging it is to read stories like these, Edie! I love the fact that you were willing to think outside of the traditional publishing box, and brave enough to give it a shot. I hope more authors do, and I've already decided that ePublishing will be my first stop as an author, not my last.

    Best of luck to you, and thanks to Nas for sharing you with us!

    EJ

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  48. E.J., good for you! I think I was ready long before I took the leap.

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  49. Fantastic, Edie. It's so inspiring to see authors taking control of their own destiny.

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  50. Talli, I feel empowered. It's one of the best things I've done for myself.

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  51. Edie, thanks for sharing your experience. It's fascinating and gives a writer a lot to think about! Nas, thanks for inviting Edie along.

    Good luck with your next release, Edie, I hope it sells wonderfully.

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  52. Annie, thanks! I see you write for Harl Presents. I'll check out your books.

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  53. Her story certainly is inspiring - thanks for introducing her to us!

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  54. Edie, I love how you took control of your own publishing career. It truly is amazing how the business is changing. I feel like writers have more publishing options than ever before.

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  55. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I find the self-pubbing wave really fascinating, but I'm still not sure it's for me. I wish you tons of success with your books, they look wonderful!

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  56. Julie, "taking control of my own publishing career" is exactly how I feel about it. It's great that we can go out and do this. A couple years ago it would've been so much harder.

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  57. Lydia, thanks for your good wishes. Right back at you. I hope that you flourish, ebooks or not.

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  58. Hi Edie, nice to meet you. LOve the title, "Dead People." Blunt and too the point. Best wishes for your continued success!

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  59. Hi Stephen, nice to meet you too. Thanks for your good wishes!

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  60. Hi Edie, I'm late to the party, as usual. But great interview, and I love your writing story. And I love the covers of your books! You are a great advert for self publication. Good luck with future sales!

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  61. Hi, Nas! Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate it! When we lived in Hawaii, one of our goals was to visit Fiji, but, life being life, we never made it. I'm a bit sad for that as, those who did go say you live in a little slice of heaven.

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  62. Hello Kittie,

    DO make a point of visiting sometime as it truly is paradise. Thanks for the lovely comment.

    Hi to all my great friends,

    Hope you all are enjoying the party here as well as watching the Royal Wedding as I'm doing!

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  63. Great post. Sounds like your decision to take on self-publishing went a lot like mine! My first book is with a small press, but then I realised they weren't doing anything I couldn't do better, faster, and probably cheaper. Plus I'd get more royalties and have control over price and cover, etc.

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  64. Serenity, I'm so happy with my progress - especially the last few months - that I want to share it with everyone.

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  65. India, good for you! It's fun having control.

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  66. We have winners! Congratulations to Nancy R Williams, Talli Roland and Kerri Cruev.

    You can get in touch with me at edieramer @ gmail.com (with no spaces) and let me know which book of mine you would like.

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  67. My congratulations go to,
    Nancy R Williams,
    Talli Roland,
    and Kerri Cruev!
    Ladies, enjoy your books from Edie!

    And special thanks to Edie Ramer for giving us a wonderful week and teaching us so many things from her post as well as from the answers she gave to all questions asked! And also thanks Edie for this fabulous giveaway!

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