As a mother of two daughters, K.P. Kollenborn understands the idiosyncrasies of balancing work, family, and creative endeavors. If life weren’t a bit off kilter than what is the point of crossing that high wire in the sky? In other words, without the strength of passion, creativity, and ambition than we all might as well become nothing more than couch potatoes by the end of the day. It’s all about making our lives productive, interesting, and adding value for the next generation. By the very nature of her existence, she is an artist. And by the very nature of her husband’s insistence, she has adapted to become an entrepreneur. As a couple, they have ventured a music store, a restaurant, real estate, several internet businesses, and two recording studios. K.P. Kollenborn also worked as a graphic designer and in the publishing market since 1994. Aside from having a graphic arts degree, she has a history degree to satisfy her other passion. That and writing. Eyes Behind Belligerence is her first published novel; although she has been writing since childhood. She is fortunate to have been trained by one the top ten writing teachers in the US, the late Leonard Bishop, and author of Dare to be a Great Writer. She owes her love of writing to him.
Eyes Behind Belligerence published March 3, 2012. How well has it been received by the public so far?
Considering this is my debut novel and that I just launched a career with no prior background in book publishing, it’s been performing as expected. For the most part, I’ve been receiving reviews in a positive light. I’ve read that the average indie author sales run between 120-150. I’ve already reached that margin within a seven months span, excluding the sample downloads and freebies which brings my total distribution to over 240. For my first time experimenting with marketing, and dealing with a lengthy novel in a very specific genre of historical fiction- NOT romance historical fiction,- I’ve been pleased with results, and pleased that many of the readers are learning about our past while being engaged in an inspirational story.
What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
In the beginning, just to get a pulse for my debut novel, I bought reviews from TheBookplex.com, Self-Publishing Review, and Kirkus Reviews. These three resources, I felt, would help validate my book and provide exposure. I do understand the controversy of buying reviews; that’s why when researching for reviews I chose the ones that have listed in their disclaimer that they DO NOT guarantee positive reviews. This helps preserve the integrity of the reviewing system. Then I reached out to bloggers within my genre, or at least open to my genre. Now, prior to purchasing reviews, I only had 1 out of 40 bloggers take a chance with unknown to provide a review. After I acquired at least ten reviews, I started receiving more “yeses,” an average of a 10% of inquiries I’ve made- which is to estimate 3 affirmatives out of 30 inquires. But out of 3, 1 or 2 would actually complete and post a review; bringing down the 10% to an estimate of 5.5% out of 30 inquiries. This is what’s called “the number’s game.” Just be psychologically prepared for this, and have realistic expectations.
Aside from buying and soliciting for reviews, I provided giveaways and politely asked the readers for honest reviews. GoodReads is a fantastic place for stimulating a buzz about your book, but it needs to be in a physical format- no ebooks. There are other places, such as bloggers, who will help host giveaways that can be in ebook form. And just recently I added this text at the front of my ebooks in order to acquire more reviews: “ [Book of your choosing] was written, designed, produced and published by its author. Because independent publishers and writers should be held to the same high standards as the mainstream publishing industry, I encourage you to post an honest and objective review of this book in the online bookstore of your choice. Such dialogue only serves the cause of good writers and good readers.” This was suggested by another indie author!
The process has been slow because it takes a lot of your time to submit, wait for a response, and then wait for the readers to finish your book and have the time to write a review. I understand it takes time to read and then to thoughtful write a review, so a little patience is also required.
I have accumulated a list of book reviewers on this site: http://richlycoloredmask.blogspot.com/p/self-publishing-info.html
What do you think is the main factor, other than writing a quality and professionally edited books that differentiate a successful self-published writer from one who remains forever out of the limelight?
PERSISTENCE. Authors like Amanda Hocking who literally have had overnight success are rare. John Locke had even admitted he struggled for a year, spending around $25,000, before gaining popularity. For the rest of us, we must toil and endure! Not that it’s bad thing. What keeps you toiling is the innate belief that you have something worthy to share with the rest of the world. You need to have that unwavering faith in order to endure the publishing business. Money and time are the two key components which defines our endurance. You do need some money to invest into your book and marketing, and you need to allot the time to facilitate your investment. John had the money to spend. For the rest of us on a shoestring budget, we need to get a lot more creative with our time. During intervals of waiting for reviews, network with other authors, tweet, facebook, get interviewed, guest blog, and blog yourself. It is a virtual juggling act at which at some point you’ll start gathering a curious crowd, and then you will start gaining recognition. That’s how you stay in the limelight. Even if just a glimmer at the beginning. Give yourself a time-frame to juggle, then start working on another book. I’ve had other indie authors tell that the more books you write, the higher your sales grow, which makes perfect sense. The more you have to offer, the more you’re going to sell.
Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?
Providing author interviews and special blog spots on other blogger sites. It is a workload, for sure; however, not only do I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned in the self publishing business, it’s an awesome way to “tour” around the world without spending money or getting out of your jammies. If you start with a few in a month, whether interviewing or guest blogging, you will see a quick increase in your sales, and more people will start following your on your social media outlets. This should inspire you to do more, and should inspire to keep going. Persistence.
Could you briefly outline the 5 first things you would do to market that new book?
I’ve already begun, because it can take at least a year to have an audience sense a familiarity with next book- especially if you’re not presenting a series. Here’s the outline:
1. Create social media outlets: A blog pertaining to the book’s subject matter; eg. apartheid. Include pages that talk about the book, sharing articles, and include the book cover, your author’s facebook fanpage, and twitter. A Facebook page for your book.
2. Accumulate book reviews.
3. Provide giveaways as a means to acquire more book reviews and stimulate a buzz.
4. Use social media already in place- such as author’s Facebook fanpage, twitter, and other blogs.
5. Continue to extend author interviews and guest blogs.
What do you think of “trailers” for books? Do you have one/ intend to create one for your own books?
First of all, I think they’re just wicked cool- if done right. I’m thankful to have a sister who went to film school; and therefore has the skills to choose the right music for the mood, to have the skills to know how to mix photos with texts, and to have the foresight to know to keep it short. I have the trailer on my website and two blogs. I think it’s a great fixture to include a part of your marketing. Although it’s hard to calculate how much influence trailers have on sales, I believe it adds a stronger presence toward your online marketing. To take a look at my book trailer, click here:
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