November 13th, 2012 | 3 Comments
Darcia Helle lives in a fictional world with a husband who is sometimes real. Their house is ruled by spoiled dogs and cats and the occasional dust bunny.Suspense, random blood splatter and mismatched socks consume Darcia’s days. She writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative. Only then are the voices free to haunt someone else’s mind. Join Darcia in her fictional world: http://www.QuietFuryBooks.com
The characters await you.
Your ninth book Secrets was made available to the public in 08/2012. How well has it been received by the public so far?
I’ve been thrilled with the response for this title. Sales have been steady. The reviews are starting to accumulate and have all been positive. I’ve also received several emails from readers who wanted to let me know how much they enjoyed this story. The obvious success cues of sales and posted reviews are vital to authors in the business sense. But those personal messages from readers are what really drive me forward. The ultimate validation comes when a reader takes a moment to let me know how much he or she connected with my characters. There is no better high for me.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing vs being published?
I think the biggest advantage mainstream publishing has over independent publishing is industry acceptance. Books published via large publishing companies are carried in the brick and mortar stores without question. Most of those stores will not carry indie books. Authors with big publishers are also able to get their books reviewed in newspapers and major publications, which often refuse indie books.
Another issue some writers might consider an advantage with large publishers is the author has an appointed team to take him/her through all the publishing steps, such as editing, formatting and cover design. When independently published, the author is responsible for figuring out all these steps on his/her own.
For me, the biggest advantage of self-publishing is the independence. For instance, I’m able to write exactly what I want to write, when and how I want to write it. When contracted with a large publishing house, an author is restricted to specific expectations with things like genre, word count, and completion dates. I don’t ever want to be told my story needs 25,000 more words or 10,000 less words, simply because the current length doesn’t fit the mold the publisher has cast. A story needs to begin where it starts and end where it’s finished. Nothing more and nothing less. I also don’t want to be stuck with a mediocre cover design or something I just don’t like simply because that’s what the publisher’s art department decided on.
Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?
I gave my first published novel away free and sales of my other titles took off. This is a controversial issue with indie authors, and I can see both sides of the argument. My viewpoint is this: In order for our books to be found in this vast and constantly growing world of books, we need to advertise. Some authors choose to do this with paid Google, Facebook and Goodreads ads, and paid promo spots on popular blogs and websites. With my first couple of books, I tried a few of these options. I found them a total waste of money. By offering my first novel free, I’m allowing readers a risk-free glimpse into my writing style. I’m not losing anything, because most of those people would not have purchased or even found my book if it hadn’t been free. However, I have gained a multitude of dedicated readers who have gone on to purchase my other titles.
What do you think of “trailers” for books? Do you have one/ intend to create one for your own books?
I like book trailers. When done well, I find them to be a fun and entertaining way of introducing books to readers.
I do have trailers for all my books. With my first couple of titles, I had the trailers professionally made. I wasn’t totally satisfied. I didn’t think they captured the essence of the stories, at least not the way I wanted. I have since made all my own trailers. I’ve also begun a ‘Getting To Know You’ video interview series with fellow authors. Everything is on my YouTube channel: http://www.YouTube.com/QuietFuryBooks
Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
My editor is the fabulous Bob Helle. Despite the last name being the same, we’re not related. As for selecting him, I think he found me. He definitely rescued me from the misery (and mistake) or trying to self-edit.
My husband went through a phase of trying to trace his family tree. In the process, he was adding all the Helles he found as friends on his Facebook page. Many of them then went on to friend me, as well. This is how I met Bob. I found out he’d worked as a journalist and news editor, and we began talking about the writing craft. He said he’d love to get involved with fiction editing. I jumped at the offer, and we’ve been partners ever since.
Bob now freelances for other indie authors, as well. He is intelligent, super easy to work with, and a genuinely nice guy.
What do you think is the main factor, other than writing a quality and professionally edited book that differentiates a successful self-published writer from one who remains forever out of the limelight?
Luck. That’s often the biggest difference between huge success and remaining unknown. Sure, you need the drive to succeed, perseverance and dedication. And, of course, you need storytelling talent. Yet I know many authors who have all these things but have minimal sales. A lot of small decisions with networking and marketing alter the course of an indie author’s career. The main factor, though, in my opinion, is luck.
Thank you Darcia for these insights in publishing
Sample and read Darcia’s book here
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