Tag Archives: books

Author Finds Success through Ebooks: Royalties, Publishing Deal, Even a Movie

Today I heard a story on the radio that caught my attention. It began with a story not unlike my own. A writer discussed how she’d received complementary letters from publishers and editors in response to her manuscript submissions. Although they liked her work respondents didn’t think they’d be able to market it. As this was my experience, I wanted to hear what happened.

Also like me, Karen McQuestion had been a freelance writer, and had written on a regular basis for a local newspaper. Karen loved to write. Her heart’s desire was to write novels. Karen had written several and had even had an agent. Unfortunately, she was unable to sell her books.

A year ago McQuestion began to think she’d never be a success as a novelist. When her freelance work dried up, she realized it was time to take a serious look at her options. During this time Karen learned about a writer who published his novels as e-books.  After 7,000 download the author had earned a small royalty and a publishing deal.

Karen didn’t know the basics such as how to design a book cover or determine pricing, but decided publishing on the ‘Net was worth a try. McQuestion reasoned that if her books weren’t successful she’d have lost little, and in the best case she’d make enough money to continue writing. During the next six months she uploaded six books.

The end result?

Karen McQuestion wrote on her blog: “I’ve had (to me) unbelievable success. The first few months I was stunned that anyone was actually buying and reading my books. I’d wanted it for so long that I was afraid of it all going away. Some small part of me thought that my sales would peak and then taper off to nothing. But despite my worries, my sales numbers kept growing, partially because I was adding books and also because more people were buying e-book readers.

“The best part–I got emails and reviews and comments on the message boards from readers who liked my books and were recommending them to others! Without this word of mouth I never would have had the kind of numbers I had. Some of the posters are people I now consider to be Internet friends. My world became wider, and happier too, for that matter.”

Karen’s story doesn’t end there. She’s had one of her novels optioned for film. She also was contacted by an editor who wanted to publish her books.

Karen’s success didn’t come overnight. Her love of writing kept her going. Not every writer is likely to have Karen McQuestion’s success; however, if you love writing, the process is its own reward.

Patience is the hardest part of the writer’s journey. Karen McQuestion offers advice to writers who are yearning for validation of their work through publishing:

“To other writers I say–please, keep the faith. Keep writing and improving (that’s a given, I know) and keep up with the latest news and opportunities, because you never ever know.”

What keeps me going? A commitment to the women who contributed to my book Living in the Heartland: Three Extraordinary Women’s Stories; the positive comments and support I’ve had since I released the book and it’s companion blog Living in the Heartland; and the faith that something good WILL happen.

To read stories of other extraordinary women go to Living in the Heartland.

Read how three women overcame life’s challenges on the way to success: Living in the Heartland: Three Extraordinary Women’s Stories on Amazon.com.

Click Living in the Heartland video preview.



Filed under Amazon, blog, book, dreams, editors, frustration, hopeful, income, indie writer, job, luck, on writing, Pamela Ferris-Olson, perseverance, publishing, royalty, success, writers, writing, writing block

Going it alone…How loud can YOU scream?

I put nearly three years of hard work into researching and writing my book. Once I had completed the draft, and had several trusted people review the manuscript I sent queries off to agents and publishers. I received a dozen or two rejections from agents and publishers. These rejections ranged from tiny slips of paper with a curt brush off printed on them to handwritten notes of encouragement. The latter kept me going for a while longer. Then I decided I was tired of waiting. I don’t have the patience of Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values) who, according to Wikipedia, received 121 rejections from publishers before his philosophical book made it into print. I reached a point where I decided I’d publish the book myself. After all how hard can that be especially in this digital age? More people are reportedly using Kindle. They say one-third of readers now use digital format. It is also reported publishers and book sellers are experiencing a downturn in sales; although people like Oprah and John Stewart appear to be doing their best to throw life preserves at the sinking publishing industry.

How hard can self-publishing be? Check it out. There are plenty of on-demand publishers on the Internet.

First, let me clarify a misnomer. On-demand companies in the business of “publishing” books are aren’t REALLY interested in whether your book sells or not, although logically they should be. These companies are, therefore, on-demand PRINTERS. They print your book. You are responsible for PROMOTING your book like any reputable publisher would do.

Here’s today’s example. Here’s the latest frustration that made me decide to go public with my self-publishing experience… I got a call from a bookstore in the state of Washington. John tells me he has a client who’d like to buy my book! Hallelujah. The word is getting out and someone wants to BUY MY book!!!

Q. Why is the bookstore calling me? Did they want to make my day? What do you think?

A. Because John has been unable to find my book through their distributors. They have NO way to buy it!

I say to John my book is  available through two nationwide distributors: Baker & Taylor and Ingram Book Company (this is a story for another day). John says he has checked both distributors, neither has a listing for my book! I ask John if I can call him right back. I want to see what I can do to help him. I won’t tell you how many phone calls I had to make to get a live person on the phone at the on-demand book “publisher.”  Jenny is not very helpful. I won’t bore you with the details. Let’s just say, she explains why there are new, previously unmentioned roadblocks. Jenny tells me that John has two options: wait for 6-8 weeks until it shows up in Ingram’s catalog or open an account with the on demand “publisher”.

Clearly, this is a lot of work for John the bookseller. He’d prefer his client not go to Amazon.com and buy the book online. Clearly, I want to make it as easy as possible for John the bookseller to sell my book. My head is about to explode as I wonder how many other booksellers across the country can’t locate my book. I’ve been many hours every day since my book was released on Amazon.com on Jan. 11 promoting my book. If booksellers can’t find and sell my book then I could find better things to do with my time!?!

…more… Leave me comments about your experiences or questions. It’s time for me to tell the whole story.

Click here for subscription to blog on Kindle Out of the Box Publishing Blog on Kindle

Click video preview to see the YouTube video of my book.

Read more at Amazon.com.

My other blog is Living in the Heartland.

Click video preview to see the YouTube video of my book.

Read more at Amazon.com.


Filed under book, on publishing, on writing