Please can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing.
My first article appeared in a local paper when I was 13 and I was over the moon. Right then and there, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life writing.
I did stop creative writing for a few years when I worked as a Communications Executive for a hotel chain. Between press releases and media kits, I didn’t have much time to think of writing much else.
Then in 2010, as we planned for my VP Shunt (brain) surgery, writing seemed to fit as my recovery plan and here I am.
I have thus far written two novels, a short story collection and a non-fiction series (Dora’s Essentials). My first novel was published in April 2011 and I have since become a paid writer after more than seven years of trying, pushing, prodding, pulling and breaking down, which makes me think I’m definitely on the right track.
I would like to write a full-length novel of about 100,000 words. Since my surgery, one of the significant changes I have noticed is my tendency to jumble up words when I write. For instance, handsome becomes husband and blogger becomes booger. This makes it extremely challenging when I write and it is a hurdle I would like to overcome.
What led you to set up Orangeberry Book Tours?
OBT was created in October 2010. A few writers and I were working on a three month long book launch festival, book tours were my contribution to the festival. The demand was increasingly high and I spent quite a bit of time adjusting the tours to meet the requirements of participating authors and bloggers to what it is today.
The main goal of OBT is to raise awareness for the author and his/her book via social media. This means OBT offers more than blog stops. Hence, the name – BOOK tours not blog tours. I run Twitter Blasts, blog stops and other types of smaller social awareness campaigns which focus on both the author and the book.
I understand that a big budget is not something we all have when starting our writing careers, hence, there is a free book tour package (Orangeberry Basic) which allows authors to have a free book tour but they have to host other authors in return.
For those who pay for book tours, the money is then used to finance the Orangeberry Goodie Bag which distributes gifts to blog hosts and the site’s visitors.
Results wise, most authors have experienced increased sales although the exact quantities vary. Some have experienced sales of 20 books a day and others have had more than 200 total sales during an Orangeberry Phoenix book tour which lasts for 30 days.
I do want to stress that results differ for each book, and I do point out glaring formatting errors or content issues to authors.
How do you balance supporting so many other authors with promoting your own work?
I’m not going to lie, IT IS hectic most of the time but I do my best to work on a schedule and this keeps me going.
On a daily basis, I work on my other blogging projects for an hour, and spend at least two hours each on editing and writing. I try not to work on weekends unless I have a deadline.
For my blog (Peace from Pieces), outside my own posts, I invite other authors to write guest posts and Orangeberry book features are posted on Tuesdays & Fridays.
I do my best to reply to all comments but more often than not, I’m pretty far behind and I’m grateful my readers understand this. They do know that if they need an urgent response from me, they can send me an email.
I’m a big fan of social media which enables me to get so much more done. For authors looking for ways they can expand their target markets and connect with readers, I would recommend sites like Triberr, Hoot Suite and of course, Twitter.
How do you respond to people who are dismissive of indie publishing?
Indulge me for a bit? There is a scene from Charlie Wilson’s War which best describes this. The Americans have powered the Afghanistan people with weapons, they have beat the Russians and Congressman Charlie Wilson (played by Tom Hanks) is the man of the hour. As he celebrates and gloats, Afghan Task Force chief, Gust Avrakotos who assisted him with the cause tells him this story.
‘There’s a little boy and on his 14th birthday he gets a horse… and everybody in the village says, “how wonderful. The boy got a horse” The Zen master says, “we’ll see.” Two years later, the boy falls off the horse, breaks his leg, and everyone in the village says, “How terrible.”
The Zen master says, “We’ll see.” Then, a war breaks out and all the young men have to go off and fight… except the boy can’t cause his leg’s all messed up. and everybody in the village says, “How wonderful.” And the Zen master says, “We’ll see.”
Obviously, indie publishing is no war of any kind. But the game is changing. New players are being added, rules are being changed faster than they are being enforced.
I would say don’t dismiss something when you can’t see the end of it. Yes, some writers are in it for the money and couldn’t give a rat’s ass about language, formatting or appearance. But for some of us, indie publishing isn’t how we earn our living, it’s how we live and guess what, we’re here to stay.
What do you think lies ahead for indie authors over the next few years?
Change, a bit more change and then some more change.
You will have those who have given up because indie publishing failed to make them a few quick bucks and then you will have those who have persevered. Irrelevant of which party you belong to, I doubt the route will get any easier.
But then again, anything worth having isn’t always easy.
To any writer wondering if indie publishing is the way to go, here’s the best advice I can give you from my personal experience – don’t expect overnight success. Rome wasn’t built in a day and people who tell you overnight success is achievable are lying because it just doesn’t exist.
Set your own trail. Be consistent. Keep away from negativity. And then work even harder.
International best-selling author, Pandora Poikilos has been writing for more than 10 years for various media which include newspapers, radio, television and various websites.
A social media enthusiast who is passionate about blogging and finding her way around the virtual world, she wills away time in the real world by reading, writing and people watching.
Orangeberry Book Tours
“You’ve written AND published your masterpiece. Now what? Two novels and many eBooks later I will tell you – this is only the beginning. Getting your book to your targeted market is the most challenging task of them all.”
Orangeberry Book Tours offers a range of packages from Twitter blasts to full month tours. Why not sign up for the Orangeberry Summer Splash: 100 books, 100 blogs, just $25 per book.
All Indie Week posts
Amy Edelman – founder of IndieReader
Tahlia Newland – author of A Matter of Perception
Naomi Blackburn – co-moderator of Sisterhood of the Traveling Book
Jonathan Gould – author of Doodling
Greg – founder of Ereader News Today
Roz Morris – author of My Memories of a Future Life
Stephen Windwalker – founder of Kindle Nation Daily
Susan Salluce – author of Out of Breath
Pandora Poikilos – founder of Orangeberry Book Tours
Michael Burns – author of The Horn
Terri Giuliano Long’s ‘Ode to Book Bloggers’
Donna – founder of Girl Who Reads
Kathy – founder of I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
Rachel Thompson, author of The Mancode: Exposed
Adam Charles, founding Director of iWriteReadRate.com
Christine Nolfi, author of The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge
Thanks for introducing us to Pandora, Terri. Like many indie authors, I've been writing forever, but social networking and promoting for a tiny fraction of that time, and a blog tour could prove very useful!
Your comment about not expecting overnight success is wise…but…as an internationally published novelist with many of the big six NY houses, I will say that this is the most exciting time for writers EVER. I have just gotten two of my novels out as ebooks, and I'm psyched as hell. (Joseph King's EVIL DOES IT — previously published by HarperCollins and CRACK).
I am truly thrilled to be alive and kicking some butt with all the potential for writers. YAY.
Congratulations on getting your e-books to your audience! I could not agree more – this is a truly exciting times for authors, with almost unlimited possibility. With experienced authors like you leading the way, the outlook can only get better!
Thank so much for stopping by!
Pandora, what an inspiring post. I love your points about how indies will fare in the next few years. Earnings are important of course, but what matters just as much is how we are able to reach an audience. When I discovered blogging I felt like windows had been opened – I was communicating with readers. When I indie published the books that publishers had sat on for years, I at last felt I’d found where I belonged. Obviously we do need to be paid if we’re going to put the care and expertise into our books that will make them good, but being able to publish is a gift.
And kudos to you for running the Orangeberry tours as well as your own creative life. I have a similar – but far more modest – setup on one of my blogs. It’s a feature called The Undercover Soundtrack, where I invite writers to talk about how they use music as part of their creative process. There’s a detailed brief and it doesn’t suit everyone but it’s gaining a loyal readership. If you’d like to point some authors my way let’s chat.
Thanks for this interview & insight Pandora, and for Terri for always supporting and showcasing indie authors!
Thank you so much for visiting, Laura! And thank YOU for all your work in support of indie authors! This is such an exciting time to be an author. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to take part in all this!
Thanks for such an inspiring post, Pandora. You're a credit to all indie authors :)
Hi Roz. Will definitely like to point some authors your way. I do apologise for the delayed response. I couldn't seem to leave a comment the other day, think it was a lagging Internet connection … so here I am.
Thank you for taking the time to read my two cents worth.
Hi Bill. Thank you reading and look forward to seeing you at the Orangeberry Corner. Good luck with your book.
Congratulations on your ebook releases! Success is what we make of it isn't it? Thank you so much for stopping by.
@Laura – Thank you for stopping by. All my best.
@Terri – I do thank you for allowing me to join Indie Week. This and the recent "Sticks and Stones" campaign is such a breath of fresh air and provides much needed voice to indie authors. xx
Thank YOU so much for taking part – and for your wonderfully inspirational post!!
Thank you so much David. And I can definitely say the same about you. Looking forward to the new book. All my best.