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.
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.