Wednesday, September 01, 2010

My Story: Zoe Winters

It’s been a long time since we did a My Story Indie Author Bio, and I think we should pick it back up again because there are so many wonderful voices out there advocating Independent Publishing that it would be a crying shame not to give them open forum. Many of you already know who Zoe Winters is, and I reviewed her free ebook Kept last year. Zoe notified me this week that she is running a Kindle giveaway contest on her blog to promote her first dead tree format release Blood Lust, and I thought it would be a perfect time to do a My Story. So let me introduce Zoe Winters:

Why did you choose to self-publish and what were your expectations?

I mainly chose to self-publish because I don't like having to answer to anybody else. I've had 33 jobs, none of which "took". I'm not "mean" but I often don't play well with others. And in a work environment, I don't take direction well. Publishing a book may not be the exact same type of thing, but it's the same type of loss of control over the work you do. Originally, my focus was going to be mainly on print books. Even though I put a book on Kindle and was starting to see some potential there, I originally thought my goal was going to be to focus mainly on print. My expectations were that if I built a solid platform, within 10 years with a backlist I could get to the point where I could sell at least 10,000 copies of SOMETHING a year. And that would be a teacher's salary for me in profits. I still think that's doable, but I see a lot more promise and financial future in ebooks right now.

Why did you select your specific publisher?

I'm not completely sure what you're asking. I didn't use an author services company. I am my publisher. I use Lightning Source for my print books, but they are a printer, not a publisher. It's a pretty important distinction for me because a lot of the self-publishing companies end up being your publisher of record if you don't have your own ISBNs and they try to sell you on all these packages. To me having one's own imprint versus using an author services company is like the difference in being an Avon lady, and starting your own cosmetics company. As Michael N. Marcus says... nobody can SELF-publish for you. It's like having somebody go to the bathroom for you or eat for you.

Plus, you keep more of the profits if you cut out as many middle men as possible. And author services companies are definitely a middle man and in "most" cases your profit per book won't be as high as if you went with a company like Lightning Source. (I know I sound like their little puppet. I talk about them all the time. But, I just think they have the best quality product as well as the best earnings potential for publishers/indie authors.)

How is it going so far? Are you achieving your goals?

It's going great! There are obviously people out there doing better than me, but I feel like I'm on track to make a living writing fiction, which was what I wanted. I don't know how far I'll go, but I hope far!

What advice would you give a person who has completed their manuscript and is considering self-publishing?

Realize that it's a lot of hard work. I work 10 hours a day writing, editing, packaging, promoting. It never really stops and I'm horrible about taking breaks/vacations. Succeeding in publishing will be hard work no matter how you choose to publish but with self-publishing, you are responsible for everything. Also don't skimp on cover art and editing if you can help it. If you put out an amateur product, you play into the stigmas already against what we're doing here.

Zoe Winters is an indie author of quirky paranormal romance and an outspoken advocate of indie authorship. Her favorite colors are rainbow and clear. Check out her blog this week to find out details on how you can win an Amazon Kindle!

If you would like to participate in the My Story Column, please send your responses to the questions above to podpeep at gmail dot com with the subject line of My Story. Please include a short bio, a link to your website and/or blog, and a link to whatever book you happen to be promoting at the moment along with a good quality cover jpeg. You may be as brief or as long-winded as you like.


Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Zoe, thank you so much for sharing this. It's very informative and helpful, and I think other indie authors can learn a lot from you!

Zoe Winters said...

Thanks, Michelle!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Zoe! I'm glad you made the distinction between self-publishing and using a 'self-publishing' company. I wish it weren't so confusing for the layman to understand that using a company like that is still assisted publishing, not self-publishing. I bet there would be a bit more respect for truly self-published authors if that distinction was widely understood. It's SO not a shortcut to self-publish!