Monday, November 21, 2011

Black Friday Reading with Jinny Wishmaker

by C.L. Phillips

At Working Stiffs, we tend to focus on mysteries and true crime, but I confess one of the mysteries I would like to understand better is how authors find their readers and get their books in the hands of those readers. A friend, D.D. Roy is trailblazing a new path to publication with Books on Board.  

I've asked D.D. to stop by and share what it's like to take a fast track to publication using a path you might not be aware exists.  We've all heard of Amazon or Barnes and Noble, but there are other excellent options for indie publishing like Books on Board.  

In one year, D.D. has published two novels.  The first, Baby Dust (written as Deanna Roy), is a touching novel about women and miscarriage, and now her middle grade novel, JINNIE WISHMAKER is the newest addition to the Books on Board world.  I've asked her to stop by and share her journey.  I read an early version of this novel and plan to spend my Black Friday (after Thanksgiving) reading with Jinnie Wishmaker.

Q: First, tell us about JINNIE WISHMAKER.

Jinnie is a story about a girl who discovers she can grant any living thing its one true wish. But no one really takes the time to consider what they might really want, so Jinnie's wishes have to wind their way from the original request to fulfilling the real need. Often the twists and turns of the wish are quite unexpected.

Q:  Will there be more JINNIE adventures?
Absolutely. From the beginning I knew that I would write a series revolving around kids with unusual and often unruly magical talents.

Q:  How did you connect with Books on Board?

I am part of a test group as they decide the best way to launch their services to indie authors. They want to be able to use their newsletters and marketing placement to help authors get noticed.

Q:  What does Books on Board provide you as an author?
Their services are still evolving, but so far they have placed me prominently in one of their emails to try and jumpstart sales. For authors who don't have a cover or book in epub format, they will assist with that. It isn't that different from Create Space, where you can do it yourself or you can buy packages.

Q:  What has been your biggest surprise in going through this process?

How FAST things happen. With my novel Baby Dust, there were page proofs and advance reader copies and blurb gathering. The process after the book was written took over a year. But with Jinnie, we went from manuscript to email blast to the entire customer base in two weeks.

Q:  What advice would you give to another author?

LEARN before you leap. About once a week, some agency or traditional publisher announces they are providing for-fee options to authors wanting to get their books out. Some are much better paths than others. Never get in a situation where you pay a company to do the easy things such as uploading to Kindle and Nook stores. Never agree to a forever percentage of your sales just to get an e-book formatted, which costs less than $100 to have done. And never agree to a terms of service on any web site without reading it. Publishing your work isn't like accepting a TOS on a new piece of software. You may be giving up very important rights that will lock you in forever. 

In closing, I'd like to let you in on a secret.  D.D. Roy, known as Deanna to her friends, has been leading the Novel-in-Progress group in Austin for many years.  She cat-herds an unusual band of merry wordsmiths, each nurturing their own dreams of publication. I'm tickled to see the universe giving back to someone who has toiled so long and without recognition to the writing community.  

I'd like to thank Deanna for stopping by today.  You'll find her replying to comments.  Ask her anything.   Ask her what it's like to see your words in print, and how you can make it happen even as you continue querying for the perfect agent.


Working Stiffs said...

D.D., would you share with our readers how you "found" Books on Board or how they found you?

Deanna Roy said...

A friend of mine let me know they were taking their first indie books and were looking to pull the best in under their own imprint. While I wasn't keen on self-publishing at that moment (I had just released an adult book), I just went ahead and jumped in, uploading my book and going for it.

I was selected for Travis Press, but then I was also selected to be one of five authors they would push. The promo page they developed for me is up now --
Jinnie Wishmaker Promo

Over the weekend, Jinnie moved up in rank for youth books to take the #4 spot in top downloads. We'll see how it goes!