Nuts ‘n Bolts of Publishing (Series) With Author Sam Cheever
We are thrilled to have author Sam Cheever with us here today to discuss the ins and outs of publishing. We especially love her ideas for staying focused and also what marketing platforms produce the best results (thank you!). Read on for more!
USA Today bestselling author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.
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Are you traditionally or self-published?
I still have a few books with a small press, but I’m mostly indie published now. I’ve been writing original stories under my own imprint for about four years. I’ve also taken my rights back on several books/series from traditional publishers and republished some of them under my own imprint.
How long does it take you to write a book?
I can complete and produce a novella (fifteen to twenty-five thousand words) in about six weeks. A novel takes me about three months. I generally try to write one to two thousand words a day, six days a week. Life does sometimes get in the way and, when that happens I try not to beat myself up too much for missing my daily writing goals.
What are your tips for staying focused?
I work in an office, at a desk and listen to brain.fm as I write. It provides scientifically tested music that helps concentration for intense creative work such as writing.
What marketing or promotional activity produces the best results for you?
I’ve discovered that email promotions, sent to large, targeted lists of subscribers by services like Forewordz.com work well. These are generally reasonably priced and generate a lot of buzz. My best results have come from promoting first in series free books or $0.99 books. Higher priced books don’t usually generate very positive results. At least not for me. I have also not had good luck using paid ads such as Facebook and Goodreads. IMHO, those are just a waste of money and their results are hard to track.
How do you balance all of the demands of a successful writing career (writing, marketing, etc.) and the myriad personal life demands?
My days are highly planned. I start very early, 3:30 or 4:00 a.m., and work twelve hours a day. I do all of my promotional, marketing, and administrative work in the mornings and write in the afternoons. As much as possible I leave evenings and weekends open for my family. Sometimes family has to come first and I’m totally fine with that. Somehow I always manage to get the work done.
What was your biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?
I’ve been surprised by how challenging it can be to promote and market books once they’re written. There are just so many great books and authors out there and, although there are plenty of readers to support all of us, getting your books noticed in the sea of offerings is an ongoing challenge. When you add in the weak economy, where readers sometimes have to make hard choices about how much they can spend, along with the constantly changing publishing landscape, the publishing side of being an indie author is definitely the most challenging.
What would you have done differently if you could do it again?
I would have started trying to publish my work sooner. I treated it like a hobby for a long time before submitting anything to a publisher. I’d love to have those creative years back.
Did you have a platform in place when you started this journey? What are you doing to build a platform and gain readership?
When I published my first book I knew nothing about Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other social media tools. I’d been raising my two daughters and working in Corporate America and had very little time to explore such things. So I built my platform from nothing using a combination of Facebook, Twitter, personal and guest blogging, paid ads and promotions, and doing a lot of online events to get my name out there. But I won’t lie, the whole name recognition thing has been a long, slow slog.
How important is utilizing social media to becoming a successful writer?
It’s vital. Social media and the Internet have completely transformed the landscape for today’s authors and publishing professionals. Where once authors touched relatively few of their fans at book signings and other appearances, today’s authors can interact more personally with our readers, getting to know them in a way that was once impossible. We can even become friends, which I think really enhances the experience of writing to my audience. But all of the available choices can be overwhelming and an author must carefully balance the writing with the social interaction in order to stay productive.
Best piece(s) of writing advice we haven’t discussed?
Keep your head down and your eye on your goals and don’t let anybody else determine your future for you. It’s easy to get sidetracked by negative influences or criticism but if you’re going to survive as an author you need to believe in yourself and your talent. That certainly doesn’t mean you don’t listen, watch, and learn from others. The learning never stops in this job! But realize that you will mess up. You will falter. But never let yourself use those setbacks as an excuse to quit. Nothing really important ever comes easily!
What are you working on now?
I’m currently writing the second book in my Silver Hills Cozy Mysteries series. Freezer Bernie is slated to release in early October. I’m also writing book eight in my Bedeviled & Beguiled paranormal romance series. Beset & Bewildered will release in mid-September.
Free Goodies from Sam
If you love FREE books, she has you covered. In addition to the four novella box set you get FREE for signing up for hernewsletter, Book 1 of her Honeybun Heat romantic suspense series is available for a limited time FREE!
Or, if you prefer paranormal romance, Book 1 of her Bedeviled & Beyond series is also FREE for a limited time.
And last but certainly not least, Book 1 of her Holidays Are Hell paranormal romance series is currently FREE too!
*** If you’ve read one of Sam’s books, PLEASE consider leaving her a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads (or other website). Reviews are the fuel that keeps a writer going!***
Are you an author interested in sharing your writing and publishing experience? Send us an email at info @ forewordz.com (no spaces). We’d love to interview you!