Why do you write? Is it something you’ve always done, or always wanted to do? Or is it something that you started fairly recently?
Reading was my first passion, but there came a time when finding really good books seemed impossible, so I decided to write my own. Finding time to write was an issue until I retired, and now there is no holding me back.
Do you remember the very first story you ever wrote?
I don’t know what happened to that book, nor do I remember what it was about, but I wrote my first in my early twenties.
Tell me a little about your books.
By the time I retired, I had finished four full length novels: The Promise, Broken Pledge, Suspects and Seattle Quake 9.2. After retirement, I wrote a little short story called Anna and posted it on my website. Shock of all shocks, hits on my website began to climb, so I added Rachel and Charlet. Twenty short stores later, I discovered Kindle Direct Publishing, turned the stories into five volumes and named them Marti Talbott’s Highlander Series. Since then, I have added six full-length novels to that series and started a new one called Marblestone Mansion.
Are there any authors who inspire you?
I admire anyone who can finish writing a novel. It looks a lot easier than it is. I love Vince Flynn’s books and perhaps I got the idea to write a series from him.
How do you write? Do you make yourself write a certain number of words per day?
Writing dialog is my passion, so I start with an idea, two characters and let them talk to each other. I find that headlining each section with the word, “scene” and a short summary of what it is about, lets me easily find and rearrange the sections later. When I run out of inspired dialog, I go back and fill in the who, what and where, etc.
Self-imposed pressure such as writing a certain number of words can be brutal, and I have learned not to expect the creativity mood to be available everyday.
Did you try to get a conventional publisher or agent interested before you opted for self-publishing?
Ah yes, I have my share of rejection slips. As it turns out, they did me a favor. With self-publishing I have all the control and a lot more of the profits.
What goals have you set yourself? Do you want to sell a certain number of books in 2012? Is there some way you measure success, on your own terms?
Success for me is when a reader takes the time to publicly or privately let me know they love my books. I have a “notify me when the next book is published” form on my website, and I get a thrill every time someone signs up. My goal is to keep writing until I get to old to turn on my computer. Currently, I am turning out a new book ever three months or so.
How have you marketed your book(s)? Have you used social media (Twitter, Facebook etc)? Have you paid for any advertising (Facebook Ads, Google Ads etc)? And how did it go?
Free is my favorite word, so no, I have never paid for ads. Marketing is hard and time consuming, but lately I have learned a secret. It only works for authors with more than one book, but I give my first book away free and it sells the rest. Also, I stumbled into a market with little competition. The specific genre does not exist, but it is “clean romance.” My books are the kind readers can recommend to their moms, and it is a market few tap in to.
All authors must first get a foot in the door and my marketing motto is — Never miss a chance to promote.
Have you signed up for KDP Select? If you have, how has it gone for you? Do you think free promotions are helping with your paid sales? If you haven’t signed up, why not? Are you worried about the exclusivity clause?
Like a lot of authors, I considered KDP Select, but decided against it. I have…dare I say it…a fan base and expecting them to buy my books only from Amazon was out of the question.
Away from Amazon, have you had much luck with other outlets? Do you use Smashwords, Barnes & Noble etc?
Most of my books are available everywhere, including through Smashwords who distribute to Apple and Sony, etc. It was a slow start, but sales in those venues are steadily increasing and I am very pleased.
Do you worry about Amazon gaining a monopoly in the ebook market?
I’m not worried. The only way I can foresee them gaining a true monopoly, is to offer an even higher percentage of the profits. That’s not likely to happen and their competitors would just follow suit anyway.
What’s next? Are you working on anything at the moment? Do you have anything new coming out in 2012?
Marblestone Mansion, Book 2 should be out in another month or so. I am having a lot of fun with this series and plan to add more books until I run out of ideas. Readers can read the first chapter of all my books free at Marti Talbott’s Stories.