Tell us a little bit about yourself, your books and any new projects you are working on.
My name is Kristin Bloch and I am an author, Certified Pilates Instructor, wine lover, and kitty mama. I am the author of three poetry books, which also include prose that explains the back-story, or motivation behind each poem. My first book, Walk Through a Field of Flowers: A collection of poems and short stories inspired by life, love, and some heartache along the way was published in 2020 after a long hiatus from writing. This collection is mainly a compilation of poems that I began writing when I was about ten years old, and does include a few recent poems that were written during the pandemic. My second book, Scatter Seeds of Kindness: Inspirational Poems and Short Stories about Life, Love, and the things that shape Our Souls was published in 2021 and republished in 2022 by Gatekeeper Press. This follows the format of my first book, with prose explaining the inspiration or motivation followed by the poem. My latest book, which is due to be released any time now by Gatekeeper Press, is Gather Seeds of Hope: Poems, Prose, and Stories…With a Little Hope Sprinkled In. This book continues the format of my previous books and is also all new material. Lastly, I am just beginning my fourth book of poetry and prose that I hope to release in early 2024.
1. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I am not sure I ever came to that realization consciously. I feel like from the time I was able to hold a pencil I was stringing verses together. My family was not very large, but they were loud, and being the youngest child, I got interrupted a lot at the dinner table. So I started writing things down and reading what I had written to my parents usually after dinner. I learned early on that if I tried to speak, I got interrupted. But if I said “Hey, I wrote a new poem or story. Do you want to hear it?” they made time to listen. So I learned at a very young age that taking pencil to paper got me some attention!
2. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written?
As I mentioned above, I started writing very young. As I got older the poems went from childish verses to more serious, with subjects that dealt with love, heartbreak, and my father’s unexpected death. As I got busier in my 20’s, I put my binder of poems away and stepped away from writing, feeling as if whatever talent I had was gone. I now realize it wasn’t; I had just silenced it when life got hectic. Recently, during the shutdown of 2020, I found this binder in a drawer and realized that maybe the world was in a place of needing some hope and positivity. So I very nervously began exploring self publishing options and produced my first book. I was so encouraged by the response and excitement of friends and family, that the floodgates opened and I found myself writing again, which became my second and soon to be third books. So to answer the second question, I have two books published and my third will be released any day now. My fourth is very early on in the writing stage.
3. What made you want to self-publish?
It wasn’t so much a want, as a need. Traditional publishing is a very difficult path to enter, and even harder for certain genres, including poetry. An agent is needed for traditional publishing, and agents are reluctant to take on these slower selling genres. I had heard of self-publishing but wasn’t sure what it was all about until I started to explore ways to get my poetry into the world. However I am very grateful that self-publishing is an option, otherwise there would be a great many of us who would not be able to get our work into other people’s hands or even onto the online sites.
4. Would you recommend new authors self-publish, and would you recommend Gatekeeper Press?
I absolutely would recommend new authors self-publish. If someone has something to say and a desire to get their voice into the world, it is a great option. I would 100% recommend Gatekeeper Press. Gatekeeper Press is the third self-publisher that I have worked with and there is no question that the quality and service is far superior to the other self-publishers that I have dealt with. I know that if I have a request, even if it seems farfetched, my Author Manager Jamie (who is amazing!) will tell me it’s no problem at all and I will continue to get revisions until I am 100% satisfied. Great quality and service does come at a bit of a higher cost, but definitely worth it in my opinion. So if an author has the budget, I absolutely recommend self-publishing with Gatekeeper Press.
5. What do you do marketing-wise to help announce and sell your books?
I post a few times a week on social media with little excerpts from my poems using presentation software, and I usually include a little motivational message about the poem. I have had book signings and have been invited to participate in a neighboring library’s Local Author Event. Last year my second book Scatter Seeds of Kindness was featured at the ALA (American Library Association) convention in Washington DC. I was also a guest on syndicated talk show host Kate Delaney’s radio show called America Tonight with Kate Delaney, and I was a guest on Reader View’s Inside Scoop
6. What advice do you have for a new or fledgling author?
Edit, Edit, Edit! I thought I was pretty good with grammar until I got my first round of edits back and saw all the red font and suggestions. Also establish a good relationship with your editor so they know your expectations and what you are trying to accomplish. The second thing I would tell them is not to accept every marketing offer that comes along. I was so eager to get my book out into the world, that when the phone calls came out of nowhere (and they will), I paid for marketing promotions that really did not pay off. So I would suggest that a new author be very choosy about what they sign up for. Do research, look at the return on investment, and trust your gut. As they say, if it sounds too good to be true. . .
If you need marketing assistance, interview some companies that have good reputations and positive reviews and establish a relationship with them. Make sure they are within your budget. Lastly, I would say to do it for the love, not the money. There are some lucky authors that get picked up by traditional publishing houses and are able to really establish a name for themselves, but for most of us we probably won’t make back the investment that we put forth with publishing and marketing fees. So I hope they make it into the NY Times Bestseller list, but if not make sure it’s done as a labor of love and not to become financially stable.
7. What social media platforms are you on?
I have an author page on Facebook, Instagram, and an author website.
8. What is the one piece of advice you wish you had known when you first started out?
Again, the editing. I did not have my first book edited, and it shows. I may go back and republish in the future with proper editing. My second book was edited but not at the level that Gatekeeper Press provided. It can really make or break your credibility as an author. A badly edited book can really take away the joy of the reading process.
9. What do you feel is the biggest challenge authors are facing going into 2023 (and beyond)?
As wonderful as I believe self-publishing is, it does make gaining entry into the publishing field easier, and therefore can lead to an oversaturation of books. With sites such as KDP, where someone can put a book online very quickly, there is a lot more competition to get a book to stand out. Therefore, as independent authors, it falls back on us to really pound the pavement to get our books marketed, which also costs money. I would assume that most of us are part time authors, and full time parents, employees, etc, so time to write/publish/market can feel like a daunting task. Also as I mentioned above, lack of editing or a poor cover design or book description can make a book stand out from a traditionally published book and not in a good way. Sometimes self-published books are looked down upon, so it’s good that there are self-publishers like Gatekeeper Press to uphold the quality and make a self-published book look like a traditionally published book.
10. Have you won any awards or contests that you would like to mention?
Yes! I am so honored to have won a few awards. My second book, Scatter Seeds of Kindness, won first place in the Bookfest Spring 2022 awards in the category of Poetry: Inspiration, Nature, and Love. I won a silver medal in the Reader Views 2022-2023 Reviewer’s Choice Awards in the Poetry category. And in March 2023, I was honored to learn I was a winner in the Book Excellence Awards in the Poetry category. I also earned five star reviews from Literary Titan and Reader Views.
Please share your website/social media links below:
Author website: https://kablochauthor.com