1. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was a little girl, and all of the kids were outside riding on their bikes in the summer, I just wanted to read! I grew up on books and series like Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, and Sweet Valley High. I loved being transported into stories and was always fascinated by how the author could so vividly create a world which I experienced as if I were actually there. The seed to write was planted young, but I wasn’t great at writing fiction! However, I discovered a strength for writing in the business world as my sales career took off in my 20s. Oftentimes, my colleagues would ask me to “ghost write” emails to clients, and I developed a brand as an effective writer. I knew I wanted to write a book, but needed something significant to say that both I and my reader would care about. It wasn’t until my mid-40s that I sat down in earnest to write articles and non-fiction. Then the idea for The Love Compass came into being when a young woman in college asked me to “please put my advice about dating and relationships into a book”…it makes all the difference when someone tells you that they need your voice!
2. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written?
Officially, I didn’t start a true writing process until age 44. I’ve written one book, The Love Compass: A Girl’s Guide to Finding Authentic Love, published in the fall of 2022. I enjoyed the work so much, that in addition to writing articles for my blog, LinkedIn and magazines, I feel like I’ll be ready to begin writing a “part two” to my book mid-2024.
3. What made you want to self-publish?
Although my career in sales gave me the confidence to know that I could follow a process to prospect publishing houses, I also was aware of the sheer amount of work and reach-outs it would take to find that book deal. As I was working in a full-time corporate sales leadership job while writing and working to publish my book, self-publishing seemed to be the path of least resistance. I began researching all the ways one could self-publish, and I was not thrilled with Amazon/Kindle’s process or royalties for authors. That is when I came across Gatekeeper Press in my research, and I reached out to learn more.
4. Would you recommend new authors self-publish, and would you recommend Gatekeeper Press?
Yes, I highly recommend that new authors self-publish, because you truly learn the publishing process from the inside-out, and that removes the “mystery factor” or intimidation a new author might feel. There are many people who aspire to write a book, but who let the publishing process be a barrier. Big book deals are rare for new authors who are not already in the public eye for their area of expertise. With self-publishing, you can have your book out into the market within months. Most of us write because we want to share our stories or ideas with the world, and self-publishing is a faster path to reach your audience. I highly recommend Gatekeeper Press. The investment with Gatekeeper is affordable, and my experience with my book manager (Kelly Santaguida) and the editing team was phenomenal. The Gatekeeper team is patient, helpful and truly guides an author through the process step-by-step. The royalties are very fair. I would work with Gatekeeper again in a heartbeat.
5. What do you do marketing-wise to help announce and sell your books?
I have jumped into the world of social media! Wow, promoting your book on social media isn’t always the easiest journey to figure out. Something I wish I would have done before my publication date was to hire a book launch coach. I did find one, Cara Stein, but not until six months after my book was on the market. Her training program recommended ways to boost my book’s presence on Amazon, and following her advice, I was able to re-categorize my book and made it within the Top 50 in 3 categories on Amazon, which enabled me to claim a “best seller” accolade. I have done reels and posts on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook about the book. I also went on a “mini-tour” to several universities where I spoke with young women about how to show up as your authentic self in dating, understand your intuition, and watch for red flags that can lead to abusive relationships. It was fulfilling to be on stage speaking about the book, and I got a nice uplift in sales this spring during that tour. I also found a few book promoters on Instagram and paid for some posts, which also boosted sales for a few weeks. I think a combination of social media promotion (free) and paid promotions (ads) can work very well for a self-published author.
6. What advice do you have for a new or fledgling author?
My advice is that new authors shouldn’t worry too much about a writing process. Literally, grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage, take three big cleansing breaths, speak your intention in writing this book for you and your readers, and just start typing! I found that after the first five minutes of wondering what I would write that day, the words would just start flowing. Don’t worry about perfection as you write or type. Just get your words out of your mind and into form! You will have plenty of time to go back and edit. At first pass, just write what is in your heart and on your mind. Also, don’t punish or talk down to yourself if you don’t write for days or even weeks. Sometimes, I’d write my book for 6 hours straight, and then I wouldn’t write for four weeks! Give yourself grace and write when you feel inspired. This way, your writing is authentic and your reader will be able to hear your authentic voice and truly connect with you and your stories.
7. What social media platforms are you on?
I set up an official business page on Facebook for my book, which has since evolved into posts about women and relationships and the coaching I love to do. Same with Instagram…at first, it was just the book title, but then I decided to rebrand as a coach for women, and linked my book in my Linktree at the top of of Instagram page. On TikTok, I started it as a coaching feed and I mention my book from time to time and have achieved sales this way.
8. What is the one piece of advice you wish you had known when you first started out?
I wish I had known more about marketing my book effectively! I feel that my message and my stories are so important for young women to hear. Finding yourself in a toxic relationship or marriage even though you felt you did “all the right things” growing up can be devastating. I want women to know that they are not alone and there is a path to happiness in romantic relationships. Getting this message out there feels like part of my life’s mission, so in knowing how to launch and market my book, I could have reached more people initially! However, now I know and can help others in the meantime with this advice, while utilizing what I’ve learned for my next book!
9. What do you feel is the biggest challenge authors are facing going into 2023 (and beyond)?
Honestly, I try not to see challenges, but opportunities. I feel like there is enough room for every author to get their works out into the open and share them with the people who are drawn to what they have to say. I did read a lot about Amazon squeezing royalties, and the algorithms around how your book shows up to people are difficult to understand and don’t always quite seem fair. For example, I cannot purchase paid ads on Amazon for my book because they don’t allow paid ads for self-help books! That was frustrating to learn. Yet I see books with provocative or “bleeped out” curse words that are allowed to advertise. I’ve decided to use word of mouth, writing articles, and social media to get the word out about The Love Compass, and just focus on what I CAN do and not what I cannot do as an author.
10. Have you won any awards or contests that you would like to mention?
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