1. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote my first short story in second grade about a walking/talking sponge named Bob. (I’m still waiting for my royalties—lol). Seriously though, I started storytelling very young and then went on to study journalism in college.
2. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written?
Like I mentioned before, for as long as I can remember, storytelling was a pastime I enjoyed.
I have an eBook called, “Navigating Your Child’s Hearing Loss.” The book I wrote with my daughter about her hearing loss journey, “Now Hear This: Harper Soars with her Magic Ears,” is my first children’s book.
3. What made you want to self-publish?
We shopped literary agents and had no luck. It’s a long, arduous process to go through traditional publishing.
I didn’t want to wait! I knew there was a need for a book like ours. I already had created a community that I knew needed to be served by a book like the one we wrote.
4. Would you recommend new authors self-publish, and would you recommend GKP?
If someone wants to have creative freedom but also the support of a publishing company to support them, I recommend GKP. I also liked the fact that I could pick and choose the services I needed. Printing on demand is huge!
If you have a story to tell and do not want to wait to jump through the hoops or traditional publishing, I highly recommend self-publishing.
5. What do you do marketing-wise to help announce and sell your books?
I worked for two years to build a strong online platform, “My Battle Call.”
I’m a freelance writer and belong to several writers’ groups. As an advocate for children with hearing loss, my work gives me a niche market. I’ve been invited as keynote speaker to industry events where I have shared our book.
Before our book was complete, I created strong social media Facebook and Instagram groups, “Harper’s Book Brigade,” specifically for people to follow along on our publishing journey. We did a strong marketing campaign for pre-orders in these groups, selling close to 1K books in a 3-week period.
I created a launch team made up of other authors and social media influencers who I had built relationships with through various professional outlets. They helped support our pre-order launch and subsequent marketing.
We have also done school visits and (both online and in person) read-a-louds to share our book. We’ve been the guests on several podcasts and had our book featured in several local and national publications.
6. What advice do you have for a new or fledgling author?
Ask yourself, “How can my story serve others?”
I think this is key. Create a community and then listen to what it is they want or need. Then…Write! Rewrite. Edit. And then edit some more.
Share your work with people you trust and others in the industry and be open to their feedback. Sometimes you are too close to the material. We did several re-writes of our book to get it to the place it needed to be.
Also, it helps to be passionate about your material. My love of our subject matter has made it super easy to promote! I’m so proud of our book and want every child to have it on their nightstand!
7. What social media platforms are you on?
I have a strong following on Facebook on, “My Battle Call,” and reach close to a million people per month. I am active on Instagram (My Battle Call) and have my own website: mybattlecall.com
8. What is the one piece of advice you wish you had known when you first started out?
Do your homework. I got such great advice before and during my publishing journey. Ask for help. So many people are willing to assist a first-time author. Create a network. This is critical before, during, and after you publish your book. And don’t be afraid to rewrite and edit. I had a strong beta group that helped me flush out my manuscript. Be open while also staying true to yourself.
9. What do you feel is the biggest challenge authors are facing going into 2020 (and beyond)?
I think the market is saturated, so building a niche audience and writing a book that serves them is key.
Also, go digital. We have been creative launching a book during Covid-19. You have to think outside the box in 2020!
10. Have you won any awards or contests that you would like to mention?
We were an Amazon #1 New Release.
Please share your website/social media links below:
You can find me on Facebook/Instagram @ My Battle Call & mybattlecall.com
Our book is: “Now Hear This: Harper Soars with her Magic Ears!” by Valli & Harper Gideons