Geri Krotow is another find from Facebook–note to self: personal connections are a lot more reliable than cold-calling strangers–and a traditionally-published romance writer. Also I did ask her a few more questions than this, but her response was a body of text so I had trouble separating it into Q & A format. Her site is here.
What were the best and worst elements of publishing?
The best is having my books on the shelf in Kmart, WalMart, grocery stores, etc, all over the country and world. My stories can reach so many people, and now with the digital market it’s beyond my dreams. The worst part is the wait—it took me 6 years of submissions (and rejections!) to sell. But this is good because it forced me to keep learning and improving my writing.
Would you recommend this to a new author? Why or why not?
I recommend traditional publishing to everyone as if I’d independently published that first manuscript (that never sold and never SHOULD sell :)) it would have been a BIG mistake. My writing wasn’t ready for “prime time.” That said, my friends who have a large backlist of books AND have gotten the rights back from their publishers are re-publishing on their own (indie) and some are making big profits, especially if they have a large readership.
How much of the legwork (like marketing) did you have to do yourself?
As for marketing, in this day, every author is her own marketing person. You have to be. I am very conscious of my brand (military romance/romantic suspense) and it’s important to keep giving my readers what they expect from me. This is the promise to the reader. The most important platform is the author website, which must be kept up-to-date and give readers a place to go and learn about you after they’ve finished a book (and hopefully find more of your books to buy!). Next is a strong social media platform. I’m active on Twitter and Facebook, and a bit on Pinterest. Also, Goodreads. I have an Author Page on Facebook, too. I do this all myself, except I do pay people to do my website (which costs A LOT, you get what you pay for.). But it’s part of building my business from the ground up, and having a secure platform I’ll be able to rely on when I hit it “big.”
For that, I trust God. If I’m meant to be financially successful, I will, if not, the most important thing is that I’m true to the stories that come down for me to put on paper. If they reach and help one person through a rough day, then I’ve done my job (vocation).