Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a freelance writer; self-published (indie) and traditionally published author; and web entrepreneur.
I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993, a self-published author since 2002 and an internet marketer since 2008. I’ve self-published over 100 ebooks (fiction and non-fiction); with just over 50 being romance novellas.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Marriage Bargain: A Small Town, Southern Romance. It was inspired by a book I read (my Kindle always has a romance novel on it). As I was reading that book, an idea for one like it unfolded in my head and wouldn’t let go.
So I gave in to it.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Other than writing a lot (I publish a book roughly every 3 to 6 weeks). I have published as many as 3 in one month! That was when I was writing mostly novellas in the 15,000 to 25,000-word range..
These days, my books tend to be longer (50,000 to 60,000 words — like “The Marriage Bargain”), so I’m not able to put out as many.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
In the romance genre, I read a lot of Harlequins in my teens. So it’s not a particular author, as much as a publisher, I suppose.
I remember being greatly inspired by Dame Barbara Cartland. At the time, of course, I had NO IDEA that I would wind up being a romance writer. But when I started, I do remember that she published a lot. Knowing what hard work writing romance is, her body of work is all the more inspiring.
What are you working on now?
“Love after Betrayal.” It’s a story about a woman who finds out that her husband has been unfaithful after almost 20 years together; 12 of those as a married couple.
Can she put their marriage back together, or will her new lover become the love of her life?
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I always tell writers in my writing group and in my romance writing course that your best marketing tool is always your next book.
That being said, I don’t spend a lot of time “marketing” per say. I spend my time writing. Now that I have published over 50 romance novels/novellas, I’m starting to put more effort into marketing. But it’s not something I advise for new writers.
The reason is, when you spend money on marketing, you want to capture a customer/reader for life. If you only have one or two novels out, you spend your money, the customer buys and reads your one or two novels, then what? You have nothing else to offer them — until your next book is done.
This is why I advise new writers to spend the bulk of their time putting out new titles. Then, when you have five or six out, you can start looking at spending money.
Romance readers are fast and prolific readers. So once you start “feeding the beast,” so to speak, if you have a few titles out, your career can take off pretty fast — which is wonderful for romance writers.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
(i) Marketing: What I said in the last question about marketing.
(ii) Read in the genre you want to write in: For example, if you want to write suspense romance, read suspenseful romances. It’ll make you a better writer.
(iii) Read about writing: Two books I highly recommend are Stephen King’s “On Writing;” and “Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence”. These are two of the best books I’ve ever read on writing. Both of my copies are dog-eared to death!
These books can make you a MUCH better writer, if you read them and put the info into practice.
(iv) Be patient with yourself: Becoming a good writer takes time. Becoming a best-selling writer takes time.
One of the things I love about being an indie publisher is that you don’t need to sell millions or even thousands of copies of your books to make really good money.
I’ve earned as much as $3,500 in one month just toddling along writing my little romance novels. And that doesn’t take selling thousands of copies, just a few hundred here and there.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
My mom told me a lot of good stuff. Basically the way she raised me and my sisters was to be independent and to take charge of our own lives. In a nutshell, her message was: “You can do anything you put your mind to … if you’re willing to put in the work.”
Hard work and focus — those two things will get you almost anything you want. I truly believe that because it’s two things many are not willing to embrace, at least, not for the long haul.
What are you reading now?
I’m always reading two or three books at once.
On my Kindle, I’m reading a romance novel. I’m also reading two paperbacks. Elie Wiesel’s, “Night” and Michelle Obama’s, “Becoming.”
What’s next for you as a writer?
A new romance novel, of course!
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Romance novels, biographies, and books on writing, for sure.