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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Interview with editor and writer, Jill Kelly

1. Tell us about yourself--full time writer? fiction, non-fiction?
I am a freelance editor and writer (former college professor). For work, I write mostly marketing materials and health-related research papers. Mostly, I edit manuscripts and professional papers for writers. I work about 3/4 time and do my own creative writing in-between. I wrote a memoir, "Sober Truths:the Making of an Honest Woman", that I self-published in 2007. It was a finalist in 2008 for the Oregon Book Award in Creative Non-fiction. Since then I have completed one novel, finished the first draft of a second, and written dozens of poems.

2. With your self-published book did you try traditional methods first?
I investigated a couple of leads for publishing my memoir but they went nowhere and so I self-published POD through iUniverse. I did not want any major editing to be done to the memoir, the story changed, enhanced, etc. The authenticity of what I had to say was crucial to me.

3. Was the information you needed easily available? Why did you pick the one you did?
There weren't so many choices 3 years ago. iUniverse was affordable and offered a lot of services for the money. I had seen their product (one of my editing clients had published through them and he got a very high quality book) so I knew what to expect.

4. What type of marketing have you engaged in to promote your work? Has this been successful?
My book has a large but hard-to-reach audience of women in recovery. I created postcards of my cover and blurb and handed them out everywhere I went and did other Guerilla Marketing techniques. I had several book signings and asked good friends to sponsor readings and signings in their homes. I sent my book to several catalogs for women and one picked it up and sold 500 for me. Through that, I got a gig speaking and selling my book at conferences. I am still marketing that book in various ways. I also blog about the issues at: www.sobertruths.blogspot.com and that has helped me market too.

5. Are you satisfied with your decision?
Self-publishing was absolutely the right way for me to go, given the nature of my book and the control over content that I wanted. I've more than made my money back and gotten lots of opportunities.

6. What advice would you give others considering self-publishing?
If you are an excellent writer with a fabulous idea, it's worth trying to find an agent (for fiction) or a publisher (non-fiction). But if you don't succeed in the traditional route or are a beginner, self-publishing is a great way to see your work in print, to get it out to friends and family, and to get started.

Thank you so much, Jill.
Jill Kelly can be contacted at www.jillkellyauthor.com, or editor@aracnet.com

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