Indie Publishing Cross Genre Books and AudioBooks: An Interview with Stephanie Queen

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Today, the lovely and vivacious Stephanie Queen has stopped by to answer questions on her indie publishing success. I met Stephanie at a Backspace Writer’s Conference in 2010. She was a take-charge woman who fearlessly approached published authors to ask them advice about my book for me.

I’ve watched her indie publishing career develop and could not be more impressed by her! She was one of the first writers I reached out to when I started my indie journey and she graciously answered my newbie questions and pointed me toward fantastic resources.

1) Why did you choose to self-publish?

I did it for the fame and fortune! Kidding. Well, maybe half kidding.

But really, the notion of having creative control of my novels which are hybrid genres was irresistible!

2) What were the most unexpected/gratifying things about self-publishing?

Being Queen of my empire is the most gratifying!  I’m actually not kidding about this. I love being an entrepreneur and that is unexpected.  I realized when I sat down on New Year’s Day to write my detailed business plan for the year that I was a goner—totally sucked into the entrepreneurial spirit of indie Publishing.

3) What do you consider the key elements of self-publishing success?

Patience. Fast writing. Fast everything! I know that seems contradictory, to do things fast and then sit back and be patient, but that’s exactly the way it is. You need lots of product to sell—books—so you need to write fast. You also need to be able to react to market changes quickly—and I don’t mean writing to trends—I mean things like Apple and KOBO coming up with their own distribution platforms, Amazon inventing KDP select and now changing the rules, etc. You need to be on the cutting edge of every facet of the business so you need to be aware of what everyone else is doing and how they’re doing it—like getting audiobooks produced through ACX.

4) If you could go back in time to before your first book was self-published and give yourself three pieces of advice about self-publishing, what would they be?

Learn to write faster.

Hire more than one editor for each book.

Take a chill pill and become zen-like with patience.

5) Last time we talked, you were working on an audiobook. Can you give us an idea of what that process involves (key steps, biggest costs, etc.)?

Truthfully, I could (and will if you want me to!) write a whole ‘nother blog about that process.  But I will say for now that I enjoyed the process immensely. The first key step is finding a narrator who has the right voice for you and who is reliable to work with.

As for costs, that’s complicated. A narrator could cost you from $0 to $5,000+ up front. Depending.

There’s royalty share options, there’s combo royalty share/stipend agreements, there’s straight hourly fee per finished hour, etc. The good thing is that the narrator not only reads/acts your book, but they also take care of the production. As the author, you act as the quality control, listening to the “draft” and making revision requests.

Right now my audiobook, THE THROWBACKS, a romantic comedy suspense, is available on Audible, Amazon and iTunes.  The next in the series, THE HOT SHOTS, is currently in production and should be out by the end of April.

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THE THROWBACKS

Blurb:

She’s a vivacious, light-hearted young beauty from Beacon Hill

He’s a world-weary not-so-young exile from Scotland Yard.

She’s an orphaned decorator who longs for a family of her own.

He’s a rogue detective with a superhero complex.

She’s smitten with this superhero who is the last man she sees in the picket-fence picture of her future.

He’s smitten with this fluffy young romantic who he sees as kryptonite to his career and well being.

But if you saw Grace and David in a room full of people, and you had to pick one man and one woman who belonged together, you would pick them. They would be The Throwbacks.

Vivacious young decorator Grace Rogers sets her sights for that picket-fence life she longs for with the unlikely world-weary British exile, the not-so-young David Young. The ex-Scotland Yard detective joins the Boston Police Department to salvage his career. He hires Grace to decorate his Beacon Hill townhouse to salvage his life.

But this rogue detective’s plans for a new beginning are threatened when he can’t resist the seemingly unseemly romance with his too-young bombshell decorator. Grace turns out to be a key witness in his high-stakes kidnapping case–and like Kryptonite to his career and his well-being with her romantic notions of family life.

David put his life on the line to save her from the kidnappers, but now is Grace willing to put her dreams on the line to save her real-life superhero from himself?

My website:   www.StephanieQueen.com

Twitter:   @StephanieQueen

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephanie-Queen/198484900209330

Buy THE THROWBACKS:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0067DDUTW

Barnes&Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-throwbacks-stephanie-queen/1107379316?ean=2940013558946

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/104854

Apple iTunes ebook:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-throwbacks/id488522462?mt=11

Apple ITunes Audiobook:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/audiobook/throwbacks-scotland-yard-exchange/id590292831

Audible Audiobook:  http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B00ATF48EK&qid=1362247129&sr=1-1

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52 Responses to Indie Publishing Cross Genre Books and AudioBooks: An Interview with Stephanie Queen

  1. Gwen says:

    I really enjoy these interviews! I hope you’ll keep them coming.

  2. I love reading about real-world experience in indie publishing. Thanks for this.

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    Always enjoy the interviews you post here. Lots of good info. I think her point of writing quickly is good in that product is needed to be successful. Unfortunately, this can be tricky to do among all the other marketing duties. And I think it also depends on what type of book you’re writing. Some novels require more research and more planning than others. But having several books to choose from is a wise marketing strategy. One I don’t have…

    • Thanks Carrie! It’s very tricky. Some writers can write so fast it blows my mind. The marketing strategy really needs to be tailored to the product. Series have a different type of marketing than standalones. Literary vs. Commercial too. I think it’s learning what works for you and building your career. Or at least I hope it is. 🙂

  4. Cat Forsley says:

    amazing – K heart and the world of audio books is growing so much 🙂 it’s lovely ……….. and definitely – self publishing is the way – who can wait around for Publishers anymore – the world is moving too fast – not complaining 🙂 but i think that doing it on ones own is so satisfying – well done – beautiful interview and gonna go check out your lovely friend 🙂 C xx

    • Thanks Catherine! I was very intrigued about Audiobooks. I may have to ask Stephanie back again to tell us more. 🙂 I think once you’ve worked on your craft and made sure you have the best possible novel you can write, self publishing is a great great option. Stephanie also has cross genre books so it’s cool to hear about her success. I love being in charge. Bit of a control freak. So I’m enjoying being my own boss. Glad you liked the interview. Hope you enjoy her stuff!

      • Cat Forsley says:

        Just checked out her site ——— she’s gotta a lot of heart that’s for sure – the key word is SELF – in here – doing it Your way – 🙂 U know ? ………….. i think it’s very empowering for all artists to do it their own way ……. and to Not wait around ………………… just do it cuz it makes your heart happy and – It’s just In you – You know – it can’t be taken away – …………. i feel the same about singing/ writing music and art …. every single art form – No big corporate stuff – JUST Art 🙂 Rock on xo

        • Agreed. She’s a wonderful person too. I’m so glad I met her a few years ago. Yes, it’s so important to give yourself permission to pursue your dreams and make them realities. I think it’s cool to try the traditional path. WHo knows if you might find a way in? But at a certain point you have to get your work out there and there are so many routes to connecting with readers and appreciators of your art. 🙂

          • Cat Forsley says:

            yes – great point “the traditional path ” But what is happening these days – The old traditional path is being TAKEN over by the indie self way …………..which i think is incredibly beautiful for every sort of artist out there – …….. because in all truth – a True artist must always keep that “control ” you spoke of – wrote of ……….. and the Old traditional path – doesn’t allow for much of it ……………….. i could talk to you for hours about this ,.,….LOL 🙂 xxx love love love and more – and To Your book coming soon 🙂 xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo i raise my tea 🙂 xx

          • LOL. I think each of us has to carve our own career path. And what works for one may not work for another. But trying is the key. 🙂 Agreed–this is a very very layered discussion topic. I celebrate anyone who puts their best work out there in any format. 😉 Aw, I can’t believe how quickly the winter is passing. Soon the book will be in your hands. 🙂

            Hugs,
            Kourtney

          • Cat Forsley says:

            It’s March …..can you believe it ………………what’s that wonderful quote about effort ………..i dunno – i will find it ………………..IN YOUR HANDS IN YOUR HANDS 🙂 …….now that’s manifestation 🙂 🙂 🙂 Is it NOT 🙂 XO C

          • I know. And yet the weatherman is predicting another winter storm this week. Ugh. LOL. Yes, the physical manifestation is the ultimate for a work of art. Can’t wait to be able to hold my book. 😉

          • Cat Forsley says:

            YES …………………………. a Big yes with fried Cheese curds 🙂 🙂 🙂 Hugs xxx

          • Cat Forsley says:

            Seriously 🙂 stilllllllllllllll dreaming of fried cheese curds 🙂 xo LOL

          • LOL. You better get your butt to Wisconsin soon. That may be the only cure. 😛

          • Cat Forsley says:

            LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL 🙂 OMG i neeed the cure 🙂 xxx

          • LOL. I’m hoping to get back out to Wisconsin this year too. 🙂 I also loved their dessert wines. I had a cherry one that was divine!

          • Cat Forsley says:

            Oh stop with the food and beverages already 🙂 LOL 🙂 🙂 everytime i come here – The Cheese curds – They call me – and now it’s gonna be Cherry wine too ….
            Thanks a lot 🙂 xoxoxoxoxo

          • LOL. I think the cheese curds were on FB. It’s just that we connect in so many spaces. 🙂 I miss that cherry wine. Okay, let’s change our thoughts to…music…what’s your favorite song this week?

          • Cat Forsley says:

            LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL …………. this One ……http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHkvan-NFnM
            And Bring On The Cherry Wine ………xxx 🙂

          • Terrific song! Love Christina Perri. 🙂 I love dessert wines…Oh maybe we can go wine tasting in TO? Do they have ice wines up there? 🙂

          • Cat Forsley says:

            i have no idea K heart 🙂 lol ….. I know Toronto has ice – But – wine wise …………..???????? Your Guess is as Good as Mine 🙂 lol ………Spring Is almost here – How about some warm wines ? ewww………. Not a big wine girl – But = Research on wine – You know I’ll be doing some …….LOL 🙂 x

          • Ice wines are usually just the sweetest wines. It’s a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. 🙂 LOL.Warm wine sounds kinda yuckie. Unless it’s red. No worries, was just a thought. No need to research. Hugs!

          • Cat Forsley says:

            well Red wine is supposed to be room temp right >
            LOL ? I still want The cheese curds – FRIED NOW 🙂 LOL XO HUGS XX

          • Exactly. Warm white wine is not so tasty. 🙂 LOL. Hmmm, the closest approximately is fried mozzarella and it’s so not the same. But try it–maybe you can fool your tastbuds. 😉 Hugs!

          • Cat Forsley says:

            Listen YOU with the food …….I just had poutine and it was GOOD – mushy cheese – gravy gravy and more gravy ……………….! i think i’ve curbed the cheese desire for a while now 🙂 OVERDID IT 🙂 lol ……:) now – probably gonna dream of wine ? ….. i dunno – after a long day i am carbed out to the max – i don’t think i can move 🙂 lololololololololol xxxx Carbed Cat Huggss xxxxx lol xx

          • Oh good, finally the cheese craving is fulfilled. 🙂 Sometimes, you gotta overdo a bit. Hope it digests well and tomorrow is lower carb day. 😉 Big Hugs!

          • Cat Forsley says:

            LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL……… what food will it be now 🙂 ????????? I think i’m back to cupcakes 🙂 i dunno – we go way back ………….:) xo Happy Friday 🙂 xo

          • LOL. You never know. Part of the fun of getting up each day. 😉 Happy Friday!

  5. Thank you for the info and advice, Stephanie and Kourtney!

  6. EllaDee says:

    Great interview. Stephanie’s life and style leaps from your discussion. You were fortunate to meet and have her on your team. She is very inspiring, and her enthusiam is contagious. i was thinking ‘I want to be like Stephanie Queen’!

    • Thanks EllaDee. I noticed the same thing. She’s even more of a force of nature in person. 🙂 I am very lucky. All those conferences I attended brought some amazing authors into my life. Who doesn’t?

  7. jmmcdowell says:

    Another wonderful interview, Kourtney. These are so helpful for me — if I can get a book in good shape for publishing soon! 😉

    • Thanks JM! Glad you are finding them useful. 🙂 As I make edits to Six Train, I think how far it’s come since it began as a short story in the fall of 2009. All that time spent working on it and my other book, attending conferences, querying agents–all well spent. Because it brought me to this point and I’m really happy with the product I’ve turned out.

  8. Great interview. She does have a point about “fast”

  9. Pete Denton says:

    Another good interview. I agree about the writing faster. The success stories seem to have multiple books out around the same time. I guess to be a success you need the reader to 1) enjoy your book and 2) be able to buy another straight away. So each book sale is two or three sales rolled into one. Makes me want (need) to do at least one NaNo this year 🙂

  10. 4amWriter says:

    Great interview, Kourtney and Stephanie! I’m trying to keep up with all of this fabulous information you’re giving us. I need a secretary. 🙂

  11. I totally understand her advice about learning to write faster – it would help! Great interview, Kourtney and nice to ‘meet’ Stephanie too!

    • I do agree it’s good to write fast. But I also am a firm believer things can be done super fast or super well. For me, it’s a spectrum and the faster I go, the less well it turns out. What works for me is usually a 3-5 month window for first draft, then a cooling off period of 1-3 months, then a revision period of 3 months. Then betas and more revising, then submissions. I work on other things during that period, but I don’t think I will ever churn out a polished book in less than a 18 months. Unless the stars line up and I am switching off on multiple books in different phases. But I’ve met authors who can do it fast and well enough. I just don’t think it works that way for every writer. 🙂

  12. Terrific interview. I love Stephanie’s energy! Being Queen of her empire—radness. 🙂

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