Prior to going the self-publishing route did you do the multiple send outs to traditional publishers and agents?
Near the beginning of my writing career (2006), I queried literary agents for my first book idea, so I have had the experience of writing a full book proposal, sending it out, and waiting for responses. But all four of my books are self-published. As a self-published author, I like the involvement and control I have over all aspects of my books, the speed of publication, and my fair percentage of royalties.
What other types of publishing credits did you have prior to publishing your first book?
In the beginning of 2007 I published several pieces of writing on Writing.com and Helium.com before I published my first book, Poetry for the Heart. In April 2011, I became a full-time freelance writer. From that date until my one-year anniversary as a freelance writer in April 2012, I did online article writing, ghostwriting, book writing, blogging, and book reviewing.
The only type of writing in my book, Freelance Writing Guide that I did not experience directly was writing for magazines; however, I read a lot of books on the topic, including Writer’s Market 2012.
Once you decided to go the independent publishing route, what did you do to research the market for the types of books you wanted to produce?
The books I write are more based on my passion for the topics I write about, not the market. But for Freelance Writing Guide, I did do some research into choosing the title and found that there weren’t many freelance writing guides published, and none that covered solely the first year of a freelance writing career.
Are you actively involved in any writing groups? If so how have they helped you in the process of putting together your books?
I am a member of the Writer’s Digest Community, Goodreads, and Book Blogs. The members gave me advice on self-publishing eBooks; the forums, blogs, and groups gave me platforms to effectively market my books; and the communities, as whole entities, provided social support and interaction with other writers that I needed as a writer and author. I am grateful to have online writing communities to turn to.
One of your books is a group of essays. How did you decide what length it should be?
Initially, I published Essays for the Soul only for myself using a print-on-demand company. I wanted to put all of the essays I had written during 2006-2008 into a book and be able to have a copy to keep at home. But then I decided to make it public, and later I added more essays to it in a second edition. I didn’t decide on a certain length for it. Instead, I just included all of my writings and self-published it.
What has been the most frustrating aspect of the publishing part of the book?
The most difficult part of self-publishing my books is formatting the interior and exterior for publication. I publish with several online publishers and each requires a different interior format and cover size. In the process of publishing my books, I save many different “versions” of each book and corresponding cover, depending on the publisher’s requirements. It is very time-consuming and a little confusing, but it’s all worth it.
What do you wish you had learned earlier?
Nothing, really. I feel I learned everything when I needed to learn it and, therefore, was ready to apply the knowledge. During the first year of my freelance writing career, I did a lot of online research and asked a lot of questions on my social networks and of my colleagues. I had to be persistent and assertive to get my questions answered fully.
What do you do to promote your book?
When one of my books is first published, I post the news to my social networks and post links of where it can be purchased. I do not post the same information twice. But I do update people when there are new book editions, new book covers, and new events for the books. In the past, I have designed business cards for my career as an author and handed them out to people I met or displayed them at local establishments. I also made postcards with a picture of each of my books on a separate card and mailed them to friends and relatives to let them know about my books.
I have also set up a display of my books at a local cafe with a sign that said, “autographed books from a local author,” and left the display there for the employees to collect the money from the book sales and reimburse me later. I’m always coming up with new ideas to promote my books and I stick with the methods that work the best.
Do you do any print runs of your book or are they only POD or eBooks? If so how successful have you been in ordering the right amount?
I only do print-on-demand and eBook publishing. However, in the past I ordered fifteen copies of my books from my print-on-demand publisher, which was when I had displayed them at the cafe. Seven books were bought at the cafe, a colleague bought three copies, I gave three copies to my mom, and the last two copies I gave to winners of a giveaway.
I wasn’t sure how many books would sell at the cafe, but I wanted to have more than enough available than not enough, and I wanted to be able to fill the display holder. I think I estimated well with the number of books I ordered, and I was able to distribute the remaining books, so it all worked out well.
You’ve also written an autobiography, My Not-So-Ordinary Life? What makes it not ordinary (if there is such a thing)?
In My Not-So-Ordinary Life my experiences with homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, and multiple times spent in a mental hospital are described. Those situations are not common among the public, and I’d like to think my readers find the events in my life to be interesting and motivational. From what I’ve been through, I’ve learned a lot, changed, and grown, and I hope my readers will see that it is possible to change for the better and improve your life.
Your current release is simply called, Freelance Writing Guide. With all the other books out there on writing, what makes yours unique? Why would someone want to purchase it rather than one by a well-known mega-published author?
The full title of my book is Freelance Writing Guide: What to Expect in Your First Year as a Freelance Writer. The content of the book is based on the experiences I had during my first year as a freelance writer. The book is meant to educate and inform people who are considering a freelance writing career.
The book covers online article writing, writing for magazines, ghostwriting, book writing, blogging, writing book reviews, as well as many other subjects that freelance writers need to know. It includes two personal chapters where I share my experiences with and thoughts about being a freelance writer, and twenty-one informative chapters all about the career itself.
What’s the best advice you’ve received on writing or personally learned that you would like to pass on to other writers?
One of the most helpful pieces of advice I received was in the beginning of my freelance writing career, when a colleague told me that I don’t have to overly obsess when editing my articles, because a piece of writing will never be perfect (my interpretation of the advice). I used to re-read my articles a dozen times and it was very time-consuming and frustrating, because I was being a perfectionist and not changing much with each read-through. After I received the advice from my colleague, I gave myself some slack and felt better from that point forward. I suggest the same advice for writers who tend to be perfectionists or spend all day editing an article.
Christine Rice is the author of Poetry for the Heart, Essays for the Soul, My Not-So-Ordinary Life, and Freelance Writing Guide. Her books can be found at most online retailers and are available in paperback and eBook formats. To learn more about Christine and her books, you can visit her blog