My Neverending Blog Tour guest blogger today is Lizzy Ford—a great example of an indie author doing an
excellent job of self-publishing, self-promoting and really sticking it to those agents and publishers who once neglected to pick up her stories.
Lizzy recently hosted me on her every successful blog, so I’ve been looking forward to turning the tables on her, but with all her writing (she’s got more than six ebooks out there attracting a host of fans), responding to her many many readers, and promoting her works, she’s a hard girl to pin down. Here’s what she had to say about her indie journey and why, like so many self-publishers, she just wishes she’d done it even sooner.
Q.1 Tell me about Lizzy Ford’s journey to self-publication and how satisfied you are with the results?
The journey to self-publication was rough, rife with doubt and anger! After ten years of trying (and failing) to land an editor or agent, I decided to give self-publishing a shot. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my writing and my self-esteem. I was ready to give upon both!
Q.2 I see you’ve just realised a new title, Kiera’s Moon, a sci-fi fantasy romance available for free download on your blog. You do free releases quite a bit. How is that working for you as a strategy?
I’ve built up a fantastic reader base and am increasing my Amazon sales and free downloads every month. My mailing list is growing, and I’ve been among Smashwords top 5 most viewed authors for awhile, in addition to seeing my website bring in more and more traffic. All but one of my books have made Amazon bestseller lists in their categories, and a few have hung out in one or more list for quite awhile.
Q.3 You like to do a bit of a genre “mash-up” in your novels. Who would you say are other authors in genres that have inspired you?
I love Lynn Kurland, who writes sweet fantasy romance. Jane Austin, literary fiction, and Walter Farley, young adult fantasy fiction.
Q.4 In Kiera’s Moon, I love the idea of Kiera’s friend dragging her across the universe to find a man. It really speaks of the desperation of some girls, particularly in their thirties, when it comes to the man drought. I’ve been there myself, but wouldn’t go back there for quids. Do you enjoy tapping into that single girl mentality and living vicariously through your characters?
I’m closer to Kiera’s character than her friend’s! I’m an introvert who’s happy with my little world and never understood the party, bar, or other scenes that seem to be of interest to normal girls.
Q.5 What life experiences have you drawn on in writing your novels?
My background has been in strategic planning and program management, and I apply the concepts I learned there to my approach of my writing. As for life experiences … I guess those that taught me perseverance and self-sufficiency. My characters are routinely challenged by situations where they must make tough decisions about themselves and others, even when all their options seem bad.
Q.6 Do you listen to music when you write? If so, recommend some rockin’ writing tunes for the nice people.
Sometimes, when I need to focus or when I have to write something dark. I’m happy by nature, so scenes that require anger, sadness, or similar aren’t easy for me to write without something to drag my mood down. For dark moods, modern composer Rene Gruss is on my go-to list. When I need to focus (because the TV is on), I listen to Kanye West and other rap, or dance songs.
Q.7 How did you go about finding your editors and how on earth did you get them to work gratis—do you pay them in chocolate or something, Lizzy?
Haha! My good editor, Christine, I pay—I just don’t pay her much. ☺ I offered her a 12-book deal and to help promote her. Christine gets about two referrals a month from me, of which at least one ends up as a new client. My cover artist, Dafeenah, is free. I do the same for her: send her referrals and pay her in books. She’s gotten about one new client a month from me that way. In addition, I offered them both raises at the beginning of 2012, when we plan on monetizing my books, and am looking at either a cut of royalties or paying them above-industry standard for their services.
Both Christine and Dafeenah are wonderful and awesome to work with. I just have to refer someone once and s/he will end up going back.
Q.8 Tell me one crazy fact few people know Lizzy Ford.
If I ever make it big as an author, I’m going to buy a mini micro pig. They’re just so cool looking. I also travel a lot for my job, so I tend to fall off the radar for 2–3 days at a time.
Q.9 For all indie authors, blogging and social media promotion is a must, but it can also be very time consuming. How do you manage to run such a successful blog and still find time write?
I’m really lucky; my husband handles all the IT, online presence development and search engine optimization chores. I post once, sometimes twice, on my blog every week and focus more on generating fun and genuine conversations with those who leave me comments.
In general, we’re smart about where I spend my online time and efforts. We use Google Analytics to identify where traffic is coming from, which allows us to measure the impact of what I’m doing when I’m online elsewhere and tweak my activities on a near real-time basis. I also prioritize what I do online, which usually involves responding to readers and requests for interviews/guest blog posts then surfing blogs or Kindleboards or Facebook or Twitter or GR, etc.
Finally, I accepted that this writing gig and all it entails is my second full time job and spend about 6 hours every weekday and 12–16 hours on the weekends writing or being online.
Q10. What is the one thing you hope readers take away with them after reading your books?
When they’re bored, I’ll take them somewhere new (and probably wacky.)
Thank you, Lizzy. You’re an inspiration.
Please all do stop by Lizzy’s blog. There is plenty of useful information for aspiring authors and even established authors there. You should also check out her work and you can buy her books from: