Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How I Published My Book for Free

Interview with Author Robin Murphy

Today I am interviewing Robin Murphy, author of Sullivan’s Secret, a paranormal murder mystery just released this week. Robin has managed to publish her first book completely cost-free and is here to share how she did it, and her secret for success.

Carol Denbow: Greetings Robin, and thank you for joining us on A Book Inside Blog.

I would like to start by asking you to tell us a little about your new book, Sullivan’s Secret. I’ve read this book (and I don’t read many fiction books, LOL) and it kept my interest throughout—that’s REALLY unusual for me! What’s the story? And don’t give away that amazing plot!

Robin Murphy: Hello Carol, and thank you for allowing me to speak with you.

Dr. Marie Bartek’s life has been uneventful as the local veterinarian on Sullivan’s Island, SC, until her ability to see spirits returns after eighteen years. After confiding in her best friend and realizing their interests in the paranormal, they organize a paranormal investigation team called Sullivan’s Island Paranormal Society, SIPS. Marie learns to channel her ability through the help of one of the team members, but not before learning the spirits are trying to warn her about the murders taking place on Sullivan’s Island. Sullivan’s Secret captivates the reader with murder, suspense, and the world of the paranormal.

I believe a good story starts with great characters and having the ability to allow the reader feel as if they know them. Once I created those characters for Sullivan’s Secret, I placed them into a storyline filled with intrigue and mystery. I tried to keep the plot moving at a steady pace so as not to lose the reader. It may be a story of fiction, but you also need to remember to make it somewhat believable. I think Dr. Bartek and the SIPS team does just that.

Carol Denbow: So many authors write a book and never manage to get it published. Big publishing houses only seem to want to publish books by previously well-known writers. A lot of great manuscripts get passed over in the process. Not to mention, the frustrating “no thank you” responses to our submissions. How long did it take you after writing the book to find the right publishing option and what was that journey like?

Robin Murphy: This is an interesting scenario. I actually knew that to be the case when I began writing Sullivan’s Secret. I asked myself first, why am I writing this story; and second, what do I want to see happen when I’m finished? There is always that notion in the back of your mind of, “Wow, will this story hit number one on the New York Times best seller list? But I wrote this story for me first, and I basically wanted to have a publisher, a third unbiased party, tell me it was a great story for publishing. I did send it to a big publishing house first and never received a reply. That was disheartening, but I wouldn’t give up and believe it or not, the next publisher was Plain & Simple Books Publishing and they loved Sullivan’s Secret.

Carol Denbow: So you eventually choose “author assisted publishing”—correct? I know that is a new publishing method. How does that work?

Robin Murphy: Yes, that is correct. Well, to be honest, I wasn’t aware this was out there. I accidentally came upon their website through a link off of Writer’s Digest. I wanted to be sure I was dealing with a legitimate publishing company. There are so many scams out there that it’s important to do your research and make sure you don’t fall into a trap that many writers have fallen into. The best way to describe “author assisted publishing” is to say it sits in the middle of self-publishing and the traditional POD publishing. You get a one-on-one relationship, which is completely unheard of with big publishing houses. You don’t get lost in the shuffle. Plus, you are guided through the process to help you understand all of the details. There are no up-front costs, which is VERY important. And you get a very professional designed layout and cover. You don’t lose your copyright and you keep your re-publishing option. You also receive a commission from Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble nook book. This was so important to me because this was my first published book and it can be very daunting on knowing what to do and how to get your book published. Don’t be fooled into thinking just because you may publish with a big publisher that all of the marketing will be done for you. It’s a known fact that you need to help self-promote your book to get it recognized, and P&S Books Publishing gives you an amazing bit of information to help you do this.

Carol Denbow: It’s nice there is a new option for “good” writers. I know they do not publish every submission, but it’s a little better odds of acceptance than with other traditional publishers. What did you like best about your publisher, Plain & Simple Books Publishing?

Robin Murphy: The one thing I learned is just because it’s a little different than the traditional publishers doesn’t mean they aren’t professional and accept “any” submission. They have very high standards and will only publish a professionally edited manuscript. It’s hard to pinpoint what I liked best, but I have to go back to the personal one-on-one relationship that has developed.

Carol Denbow: Author assisted publishing is a totally new type of book publishing. What did you get out of this experience that you would not have got from a traditional publishing house or doing it all on your own?

Robin Murphy: I would have to say it has given me hope. I learned early on there are so very many writers out there and it’s easy to say, “I can write a book,” or “I can write better than that.” I said all of those things and learned it’s not so easy. Writing is a unique craft and when done right, it’s an amazing experience for the reader, as well as the writer. This process has allowed me to share my story in a very painless manner. It has inspired me to continue to write, because let’s face it, when those “big” publishing companies continue to say “no thank you,” or don’t even respond, it can break your spirit.

Carol Denbow: Is your book available at all the typical outlets? Or is your exposure limited?

Robin Murphy: Oh yes, it is available in libraries, through retailers (book stores), and of course, on-line. Basically everywhere.

Carol Denbow: Sounds like an interesting and “successful” venture. Even with this publishing method, it seems the book is “priced” right on. Can you give our blog visitors the links to your book in all those formats?

Robin Murphy: Sure:
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Sullivans-Secret-Robin-Murphy/dp/1461091365
Kindle Reader: http://www.amazon.com/Sullivans-Secret-ebook/dp/B004WP38XU/ref=sr_1_6_title_1_ke?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305032442&sr=1-6
Barnes & Noble Nook: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Sullivans-Secret/Robin-Murphy/e/2940012332547/?itm=1&USRI=sullivans+secret
E-Book: http://plainandsimplebooks.webs.com/apps/webstore/products/show/2329265
You can also walk into any book seller and order the book or ask your local library to order it for you.

Carol Denbow: Robin, I’m excited for you as I’m sure our blog readers are as well! Your book looks really intriguing and I can say—it is!
Thank you for doing this interview and as always…any final comments?

Robin Murphy: Thank you Carol, it’s been a pleasure. I guess I would have to say to any new author out there trying to get their story published not to give up, and try author assisted publishing. It’s a wonderful experience and every bit as professional as the big publishing houses, and so much easier than trying to self-publish. Everything P&S Books Publishing stated they were going to do was done. I’m happy with my final product for Sullivan’s Secret and I just know it’s going to capture a lot of readers out there.

Carol Denbow: Okay friends, thank you so very much for stopping by to read this wonderful interview with Robin. Click over to her website at http://www.robinmurphyauthor.com/ to learn more about her. Leave a comment and Robin will respond to any questions.
Plain & Simple Books Website is at http://www.plainandsimplebooks.com.


Sun Singer said...

Hey, I'm already tempted to read the book because, well, it's my kind of book.

Here's my daunting question. We hear a lot around the Internet that authors who are going to publishers such as yours should begin with a professionally edited manuscript.

This is a stumbling block for many writers because--assuming you don't personally know an editor--the costs of the editing could run several thousand dollars. Spending this kind of money for a book that may or may not sell is not only a large leap of faith but a potentially impossible amount to manage within a tight family budget.

How do you feel about the costs involved in going to an editor before submitting the manuscript to a publisher?


Lena Sledge said...

Hi, thanks for the info. Nice interview. I am thinking along the same lines as Malcolm. Self-publishing may be free, but having it done properly usually has some costs, especially with editing. Not every writer can edit their own work efficiently nor do they have editors they know willing to do it for free.

Joylene Butler said...

Great interview. After years of working with a critique group, I self-published only to inspire myself to continue. The story of it is my novel made it into the hands of someone who recommended me to my current publisher. My next book comes out in a few weeks.

Some would say I was fortunate, but honestly if not for the unwavering help from my writer's group, I would never have had such a polished ms.

Today I have an editor and a copyeditor because my publisher paid for them. Instead of 22 draft it only took 10 to whip the novel into shape.

Robin Murphy said...

Hello everyone, that's a great question and it is a very daunting process when it comes to editing. I was able to self-edit my ms from what I had learned taking two writing courses. This is just what I chose to do.

I had written a romance novel first, self-published it on lulu.com, then decided to take a writing course, and after the first few lessons, I pulled the novel off of lulu. I realized I had the natural talent, but I learned a great deal from these courses to polish my stories.

I believe there are pros and cons when it comes to any writer being published. I strongly believe in having some sort of process to help you better understand how to self-edit your story. Either the way Joylene did it through a critique group, or by taking a simple class on it.

Either way, I do feel it'll make you a better writer. Besides, it's a fun process :) If anyone is interested in the courses I took (which were wonderful), I'll be glad to share that information with you.

Keep writing, Robin

hawleyville said...

Thanks for sharing this - it definitely gives me hope that there are options out there for unpublished writers who are overwhelmed by the thought of self-publishing (like me)!

Martin Dev said...

Very interesting and insightful interview. There is so much to learn for future authors, just having the ability to find the information you need.

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Another informative blog… Thank you for sharing it… Best of luck for further endeavor too.