Wow…Wow…Wow! Guys I have another AWESOME Special Feature for you today! We’re on a roll:) I am spotlighting Author Victoria Ziglar and her newest releases…so please check out Victoria (another fantabulous writer bud of mine) Guest post below!
Meet Author Victoria Ziglar! Also Victoria will be one of our featured guest over at IndieReview Behind The Scenes Internet Radio on June 7th at 11amCentral Standard Time(9pmEastern Standard Time)
AUTHOR VICTORIA ZIGLAR
Titles By Victoria Ziglar
My name is Victoria Zigler, but feel free to call me Tori. I’m a blind, self-published author of children’s books and poetry. Having moved away from where I was born in the shadow of the Black Mountains in Wales, UK, a few years ago, I now live by the sea in the South-East of England, UK, with my husband and our little family of pets. I generally spend most of my time reading or writing, but when I can tear myself away from books for long enough I also enjoy doing crafts such as knitting and cardmaking, playing figure games such as Monsterpocalypse and Classic BattleTech, playing roleplaying game such as Dungeons And Dragons, doing a bit of cooking and baking, listening to music, and spending time with my husband and pets. I also love most things to do with animals and nature, and have an interest in history; especially Egyptian and Stone Age history.
Ever since I learned how to read and write I’ve loved to do so, and I suppose it was only natural that I quickly decided I wanted to be a published author.
In my late teens I managed to get a couple of poems published in the kinds of poetry collections where you just get a discount on the price of the book since you have a poem in the book, but my dream was to have a book published full of all my own work, and as I grew older I began to wonder if that would ever happen; with all the books out there, how could I make mine stand out enough to make a publisher want to take a chance on publishing it?
Then, in 2012, I entered a giveaway on a friend’s blog and won some ebooks by an author who had published through Smashwords. When I created an account on Smashwords to claim my prize, there was a link in the e-mail that told me I could publish my books via them if I just followed the instructions in the style guide they had.
Curiosity peaked, I downloaded the style guide and began to read.
“I can do this,” I thought, as I read through all the steps in the style guide. “I could do this, and publish my own books.”
I told my hubby and a good friend of mine about my discovery, and they both encouraged me to go for it. So, that’s what I did.
I published my first book via Smashwords on April 22nd 2012, and followed it with several more, so that to date I’ve published 27 books, with a couple of others due for release soon. Admittedly they’re generally short books, but since I tend to write for children that’s to be expected.
Anyway, the books I’ve published to date are as follows:
The Magical Chapters Trilogy:
- The Pineapple Loving Dragon
- A Magical Storm
The Toby’s Tales Series:
- Toby’s New World
- Toby’s Monsters
- Toby’s Outing
- Toby’s Games
- Toby’s Special School
The Kero’s World Series:
- Kero Goes Walkies
- Kero Celebrates His Birthday
- Kero Gets Sick
- Kero Celebrates Halloween
- Kero Goes To Town
- Kero Celebrates Christmas
The Degu Days Duo:
- The Great Degu Round-Up
- A Very Degu Christmas
Bluebell The Fairy Guide
Frank The Friendly Ogre
The Great Tadpole Rescue
Asha’s Big Adventure
Snowball The Oddball Kobold
Goodies For Grandmother
Mr. Pumpkin-Head And Other Poems
My Friends Of Fur And Feather
The Light Of Dawn And Other Poems
Waves Of Broken Dreams And Other Poems
The Leaf Monster And Other Children’s Poems
They are all available via Smashwords in all formats they offer, as well as from many other ebook retailers.
At one point I was also publishing my books via Amazon, but after a bit of a disagreement with them relating to my lack of eyesight and their site’s lack of accessability for screen reader users, I decided to stick with just publishing via Smashwords and let Smashwords distribute for me.
Other than that issue with Amazon, there have only really been two things I’ve found to be a bit of a challenge when it comes to publishing my books.
The first is cover creation.
Usually you’d send an idea for a cover to a cover artist, get sent something back, take a look at it, then say if it’s what you wanted or not. There might be a bit of back and fourth, but essentially that’s it.
There’s a bit more to it for me though, because I’m blind so can’t see the finished design. We have it figured out though… My hubby does the looking. It means an extra step for each stage of cover creation, since my hubby has to take a look and describe it to me, but it works.
The biggest challenge though is something all authors – especially indie authors – have to face; marketing!
With all the books out there it’s easy for your book to get missed, and if you don’t take the time to do some marketing then chances are you’re not going to be making any sales. Not that a lot of marketing will guarantee a huge amount of sales, but you have to admit you have more chance of making sales if people know your books exist.
Personally, I take any and all opportunities that present themselves for publicity: interviews, giveaways, read and review programmes, conversations about books in the genres I write in where people are looking for recommendations, etc. But marketing is an ongoing process, and not an easy one at that.
So, what advice would I give to people thinking of writing and publishing their own books?
*If you want to write, do it – this might seem like stupid advice, but I’m serious. If you want to be a writer, you have to write, so keep writing and don’t give up on your dream of finishing that book. If, for example, your excuse for not writing is that you only have ten minutes free each day in which to write, make the most of those ten minutes.
*Write because you love it – the chances of you getting rich and famous are there, but they’re very slim, so don’t count on them. The best reason to write is because you love to write. For one thing, if you love to write it will show in your writing and readers will feel your passion for the story behind the words. For another thing, if you’re writing for fame and/or fortune then you’re likely to be disappointed. If all you want is to share the writing your passionate about with the world, then you have more chance of succeeding in your goal.
*Write what you know and love – I know it’s been said before, but I happen to think it’s good advice. You should write about what you know, or learn about what you want to write about, because you’ll need that knowledge to make the story feel real to the readers. If they know about it, they’ll notice if you don’t, and if they don’t know about it then the chances are that they’re hoping to learn from your book, so help them to learn. Yes, this does apply to fiction as well as non-fiction. You should also write about what you love, because the passion you feel for the topic will shine through and bring life to your words. This also applies to writing in a genre you love; writing in a genre you love to read is usually advisable as you’ll be more familiar with the kinds of things readers of the genre look for when deciding if a book is a good read or not.
*Don’t throw away ideas – if an idea pops in to your head, write it down. It might not work for whatever you’re working on right now, but it could be useful later. Keep writing tools on hand, and make a note of any ideas you have; no matter how silly they might seem at the time. Admittedly they probably won’t all become stories, but it’s better to have loads of unused ideas laying around than to find you let one slip away that could have been amazing.
*Edit, edit, and edit some more – no matter how amazing your story is, if it’s poorly edited people aren’t going to enjoy it. So, before you even think about publishing, edit! Catch those typos, grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, etc. If possible, get someone else to have a look for you too; preferably someone who’s going to be honest about errors rather than someone who won’t want to hurt your feelings. Those people who don’t want to hurt your feelings mean well, but by trying not to be too critical and failing to point out all those errors, they’re not helping you; a properly edited and well formatted book will get a better reception when you get readers who aren’t so concerned about hurting your feelings, so it’s better to have someone tell you about your mistakes now rather than have them damage your ratings and reviews later. People enjoy a properly edited book better, so taking extra time to edit may also increase the chance of them telling their friends about your book.
*Don’t be afraid to give it away – I know it might sound strange to say that giving away copies of your book is the way to go, but it works. People love giveaways, and love thinking they’re getting a great deal, so give them what they want. Make one of your books free (the first in a series is good for this) or give some free copies of your book to people as part of a giveaway. Another option is to sign up for a programme where you give copies of your books to people in exchange for reviews. You can also make your book free for a limited time as part of a promotion (when it’s first published, when you publish a later book in the series, that sort of thing). If you’re writing for love of writing, then the pleasure of knowing someone is eager to read your book should out-weigh the disappointment at not making any money from the copies you gave away.
*Grab all marketing opportunities – I already mentioned how I grab any and all opportunities for marketing, but I’m saying it again. If you have an opportunity to get your name out there and mention your books, grab it with both hands. Yes, marketing can take up a lot of time, but it’s worth it. The whole point of publishing your book is to have people read it, and if you don’t take the time to do some marketing and let people know you and your books exist then you could miss out on a perfect opportunity to find potential new readers.
Thank you to anyone who made it to the bottom of this post for taking the time to read it, and to Michelle for inviting me to do this guest post in the first place.
If you want to keep in touch, keep up with my book news, or whatever, you can do so using the links below:
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717