Today on Author Spotlight, we get the chance to know more about an Award Winning, Self Published Author, Sandra S. Kerns. Another pillar of the Alliance of Self Published Authors, she's an inspiration to all Indie Authors dreaming of success. What insight can she give us to help us on our own writing journey? We'll find out in a few.
Hi Sandra, thanks for doing this interview. I'll keep it short and sweet.
What made you decide to be a self published author?
I can’t really point to any one thing that helped me made the decision to self-publish. I’d had numerous requests for full manuscripts and partials, but nothing ever came of it. I think one thing that helped make the decision was waiting, for over a year sometimes, to hear thanks but no thanks.
Then, at a critique meeting, my critique partner and I both said ‘I think I’m going to self-publish,” at the same time. It was wild. We both released our debut novels on September 1st, 2012.
Amazing as it may seem, it didn’t take long. My sister and I were going over a breakdown of my
royalties in December 2012. I said something like, “This can’t be right. I don’t know that many people.” She laughed at me and said, “That’s the point, isn’t it? People you don’t know buying your book?” It was a great feeling to realize people were buying my first series and leaving 5 star reviews. I was over the moon.
Tell us about Sandra Kerns, the woman. What drives and inspires you?
Sandra Kerns is a wife, mother, and dog lover. I like to sew quilts and clothes. I also enjoy crochet,
knitting, tatting, and needlepoint, though I don’t have a lot of time for those things now. You might have noticed most of the things I like can be solitary things. I tend to be a loner given a choice. However, I also enjoy meeting with friends at a local bar or over coffee and catching up on things.
What inspires me? Anything and everything. I can make a story out of just about anything. People watching is a favorite pastime that I still enjoy.
What do you love most about Self Publishing?
I enjoy the control. Oh, there’s still a lot that I can’t control, but deadlines, covers, releases, etcetera, I can and I like that. One of the biggest things I like is that I can put out books as fast as I want. I don’t have to wait eighteen months to two years before it hits the store.
What do you hate about Self Publishing?
Yes, it is a catch 22. I don’t like all the work it takes to self-publish. I’m always busy with something.
The three most important factors I think were:
1) Having a series of three books ready to release, one each month, 3 months in a row... AND the fact that the series was about a family.
2) Having a good support (mainly emotional) team behind me.
3) A 5-star review of my first book the day it released. It was a total surprise as well because it came
from Australia and was someone I didn’t know. But, I think that review did get more people to try the book and then the series.
As to awards, I just kept writing the best books I could and entered them in various contests.
Actually, I won the first contest I entered, Colorado Romance Writers’ Heart of the Rockies Unpublished Contest. I was blown away. It was the inspiration I needed to keep writing.
How often do you release new books? Do you have a schedule or does it depend on when you get inspired to write?
I had quite a few books already written before I self published. That helped keep up a steady stream of releases in the beginning. I have not published all of them, yet. A number of the books that are already out have been written because an idea came to me and I whipped it out and wanted to put it out there right away.
My editor and I try to schedule 4 books a year, but it’s not set in stone. I’m almost always inspired to
write, so that doesn’t hold much sway over my releases. It’s not inspiration, it’s stamina. Writing takes more work than many people realize. Self-publishing adds the stress of making sure all the publishing parts beyond the book also get done. That takes some time away from writing, so you do have to schedule a bit.
My latest book, Reconstructing Roman, is one of the books I had an idea for and it had to be written. It didn’t happen immediately. I had the idea a couple of years ago, but it kept percolating and finally just had to be written. It all started when a friend mentioned they used to call old graveyards Bury Patches. At first I thought she said Berry Patches and that’s where the idea came from.
Roman used to spend time in a Bury Patch where his mom would tell him stories about the people
buried there. Although he had a rough childhood he always remembers that one good part.
I’m working on the next in my Masters Men series - it’s the next sister’s story. I’m also working on a futuristic fantasy series that I hope to release next year.
Wow.. you're venturing into Fantasy. I really look forward to that. :)
What is your advise to your fellow Romance Writers?
Don’t rush to publish. Work on your craft. Romance writers need to be very good at characterization,
work on it. One of the most important things is to have an editor. If you can’t afford one, have someone you trust to look at your manuscript with an open mind, not someone who will say it’s great because they are your friend. You want someone to check for story holes and dropped themes. You also want someone to look for grammar and typos as well. They don’t have to be the same person.
What advise can you give to new authors?
First and foremost, develop a tough skin. You will get bad reviews. You just can’t please everyone.
Celebrate every positive and make friends with other authors. No one understands writers like other
writers. Family members can try, and their support is great, but they still don’t get it like other writers. Join writing groups or just meet another writer for coffee. It’s amazing how just talking to another author can calm stress that will keep you from sitting down and doing the thing you love...write.
Take care of yourself. If you let your health go, you are asking for writing problems. It’s hard to focus on your plot lines when you’re exhausted or in pain. Love yourself. Your readers will thank you. :)
Thank you Sandra for sharing your valuable point of view on self publishing, and congratulations on the launch of Reconstructing Roman.
Sandra has more than a dozen books published. Her latest Romantic Suspense Novel, Reconstructing Roman is due for release today, June 23!
(Colorado Dreams and Desires Book 3)
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