Thursday, July 22, 2010

Grace & Perseverance: Kristina Emmons


For me, self-publishing was about starting a career in my own terms and timing. I thought I might as well push that boat out into the water, and maybe along the way larger publishers will decide to hop on board; but if they don’t, that’s okay too. I love being at the helm of my own adventure, one that I hope will affect others positively. I feel I should also share that arriving at the point of deciding to publish also meant facing my fears. Writing, for me, is so personal and transparent. I had to believe in myself in order to make my work publilc, even if agents and publishers had turned me away.

After the daunting undertaking of publishing Roeing Oaks, I excitedly awaited sales to shoot up like summer weeds. I’d told all my friends and family about my book and announced it on Facebook, where I have a couple of hundred acquaintances. They would be my launching pad. I had no doubt many of them would rush to purchase a copy, and of course after they read it they would tell all their friends and they would all buy a copy too. It would be like a wonderful, contractible virus. Well, one can fantasize.

Outside of a few initial sales (thanks to Mom and a couple close friends) my sales figures stayed low for several weeks. I could not understand it. In my mind, if someone I knew wrote and published a book, I would be excited to buy it. I felt cast aside, but it wasn’t that they didn’t care. For some, it took a while to warm up to the idea of me as a certifiable author, and others just don’t like historical novels.

I got all kinds of responses from friends and family members, from, I’d love to read it but I don’t buy books, to I’m so happy for you, but no thanks, even, I can’t wait to borrow it from so and so. Most of the family expected a free, autographed copy of Roeing Oaks, and I ended up giving quite a few as Christmas presents. One of them lent her copy out to several friends and neighbors. People were reading it but not buying it.

I learned quickly not to be concerned so much with sales figures, but to be happy that my book was being read and appreciated, and I had to get comfortable with the fact in some instances promoting the book also meant giving it away.

After sales grew and responses started coming in, the general consensus about the book was overwhelmingly positive, and I was told over and again it was a page turner. My readers, people I knew or didn’t, became passionately attached to my characters. That was the biggest compliment. It made me feel like I did the right thing embarking on this journey; I’d written something worth reading.

One of first things I did to promote my work was to ask for reviews through book review blogs. Some don’t accept self-published material for review, but the Historical Novel Reviews did. This is how I met Lisa. She was responsible for my first review, and it was glowing! She even asked for an interview, which excited me immensely. I went on to get other reviews, and hopefully there will be more to come.

Another avenue was getting a few copies of Roeing Oaks into a popular local bookstore. That was less successful. With each week they were moved further back in the store where they were difficult to spot, even for me. Recent sales have been through word of mouth or the internet.

I am still looking for ways to promote my book, and the time to do it. It’s a job in itself. One well known publishing agent/blogger said he doesn’t know how on earth a self-published author can be responsible for publishing and promoting their work, all while juggling life and writing the next book. He suggests traditional publishing. Yeah, me too, but he denied my query (ahem, he among others). I continue on my journey because I believe in my work, and I think I can safely say my readers do too.

For more information about myself and my book, please visit http://roeingoaks.com/.  I can be found on Facebook and Twitter, and I also have two fledgling food blogs, http://seesugarrun.blogspot.com/ ,and
http://dutchovendiary.blogspot.com/, which aside from being a great creative outlet, I can use to cross-promote my writing.

Thank you, Lisa, for the opportunity to share some of my story! It’s been a privilege.

Thank you, Kristina



5 comments:

June G said...

Just checked out Kristina's site and the book sounds really intriguing. I'm certainly interested in learning more. Thanks for giving her a platform Lisa. Writers have to support each other--self-pubbed or not. It's all about the work being good.

Michelle Gregory said...

Kristina,
your publishing story sounds so much like mine. it was hard for me to share my writing. i expected my sales to shoot up and they didn't. i've given away more copies than i can count. readers say they can't put my book down. i find that's the highest praise as well. i suppose ours is a common story. i'm glad i got to read your story here at Lisa's blog.

best wishes with your writing career.

Lisa Yarde said...

Kristina, I'm so grateful to have read your book. When it came to HNR as a new submission, I didn't think about whether it was self-published; I noticed that fact later. I just knew from the blurb which you had provided that it would be a great story, and I was not disappointed. I'm a great admirer of your work and can't wait to read more from you in the future.

June and Michelle, thanks for stopping by. Like you, I'm in awe and impressed by the talent of these four authors, and I hope they will inspire others to pursue their dreams in indie publishing. It's not the path that any of us may have been prepared to take when we first started writing, but these four writers have shown that with drive, talent and patience, it is possible to do it and do it well.

Kristina Emmons said...

Ladies, I so appreciate your comments and support! Thank you, June for checking out my site! Thank you for your story too Michelle, I'm a lot like you in being shy about telling people about my book, unless I'm asked what I do for a living.

Lisa, I'm just so happy to have met you and you've been a blessing. I can't wait to hear your full story tomorrow.

Francine said...

Hi,

Great post and great support shown for self-pubbing. Absolutely nothing wrong with it, I'm always pleased to see people bucking the system and going it alone!

Why not kick-ass of traditonal publishers (the good and the bad)who tend to treat writers like they owe the publisher when without writers publishers would be in-housing work more than they already are! (?).

I'm all for supporting small independent publishers, who usually treat their writers with respect.
best
F

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