Melissa Ohnoutka- Self Published And Lived To Tell About It Part 2

May 12, 2011

By: Stacey Purcell

I love writing.  I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.  ~James Michener

Last week we took an in depth look at an author’s experience in self publishing and my head is still swimming. Melissa Ohnoutka graciously agreed to a follow-up series of questions. Couple these interviews with the last two posts of Jenn’s and you have a fairly good idea of what it takes to jump in with the big boys and put your material out there. It’s a brave new world for us-fraught with many woes and frustrations, but the pay off in satisfaction seems to be worth it all.

 

How did you go through the editing process? I know you worked hard on polishing, but did you have help from others to get it ready to publish? Did you hire anyone?

Melissa: The editing process on Faithful Deceptions extended over about the last four years. Heavy critiques, contest feedback, reader feedback and then several read throughs by others just for spelling and grammar. If I find a good editor, I’ll hire them for future books.

 

What specifically have you learned about marketing your book? You say you would have started earlier- how? Do you have plans before your next book or tie in short story is published? Twitter? Blog Tours? Etc.

Melissa: I’ve learned it’s a lot of work and very time consuming. If you don’t figure out a way to balance the marketing and the writing, you’ll get absolutely nothing done on either end.

As for starting earlier, I’m talking about social media. I would have joined every group I could find that dealt with books and made myself a regular contributor. The building of those trusting relationships, even if they are online with people you may never meet, is so important. These are your future readers and promoters.

Future plans….Working on trying to get a book launch set up this summer, but it’s still too early in the editsfor the next book to be thinking about blog tours, twitter, etc. I have formatting and book covers to work on next.

 

How did you decide on a price point?

Melissa: Again, I’ll have to say J.A. Konrath. He has done the research and I just followed along.

Did you really consider the type of fonts you were going to use or did they prescribe what you would have to use?

Melissa: I did a lot of research on what worked and what didn’t. Stick to the normal on this. Fancy fonts are hard to read and just not a good idea when dealing with formatting.

 

How did you decide on your cover? How did you create it?

Melissa: The cover was fun for me. I loved browsing through all the pictures, searching for the perfect fit. I got chills when it all came together. For the how, I used a combination of two programs. Photoshop and Printshop. If you haven’t used Photoshop before, I recommend taking tutorials now. This is not a “learn as you go” program.

What exactly have you done for marketing?

Melissa: Lots of blogging. Visiting Kindleboards, Nookboards, Bookblogs, facebook, twitter. Set up accounts with Goodreads, Shelfari, Bookbuzzar, Googlebooks. Requested reviews from review sites. Been a Guestblogger on several blogs. Printed postcards to hand out to those who purchase the ebook. I’m set to be a guest at several local book clubs hosted out of others homes as well. And my NWHRWA chapter here in Houston has set up a Grassroots Marketing Program. Each month there is an Author Spotlight. That author shares their information for promotion with the group and they spread the word through social media, word of mouth and blogs or any other idea they can come up with.

All this and I’m just getting started. LOL

“There is no requirement to register your copyright, which exists from the moment the work is created. Registration is a service provided by the Library of Congress as a means to record claims to copyright. If you ever have a dispute about your copyrighted work, your best evidence is going to be the registration you made, and the date it was entered, to show you are the originator of the work.” Did you know about this? Have you done this?

Melissa: Yes, and yes I’ve registered my books with the Library of Congress. It’s quite easy and can now be done online. I love that part! You definitely want to register your copyright, even though it isn’t required. Copyright registration will put the facts of your copyright into the public record.

 

 

Finally, if you had to do this over, would you do it yourself again or would you hire parts of it out for someone else to deal with?

 Melissa: Although this was a lot of work and the frustration was overwhelming at times, I would definitely do it over again, and again. I love being in control.

 


Melissa Ohnoutka- Self Published And Lived To Tell About It

May 5, 2011

By: Stacey Purcell

And by the way, everything in life is writable about, if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  ~Sylvia Plath

I enjoyed Jennifer’s article last week on what it took to prepare for jumping in the waters of self publishing. It made me curious about the actual jumping and what happens after the first splash. What is it really like to try and pull together your manuscript, your baby, and put it out there on the internet? Did you truly edit as much as you could? Did you choose the right font? Can you survive formatting hell? Will you have the fortitude to weather bad reviews? The questions go on and on. So many, my head starts to spin.

My very good friend, Melissa Ohnoutka, has just published her first novel. After much deliberation, she decided to retain all of the control and launch it herself. Faithful Deceptions hit the internet mid February and soon became a top seller on Amazon. I decided to pick her brain about the nitty gritty of this monumental decision and a two part post was born!

Melissa Ohnoutka

Thanks so much for having me today!  This has been one wild and crazy ride, but the support and encouragement from family, friends and the writing community has been unbelievable. 

When did you decide to self-publish? 

Melissa:  I’ve been thinking about going Indie for a long time. After reading Joe Konrath’s blog and his take on traditional vs self publishing, I decided to quit stalling and give it a shot. The “what if’s” were just too loud to ignore.

 

Did you query agents and editors before taking this route?

 

Melissa:  Yes. I feel like I paid my dues and did my time on the query-go-around.  I entered contests for feedback, revised and polished until I couldn’t see straight anymore, attended conferences, had several requests for partial and full manuscripts and it was always the same outcome.  Some loved my stories and writing and others just didn’t get it. The self-publishing route seemed like the next step for me.  I’m a bit of a control freak anyway.  Having so much say over important decisions like my cover, the page count, the release date, promotion and the direction I want my writing career to take really sweetened the deal for me.

Would you ever consider going with a traditional publisher now?

 

Melissa:  It would depend on the contract.  I would never give up e-book rights now that I know I can do a lot of this on my own and what a huge opportunity it is.  A wise friend (wink, wink) made an excellent point the other day.  The traditional publishing route would be an excellent marking tool. J

 

Is there something you learned along the way that you would do different now? 

Melissa:  That’s a big Yes. I would have started making my presence known a lot sooner and researched in great detail the marketing options available.  I’m finding the marketing to be a huge learning curve. But it’s one of the most important aspects of the publishing industry and can’t be ignored.  People can’t buy what they can’t find.

 

I also plan to give myself more time for the formatting and designing book covers.  This part is very time consuming and you must know what you’re doing.  There is no learn-as- you go option.

Looking back now, are you pleased with your decision? 

 

Melissa:  Oh, yes. It’s working out better than I ever imagined. I have only two regrets.  That I  didn’t do it sooner.  And that I didn’t have more than one of my manuscripts ready for distribution.  I’ve read the magic number for this publishing game is 6 months and 3 books.  That’s where I am now.  Working my tail off to polish up the next two books and get them out there.

What would you like your readers to know about you? Any advice you’d like to offer?

Melissa:  I love my family and friends with all my heart. That one was easy. J Hmmm…what else?  My favorite color is red. I love a great belly-laugh, you know the ones that make you cry. Oh, and I enjoy shooting my Px4 Storm 9mm way too much. LOL

 

For advice:  Take those risks and “Never” be afraid to Dream!

 

This was so much fun! I’m going to give away one free e-book copy of “Faithful Deceptions” along with a $10.00 Amazon Gift card, so one lucky commenter can buy more books! It’s a “thank you” for stopping in to say hello.

For more information About Melissa and her books, please visit:

www.melissaohnoutka.com

www.melissaohnoutka.blogspot.com

Direct Links to buy her books:

Amazon – Kindle  http://www.amazon.com/Faithful-Deceptions-ebook/dp/B004OL2JAK

Barnes & Noble – Nook   http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Faithful-Deceptions/Melissa-Ohnoutka/e/2940012197153/?itm=1&USRI=melissa+ohnoutka