OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
Ruth Ann Nordin is selling her romance novels on Kindle and Smashwords and doing really well. In this interview we talk about how she manages as an introverted writer who still needs to market, and also about her writing habits.
In the introduction, I talk about moving back to England and how it makes me feel as well as my European influences for Pentecost. I also talk about how the Amazon algorithms seemed to have kicked in now Pentecost has been in the bestseller list for religious fiction for almost 2 months. I have also started Prophecy, the sequel and I'm about 6000 words in (I will be updating the word count in the sidebar right so you can keep me honest!). I have been researching Milgram's obedience studies, the neuroscience of belief and eugenics which might give you some plot hints.
Ruth Anne Nordin is a romance writer with 18 books so far in several series and many more in the pipeline. Ruth is doing really well with her independent author sales through Amazon and Smashwords and has recently written a little ebook on marketing available on Smashwords.
- Ruth started in 2002-2007 with vanity presses and spent $10,000 and earned $300 back so she isn't a fan of that way of publishing. April Hamilton told her about CreateSpace and then she found out about Kindle from my Author 2.0 program. Ruth loaded her books onto Kindle and Smashwords and these are her figures : Dec 2010 $15,500 and Smashwords $2860, and now Kindle $12,000 but Smashwords $23,000 so it's definitely worth it to stay on Smashwords. Many people criticize it but the sales grow over time.
- Ruth writes Christian romance with the difference that the husband and wife characters have sex, which sets her apart in the genre. Initially there was a stigma around writing romance so she wrote fantasy and thrillers but finally she decided to embrace what she enjoys and now writes 4-5 books per year. It takes passion to write like this. (I had the same experience before believing I had to write prize-winning literary fiction until
- How Ruth writes prolifically when she is a busy Mom. She literally writes in 15-20 minute blocks when the kids are settled but she also stays up late to write. It helps to have a word count goal – she aims for 1000-3000 words per day. She also asks her readers what books they want next in the series. She also involves people in the process e.g. title choice and book cover.
- Having something out there for free can give people a taste of what you're doing. She also did do some ads but they work better if you target your specific genre. She used coffee time romance for only $10 for the month and that became her bestselling book.
- She uses Dreamstime.com to get a cover image and uses a cover program and does them herself. Ruth does still do paperbacks but makes no money from them, it's more for thanking people and giveaways.
- On blogging, Ruth has a first draft blog where she posts excerpts from her writing. It actually helps as people chip in with inconsistencies. Blogs help with marketing because they give you exposure and word of mouth. Ruth also has ‘On being an author‘ blog where she talks about writing including some honest posts on the downs of writing like hate mail and downward trending sales.
- Facebook is where most of Ruth's readers find her and she has a page there where she gives away coupons and posts book covers etc. Twitter is more about information gathering for book promotion from other writers.
- On being an introvert. It's great having people come to you which happens when you are out there on the internet. Ruth finds it hard to just tell people she has a book. It's better when it's attraction marketing. You don't have to be pushy with your marketing and it can really turn people off. There is an etiquette online. It's best to cultivate a relationship with someone online before you pitch them.
- The kind of attitude you need is to love what you're writing. It's also good to keep a folder of fan mail for when you're feeling low. As slightly insecure writers, we sometimes focus on the negative. You also need to have patience. It takes time to make some sales and to build up relationships.