Publishing Week: Interview with Tina Reber

NRR: Hi Tina! Thank you for taking the time to join us! As many readers know you have had a lot of success in your self-published novel, Love Unscripted. Can you share with us what made you decide to do self-published rather than a publishing company?

 Hi everyone!  Thanks for having me here.  I appreciate it.  What made me decide to self-publish?  Hmm… well two years ago during my 40-something midlife crisis, I started writing a novel.  Once I started, I couldn’t stop.  One of my co-workers was my first reader, and as I wrote, she devoured it.  She was also the person who said, “Hey, did you know that so-and-so from another department wrote a book?  Yeah, he’s self-publishing it.”

That simple “hey” started a conversation and led me to Create Space.  Doing some on-line searching, Create Space was a company recently acquired by Amazon, they were really, really reasonable, and with a bit of work, I could see my “baby” in paper form.  Really, that was all I was going for.   I started out like 99.99% of all hopeful authors – I wanted to see my story in book form.  From there, I handed off my book to friends and family. 

The response I got back was overwhelming, so I kept on pushing it.  I made friends with the authors I was streaming with on Amazon.  I started a website, got into social media, and started talking book shop with anyone who had insight or an opinion. 

I looked up how to get published with a traditional publishing house, found out that I’d need an agent, found out that I’d have to write a lot of query letters to them, heard all about sitting in “slush piles” until one of them got one of those elusive “round-to-it’s” and gave it a read.  Honestly, that scared the bejesus out of me and like anything scary, I avoided it.  I have half of a query letter started which has never seen the outside of my hard drive.

I published on Kindle last year and kept working my full time job in the meantime while making some really cool author friends and saturating myself in all things books.

NRR: What would you say is one of the hardest/easiest parts of self-published?

Okay, this is totally my opinion… my experiences so far.  Whether you are self-published or traditionally published, there are certain things which you just have to do on your own.  For example, a big trad publisher is not going to make a website for you.  They are not going to give you a nice assistant who blogs, Twitters, and makes Facebook relationships for you.  They are not going to make your platform as an author.  You have to do that.   Suddenly, I went from hopeful author to website designer, business card designer, social media marketing manager, etc.  Still things you do regardless of who is doing the imprint.

Self-publishing was so easy to do via Create Space, anyone with some computer knowledge can follow the instructions and upload a PDF file.  That, a few dollars for a hard copy print and a small membership fee will get you a book in hand.

Let’s talk book cover art.  Now there is a task.  Fortunately I had a friend who had a cousin…  We worked together on what I had hoped to see and then I wrote a check.   After a while, you make contacts in the industry, and you get a cover designer to work for you.   There is a lot of talent out there making awesome book covers.   When you are traditionally published, you have art teams at your disposal but then I’m not sure how much creative control you have.  I honestly don’t know. 

NRR: What would you say has helped you the most in promoting your work?

Two words:  BOOK BLOGGERS.   The women (and men) I have come across talking books and posting reviews have done me such a tremendous service, reaching potential readers that I may not have gotten to know otherwise, that I don’t think I’d even be close to where I am without them.   In the last two years, some of my best friends are bloggers whom I’ve never met in person but I talk to all the time.  I’m not just an author/writer – I’m a voracious reader as well.  I look to these relationships just like everyone else does.  I’m looking for the next great “OMG that book rocked” recommendations.  I read YA romance, Adult Romances, and now Erotica.  Hey, don’t judge.  You all are reading it, too.    The book bloggers who first helped me out have characters named after them in my upcoming sequel.  My additional way of saying “Thank You.”

Facebook and Twitter are my daily living spaces.  Well, mostly Facebook.  I’m a people-person.  I need long-winded interaction.  Yeah, I wrote a thick book… whatever.  I had a lot to say J  But personal addictions and predilections aside, these “social media” tools allow me to have relationships with readers all over the globe.  In one day, I typically converse with folks in 12 different countries.   I love, no I LOVE my readers.  They aren’t just readers or customers to me.  They are friends.  We talk, tease, joke, share, laugh, cry, advise, complain, defend… I’m not just promoting a product (a book); I’m promoting me – who I am.  Hopefully you’ll think I’m cool enough to give my thick-ass novel a read. 

Lastly, and well nearest and dearest to me, are the relationships that I’ve made with other authors.  I’ve tried to make relationships with some traditionally published folks and it seems like there’s this brick wall between them and “the lazy ones.”  I don’t get it but then again, I didn’t wait years to see if my book would ever make it to print.  Did I take the easy way out?  Tomato/tomahhto…  

Then I hooked up with other self-published rebels.  We were like a pack of gypsies, taking in strays and healing the wounded with our homemade medicines.  And somewhere we realized “hey, we share a hell of a lot of readers” and “hey, do you realize that reader tend to read more than one book?”   My readers/your readers – we all have the same goal as authors, right?  Entertain as many people as we can with our stories. 

I love my author friends like they were flesh and blood sisters.  I’d go to war with these women and I know that they’d be right aside of me wearing war paint and giving it a heck of a go with me. 

So take the advice, authors on solitary islands.  Go make friends.  Earn your friends by being genuine.  Be gold and gold will come back to you.  Karma is real.

NRR: Some readers have animosity toward self-published authors (which I find completely ridiculous since most of my favorite books are written by self-published authors). What advice would you give to aspiring authors who are timid to tread the waters of self-publishing?

I can give all the advice in the world until I’m blue in the face.  What people have to realize is that it doesn’t matter if there’s a publisher name in your book or not.  Look up the word “publish” in the dictionary.  I am a published author.  I did all the work myself.  I share profits with companies like Amazon.  That’s it.   If you are one who has the definitive line drawn in your brain separating “trad” and “indie,” my opinion on self-publishing will do nothing for you.  E-books are THE thing right now.  You don’t even need to put a book into paper these days to be “published.”  Authors are putting out 30 page novellas for $2.99.  So the real choice is do you want to sit on the bench and be mad that you aren’t playing or do you want to get in the game any way you can?

The other plus is I have no deadlines.  I have readers to answer to.  I gave them a date of delivery.  If I don’t deliver, I have a feeling I’ll be lynched by the mob. 

NRR: What would you say people over look the most when it comes to self-publishing?

The day has come where self-publishing IS publishing.  Traditionally published authors are self-publishing these day, realizing the profits instead of splitting them with the big houses.  The biggest obstacle I have right now is getting paper and ebooks into other countries and into other languages.  That will be rectified shortly for me as I’ve got some new options.  Other than that, without a big house representing me, I will never see my book in print in Target or Kmart.  But one day (shakes fist at sky) I will have an end cap on aisle 6 next to Electronics. 

NRR: Now it's time for me to gush over how much I LOVED Love Unscripted! When can we expect to follow up, Love Unrehearsed?

The sequel to Love Unscripted, Love Unrehearsed, is scheduled to be released on Amazon in paper and in Kindle format on August 31st.  Both novels will be released for Nook and other formats mid to late September, once my agreement with Kindle Prime Lending expires. 

I also have 100 pages of the first of my spin-off series written.  There will be three novels stemming from that following the Trent Brothers.  Each will have a cross-over storyline but still could be read as a standalone novel.   I hope to release “Jacked” – which is an adult contemporary romance in the winter.  FYI – it has a wee bit of BD as in BDSM without the SM part.  For some reason I can’t stop writing about being tied up and dominated a bit.  I’ll save the crops, floggers, and other naughty bits for E.L., Christian, and Ana. O.o

And at the same time (I know – crazy) I have 150 pages of the first of a sci-fi romance series started.  So lots of pots are on the stove right now and several really hot alpha guys are vying for my brain space and attention.  I’m entertaining myself writing them so I hope you’ll have that much fun reading them. 

Thanks for having me here, NRR.  Hugs and Happy Reading to all.

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