Cheryl Shireman, an author who I also consider a friend, is the author of six books, two of those are novels, including Life is But a dream that is burning up the charts right now.
At this moment, Life is But a dream is ranked #346 on Amazon and is #16 in Women Sleuths and #25 in Literary Fiction, which is an amazing achievement for an indie writer.
1. How long did it take you to achieve the success you are having with your books right now?
Well, I published Life is But a Dream just over four months ago and I am currently selling about 100 copies a day on Kindle. So – four months?
2. What was the best thing you did marketing wise that you believe helped you get where you are today?
Actually, I have not done much to “market” myself other than two things –
I have done several interviews on various websites and I also participated on a website called Free Book Friday. Every week they showcase books in four categories – Fiction, Teens, Romance, and Indie. The book descriptions and an interview with the authors are posted on Saturdays. Then, readers enter to win a free autographed copy all during the week. The following Friday, the winners are announced. I have been fortunate enough to participate in promotions for both of my novels – Life is But a Dream and Broken Resolutions. When they told me that over 900 people entered to win Life is But a Dream, I was just stunned! My most recent book, You Don’t Need a Prince: A Letter to My Daughter will be promoted starting May 28th.
3. What do you do to market yourself? What works, what doesn't?
I put up a website. My husband designs websites (webendev.com), so that certainly makes things easier for me. I started a blog and have had a lot of kind responses to that. I became more active on Twitter and Facebook. I joined Kindleboards and “hung out” in the Writer’s Café so I could learn more about Indie writing. I joined a Facebook writer’s group (which I LOVE) called Indie Writers Unite! Imagine a cyber coffee shop with a bunch of writers hanging out with each other and talking shop. I can’t honestly say that I have noticed a spike in sales after doing any of these things. It has been more of a gradual but consistent increase in sales every day. For one three day period in late April I had a spike in sales, but I still have not determined what caused that. On April 28th I woke up to find Life is But a Dream in the #3 spot on Amazon’s Movers and Shakers list. What a morning! Number 1 was a book by Bob Greene (Oprah’s trainer), and he had just been on Oprah that week! I took a screenshot of the Amazon page so I could save it forever. My brief moment of glory. Ha!
4. What tips/advice do you have for other writers?
First – write. I often hear people say they want to write, but they don’t have time. You do have time, but you will probably have to sacrifice other interests – such as watching television, following facebook and twitter, or reading the books of other writers. Especially if you have children. If you have children at home, they should be your priority. Enjoy them while you can. Soon they will be out of the house and you will wish you had another afternoon to color in a coloring book or build a tower with Legos. Savor those moments. Write before they get up, or after they go to sleep, or while they are at school. If you don’t have children at home, then you really don’t have any excuses. If you are not writing, then you probably like the idea of being a writer more than the actual act of writing.
Second – be nice. There is so much negative energy in the world. Don’t add to it. Find ways to encourage your fellow writers as well as those who are just beginning to write. Writing is a tough and solitary profession. We all need encouragement and support. This is especially true of Indie writers who are really on their own without the support of an agent, publisher, editor, and marketing team. Use every opportunity to support other writers. Choose to be kind.