Monday, August 11, 2014

The Self-Pub Diaries Interview: Please welcome fellow indie author Elizabeth Briggs!

Hi Elizabeth! Thank you for joining us. Your New Adult debut is a sweet rock star romance, MORE THAN MUSIC. Tell us a little more about it. What’s the story behind the story?

Thanks for having me! MORE THAN MUSIC is about a geeky guitarist who joins a rock band and goes on a reality TV show like The Voice but for bands. It’s a fun summer read with lots of pop culture and music references, and it’s completely stand-alone – the other books in the series will be about her friends and other reality TV shows. I’m also working on a prequel novella now, called MORE THAN EXES, which I hope to have out soon.
I got the idea for MORE THAN MUSIC because I went to high school for a short time with Adam Levine and the other guys in Maroon 5, back when they were called Kara’s Flowers. Many years later I saw Adam Levine on The Voice, and had the idea of a geeky girl joining a rock band at her school and going on a reality TV show, and the book grew from that. (That is an incredible story. -N.R.)

How did you decide to self-publish? Did you submit/consider submitting the book to traditional publishers?

I’m going to do a long post about this soon because I get a lot of questions on this topic. The short version is no, I never considered submitting it to traditional publishers. I’d already been on submission for years with my YA books, and I was so burnt out by it all that I nearly gave up writing entirely. Instead I decided MORE THAN MUSIC would be better suited for self-publishing, since New Adult generally does better in ebooks than print anyway. By self-publishing I would have control over the content, the release date, the price, the cover, the interior format, and so forth – and I’d keep all the rights and the profits, too! Giving up all of that for a traditional deal didn’t seem worth it for this book.

What was your experience like? Were people (like your CP’s, your agent…) supportive?

The experience was great and my family, my CPs, and my agent were all very supportive throughout the entire process. The perception of self-publishing has changed so much in the past few years, so no one gave me a hard time about it at all (at least, not to my face!).

What was the hardest part? What was the most unexpected hurdle, and how did you overcome it?

The hardest part was getting over the doubt. I kept wondering, “Am I making the wrong decision? Is this a huge mistake?” I questioned everything from my skills as a writer to whether my book was “New Adult enough” (whatever that means). Without the backing of a publisher I felt like I was all on my own and had no one to rely on but myself, and it got overwhelming at times. But in my gut I knew this was the right move, and my friends and family reminded me I wasn’t truly alone, so I was able to move past the doubt and continue forward.

What was the best part? What pleasantly surprised you?

The absolute best part was hearing from fans that they loved the book, read it in one night and couldn’t put it down, and couldn’t wait for the next one. After years of rejections it was an amazing feeling to know there were readers who enjoyed my writing and wanted more of it. (And now you've acquired one more fangirl--yours truly. -N.R.)

The biggest surprise was that I had no idea I would love formatting the book so much. Now I’m excited to get in there and format my next book. Turns out, I’m even geekier than I thought!

Sometimes when you go indie, you realize writing a kick-ass book was the easy part. How did you approach advertising and promotion? Anything that worked out better than expected? Anything didn’t work at all? Any discoveries you’d like to share?

I did a cover reveal, two book blitzes, a review tour, and I posted the book on Netgalley. The cover reveal and book blitzes got the word out about my book, but I’m not sure how many actual sales they resulted in. I think Netgalley and the review tour were good because they led to a lot of reviews in different places, which helped word of mouth spread. I also tried Facebook ads, but after a lot of different attempts I ultimately lost money with those. Overall, it’s hard to tell what works and what doesn’t, and I’m still learning and figuring out all this marketing stuff as I go. I’m willing to try anything once to see how it goes, and I think that’s one of the best parts of self-publishing.

If you don't mind sharing with us, what was your budget (everything, from editing to promotion)?

My budget came out to just shy of $1500, including cover design, copy editing, marketing and promotion, and various costs like ISBNs and copyright fees. I saved on some costs because I did the formatting myself, and I didn’t use a developmental editor because I have excellent beta readers and also ran the book past my agent. I’m happy to say I made back everything I spent in less than a month, so I feel pretty good about my budget!

MORE THAN MUSIC has been out since June 10th! Wow! Now that it’s been more than a month, what are your impressions of going indie? Did it live up to your expectations? And finally, would you do it all over again?

I absolutely loved self-publishing MORE THAN MUSIC and consider it the best decision I’ve made in my entire writing career. Self-publishing has empowered me as an author and changed my entire outlook about my future because I know that whatever I write will get published somehow. I especially loved the control and freedom of going indie, and I’m thrilled to be making money for the first time off my writing. Plus, I have actual fans, which is amazing. I would definitely do it all over again!

Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She plays the guitar, mentors at-risk teens, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of small, fluffy dogs.

Website: http://www.elizabethbriggs.net/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lizwrites

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElizabethBriggsAuthor

MORE THAN MUSIC blurb:

Music major Maddie Taylor just finished her junior year of college and has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, yet every night she practices guitar and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don't get to be rock stars. That is, until tattooed singer Jared Cross catches her playing guitar and invites her to join his band on The Sound, a reality TV show competition.

Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared than his flirty smile and bad boy reputation – and that he’s just as big a geek as she is. With each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore, but when the show pressures them to stay single they’re forced to keep their relationship secret.

As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.

Find it:
Goodreads
Amazon & B&N.

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