11 questions for the indie publisher: Belinda Kroll

Posted By on October 28, 2010

Your name: Belinda Kroll

Your website/blog: http://worderella.com

Your bibliography: Catching the Rose, Worderella on Writing

1. What is your background? Funny story: I’m actually a usability analyst. My degrees are in computer science engineering, human computer interaction, and a minor in English. My Masters degree was very open, and allowed me to take high-level creative fiction writing courses with published author Samrat Upadhyay, which was amazing. I’ve always been a writer, though, and confused my high school class when I announced I was going to be a computer programmer. I was voted most likely to win the Pulitzer!

2. What led you to self-publishing? I am part of an entrepreneurial family, and I’ve been subscribed to Writer’s Digest since I was sixteen, so I’ve known about self-publishing for a long time. As an entrepreneur, I like to know all aspects of the business and have creative control. Luckily, my undergrad and masters degrees allowed me to cater my studies to learning the industry software and practice page/cover design in a safe environment. Using the knowledge I’ve gathered, I maintain my website, I make my book trailers, I design my books, and I’ve opened my own micro-press, Bright Bird Press.

3. What have you found to be the biggest challenge in self-publishing? Marketing is something I have always had problems with. As much as I can be chatty in person, I’m still a bit confused how I can get people interested in my work without just putting it in front of them. I’m learning all the different paths for marketing online because I know that’s my best option. I’ve been experimenting, but I need to make a solid plan to follow.

4. What has been the biggest surprise about self-publishing? Even though I assume it would take a lot of work, it takes even more work than I expected sometimes. I think this is because I work full-time, and I also make websites for small companies on my free time. So I have a lot of responsibilities to juggle.

5. What inspires you? The little things in life that make me smile, such as an ant on the sidewalk dragging a leaf. I walk toward it and it stops, and starts to walk the other way. I walk around the ant, and it pauses before turning around to walk its original direction. I like to capture little moments like that in my writing.

6. Describe your writing process. I’m trying to be disciplined with this book. I try to write at least 750 words on the days I do write, usually after I come home from work. I sit at my desk in my bedroom, open the laptop, and start typing. Sometimes I feel a little stuck so I read the last page of the previous chapter. Sometimes I read a chapter from a book at my bedside to get my imagination flowing. Then I write as quickly as I can until I get 750 words. From that point, I slow down until I reach a good stopping point.

7. How do you stay disciplined? This online application I’ve been using, 750words.com, has been my lifesaver. It guilt-trips me into writing, but takes the pressure off because I know I only have to write 750 words, which is a relatively low-hanging-fruit sort of goal. Some days I focus on writing, other days I focus on marketing, websites, learning more about publishing, etc. The main goal is to “Keep moving forward,” like from the Disney movie Meet the Robinsons.

8. What is your favorite self-marketing idea? Tough question! Of course I like word-of-mouth, but really, I just like the idea that if I help you, you help me. I don’t want to be a spammer, I just want people to enjoy my writing. So if I help you with your website, or book trailer, maybe I won’t ask for monetary support, but that you spread the word about my book(s). I also like the idea of leaving bookmarks with my book information in the pages of similar books at the library/bookstore. I figure that’s one of the best ways to reach my readers.

9.  What advice do you have for burgeoning self-publishers? Take baby steps. I published my first book through a subsidy/vanity publisher, my second through Lulu, and a reprint through CreateSpace. I’m working my way up to Lightning Source, but maybe if I get enough funds, I’ll stick with CreateSpace and buy my own pack of ISBNs. So yeah. I know everyone says to avoid vanity publishers, but if you get a good one (like Aventine Press or Mill City Press), you can have a good experience and learn the ropes. My biggest advice is to not rush the process. Make mistakes you can afford. Don’t get ahead of yourself and burn out.

10. When you’re not writing what do you do for fun? I’m part of the local lindy hop community. Every Tuesday I swing dance and lindy hop all of my frustrations away. It’s the best sort of exercise ever.

11. What project are you currently working on? I’m in the middle of getting the word out about the second edition of my book, Catching the Rose. I’m writing my second novel, Haunting Miss Trentwood, and I’m trying to settle on the style of website I want for my micro-press, Bright Bird Press.

About The Author

As a writing coach and publishing consultant, I have worked with hundreds of authors, helping them write, edit, and publish hundreds of books. My book The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing is slated for publication by Writer’s Digest in March 2010. I currently own Self-Publishing Resources; we provide book writing, book packaging, and book marketing services for self-publishers and small presses.


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