Friday, August 24, 2012


For nearly two decades I wrote nearly every day, but I didn't make one dime. Self-publishing has changed all that. Come join me on WG2E today where we're talking about money!

"The very best thing I ever did was realizing that my books are a PRODUCT and I am BUSINESS WOMAN. Last December I made a twenty-three page business plan. I realized that I could actually make real money selling my books. I came up with an amount of money I wanted to make each month ($6000) and how many books I had to sell to make that happen. Instead of just putting out books whenever I got them done, I planned release dates. I have my editors booked through the end of 2012. I have firm, hard dates that I hand my manuscripts over. I work very, very hard. I have high expectations for myself and my work output. My business comes before a lot of things in my life, but I've never been happier."
--Denise Grover Swank, bestselling author of The Chosen series.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Interviews with Indie Authors

A short interview with Tim Ridgway, co-author of Interviews with Indie Authors compiled by Claire Ridgway and Tim Ridgway.

When did you first get the idea to interview indie authors and make it into a book?

To answer that question fully, you need a little bit of background about me and my wife Claire. At the beginning of 2012 Claire and I were inspired to produce our first books, and began researching all there was online and in bookstores about self publishing. We knew from asking around that our original book idea would not be picked up by "traditional" publishers ... the market was too small. However we had our own email list to market to from a website we had been running for three years. So self-publishing was the way to go. By the end of February, the book was ready to go. Claire had written it, and I had laid it out for print (CreateSpace) and for Kindle too. So we hit "go" and began publicizing the book to our list and on our websites. To our amazement, it was a HUGE success! So we rapidly put together a second book, for publication in May. Again, this book was the result of years of research on our websites. And again, the same thing happened ... another HUGE success!

At around that time we began to wonder what other self-published authors were doing. How they were going about writing, publishing and marketing their own books. We wanted to know what made an author a runaway success. We've always believed in finding out what successful people actually do, and trying to discover what their "secrets" are so that we can learn to do the same. So we started compiling a list of the top self-published authors on the market at the moment, and we began digging deep online to find out what was working.

Like all good ideas, the book "Interviews with Indie Authors" was the combination of this research, people suddenly asking Claire for her own advice on self-pub, and us remembering reading a great book called "Conversations with Millionaires" that was inspirational to us maybe ten years ago (there aren't any new ideas ...!). The idea to interview top indie authors and put the results into a book was born. So we set about putting together an interview to send out to our top 100 list. We knew the result would be an amazing book because it filled a need that we ourselves had.

Was it an enjoyable process? Did you run into any problems?

As you can imagine, keeping track of what turned out to be over 100 new contacts was quite a large organizational job. I enjoyed sending out emails to these amazing authors, asking for their help in the book, and trying to convince them that I wasn't crazy! I was genuinely blown away by how helpful the world of self-publishing is. In the end we got 34 amazing full interview responses back, and a 34% response is pretty great in my opinion. Even more astonishing is that the majority of the authors who responded were from those near the TOP of our list. It definitely seems that successful people are the most helpful too... probably a lesson to be learned for all of us! Of course, there were many who got back to me saying that they were incredibly busy with their next book, and I completely understand that... after all, they didn't know me at all. I'm so glad that the interviews we got cover so many different genres and give so many incredible insights. They really show what works and what doesn't work. I've read and re-read all of the interviews many times now and I still see new things each time.

Was it enjoyable? Absolutely. I've got to chat with some amazing people, and have now gone on to discover their books for myself. It was also our first joint publishing project as husband and wife. We've managed not to kill each other!

Did we run into any problems? Not huge ones! The trickiest part was keeping track of authors, their photos and their book covers. It really wouldn't do to have the wrong photo next to an author's name. It seems that we've managed to keep it all together! Other than that, no, there were not really any problems. All thirty-four of the authors have been really forthcoming and helpful throughout the process. It is an amazing feeling to see someone who is so well known Tweeting about our book, or mentioning it on their website. Thank you to each one of you!
Do you have plans to publish more books on self-publishing in the near future?

Claire is really busy blogging about her findings about self-publishing on the Interviews with Indie Authors blog and this is where our focus is at the moment. We don't have any plans on publishing any more books on self-publishing for a while, partly because  there are loads of "How To" books on the market at the moment, and I find that they go out of date so quickly. The entire world of self-publishing is changing so rapidly that any steps you write down now won't be useful in a year's time. In a way, that is why "Interviews with Indie Authors" is special - the tips and ideas are not tied to any specific technology or time. The ideas will always be useful for someone who wants to publish their own book.
So, for now, Claire is concentrating on her next self-published Tudor history book project, and I'm running along behind doing the layout and setting up websites for it all. It keeps us busy!
If there is anything else you would like to add, please do!

As I've said above, we'd like to take the opportunity to send out a MASSIVE thank you to all the authors involved, and especially to you Theresa. Everyone was so giving in both their time and the advice they shared. Their stories are inspiring and motivating, and will definitely help other authors.
As a final comment, we decided early on that since we didn't write the interviews ourselves, it was only right that there was a charity element to the book. That's why we are giving 50% of royalties to charity. The money is being split between two charities – ROPE (Relief for Oppressed People Everywhere) and Goal for the Gambia. We hope that in some small way, those who are not as well of as we are will benefit from this work.
We've set up a page on the website with links to all the retailers:

The Amazon link to the book is HERE

Thanks so much for this opportunity to talk about the process behind the book.

Tim Ridgway