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Self-Published Author Series – Interview with Beth Conway

As part of our self-published author interview-series, today, we talk to Beth Conway, author of the children’s book, “Rachel and the Magic Beads,” available on jexbo at

Here’s what Beth had to say about self-publishing:

Tell us about your self-published book.

My book is called "Rachel and the Magic Beads." It is a story based on a real girl by the name of Rachel who has a condition called Down Syndrome. I wrote the story with Rachel's brother, Johnny Buchanan. It is a story of Rachel feeling sad when her parents go away on a trip without her. They return with a present of "magic beads."

Every book comes with a set of "magic beads," and a proceed of our book is donated to The Belle Center in Chicago that supports children with disabilities & their families.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

My illustrator, Virginia Bosak, and I found wonderful graphic designers by the name of Karen McDiarmid and Greg Dunn who pointed us in the direction of Friesens, a self published company in Canada. We wanted to be able to sell our books at a reasonable price, and if you publish with a big company, they take a portion of the proceeds.

What was your biggest challenge to overcome in self-publishing your book?

Finding a good company you can trust that is not too expensive.

What has been the best part about self-publishing your book?

Being able to be in charge and set your own price.

What advice do you have for other potential writers and self-published authors?

To make sure that you do your homework prior to publishing. I also feel that it is important to work with a graphic designer who knows how to publish.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

If you would like your book to be placed in libraries, you want to make sure that it is bonded with the name and authors name on the bonded end, so that it is library ready. That is a huge accomplishment to be placed in a library!

Thanks for your insights Beth!

Do you have questions about marketing your self-published book and selling books online? Please contact us here or at I’d love to hear from you!

Self-Publish Author Series – Interview with Chris Wager

In today’s self-published author interview, we talk to Chris Wager, author of “101 Helpful Painting Hints” available on jexbo at Here’s what Chris had to say about creating his self-published book:

Tell us about your self-published book.

My title, “101 Helpful Painting Hints,” is in a question and answer format in order to make it easy for everyone to get the information they need quickly about their projects.

It covers 101 basic questions do-it-yourselfers have about preparing and painting on their homes. And to help them decide if painting is right for them. Also included is information for those wishing to hire a contractor but don’t know where to start.

It also includes information about what to expect and advice on how to get the work done right and on time. “101 Helpful Painting Hints” is designed to be a “go-to guide” again and again as folks tackle different projects around their home.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I choose to self-publish because it allowed me total literary freedom to include the information I felt important to make the title a true value.

What was your biggest challenge to overcome in self-publishing your book?

My biggest challenge was deciding the structure of the content to present it in a manner with the reader in mind.

What has been the best part about self-publishing your book?

The best part has been providing a title that has met my expectations of meeting the needs of the first-time do-it-yourselfers with real and useful information.

What advice do you have for other potential writers and self-published authors?

My advice would be to work hard, and listen to folks like Jill Exler and Melanie Rembrandt who provide information to self-published authors via jexbo.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would like to add, don’t judge the success of a title in dollars and cents. Rather, judge in the fact that you, the writer, had the courage and self-determination to blaze your own path.

Thanks for your great words of inspiration Chris! Are you in the process of writing your self-published book? If you have questions about selling books online and self-publishing, please contact us here or at I’d love to hear from you!

Self-Publish Author Series – Interview with Rowena Cherry

Today, we talk to self-published author Rowena Cherry, author of Forced Mate, available at Rowena shares her insights and tips about self-publishing:

Tell us about your self-published book and where we can find it on jexbo.

“Forced Mate” is a gentle spoof of traditional abduction romances (also known as bodice rippers). It has been called the ultimate, beauty-and-the-beast story. It is also a futuristic take on the Greek myth of the abduction of Persephone by the dark god of the Underworld.
In this case, the abductor is a self styled god from outer space.

All my books end happily. I loathe unhappy endings, and I never mess with a happy ending in a sequel. That's why my books are novels of character, not plot-driven. I'm not interested in the "Will he/Won't he?" If the spine says "Romance" which is does, then it's a given that the hero will find happiness with the heroine.

In "Forced Mate," the hero has a great deal of physical experience, but he is absolutely lost when it comes to the emotions. In his world, he is a god, an emperor's heir, extremely wealthy, and no one has ever said “No” to him. Then, he meets a young woman who has no idea who he is, and for the first time in his sexually active life, he is told that his bedside manners are abominable.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I decided to self-publish because the original publisher of the electronic version of “Forced Mate” went out of business. I got my rights back, and I wanted to make sure that my vision of the perfect "Tarrant-Arragon" stayed in circulation. That may sound incredibly superficial of me. On the other hand, if you share my taste in men, you might see my point.

I'd written my first draft of “Forced Mate” by 1993 and was at the stage of entering chapters of it in contests, and honing my writing. Physically, the hero, Tarrant-Arragon, was a composite of four gentlemen whom I'd known, and I never expected to glance at a magazine cover or movie and see my imaginary ultimate hero staring back at me.

That's what happened in November 1994 when I saw Mitchel Gray's photograph of Matthew Twiggs on the cover of “Men's Health Magazine.” I vowed there and then that that photograph was going to be on the cover of “Forced Mate” if I ever got it published. So, I made contact with the photographer, and we made a gentleman's agreement.

Ten years later, I called Mitchel Gray, and bought the rights to use that photograph, and I wrote it into my contract with NBI that they would use my photograph on my cover. Dorchester Publishing, which bought the print rights at about the same time, declined my cover.

Given my financial and emotional investment in the cover-art, the costs of reformatting the NBI manuscript (not the same as the paperback) and buying my own ISBN were not a deterrent.

Since then, I've kept all my e-rights (except in the case of “Mating Net,” where I licensed the e-rights to New Concepts Publishing and retained the print and POD rights.)

What was your biggest challenge to overcome in self-publishing your book?

Well, my challenges were different from those faced by an author who has to start from scratch. My exceptionally talented Web master, Mike Weiss of Image Weaver Studios, revised the cover art.

My intellectual properties attorney helped me with the reversion-of-rights paperwork, and with buying the ISBNs from Bowker. (In those days, a self-publisher had to buy a batch of ten ISBNs. Now, you can buy just one.)

Working with the Library of Congress on copyright registration is not particularly difficult, but it takes longer and longer – up to twenty months.

One challenge was (and remains) the book-keeping part of sales. I've only recently started with jexbo. I also have a semi-exclusive arrangement with EBookIsle. Ebookisle sells the e-book for $6.00, of which I get $3.60 per sale. They take care of sales taxes, advertising, delivery, and all the paperwork, and send me a quarterly check. As I understand it, all I have to do is declare that income, and pay my own state and federal taxes.

That's relatively hassle-free. However, EBookisle only sells a few copies a year, and e-book theft and illegal "file-sharing" is a problem.

I'd hoped that if I sold "Forced Mate" for closer to the price that e-book thieves say is a fair price for an e-book, the illegal "sharing" might stop. But it doesn't, and I'll probably never recoup what it cost me to buy the cover art, the ISBNs and produce the e-book. (NBI didn't pay me a cent before they went out of business.)

However, if I sell “Forced Mate” on for $1.50, I am responsible for my own book keeping, and for Michigan internet sales tax, as well as for my state and federal income taxes.

Moreover, if I'm sent $1.50 via Paypal, Paypal takes $0.34 off the top as their fee. Of course, I shall also owe jexbo 5% of the original $1.50. For those who might be outraged at my reference to illegal file "sharing", e-books have a special copyright. The author has the sole right to control the REPRODUCTION and DISTRIBUTION of her ebook. If you "share" an ebook with someone else, you have to create at least four copies (that's reproduction) that did not exist before, and then you send the copy to someone else over the internet (and that is distribution.) The First Sale doctrine does not apply to e-books.

Apart from the pirates, who might be the biggest challenge for self-published authors who don't have publishers and agents to take care of the Take Down Notices, self-published authors may have to worry about some of the big fish, too.

What has been the best part about self-publishing your book?

The best part has been keeping my cover and being able to include scenes, words and phrases that I liked (even if one editor or another didn't)! Honestly, in my opinion, there's not a lot to recommend self-publishing, if you have an option.

Most authors are shocked (even those with a major New York publishing house) at how much else they have to do, apart from writing the next book…. But, you didn't ask about the monster Architeuthis (giant squid) beneath the sparkling surface of self-publishing.

What advice do you have for other potential writers and self-published authors?

Follow your dream with your eyes open. Your best friends are authors a rung or two above you on the career ladder. Follow them, don't try to clamber over them or knock them out of your way. Look to the example of NASCAR and aerodynamics: leader and follower both go faster when they work together.

Contracts are written to favor whoever wrote that contract (publisher, printer, online bookseller, website designer etc). Read every word. Understand what the contract says before you sign it. Get help from EPIC or SFWA or Authors Guild, or Preditors-and-Editors.

Most contracts can be negotiated. No one will think less of you for asking, as long as you are polite and professional about it. Be honest with your agent, your editor, your reader, and anyone else with whom you do business. Including the IRS!

Be aware that others won't be honest with you. Once you register a copyright or trademark or domain name, you will receive all sorts of documents that look like invoices. You will also be offered awards and listings in catalogues of "distinguished" or "famous" people… if you purchase your listing.

Keep records of all your expenses, all your contracts, all your promises, all your sales, all the prizes you promised to give away. Follow through. Never defame anyone. Never write a bad review. Never write a good review of a book you did not enjoy. Never infringe on anyone else's copyright (artist's, model's, photographer's, etc). Never "cheat" your reader or potential reader. Never assume that someone will want to read your book simply because "you" wrote it, or because "you" say they will enjoy you.

Secure your domain name before you become published. If you wait, a spammer might squat on it. You don't want your Web site to be:
Keep doing what you love for as long as it makes you happy, and as long as your pursuit doesn't hurt or cause you to neglect those you love.
Do the very best you can, every day.

Thanks for your great tips and personal insights Rowena! To discover more about self-publishing and selling your books online, please write to me here or at Thanks!

Self-Publish Author Series – Interview with Dennis AuBuchon

Today, we talk to another self-published author to get his tips and insights. Dennis AuBuchon of recently wrote two books. Here’s what he had to say:

Tell us about your self-published book.

I currently have two books. The first one is available in print and electronic form. It is titled, “Integrity: Do You Have It? 2nd edition.”

It defines integrity and discusses the characteristics. It creates a common set of criteria to measure others and us.

These criteria are then applied to various segments of society such as the news, education and politics among others. The book brings the subject of integrity down to the individual level through a chapter on personal integrity.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

Self publishing allows me to have control over the content of my book. In any situation, the success of a book is dependent upon the marketing activities of the author.

What was your biggest challenge to overcome in self-publishing your book?

Getting exposure and creating marketing opportunities

What has been the best part about self-publishing your book?

I have total control and it gave me exposure for my expertise on the topic

What advice do you have for other potential writers and self-published authors?

To never give up and to take advantage of all opportunities to develop exposure for your expertise.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Use networking opportunities and social networking sites to gain exposure and participate in the forums when you have something to add to the topic.

Thanks for your insights on self-publishing Dennis! To discover more about self-publishing and selling your books online, please write to me here or at I’d love to hear from you.