Marie Force: Self-Publishing 101 for Romance Authors
Many romance authors want to be New York Times bestselling author Marie Force when they grow up.
She has published 50 contemporary romances, including the Gansett Island Series, which has sold more than 2.2 million books, and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books, which has sold more than 1 million books. In addition, she is the author of the Green Mountain Series from Berkley Publishing as well as the new erotic romance Quantum Series, written under the slightly modified name of M.S. Force.
As a successful hybrid author, who has independently published over 30 books and also has popular series with major publishers, she is a romance role model. She is also highly respected for all she gives back to the industry by helping up-and-coming and aspiring authors.
She owns E-book Formatting Fairies, which helps writers correctly format and organize books for publication on all platforms. And she recently launched Jack’s House Publishing, where she is working with select authors to publish edgy contemporary romance.
In addition, she is moderator of the Self-Publish Yahoo Group and the Author Support Network Facebook Group that offers a platform for discussion and advice for self-published, traditional and hybrid authors. She also hosts several virtual workshops each year on craft and publishing industry topics.
On June 13th through 18th, she will be leading a special workshop for Passionate Ink, a chapter of Romance Writers of America, called Self-Publishing 101 Virtual Workshop with Marie Force. It is open to non-members for the low cost of $25.
Recent studies have shown that the majority of self-published authors are women, with many in the romance field. According to Publishers Weekly in 2015, thirty-one percent of e-book sales on Amazon’s Kindle Store are self-published books. The numbers continue to grow as more and more women throw their hats into the self-publishing ring.
We chatted with Marie about self-publishing and how to break in to the romance field. How has self-publishing changed the publishing landscape and created opportunities for authors?
Self-publishing has changed everything for authors. Primarily, it has given us OPTIONS that we didn’t have before, which is enormously freeing. If a publisher doesn’t want your book or won’t pay what you think the book is worth, you can say thanks anyhow and go on with your plans to publish the book yourself. That’s a huge shift in the landscape from what authors were contending with five or six years ago, when the only way to get to readers was through publishers that had limited spots available on their schedules. Now there are unlimited spots available. It’s also put a lot of the power over our careers back in our hands, which is where it should be.
Although self-publishing has created opportunities, authors also must strive to create the best content for readers. Should authors write a book first and then work on self-publishing, or should they be learning the industry from the moment they decide they want to be part of it?
Absolutely perfect the craft and the book before even thinking about how to publish the book. Lack of attention to the craft of writing is one of the unfortunate side effects of the rush to publish. There are no shortcuts to learning how to write a book that people want to read, and pushing a book out the door before it’s ready is never a good idea. That said, it’s never too soon to start tuning into the industry and networking with other authors.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you see with self-published authors?
As mentioned, the all-fired rush to publish RIGHT NOW often leads to books that are poorly written, poorly edited and poorly packaged. The cream always rises to the top, and putting out the best possible book you can should always be the goal. Cutting corners on editing and cover design and proper formatting can leave you with negative reviews that stick to you and your book forever. Quality should always be Job 1.
What are some of the key areas you will address and teach in your Passionate Ink course, Self-Publishing 101 Virtual Workshop with Marie Force?
- Write a great book
- Establish online presence
- Author biography and headshot
- Pen Names
- The importance of editing
- Cover design
- Finding cover images, cover design and branding
- Format print and e-books
- Distribution and publishing
- Setting the price
- Determine your release strategy
- Promotion and social media
- Write your next book
- Self-pub checklist
That about covers it! I’ll also give participants a chance to “ask me anything” about writing, the business, indie publishing, hybrid publishing, etc.
Do all self-published authors also have to learn to be business people? Why?
Authors are running businesses these days in ways we never have before, and it’s important to think like business people at all times, especially when it comes to paying taxes and figuring out if or when it makes sense to incorporate, etc. People tell me all the time that they couldn’t do what I do because they aren’t business minded. I like to tell them that I wasn’t born knowing everything I know now, but when my books began to take off, I had no choice but to figure it out and get my house in order.
One of the other ways you support authors is through your newly launched Jack’s House Publishing. Will participants in this class also have a chance to learn how to submit?
Yes, I’m happy to talk about Jack’s House and our plans for the publishing line. You can find out about it here, and I’ll take any questions participants have about the program.
Learn more about Marie Force here.
Learn more about Jack’s House Publishing here.
Read her latest book, Desire After Dark, here.
Register for Self-Publishing 101 with Marie Force here.