Shannon Brown is an author turned self-publisher, and along that journey she found out that she liked helping others discover their ‘inner indie.’ In her new book Self-Publishing Secrets 2019, Shannon shares the details and the workarounds—all the things that once overwhelmed her.
A prolific writer, Shannon has published more than 800 articles and ten books, both fiction and non-fiction. Several have become best sellers. Like many writers, she initially set out to find a traditional publisher. But after years of submissions, followed by notes saying they ‘liked her work, but it didn’t fit current needs,’ she decided to self-publish. Her indie-published books have sold thousands of copies to date.
Shannon and her husband live in Nashville, Tennessee.
Let’s talk about Self-Publishing Secrets 2019 (Sienna Bay Press, February 2019). Please tell us about it.
After self-publishing for five years, I had learned how to not only publish a book, but to publish one that met the same standards as a traditionally published book.
At the same time, publishing a first book can be overwhelming. I have answered many questions in person, online, and on the phone from panicked newbies. I decided to publish a book with the steps to self-publish, so I could help more people.
One of the hurdles of self-publishing, as with anything involving tech, is that there are often changes. To somewhat solve that problem, I plan to update this book every year. I know I’m making more work for myself, but an outdated book isn’t very helpful. An important U.S. copyright change just weeks after publication caused me to do an update on the book right away.
I also wrote the Self-Publishing Secrets Companion Workbook for those who like extra help. There’s some additional information included in it too.
“An important U.S. copyright change just weeks after publication caused me to do an update on the book right away.”
You also have an online resource. Please tell us about 10 Free Tools for Self-Publishers to Make Your Life Easier and Better.
I wanted to have a way to provide current information months after the book published, and I thought the best way to do that was to have an online resource with links and other info.
I created “10 Free Tools for Self-Publishers” because having the right tool can make a huge difference to an author’s mental state! Some tools make writing and editing easier, some help organize, and others help with marketing.
What one thing that you share in the book do you most wish you had known before you published your first book?
I wish I’d known that the book description on places like Amazon is not the same as what is on the back of traditionally published book. I started with something like that, but I learned over time that it was more like advertising sales copy. I had to start over with a different mindset.
What has surprised you about indie publishing?
The helpfulness of other authors. It’s a huge community that is kinder than many other places you’ll find.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I like to create imaginary places for my books and am doing that for a new clean romance series. But, right now, I’m writing one that takes place where I live, Nashville. It’s kind of fun to go to real places with my characters! And the music industry is in there because that’s so much a part of Nashville. I also recently changed the pen name for my romances to Cathryn Brown. I had mysteries for kids and clean romances combined and Amazon can be confused by that. It’s also easier for readers this way.
I’m also considering more books about self-publishing and possibly a course.
Thanks, Shannon! It’s great to have you back at Divine Detour.
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