If you’ve been around me any in the last couple of months, you probably already know that I am OBSESSED with self-publication. So whenever the opportunity arises where I get to talk with someone who has taken that plunge, I start drilling them with questions. Last week, that poor soul was Jennifer Jakes, author of the award winning Rafe’s Redemption. She has recently released her own self-published novella, Twice in a Lifetime. So, of course, being Wild Rose Press authors as well, I had to ask her (read grill her incessantly) about her journey into the growing world of self-publishing.
Amie: Jennifer, I admire your bravery and dedication! I’m sure there are a lot of writers out there who are interested in self-publication but don’t know where to start. (namely, me!) I’d love to hear anything you’d like to share about your self-publication experience. And of course I want to pick your thoughts a little as well! Here we go…
When did you decide to take the self-pub plunge?
Jenn: I’ve been kicking the idea around for about 6 months – my main thought being it would be a great avenue for novella length stories.
Amie: Is your book available in print as well as in e-formats?
Jenn: No, but only because it’s 40 pages.
Amie: How did you find the printer?
Jenn: If you are going to sell on Amazon – which of course you should – they offer a service (CreateSpace) to get your story to print.
Amie: Tell me about the art work. who did the cover? And how much of a hand did you have in determining the final look?
Jenn: I used Kim Killion from HOT DAMN Designs. And honestly, she does the best work. She’s even contracted with Publishing Houses to do their covers, so you know you’re getting quality. Her prices are very fair – around $125. Kim sends you a lengthy questionnaire and she will tweak the design after you get “first peek” and make any changes you decide.
Amie: And now for the dreaded edits…who did your edits and how many reads did you have before you said, “it’s time.”?
Jenn: LOL – I did my own edits – well, me and my Critique Partners. The 3 of them can find plot holes and typos better than anyone! I can’t recommend anyone publish something without someone taking a look at it for typos and such. It’s too hard to find stuff like that in our own writing. And that’s even after going over and over and over it. I’m guessing I read TWICE IN A LIFETIME at least 20 times. I suggest doing a final read aloud. You’ll find things you missed before.
Amie: Tell me about the stumbling blocks.
Jenn: Well, this one went pretty easy. But I think the reason it did is because I admitted my limitations. I am not techy, so I hired out the formatting. For $15 a woman changed my Word .doc into the formats I needed for Amazon and Smashwords. She also gave me HTML and MOBI copies, but I didn’t use those. I’ve heard of people spending days agonizing over getting the formatting right and I just didn’t want to go through that. Best money I ever spent in my opinion.
Jenn: I say making the decision to hire out the formatting and the cover. If you put a lesser quality book out there – even if it’s .99 cents – you’re going to get horrible reviews.
Amie: Things you wished you’d done differently
Jenn: I made the decision to NOT overly pre-promo in case something went wrong. Since everything went smoothly, I wish I’d done more promotion, but it was a case of weighing the odds and I worried if the formatting didn’t look right or the sky started falling (LOL) I would have stuck my neck out at the wrong time. So I’m not sure I would do it differently because I am a cautious person when it comes to me handling technology. ;)
Well, I guess I’ve made y’all wait long enough. Here’s the blurb and excerpt for Twice in a Lifetime:
No-nonsense stuntwoman Isabella Douglas will do anything to stop an unwanted divorce and reclaim the happy life she had, even allow her old friend to concoct a magical spell to turn back time. But when the spell goes awry, Izzy finds herself trapped aboard a 1768 Caribbean pirate ship with a captain who’s a dead ringer for her sexy as sin husband, Ian. Convinced he’s playing a cruel joke, she’s furious – until she realizes he doesn’t know her or believe they’re married.
Captain Ian Douglas does not have time to deal with an insane woman who claims to be his wife; he has to save his kidnapped sister. But as Izzy haunts his dreams and fills him with erotic memories he can’t explain, he’s forced to admit he feels more than lust.
Trapped in a vicious cycle of past mirroring present, Izzy knows they only have days to find Ian’s sister and prevent disaster from striking a second time. If she doesn’t, their marriage will be destroyed again – along with the man she loves.
WOW! Twice in a Lifetime sounds FABULOUS!! Here’s more…
Her fingers threaded in his thick hair as she traced his mouth with the tip of her tongue. “Kiss me.”
He hesitated, then groaned and covered her lips in a breath stealing kiss. Hot, wet, silky. Her nipples hardened, ached for his touch, the tug of his fingers, the pull of his mouth.
“Touch me.” She pressed a kiss to his throat, then licked his collarbone. “I need your hands on me.”
He grunted and slid his hands down her back. Rough palms gripped her cheeks, grinding her against his erection. His gaze burned through her as he moved his thigh between her legs.
“Yes. Please.” She tilted her hips, rubbing, needing release more than air. “Oh, God, yes.” Desire roared through her, the ache building. Building. The orgasm so . . .damned. . .close.
A sharp knock sounded at the door. “Captain? The men are ready to go ashore.”
Ian pulled back and swallowed hard, his expression hungry, his heart thumping against her breast.
“Yes. Yes, I’ll be right there.” His heavy lidded gaze skimmed her body. Possessive. Aroused. Regretful as he set her aside.
Her mind crawled to process what was happening while her body was doused with disappointment. “You’re still going?”
He raked through his hair, then nodded. “We need provisions before sailing for Jamaica. I’ll only be a few hours.” He stepped to the door, but turned and pinned her with a hard stare. “But when I return . . .”
“Yes?” Her heart thumped in anticipation of some explicit description of what he would do to her. Oh, but his tongue was naughty in all the right ways.
“. . . I expect an explanation.”
Izzy drooped against the door, her thoughts racing even though her legs collapsed. This was going to be the shortest second chance in history.
Whew! Okay, Jenn (deep breath), back to business…
Amie: Where did the story idea come from/how did it come about?
Jenn: I had this idea of a stuntwoman sent back in time (I love time-travel historicals) and what fun it would be because she would be such a strong kick-ass heroine. So I built the story from that little seedling of an idea.
Amie: Your favorite character?
Jenn: Well, I always love my heroes J – but this time my favorite it Izzy, the heroine. And she’s probably the most like me than any heroine I’ve ever written.
Amie: And the most dreaded question of all—are you going to try your hand at self-publishing again?
Jenn: Definitely. I’m almost finished with a Christmas Free Read, then I’m going to work on another short story – an erotic western historical twist on a classic Fairy Tale.
Amie: Any words of advice for self-publishing hopefuls out there (like me)?
Jenn: My advice would be start researching now – ie: join a self-publishing loop or two. The advice there is priceless! I’m on the RWA Forum Self-pub loop and a couple of Yahoo Self or Indie loops. Oh, and follow blogs that talk about self-pubbing. A good one is Writer’s Guide to E Publishing.
About the Author
After trying several careers—everything from a beautician to a dump truck driver—Jennifer finally returned to her first love, writing. Maybe it was all those Clint Eastwood movies she watched growing up, but in her opinion there is no better read than a steamy western historical.
Married to her very own hero, she lives on fifteen acres along with two beautiful daughters, three spoiled cats, three hyper dogs and one fat rabbit.
During the summer she does Civil War re-enacting and has found it a great research tool, not to mention she has continued appreciation for her microwave and hot water heater.
Visit Jennifer Jakes at www.jenniferjakes.com
Thanks so much for being here, Jennifer! Pirates *and* time-travel…doesn’t get much better than that folks! Now I’m off to buy my copy of Twice in a Lifetime.
Thanks for stopping by! <3, Amie