Lisa Becker on Self-publishing

By now y’all know how OBSESSED with self-publication I’ve become. It’s a sickness really, but self-pubbing’s a fast growing trend in the world of books and I want to know all I can about it!

This summer, I was privileged to have Lisa Becker come onto my blog as a part of her book tour with Chicklit Plus. You can probably thank Lisa for the start of my obsession. Here was a book that was well-written, had a fabulous cover, and was published by the author. I was more than intrigued. So I asked Lisa if she would come back on the blog and talk about her self-publishing experience. And she said yes! So, here she is again…Lisa Becker, author of Click: An Online Love Story.

Amie: When did you decide to take the self-pub plunge?

Lisa: I explored the traditional publishing route and got feedback from multiple literary agents. One in particular explained the current economic state of the publishing industry to me. Due to the large investment to edit, produce, distribute and market a work by an unknown author, many large publishers won’t take the risk. Self-publishing is a way to get your work out there and was very easy. The hardest part is marketing the book and spreading the word about it. So, I’m especially appreciative to blogs like yours for helping me with that process.

I’m also reminded of some advice I was once given. I had interviewed Charles Rosen, one of the producers of the original Beverly Hills 90210, for an alumni magazine article while I was in graduate school. And I’ll never forget what he told me, “Don’t fall in love with your words, because somebody above will probably change them.” One of the great benefits of self-publishing is that you can really take control of the process.

Amie: As an author I can tell you first hand, it’s very hard not to love your words. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have put them down, right?

 So, is your book available in print as well as in e-formats?

Lisa: Click: An Online Love Story is available in both print and digital formats. Hard copies can be purchased on Amazon or directly through this link at Create Space: https://www.createspace.com/3565336. E-books are available for/at Kindle, Nook, iTunes bookstore and select other online retailers. (see below for the links)

Amie: How did you find the printer? To me that seems like the greatest challenge of all.

Lisa: I choose to self publish the print version through Create Space, which is a sister company to Amazon. They make it very easy to upload, edit and produce the books. Plus, the books are printed on demand, so there is little investment from the author to get the book out there.

Amie: You know what they say is totally not true–we all judge books by their cover. Tell me about the art work. Who did the cover? And how much of a hand did you have in determining the final look?

Lisa: I used the cover design service through Create Space. I gave them a general idea of what I was looking for. I wanted a simple yet compelling cover that conveyed how this story was about love found online. A single image of a keyboard, computer mouse or similar was needed. I was able to provide feedback to the designer and have edits made. There is a limited number of edits allowed without incurring additional costs, which is something to consider if going through route.

Amie: And now for the dreaded edits…who did your edits and how many reads did you have before you said, “it’s time.”?

Lisa: I am extremely fortunate to have a dear and talented friend who is a writer and editor herself. She’s written and edited several non-fiction books, in addition to having a background in public relations and marketing. She kindly offered to serve as my editor. And, she would only let me pay her in spa services. So, we had a great time celebrating with massages, wraps and facials once the book went the print.

Sounds like my kind of editor (wink)

We went through three or four rounds of edits before deciding it was, as you put it, “time.” Looking through the book now, I’ve found a few minor edits that didn’t get caught before going to print. But, overall, happy with the result.

Amie: Those little mistakes are there whether you have the best team in New York or your best friend from down the street. We’re human after all! Tell me about—stumbling blocks, successes, and/or things you wished you’d done differently.

Lisa: Honestly, I have few regrets about the book. Self publishing was an easy process and a way to fulfill a childhood dream to write a book one day. It was much harder to write the book than to publish it.

Once I committed to a story and an all-email format, the hardest part was keeping the timeline and email exchanges organized. Sometimes, I would have to look back a few pages earlier to make sure I had cc’d or bcc’d the right people on an email and that the subject lines were consistent. In some cases, there were replies to forwards to replies. Keeping it all straight was a challenge, but essential to the narrative I wanted to use to tell this story.

The biggest challenge with self publishing is taking on the role of publicist and marketer. You really need to spend time cultivating relationships with reviewers, bloggers and fans, as well as reaching out to generate interest in reviews or blog posts. While there are companies and individuals out there you can hire to support your publication in that way, I chose to undertake that on my own. I’m grateful for all of the support and encouragement I’ve received along the way.

Amie: Amen to that. Marketing is a never-ending task. Now, for the fun stuff! Tell us about your book.

Lisa: Click: An Online Love Story follows Renee Greene, who is fast approaching her 30th birthday and finding herself not married, not dating, and without even a prospect or a house full of cats. She reluctantly joins her best guy pal on a journey to find love online in Los Angeles. The story unfolds through a series of emails between Renee and her best friends (anal-compulsive Mark, the overly-judgmental Ashley and the over-sexed Shelley) as well as the gentlemen suitors she meets online. From the guy who starts every story with “My buddies and I were out drinking one night,” to the egotistical B celebrity looking for someone to stroke his ego, Renee endures her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates. Fraught with BCC’s, FWD’s and inadvertent Reply to All’s, readers will root for Renee to “click” with the right man.

Amie: Where did the story idea come from/how did it come about?

Lisa: My husband and I met online on a popular dating website. After we married, I was recalling some of the hilarious experiences that I had with both traditional and online dating. I decided to capture some of them in writing and from there, a novel emerged. Click is loosely based on my real-life dating experiences, as well as stories friends have shared with me. In some cases, things are written as they actually occurred. Other scenarios are exaggerated for entertainment value or comedic affect. And some scenarios are completely fictionalized. I really did go out on a date with someone I met online who started every story (no joke!) with “My buddies and I were out drinking last night.” The ultimate goal was to create a fun read for anyone who has ever had a bad date, been in love, been dumped, or is searching for “the one.” But, the happy ending is real. Steve and I have been happily married for eight years and have two amazing daughters – ages 6 and 4.

Amie: That’s an amazing story, Lisa! Not many can say they’ve had a successful online relationship. Kudos to the two (four) of you. What’s the one thing you want the reader to walk away with after reading this book.

Lisa: I’ve said many times before, if it happened for me, there’s hope for you. And, as my grandmother used to say, for every chair, there’s a tush. Love is out there; just be patient. And concentrate on being a complete, happy and fulfilled person on your own. When you are happy and secure in your own life, you will be much more attractive to someone else.

Amie: Who’s your favorite character in Click?

Lisa: I think I most identify with Renee, but my favorite character is Shelley. She’s confident, brash, outrageous and wholly unapologetic for her choices. She was so fun to write. Her hilarious habit of giving nicknames to her “man du jour” was inspired by a childhood friend of mine who had a nickname for a guy in college that she admired from across the dorm cafeteria. She called him Maverick because he looked like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Much like Shelley, she is a self-confident, gorgeous, lovely gal and it wasn’t long before they met and dated for a spell.

In my opinion, there’s nothing like having a group of close friends who can support you when things get tough, laugh with you when things get ridiculous, console you when you’re down, and cajole you into doing things that they can see are good for you, but you are reluctant to embrace. Everyone could use a friend like Shelley and if I had to hang out with one of the characters, it would definitely be her.

Amie: Most often the secondary characters end up as my favorite as well. I loved Mark. I aspire to be that organized! :) And the most dreaded question of all—are you going to try your hand at self-publishing again?

Lisa: Since Click was published, I’ve been asked numerous times when the sequel is coming out. I’m thrilled people are feeling invested in the characters and want to know more. With each positive review and reader comment on the Facebook fan site, I’ve gotten more and more motivated to continue writing. So, I have started working on a sequel, Double Click that picks up six months later. It’s about 80% complete. I hope people will be excited to see where Renee and her friends are in their lives.

I’m hoping to leverage the success of Click to secure a publisher to reissue the book and publish the sequel. I’m in the process of pursuing that now. If no interest surfaces, I will self publish again.

Amie: I know I’m ready for the sequel! But first, a little more about Click: An Online Love Story.

Lisa: I think Click will be a fun read for anyone who has ever had a bad date, been in love, been dumped, or is searching for “the one.” I really hope you enjoy it.

Thank you for coming back to blog with me about your self-publishing experience, Lisa. Be sure to keep us updated on the release of Double Click. And many, many sales to you!

For the readers out there who haven’t read Click: An Online Love Story here’s how to get a copy for your very own–

To purchase a hard copy of Click, visit Amazon or https://www.createspace.com/3565336

To purchase an ebook version, visit Amazon, Barnes&Noble.com or iTunes bookstore

To join the Facebook fan page, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Click-An-Online-Love-Story/187909591250641

Or, you can pop over to amiesreviews and leave a comment for your chance to win an e-copy this month! Thanks for stopping by!

Lots of <3, Amie

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