Today on The YA Shelf, we have as a guest award winning author Katie French. Hi, Katie. I hope all is well in your publishing side of the world.
Let’s start by learning a bit about you…
First, thanks for having me, Ingrid. I’m happy to be here. I love all things young adult. I’m a high school English teacher by day, so I enjoy working with teens and reading and discussing great books with them. Later, I write young adult novels, which has been my passion for about eight years. I also read heavily in that genre. My husband thinks I’ve never grown up, which is fine by me. I have two kids, 8 and 6, who are the loves of my life, and we are adopting another little boy who is 5. I describe my life as busy doing all the best things: work, kids, pets, writing, and my husband fits in there somewhere, too.
I “met” (we’ve only had contact online) Katie through a shared experience with a writing workshop we attended in New York city several years back. At the time, Katie was trying to find an agent and a publisher for her book THE BREEDERS but, ultimately, made the decision to self-publish the book instead and it proved to be an excellent path. Could you share with us what made you decide to take on self-publishing?
I guess I took the leap to self publish because I was drinking the Joe Konrath Koolaid at the time. For anyone who doesn’t know, Joe Konrath has been a huge supporter of indie fiction for a decade. I started reading his blog and seeing the money he was making and the readership he was gathering, and realized going it alone was an option. I’m highly independent, so having control of every aspect of publishing was appealing. Also, the dystopia boom seemed to be on a downswing just as I was fishing for publisher. I knew my story was good, and I wanted to send it into the world. So I pushed The Breeders out of the nest and haven’t looked back since.
Tell our dystopian-eager audience about your series
The Breeders series is a gritty, action-adventure, dystopian romance, with western flavor. It’s main character, Sixteen-year-old Riley Meemick, is one of the world’s last free girls. When Riley was born, her mother escaped the Breeders, the group of doctors using cruel experiments to bolster the dwindling human race. Her parents do everything possible to keep her from their clutches– moving from one desolate farm after another to escape the Breeders’ long reach. The Breeders control everything- the local war lords, the remaining factories, the fuel. They have unchecked power in this lawless society. And they’re hunting Riley.
What are the biggest factors that have contribute to your book’s online sales and success?
The only way you can make it as an indie author is to dedicate yourself to working really hard. I have to do many different jobs as the owner of a small business. I am writer, publisher, and marketer. I have to do at least two of those jobs everyday if I am going to sell books and keep people interested. I treat my writing as a business. When I’m writing, I tell my family that I am working. This isn’t just a hobby anymore. Switching my mindset into business mode helps me make choices that will benefit me long term.
For you, what have been the best, most effective marketing campaigns?
I have tried SO many types of marketing. I actually did a series on it on my blog for anyone interested. To make a long story short, one of the best things you can do is write a series and make the first book free. Another great strategy is to build your mailing list by offering a free book when they sign up. I offer my paranormal romance for free to anyone who jumps on the French Bandwagon. And then I try to keep my fans engaged by sending out newsletter every month with freebies and giveaways. Also, writing more books. Nothing sells back list titles better than a new book.
Would you consider taking a traditional contract? If yes, under what circumstances.
I’ve thought this over and it would be so hard for me to jump back into a traditional contract. The terms would have to be good, (perhaps a print book only deal like Hugh Howey got) and there could be no non-compete clause. I want to be able to release books on my own whenever I want. I do think being a hybrid author pays the most, but traditional contracts seem to be getting worse, not better. Hopefully, publisher will take the hint and start offering authors some benefits for signing over. We do most of the work after all!
Katie, thanks for visiting. It was a pleasure!
Thanks for having me!