Wednesday, February 19, 2014

One Successful Author Shares Why She Decided to Try Self-Publishing

Today I'm excited to introduce you to one of my critique partners, Jessica Keller Koschnitzky. Beyond being an incredible writer, she's also willing to step out of her comfort zone to follow the stories God has laid on her heart. I think we'll be seeing more and more writers taking the path she and others like her are blazing. 

Her first self-published book, Saving Yesterday, debuted yesterday. I've already had the opportunity to read it and I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. 

Why I Went Indie as an Author
by Jess Keller

"I love every aspect of this industry."
After writing more than one hundred magazine and newspaper articles, having short stories published in multiple anthologies, celebrating a debut novel release, and signing another three book contract with my publisher—I can honestly say I love every aspect of this industry. I love writing proposals. I love getting feedback as ideas go to pub board. And I love the process of polishing a book with an editor.

And yet today I’m launching my first of many planned indie books.

While I enjoy the trade industry and have found a niche within it, that niche doesn’t line up with all the story ideas God has placed in my heart. My trade books are all sweet contemporary romances, but I’ve always been most passionate about working with and writing for young adults.

"What would people think when I chose to go indie?"
Like many, I was skeptical about books published in the indie world. What measures if they are good or not? Can’t just anyone toss their stuff online? Doesn’t that cheapen the value of books? But most of all I wondered what people would think of me if I “went indie.” I know many trade published authors that don’t think highly of indies. Would making the move jeopardize all the years of work I’d put into gaining a standing in the industry? 

Would people still take me seriously as an author?

It’s a lot to process, but through a series of circumstances it became very clear to me that God was leading me to indie publish my young adult novels. I just had to decide I was brave enough to take that step. After that, I had to let go of the worry I’d been holding on to. Will some people think I’ve jumped the proverbial shark? Probably. But I’m secure in the truth that I’m following God in this.

Has God called you to take a step
in your writing career that scares you?
That’s what it comes down to a lot in many parts of life. The more I dig into the Bible, the more I see that when God places a calling on someone that calling isn’t going to be all roses and cheers. Look at all the patriarchs. Not one had an easy time of it. Many probably even though their choices were crazy at the time (I can only imagine the gossip between Noah’s neighbors as he started building that boat). In the same way, we shouldn’t ever expect an easy time just because we’re doing what God’s asked.

Has God called you to take a step in your writing career that scares you? To build a boat that others can see? Perhaps it’s to send the proposal to that agent that terrifies you a little bit. Or maybe enter a large writing contest. Have you been holding out on signing up for a conference because you don’t think you’re a real author yet?  Whatever it is, I challenge you to take that scary step.

Remember, when the rains came it was the man listening to God (and looking silly in the process) that rode the waves safely.

Dream big.


Her blood holds secrets she never knew existed.

Despite the fact that she acts as a parent to her alcoholic father, Gabby Creed feels pretty normal. But her life is turned upside-down on her seventeenth birthday when a bracelet appears on her wrist and sucks her back through time. 

Turns out she’s not even a little bit normal. She’s a Shifter—a protector of humans and of history itself. And she’s not alone. The other Shifters believe Gabby is special, even more special than the mysterious Michael Pace. Oh, and the Shades—seriously creepy creatures who feed off of human despair—are determined to capture her.

It’s all a lot to absorb. So Gabby’s grateful to have Michael as her Trainer—or she would be if she could get her rebellious heart under control. Then again, if the rumors about her blood are true, saving yesterday will be the least of her worries.

Jessica Keller holds degrees in both Communications and Biblical Studies. She is multi-published in both Young Adult Fiction and Romance. 

You can find her at www.JessicaKellerBooks.com, on Twitter @AuthorKeller, or on her Facebook author page (www.facebook.com/jessicakellerauthor). 


TWEETABLES
Has God called you to something scary in your writing career? Jessica Keller @AuthorKeller offers encouragement. (Click to Tweet)

29 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this. Great encouragement at just the right time. (Thank you, Lord.) God called me to write a book that the Christian publishing industry wouldn't touch... "The Christian Prenuptial Agreement: The Power of Marriage Unleashed." So it's about to come out. But it's almost as if it has been a burden so clearly placed on my heart by God. And He has amazingly provided everything for the book at just the right time. It will be out in 2 weeks. It is the only book of its kind. It is solidly biblical. I have a waiting list for it to come out. It's been an investment, and for whatever God has in mind, to Him be the glory!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How exciting Patricia! It's a strange mix of confidence and fear when we know we're folowing what God wants. I pray your book blesses many and wish you luck (and sleep!) with your launch.

      Delete
  2. Thank you for sharing this honest to goodness truth: You must move in the power and direction of you God. I've been called to write. It's been a long road filled with bumps, rocks and holes, but I've learned from the Master. I have just sent out my first book proposal based on my blog: Whispered Words of Wisdom captured from a yielded heart. I'm waiting - in the waiting I'm not alone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true Chris! And a great reminder that as we wait we hold hands with God--we are never alone in this process.

      Delete
  3. Enjoyed this post, Jessica. I'm so glad authors have other ways to get those messages/genres out that God has placed on their hearts. BTW your cover is SMACKDOWN gorgeous! All the best to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Heather! I'm kind of in love with the cover - I have print editions at home and I just stared at it smiling last night ;)

      Delete
  4. Congratulations, Jessica! It's exciting to see you followung God's lead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You too, Christina! So excited for your book to release :)

      Delete
  5. You can't go wrong following God : ) Congratulations Jessica. I love the freedom of Indie Publishing. And I thank the Lord for providing this avenue for so many Christians to get His stories and message out to the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Freedom. Yes. You hit the nail on the head! The freedom in Indie is both a blessing and a huge responsibility.

      Delete
  6. Blessings to you on this exciting journey! I've learned to listen to God's call too and I don't regret it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Jill! Keep pressing on :)

      Delete
  7. A great encouragement. There is a stigma associated with the self-publishing author that he or she just couldn't hack it in the "real" publishing world. Clearly, this is not the case for you, and countless others! I'm planning to self-publish predominantly because I don't feel God wants my story waiting another two years to be out there. Two years to write, two years to publish. No, no! But I do still struggle with that stigma. Thanks so much for addressing the issue!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And the stigma remains - some of it for good cause. But I'd rather put the worth of a book in the hands of a reader any day. I actually wrote a blog post addressing that at the end of last year - http://wp.me/p1MsTY-tN

      I wish you success in your endevors! "Going indie" can be a lonely road at times, but it doesn't have to be. There are many authors willing to offer advice and help along the way.

      Delete
  8. Jessica, thank you for your encouraging post! It has come at just the right time for me (as it appears it has for others as well). I've felt God was telling me my path is different than anyone else's in this writing journey, and your post confirmed it for me. Thank you for helping me to push aside the doubts the enemy whispers and press on to achieve the goal God has called me to, knowing that God doesn't promise an easy road, but a road less traveled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it great? There is never a "not good enough" with Christ. If we hear that whispered, we can be certain it's not from Him.

      Delete
  9. Thank you for an inspiring and sincere post! I feel like God is calling me to the traditional route, and I am far from ready to give up. :) Your book sounds awesome, not to mention the cover is fantastic! I'm sure you'll do wonderful in the publishing route God has called you to. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The trade route is an awesome one - don't ever give up that dream! There's nothing like seeing your book in a store. Like I said, I love every side and aspect of this industry. Some see a need to "take sides" in trade/indie - I don't. I think both have value and both make sense for different reasons and different people and different seasons. Blessings in your journey!

      Delete
  10. Yes! Up to now I've written mystery and suspense. I'm to the point where I feel that the mystery I'm marketing now or the next one I write will be published. So, naturally, I switch genres. Even worse, I'm writing dystopian, which I've been told by an agent is dead (again). But I feel that's where God is leading me. Through dystopian I can show the results of man's turning from God in a much clearer way (for me, anyway). The good news, of course, is that I can write more than one genre in this new age of publishing. All I can do, though, is follow the Spirit and see where He leads me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES! That is the thing that gets me really excited about the industry right now - the ability to expand your writing "brand." For so long author's have had to write along one very specific line/genre/brand - and this makes a lot of sense in the old model of the publishing industry.

      Don't get me wrong, I love my trade publishing house and they are MASTERFUL at marketing me and to do that they need me to write a very specific brand.

      My issue was that I felt torn because as much as I love the type of story I was writing (and still write - I have more books coming out with them) there was a deep longing to write very different types of books for teens. I work with teens and our home is the church-teen-hang-out (seriously...these teen boys drink straight from my milk carton...someone make them stop!) :) And God's given me a heart for them and stories for them. I couldn't say no to that.

      I'm excited for your dystopians - I don't think the genre is dead AT ALL. With the changing landscape of the entertainment industry movie deals have help the publishing world because genre high times are longer now. The first Divergent movie just comes out this year and will have 2-3 more over the next 3-4 years. Hunger Games still has two more movies coming out. Each time one of these movies comes out it lengthens the draw with teens for those genres. I get from a business stand point why publishers can't keep putting out more of them, but don't take that to mean that the reader's desire is gone.

      Just my two cents...or four cents...sorry, that was long.

      Delete
  11. A wonderful post at just the right time. Thank you for sharing your journey. Love the cover of Saving Yesterday.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ah, friends. This post makes me so happy to know you both! Thanks for championing both sides of the publishing industry. Let's all walk forward into the scary unknown God's calling us to, whatever that may be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! We should ALL champion Truth getting out into the world - no matter what journey it takes to get into people's hands.

      Delete
  13. This is a great post. Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congrats, Jess. This looks like a fantastic book! Can I ask who did your cover?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eeep! Susie read my post *blushing here* I love you (but you knew that)! The amazing Steven Novak of http://novakillustration.com did my cover. He's fantastic to work with and I can't wait to see what he creates for the other projects I'm working on.

      Delete
  15. Thanks for the great post. It is good to hear a (good) story from the other side of the fence :) The beginning of your story is very similar to mine, and I've finally begun submitting a book to publishers. I hope to follow in your footsteps regarding publication, but can't believe I'll ever come to the point where I "love writing book proposals." That would truly take a miracle.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Okay...its not letting me reply under the last couple people's messages so trying here:

    Charity - Exactly! I'm of a mind that we should champion for truth getting into people's hands no matter the way it got there.

    Angie - You're welcome - and journey is the right word! We just never "get there" - its always a process.

    Susie - Eeep! Susie read my post *blushing here* I love you (but you knew that)! The amazing Steven Novak of http://novakillustration.com did my cover. He's fantastic to work with and I can't wait to see what he creates for the other projects I'm working on.

    Delores - LOL! Should I pray for a love-of-proposal miracle for you? ;) Instead, I'll pray that your proposal finds favor as it goes out to publishers. Keep us updated.

    ReplyDelete