Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The exciting, fantastic, terrifying road of self-publishing

Having found myself more seriously considering self-publishing as of late, I've taken a great interest in other self-published authors. Some seem to have had great success and great experiences and I'm so excited for them.

This time on my search through smashwords, I came across Butterfly Messages By Jamie Tingen.  I feel so lucky to have stumbled upon this read because so far it is my favourite self-published title.  I love the fact that the main character was an older lady and not the typical young blood I'm used to in most novels.  I love the subtle messages about enjoying life and living each day to the fullest without any regrets, that are scattered throughout the novel.  And best of all, I love the fact that this book brought me to tears a couple of times, because for me that's the sign of a really good writer, that's what makes a book a favourite on my list.

Cover for 'Butterfly Messages'

Did you seek agent representation before self publishing?
Yes, but they did very little to promote the book.  I was very disappointed.    I should have done more research on this agent.  My fault.
This was kind of shocking to me, but I suppose the same goes for anything in life, you have to be careful.  But perhaps this is another plus for self-publishing, you don't have to worry about ending up in this situation.

What made you decide to self publish?
I got my fair share of rejection slips.  It was becoming evident that self-publishing was gaining popularity. I like the idea of being in control of my destiny.

I agree, I like the idea of having control and not having to wait around for someone to tell you what's going to happen next with your book.
For me it seems like a bit of a daunting task, Did you have any difficulties? Or was it easier than one would think?
I knew absolutely nothing about the computer work that's involved, so I got some help. As it turns out the people who helped me were not that knowledgeable and I had several do-overs.  Very frustrating and time consuming. I  finally found some very competent people who got me back on track.
Have you done anything to promote your book?
I contacted our local paper and got some  publicity announcing the finalist awards.  I advertised the book for sale at Christmas, attended a festival, had several  signings, made bookmarks that I've left at various businesses, posted the book on  Smashwords, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble Nook.  I contacted classmates, friends, family, everybody that I personally knew.  I don't use  Facebook, Twitter,  Blogs, etc, but it's a great way to get exposure.  Also, I belong to the Fla. Writers Assoc. We meet once a month and have excellent speakers.  It's a great way to network and help each other.  Also I entered 3 book contests and was named a finalist in all 3.  They also spread the word. I'm sure I've done other marketing, but I can't remember everything I've done. 
It seems like she's on the right track for marketing, these are a lot of great ideas!

Would you take on an agent if they offered representation now?
That depends on the agent  and what they have to offer me.

Was this your first manuscript?
Yes.  I've written short stories, poems, etc.  In my youth I said I wanted to write a novel someday... and I did.

I'm glad she did!

How long did it take you to write it?
I'm not sure. I had free time at work so I wrote it in long hand, then typed it at home. 
I did the same thing with my novel, I'm so glad I did too after all the computer issues I've had/been having.  It might take longer but at least you have a hard copy of your work to hold onto.

Did you have it professionally edited?
It was edited by a couple of people who overlooked some errors.  I found a lady (30 yr. (journalist) with impressive credentials. She did the final edit so it should be perfect!! 
Get the best!!!! This is very important!!  Also the best when you're doing the cover!!

How many different critique partners did you have?
Only the people who edited initially. In retrospect... maybe not the best.
In my opinion, this worked out because I enjoyed the book immensely.

After reading your book, this seems like a bit of a funny question to ask, what with your recurring theme of living in the moment and having no regrets, but... If you could change the way things have gone with your writing career, is there anything you would change?
I wish I had written the  book sooner, but I don't dwell on that. That's in the past.  Life is uncertain, so, like a butterfly, savor the sweet nectar of the moment

I personally believe that life experiences help us along our journey as writers, so perhaps if she had written it sooner it would have worked out differently, everything happens as and when it should.

I've searched and haven't found any other books by you, do you have any out yet or are they still in the works?
I'm thinking about a sequel to Butterfly Messages where the mother and daughter get together.  I've written a few pages...still trying to decide.
I enjoyed Butterfly Messages so much, I would pick up the new book when it gets written!

Butterfly Messages was a wonderful book, what made you decide to give it away for free?
To snag readers and hopefully get a nice review from people like you.
:) I would have paid for this book willingly, I would love to have a copy for my bookshelves (not just my virtual ones).

Butterfly Messages was a wonderful book and in my opinion, Jamie Tingen is an excellent writer.  I loved the book and didn't want to put it down.  I hope you'll take a look and love it as much as I do.  Wishing a fabulous author the greatest success on her writing journey!




  1. Great interview and review. I am definitely going to have to find this book!

    1. Thanks :), I hope you do read it and love it as much as I did.