IndieView with Chris DiCroce, author of Burning Man

I set out to write a great story. That was the goal. I didn’t think about a genre or a demographic. That would have been constraining. For me, trying to sculpt something for a specific audience before knowing what the piece was going to be would be disaster.

Chris DiCroce – 5 August 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Shannon Mullen, author of See What Flowers

After finishing the first draft, I realized that the writing was more emotional, more honest, and more impactful when I put more of myself into it. So during the editing, I added bits of personal experience to add depth and emotion to the characters. 

Shannon Mullen – 3 August 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with M.N. Mekaelian, author of Choose to Rise

People watching is a great way to create unique and memorable characters, but remember to write down your observations so you don’t forget. 

M.N. Mekaelian – 1 August 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with E.A. Barker, author of Ms Creant: The Wrong Doers!: Life with Women: The Long Awaited Instruction Manual

I had found some peace when a smart woman came along who just could not see how her behavior was completely driven by what Freud called id―her base urges. 

E.A. Barker – 29 July 2017

The Back Flap

This book was created for everyone from young adults to seniors. It was written from a male’s point of view, speaking to men who are endlessly struggling to understand the opposite sex. For women, this is a fascinating journey inside the male psyche. The book gives a young reader a glimpse of the future, with a recommended timeline for key life events. Mature readers, who have already experienced much of what is discussed in the book, should come away with a new found understanding and perhaps even closure. Ms. Creant is a controversial, entertaining, yet informative look at everything which influences human behaviour including: relationships, life, health, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, politics, genetics—even physics. E. A. Barker shares twenty-four “inappropriate” stories of life with women. The author based these stories of women behaving badly on his real life experiences, spanning four decades of his search for an ideal partner. The lessons taken away from the book will serve to help readers make better choices, become more aware, grow and change—at any stage of life.

About the book

What is the book about?

Ms. Creant is a guide to the things we are not taught but need to know. It is a book about our journey through life and how we must seek awareness or be doomed by repetitive behavioral patterns. It is centered on relationships as there is no better place to learn about ourselves than through our interactions with others.

When did you start writing the book?

I began researching and making notes in 2009.

How long did it take you to write it?

The short answer is two years spread over a seven year span―one year of research and one year of writing―omitting the seven months it took to produce and distribute the book. I always struggle to answer this question because Ms. Creant kept evolving. It began as a simple memoir to benefit my coming of age nephews. Then the research was added, but I did not want the book to read like a textbook so I began adding all the politically incorrect humor to lighten things up a bit. It was at this point that I just wanted to publish it as an eight chapter e-book and call it a day, but it was not to be. My alpha reader said she wanted more. Ms. Creant 24 popped into my life and she also encouraged me to make the book everything it could be. I pulled some related ideas from the early chapters and wrote two more chapters to fully develop those thoughts. I sent what I thought was a pretty good manuscript off to a professional editor and later, while sifting through the thousands of errors, I thought up yet another new ending that I really liked. Chapter eleven represented the third and final time I would write The End.

Where did you get the idea from?

Without creating any spoilers, I had found some peace when a smart woman came along who just could not see how her behavior was completely driven by what Freud called id―her base urges. She was an emotional mess, but instead of learning about herself, she used her vulnerability to wreak havoc on the local male population.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

I struggled with my inability to see my own mistakes. I must have read Ms. Creant twenty times prior to sending it to my editor, but what came back shook my confidence. I hired a proofreader once I had completed all the revisions and she found things I was incapable of seeing. It mystifies me how I cannot see a missing word or period in my own work.

What came easily?

I am one of the fortunate ones; I do not suffer from writer’s block. Words just pour out of me onto the page, so much so at times that I need to keep a pad nearby so I can keep up.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

I definitely borrowed.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

I am quite sure I have been influenced by other writers, but I really cannot say who, how, or to what extent.

Do you have a target reader?

I tried very hard to write a book for every mature guy on the planet as well as all the open-minded women of the world who are not easily offended. Truth is sometimes a hard pill to swallow.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I write with the idea that everything needs a beginning, a middle and an ending; whether it is a sentence, a paragraph (blurb), a chapter (blog) or a book. Sometimes you need fresh eyes to make a piece better so I write first and sort it the next day. When I speak of sorting, I am talking about content editing where we ask questions like: Is this necessary? Is this tangential? Is this redundant? Does this belong here or would it be better somewhere else? Does this thought need to be fleshed out?

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just write chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

In the early going, I did produce a VERY flexible outline mostly so I could begin to associate my narrative with the research and the related stories (case studies). It was a way of filing which ultimately led to the creation of chapters.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

I try to edit as I go, but my editor, who I picture in my head as Ilsa of the SS, probably would not believe it. I do tend to write first and then proofread the section I wrote.

Did you hire a professional editor?

Yes. She came highly recommended, but I could only afford a single pass so all the final revisions were on the shoulders of my proofreader. I believe she did a great job of keeping me from looking like a moron.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

No. I need quiet to hear the voices in my head.   😀

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

I naively chased some fifty agents and publishers with a less than perfect pitch from a first time author lacking credentials and a writing platform. I had no chance.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher?

I have O.C.D. (Obsessive COMPLETION Disorder) I wanted to complete what I had begun and there are days where I question my decision.

Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I suppose it is a gradual process. You reach a point where you are getting nowhere with traditional publishing, yet you are heavily invested in terms of your time. It seems a shame to shelve your hard work and, in my case at least, your ego kicks in and says, I’LL SHOW THEM! I’ll self-publish and sell a million copies. I’ll have them all begging at my doorstep, and I won’t return their calls, just like J.K. Rowling. (Still more evidence of my naiveté.)

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

A little of both; I took the photo, created a mockup, and had my publisher produce the cover I wanted. To their credit, it was their idea to reverse the photo to create the back cover.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

“. . .  of mice and men.”

Oh, there was a plan―a real world comprehensive marketing strategy that would have put 100 copies of the book in the hands of mainstream media reviewers around the globe. There was to be advertising in magazines in support of the book’s launch, promotional items, and books submitted to legitimate awards competitions, but everything hinged on a budget that did not materialize. This left me to do the best I could with what I had and plunged me into the low yield on-line book marketing arena.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?




All kidding aside, here is my TOP 12 THINGS I WISH I KNEW before going on this ride:

1) YOU ARE IN BUSINESS. Businesses have costs whether measured in time, money or productivity. The best business advice I ever received was: “Leave your ego at home.”

2) AGENTS AND MAJOR PUBLISHERS are part of a small tight-knit traditional publishing community that only bet on sure things, and they have installed a great many roadblocks to keep indie books out of their playground. Don’t waste your time, envelopes or stamps on them.

3) YOU MUST NOT HAVE ANY ILLUSIONS about success being about the work. I was told by a publishing industry veteran that no one would publish War and Peace in today’s market.

4) DO NOT EXPECT TO BE A BREAKOUT AUTHOR; the odds are literally one in a million. If you always wanted to publish a book, you have the money to put out a quality product, with still more money to market it effectively, then you have a chance to recoup your costs and buy a pizza or two when all is said and done.

5) SPEAKING OF MONEY . . . everybody will be after yours once word gets out that there is a new fish in the pond. BE REALLY CAREFUL and research these people thoroughly. One stop self-publishing companies, editors, formatters, cover designers, PA’s, publicists, book fair promoters, twitter marketers, web developers, pay to review sites, pen and coffee cup peddlers, pay for awards sites, and associations looking for membership fees will inundate your in-boxes. Most of the so-called “industry experts” (consultants) are failed authors who have taken what they have learned and made a career of helping newbies fail as they did.

6) SOCIAL MEDIA is a horrible investment of your time.  You will make some friends and garner the attention of some bloggers and reviewers which will help you to rationalize why you do it, but only 1% of social media followers become book buyers. Do a little but don’t get sucked into believing that ads or campaigns will sell more books. They don’t.

7) INTERNET MARKETING does have value. E-mail campaigns give you a much better return on investment. My statistics show a 10% return to be typical, and this interview resulted from an e-mail campaign.

8) Do not send out unprotected digital ADVANCE READER COPIES or you will one day wake up to find your book on a pirate site.

9) Many REVIEWERS want an ARC or galley three months prior to the release of the book. Some reviewers will only look at books that are less than six months old. Others will only review books in print. At most you have one year to get a mainstream review. Many mainstream publications will not review indie releases. Some mainstream publications will not review foreign releases.

10) Most MAINSTREAM LITERARY AWARDS will not consider indie releases because they did not go through an editorial selection process.

11) If you publish using AN AMAZONIAN COMPANY to produce your POD books, it is doubtful you will ever make a sale in a brick and mortar bookstore. I begged two bookstores to order a friend’s book for me but they refused. They would rather pass on a sale than support the entity that is crushing them. The hostility level is that high.

12) DO NOT BELIEVE UNQUALIFIED ALPHA READERS! They are friends, fans or relations who will say you are as good as Hemmingway without ever having read his work. They encourage us but we must not allow our egos to be blown up by anything less than a real review in a mainstream publication.

(Proposed new question:) Would you do it again?

Not unless the costs, measured in both time and money, are recouped. I can now put AUTHOR on my resume and venture out into the world to see where that title takes me. This is a tough business and there is little about it I would miss.

(Proposed new question:) What are the positives?

There are some great people you would never have known were it not for this crazy adventure. Reviews are really a highlight. You hear there is a new one and you begin to rock back and forth sitting in the corner clutching your knees as someone reads it to you.   😀

About You

What would you like readers to know about you?

I’m just a boy―standing in front of a bookstore―asking them to love me.   😀

What are you working on now?

I’m trying desperately to maintain some semblance of sanity for another four months until I reach the finish line.   😀

End of Interview:

For more from E.A. Barker visit his website, follow him on Twitter or like his Facebook page.

Get your copy of Ms Creatn: The Wrong Doers!: Life with Women: The Long Awaited Instruction Manual from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

IndieView with Angie Flores, author of Cub’s Wish

Cub’s Wish came easy because of all the conversations we had as a family, and we knew in spite of not having or affording material possessions, ultimately, we were happy.

Angie Flores – 27 July 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Max Everhart, author of All the Different Ways Love Can Feel

The word “struggled” has a negative connotation. I don’t think of writing as a struggle because, while time-consuming and labor-intensive, it is something I genuinely enjoy. I’m not in the Dorothy Parker camp who said, “I hate writing. I love having written.” 

Max Everhart – 25 July 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Cameron Solnordal, author of The Tears of Regret


The first draft was great because a lot of it took into account simply writing what I felt. Once that had been done I then had to go back and really understand my relationship to those feelings. That’s where the structure really began to build.

Cameron Solnordal – 22 July 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Evonda Michelle, author of Betrayal

I feel that almost everyone can identify with my characters either personally or vicariously because of a friend, family member or an associate. My target audiences are women (in general) with low self-esteem, teens, families of abuse and neglect, blended families and the like. 

Evonda Michelle – 20 July 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Crystal Hope Reed, author of How to Live with a Psychic

I like telling people what to do so the advice giving came really easily. Maybe more easily than I should admit.

Crystal Hope Reed – 18 July 2017

The Back Flap

The emergence of psychic or healing abilities in one partner often causes anxiety, stress, or confusion for the other. How to Live with a Psychic teaches you not only how to survive this shift but how to thrive and strengthen your relationship when your life has detoured down this unfamiliar path.

Crystal has already figured out what works and what doesn’t. Follow her practical advice, designed to help you take command of your situation and achieve the best possible results for your unique circumstances.

About the book

What is the book about?

More and more people are experiencing a psychic awakening. This can take the form of clairvoyance, mediumship, healing, precognitive dreams, communicating with animals, or lots of other phenomena, like just knowing things and not being able to explain how you know them.  When this is happening to someone it may change their behavior and worldview and it’s often difficult for their partner to cope. Maybe it conflicts with established belief systems or upsets their equilibrium as a couple.  There are so many possibilities.

This book, the only one currently on the market addressing this particular issue, is written for the partner of the emerging psychic. I walk people through every aspect of the scenario and teach them how to manage their partner’s instability, when applicable, as well as their own discomfort and confusion. I give information about how psychics experience the world differently than most other people and thorough explanations about psychic phenomena in general.  The book also contains lots of relationship advice that can benefit anyone, even if they’re not living with a psychic.

There’s a chapter on how to tell the difference between psychosis and psychic ability, and another that is just firsthand accounts from developing psychics, where they explain what they wish their families and partners had done to support them. It’s really quite comprehensive and at the same time, to the point. Practical. Concrete. And hopefully not too serious even though it’s a serious subject.

When did you start writing the book?

I wrote about 40 pages in July of 2014 and then set it down for about a year and a half. During that time I felt as if I was actively “in the process of writing a book” but honestly, I didn’t do anything but think about it.

How long did it take you to write it?

Once I started writing again, it took much longer than I expected. In early 2016 I thought I could get it out during the summer. Then I set a “firm” deadline for myself for Thanksgiving weekend. Around the turn of 2017 I was polishing yet another draft, creating the cover, etc.  At some point after Thanksgiving I had finally given in to the idea that this process has a life of its own and that helped me relax and focus on doing the work instead of wasting my energy being upset about missing my self-imposed deadlines.

Where did you get the idea from?

You know how they say, “Write what you know”? That pretty much sums this book up. It’s based on my experience of having to figure out how to support my husband through the early, tumultuous phase of his explosion of psychic ability, combined with my counseling background and my own resulting fascination with the paranormal and metaphysics.

I was quite surprised to find there weren’t any books on this subject on Amazon because it seems like there are no new ideas left at this point, right? There were lots of books for people who are becoming or who want to be psychic, but none that focused on the issues that arise for/with their loved ones in the process.

I knew I was the right person to write the book, based on my unique combination of experience and training, and that I should do it as quickly as possible because Brett and I were meeting more and more people all the time who were struggling with this. For example, we’ve visited support groups for developing psychics around Los Angeles and they’re full of people who go to the meetings because they can’t talk to their significant others or family about what’s happening. And I’ve heard about several separations or divorces due to this relationship challenge in just the past year and a half. So it’s a real thing that’s affecting more people than you’d probably imagine.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Brett did the editing and a lot of the red marks came back in the form of “Explain!” and long passages crossed out in their entirety. So I guess the struggle was the same as most authors experience: being pleased with myself but then hearing from an editor or reader that the parts where I felt especially clever just came off as confusing or contrived.

What came easily?

I like telling people what to do so the advice giving came really easily. Maybe more easily than I should admit.

I’m half joking about that but honestly, it was fairly easy for me to flesh out the parts that focused on relationship issues. I’ve lived everything I talked about, and I’ve coached others through it, too, so those parts almost wrote themselves.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

My “characters” are 100% real since this is a non-fiction book. All names were removed to protect the identities of people I used as examples, and even the firsthand accounts in chapter 10 are unattributed, but everybody I refer to is an actual person and every anecdote I use is a truthful retelling.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

This is the kind of question where one might be tempted to make something up because we’re supposed to be able to talk about our influences, right? But I don’t. I can’t think of anyone who influences my writing style for non-fiction.

Do you have a target reader?

For this particular book, my target readers are: a) anyone who’s living with a developing psychic and would like some suggestions for making that easier; b) developing psychics who want to be able to ask for the support they need from their loved ones; and c) anyone who is newly interested in the psychic realm. My reviews on Amazon have also revealed that a people are reading it even though they have no interest in or experience with psychic phenomena and they’re still getting a lot of value from the advice that can be generalized to any relationship.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I shy away from ritual or routine so I don’t have a writing process in that sense. I write when the mood strikes mostly, and then once a project is in the editing and revision phases I’ll discipline myself more. Other days I work on book promotion and business, but not necessarily writing. Sometimes I even take a full day off, if you can imagine. How unorthodox.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I outline extensively. You could say compulsively.

Since I write non-fiction, this makes sense, right? I need to have a very thorough list of all of the topics and details that I want to cover to make sure I feel I’m doing justice to the subject matter.

I start by listing everything I can think of, in no particular order. With pen and paper. I let this take at least a few days because “sleeping on it” actually works. (Always trust those instincts you have first thing when you wake up. Not just about writing, but about any area of life.) Then I start to organize and categorize, and I move it to a Word document.

By the time I’m done with this extensive brainstorming process, I practically just have to fill in some blanks. That’s an exaggeration, because of course there’s a lot of writing to do. And editing. And re-writing. But it leaves me with just these little blocks to focus on one at a time, instead of worrying about the arc or big picture, because I’ve already planned that to my satisfaction beforehand.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

Both. Obviously I don’t turn out drafts that I feel are poorly written, but there’s always a lot more work to do after every revision. I think we did 14 drafts of “How to Live with a Psychic.” I had four different intros. Not just three revisions of the same intro, but four entirely different approaches until one seemed to fit with the rest of the book.

One of the challenges of being an author is that a piece of work is never really done so at some point you just have to stop and let it be what it is. There are a ton of small things to consider first, though, like looking for words you tend to use too frequently and replacing those with alternatives—which sometimes requires rewriting the whole sentence or even more. It’s a balance between creating something that’s good enough for consumption and realizing that if you wrote the passage today it would come out differently than how you wrote it yesterday, so revising could potentially be a never-ending process.

Did you hire a professional editor?

Brett, my husband, has been my editor. I know having a family member or friend as one’s editor is advised against in pretty much every list of “do’s and don’t’s” for authors and in general I would agree with that proscription. However, our relationship dynamics have coalesced in such a way that being each others’ editors is actually probably the best idea for us. At least for now, during our self-publishing phase. Once we have books picked up by publishers there will be other editors involved in those projects whether we like it or not.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

I don’t listen to music while writing. If I had my choice, I would have only the ambient noise of our neighborhood, which is so familiar to me that it’s like the pulsing of my own blood through my veins. But since we don’t live in an ideal world, I have learned to mostly block out the constant household noise and to recover quickly from the frequent interruptions by people and dogs who seem quite certain that whatever they want from me at the moment is more important than whatever silly thing I’m doing on the computer.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

Not for this first book. My plan is to submit the next one to agents.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

A little bit of the decision was based on feeling discouraged by the high rejection rate from agencies and publishers for first-time authors. Also, there was an element of impatience. I didn’t want to wait to get this particular book out since I’d discovered there wasn’t one on this topic on the market yet and I didn’t want to miss my window.

And then a lot of the decision was based on the fact that we like to do things ourselves. We like to know how things work. I didn’t know anything about this industry at all so I felt it was important to get my hands dirty with every single aspect.

There’s more work to it than I expected so in a way I’m glad I didn’t realize that before getting started. For example, almost every place one can post their ebook wants it in a different format.  These things are not necessarily hard, but they are all time consuming, so be sure you have the time and interest and organizational skills to make it happen if you’re considering that route.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

In keeping with our self-sufficiency model, Brett designed my cover. He’s a great artist and spent a lot of time analyzing successful book covers in terms of color schemes, fonts, and imagery in order to make the book look appropriate for my genre. Just out of curiosity I paid a few Fiverr vendors to create covers just to see what they could come up with and everything looked like a template. Practically the same design from each person. I’ve used Fiverr for other things and was satisfied but your book’s cover is too important, don’t skimp on that.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

Totally just winging it. Not recommended.

Here’s what I can say about marketing in a nutshell: When I am actively marketing, I get sales. When I am not actively marketing because I’m focusing on writing the next book or non-marketing business tasks, sales taper off.

I went with KDP Select for the first 90 days so I could do a free period on Amazon. I got almost exactly 500 downloads in one long weekend so that was pretty good for a niche book like mine. Making that happen took a lot of prep work, though, because I had to submit to dozens of free-ebook promotion sites, well in advance so they had time to list me on the appropriate days, and then a bunch of Facebook pages on the day of. Once I switched back to not-free, there wasn’t the momentum I’d expected or hoped for but at least it was valuable for getting some reviews, which are very important in attracting future readers.

Now I’ve switched my attention to making my book available more places. When I first put it on Amazon I didn’t realize that bookstores and libraries don’t typically buy from them (even with the reseller discount through CreateSpace Direct), partly because they want returnability. That means as self-publishers we have to put our print books up on other sites like Ingram and get it listed with wholesalers. (Check into the differences between a wholesaler and a distributor for you own edification.) So I went through the long process of being accepted by New Leaf Distributing and have paid to be placed in a couple catalogs that specialize in metaphysical books, as well as buying a display spot for this year’s BookExpo through Combined Book Exhibit. When I become aware of other opportunities or avenues for marketing I will pursue those as well. But I’m really just making it up as I go along.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

I will paraphrase some advice I heard on a webinar about being a successful indie author:

“If you choose to self-publish your books, you are not an author. You are an entrepreneur and your product just happens to be a book.”

I can’t emphasize enough how true this is. If you don’t have the time or the stomach for handling ALL of the production aspects and ALL of the sales aspects for your book then maybe consider sending your manuscript out to agents.

And you have to make that decision ahead of time. I’ve been told by every agent I’ve talked to that once a book is self-published they don’t want anything to do with it because the publishers don’t want anything to do with it.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Santa Monica, California. While it’s now considered Silicon Beach, when I was growing up in the ‘70s and early ‘80s it was literally Dogtown and Z Boys.

Where do you live now?

I still live in Santa Monica. While in the Navy I lived in the south and on the east coast, but as soon as my enlistment was over I zipped right back here. I know a lot of people don’t like our area—even some who’ve never even been here!—but for some of us there’s just no other place that feels comfortable and open enough to be home.

What are you working on now?

My next book is about animal communication. A combination of how-to and case studies. Releasing a workbook and audio book of How to Live with a Psychic are obvious next steps, too.  Other things I’ll be writing soon are some YA non-fiction and probably something heady about soul evolution. Pretty much everything will be psi related.

End of Interview:

For more from Crystal visit her website or like her Facebook page.

Get your copy of How to Live with a Psychic from Amazon US or Amazon UK.


IndieView with Brynn Taylor, author of (You Broke Me) Open

I believed for a long time that I would eventually write a book, but when I saw how much this particular subject of toxic relationships was helping other people, I knew I had to create (You Broke Me) Open. 

Brynn Taylor – 15 July 2017 Continue reading