I have a wonderful guest with me today. Ryan J. Cunningham, author of Gary's Gray World, is going to tell you what it's like to self-publish and give you a few tips to help you if you decide to self-publish your book. Born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1972, Ryan discovered his passion for writing poetry and children's stories at an early age. Throughout his high school and college years, he took writing courses to enhance his writing abilities. Ryan became a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and published two inspirational books of poems titled Angels Near and Far and Hearts, Hopes and Halos. His poetry and stories have been published in anthologies and magazines. You can visit him online at www.imagination-inspiration.webs.com.
Thank you for this interview, Ryan. You self-published your latest book, Gary’s Gray World. Would you please tell us why you chose the self-publishing route?
I chose self- publishing because the traditional publishers were not interested in publishing this story.
Take us through the process. You had an idea for your book, you wrote it, then you decided to find a publisher. What were your experiences with that? Or did you decide to self-publish without looking any further?
I spent many years sending my manuscript to big and small publishing houses, only to be rejected over and over again. I was frustrated and decided to venture out on my own.
What different online stores carry your book?
Available retailers and wholesalers: Baker & Taylor, Ingram, Amazon.com, Kindle Reader, Barnes & Noble, and Nook Book
Do you think that having your book self-published makes any difference to the media? Are they open to interviewing self-published authors or reviewing their books?
This is a long, hard process to promote my book and finding just the right people to review it is very timely. It’s been a great learning experience though.
Authors who go the traditional route have an edge over self-published authors in regards to distribution to bookstores. How did you handle that as a self-published author?
I had assistance from Carole Denbow to help distribute the book to the online bookstores.
On the other hand, self-published authors have the edge over traditional books in the regards that the author has all the control. I’d like to begin with your cover. Did you make it or did you have someone else design it? If you had someone else, can you tell us who it is?
I found the artist, Chrissy Fanslau, through a networking website for writers and illustrators called jacketflap.com. Chrissy’s artwork stood out from others I researched with her descriptive and life-like facial expressions in her characters.
Did you get someone to format it for you or did you do that?
Carole Denbow at Plain and Simple Books formatted the book for me.
What was the hardest challenge for you to self-publish your book?
Learning how to promote and market my book after it was finished.
What steps are you taking to promote it?
Through social media web sites: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin to name a few. I have found book bloggers to read and post a review on their own blogs.
What has been the best marketing tool or method you have used that has resulted in the most sales?
So far selling the book myself at local craft fairs and festivals and word of mouth has been most effective.
Do you have any advice you’d like to share with other self-published authors?
Do a lot of research about marketing. This will give you an upper edge on the competition.
Thank you for this interview, Ryan. We wish you much success!