Welcome! My name is Michelle Dalson, and I will be interviewing Kate Marie Robbins. She is an independently published author who will be discussing her planning, writing, publishing, and marketing journey, along with some helpful tips for other writers and aspiring authors!
In this interview, Kate will discuss her writing journey with her first novel, Indigo. She will explain how she planned the novel, how she handled the writing process from the first draft to the final edited manuscript, how she decided the right publishing route, and how she developed marketing plans for the book. If you are an author looking for some helpful advice on the writing, publishing, and marketing journey for your book, please leave your comments and questions for our author today!
First, here’s a little bit of background information about Kate Marie Robbins:
Kate was born and raised in a small town in southeastern Minnesota, and has a passion for music, writing, art, and literature. She spends all of her free time either in front of the computer writing, working on some kind of art project, or reading.
Kate has several books published, including: Indigo (Book 1 of the Lazulis Trilogy), Aine’s Freedom (Chasing Rainbows Book One), You Belong to Me, and two anthologies for charity with her organization, Rock & Roll Saved My Soul.
Along with working for Pure Ice Publishing, she owns her own freelance cover shop, called Kate’s Ye Olde Booke Cover Shoppe.
Kate has a fondness for all things nerdy, including Doctor Who, Pokemon, foreign films, tennis, and classic literature. She has a cat named Snowflake Obsidian, Snowy for short.
Her ultimate goal in life is to try to make a difference in the world, bringing a little hope and love to those less fortunate than herself.
The Planning Process:
Michelle: As an aspiring author in the process of writing my own books, I’m eager to hear about your writing journey and hear some useful tips Kate has to offer. First, we will begin by discussing the planning process of writing a novel. Today, Kate will use her first novel, Indigo, to tell us the story of her writing journey.
So Kate, tell us how you planned this story. Did you outline the course of your novel before you started writing, or did you start writing with a general idea in mind?
Kate: I didn’t have the entire story planned out. I had a beginning and an ending in mind. I did, however, jot down notes for each chapter. I wouldn’t always follow them, but they were there when I needed to get back on track. Back then, I had a notebook I wrote everything down.
Michelle: That sounds like something I used to do when I began writing my first stories. And it works! Sometimes, a story can grow by itself, without any prior planning. However, this isn’t true for all authors. What advice would you give to aspiring authors about planning for a novel? Would you advise them to follow the same steps you took to plan your book? Why or why not?
Kate: Everyone’s brain works differently, so what works for me, might not work for someone else. I suggest finding what works for you specifically and use that. No two people write the same way. Stick with what works for you and you’ll be golden!
The Writing Process:
Michelle: Now let’s hear about your writing journey. Tell us about the writing process of your book. How many drafts did you go through before you finally published your book?
Kate: When I first started writing, I had one hand written draft, then I would type it up into a second draft, then do my editing from there. Now, I’ve skipped the handwriting stage altogether, because I’ve found that I can’t write nearly as fast as my brain works.
As for editing, I do at least two to three rounds of editing on my own, before I send it to someone else to edit.
Michelle: Hmm, I’ve heard from some authors that they went through numerous drafts before sending it to someone to edit. A lot of the self-editing involves changing story-lines and improving content. Then the copy-editing and line-editing starts.
Once you were finished self-editing, did you work with an editor? And did you find him/her helpful?
Kate: Yes, I do work with an editor, as well as beta readers. My first editor, not so much helpful. The editor I have now, she’s brilliant. She’s also my sister, so I’m obligated to say that. Really though, she’s amazing.
Michelle: Sounds convenient to have a sister for an editor! Did you have anyone else work with you and give you feedback?
Kate: Yes, I used beta readers, only a select few of my closest friends, and people I trust.
Michelle: Beta readers can be a lot of help if you find the right ones. Usually these would be people you are better acquainted with—just as you mentioned.
Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors about writing, rewriting, and editing a novel?
Kate: When you’re working on your first draft, just write. Don’t worry about editing, plot holes, or anything. Just write it. The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be written. Once you’ve written it, then start on the editing. Getting an editor helps a lot, and so do beta readers. Anyone that can give you an outside perspective on things helps.
The Publishing Process:
Michelle: Alright, so let’s move on to the publishing process. What route did you take to publish your novel? Large press, small press, or independent publishing? And why did you take this route?
Kate: I published independently. I didn’t have a lot of money to pay anyone to help with the process.
Michelle: I see. That’s understandable. But independent publishing does have its benefits. Tell us about the pros and cons you encountered with this publishing route.
Pros: It’s cheaper, you can do everything your way, on your own time. You ultimately have the final say in everything you do. It gives you a lot more creative freedom.
Cons: You have to do it all yourself. It’s a lot of work.
Michelle: I’m sure it is. But in your biography, you did mention that you worked for a publishing company. Tell us about it!
Kate: I did not traditionally publish, but I do work for a publishing company, called Pure Ice Publishing. It’s a very small, hands on business. Both the editor and cover artist (myself) work one on one with each author to ensure that everything is to the author’s satisfaction.
We charge very minimal for both the editing and cover art, and there is no fee to sign with us.
Michelle: Sounds great! I can tell that, although you worked for a publishing company, you chose the independent publishing route since your job must have taken up extra time as you worked on your book.
So overall, what are the key factors a writer should think about before choosing one of the three publishing routes?
Kate: Again, find what works best for you. Authors like me, who have other jobs and obligations that take up most of their time find it easier to self publish. There is no right or wrong, just find what works best for you. Do your research!
The Marketing Process:
Michelle: Now to discuss the process that many writers aim to master: the marketing process.
So Kate, explain how you drew people to read your book. What were your marketing strategies?
Kate: The biggest thing is getting people to notice your book. Plan a cover reveal event, and have a release party. It helps a lot! Posting teasers also helps, and sale banners as well.
Michelle: Cover reveals, release parties, teasers, sale banners. Sounds like a lot of work! Most authors do these through social media. Goodreads is also a very popular site to promote books.
How did you use goodreads to promote your book?
Kate: All my books are on goodreads, but other than that, I don’t really use it, other than tracking my own books I’ve read.
Michelle: How about other social media sites? Facebook and twitter are popular sites for author promotion. First, let’s discuss your activity on facebook.
How did you use facebook to promote your book? How much time did you dedicate to connecting with others on facebook?
Kate: Having an author page definitely helps. Promote not only your books, but your author page as well. Share it in literary groups on facebook as much as you can. I spend as much time as I can communicating with my fans via my author page. I don’t spend nearly enough time doing promos as I should, but I try.
Michelle: Making connections with your fans is an integral part of the marketing process. It is just as important as promoting yourself. I can see that you have joined numerous writing groups on facebook—a great way to make connections and get your promos noticed!
But what about twitter? How did you use twitter to make connections and promote your book?
Kate: I have a twitter account, but I don’t really use it. My time is already divided enough between everything else, that I just don’t have enough time to devote to everything.
Michelle: Of course, I’m sure it would be difficult for an author to write, edit, and spend time promoting on so many websites. It sounds more convenient to stick to a few sites and focus on making yourself known through those. For you, it seems as if facebook is one of those sites.
What other websites did you use to promote and sell your book? Any websites you recommend for other authors to promote/sell?
Kate: I am currently working on an author website, that will hopefully help with promoting not only my books, but my other stuff as well. I’m going through a site called Wix.com. It’s very easy to use.
Michelle: Yes, it is highly recommended that an author has his/her own website. Some authors decide to create a website before they even start writing, although there are still some successful authors who have made their websites after they have finished their book. I look forward to seeing your website soon!
Is there any additional advice you’d like to give to aspiring authors about marketing?
Kate: Just keep at it, even when it doesn’t feel like anything you’re doing is working. The key is to not give up.
Michelle Dalson: Good advice. After checking your author page on facebook and your books on goodreads, I can tell that you have a pretty solid fan base. Thank you for sharing the story of your writing journey with us!
To Learn More About Kate Marie Robbins…
- Website address: http://novakfan21.wix.com/kate-marie-robbins
- Facebook contact info:
Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/indigo.the.novel
Books for Charity Page: https://www.facebook.com/rockandrollsavedmysoul
Cover Art Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kates-Ye-Olde-Booke-Cover-Shoppe/431398713657951
Pure Ice Publishing: https://www.facebook.com/PureIcePublishing
- Twitter contact info: @novakfan21
- Goodreads contact info: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7045114.Kate_Marie_Robbins
Indigo Character Guide: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500446793
Aine’s Freedom: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FRSIZ0C
You Belong to Me: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JQJ9D4U
Rock & Roll Saved My Soul: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ITZYFU4
Random Acts of Kindness: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KXFTQIY
- Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kate-Marie-Robbins/e/B00D37XM7K
If you have any questions about Kate, her books, or would like to know a bit more about how she handled the planning, writing, publishing, and marketing processes, leave your question in a comment below!