Bestselling Indie Author: Liliana Hart

Author Liliana Hart

Author Liliana Hart

All of us at BookRix are self publishing enthusiasts, so when we hear indie author success stories, we’re elated! We recently read an interview on Alli with indie writer Liliana Hart and loved how honest and upfront she is. Unlike some other independent writers, Liliana approaches book writing with a “strictly business” attitude that we find admirable. Her determination and hard work have paid off, and now her mystery and romance books can be found within the bestseller lists of the New York Times and USA Today.

Despite her busy writing and traveling schedule, Liliana was able to carve out some time to answer our questions about the start of her writing career, how she uses social media and what she’s learned over the years.

When you wrote your first book in college, did you consider publishing with a traditional publishing house or were you drawn to self-publishing from the start?

When I first started writing, self-publishing wasn’t even available as an option. There weren’t eReaders and Amazon was a new company. Traditional publishing was all I knew and I worked toward that goal for several years. I never had a problem finding an agent. I’ve had four in my career, each one contributing in some way to my overall success. And though I had several books that were very close to being acquired by publishing houses, it never happened. Once self-publishing came along and I discovered I could have success and make a good living from it, I stopped trying to go the traditional route. Though I no longer seem to have any problem getting offers from traditional houses now that they know I can make money and sell a lot of books.

We love that you dedicate time to write, even when you’re not feeling creative. Would you encourage other indie authors do approach it the same way?

Absolutely. This is a business. It’s not a hobby. If I only wrote when the mood struck I’d never get anything finished. If writers want a career and they want to be taken seriously then they’ll treat what they do with respect, just like they would any 9 to 5 job. You have to sit in the chair with your fingers on the keyboard. Every. Day. Even if you’re writing crap it’s better than nothing. You can always go back and fix crap. You can’t fix nothing.

Addison Holmes Series: Book 3

Addison Holmes Series: Book 3

Your reviews on Amazon are all 4 and 5 stars. Do you think these have helped increase your book sales?

I’m not sure. I think people probably read them before purchasing, but I don’t know that they make that big of an impact. I’ve got great fans, so I always appreciate the positive reviews, but I never pay much attention to them. And if I’m being honest, I think the one star reviews can sell a book just as much as a four or five star review. The things some people hate are often things other readers love, and one star reviewers are much more vocal about giving that information in the review—not that I want an onslaught of one star reviews, but I think you have to have a good balance of good and bad reviews to appeal to a broader audience. I think word of mouth is far more important than any Amazon review.

Which social media outlets do you enjoy using to promote your work and engage with readers?

I love social media. I enjoy getting the chance to interact with my readers on a daily basis, and I love getting their comments and seeing their posts about my books. I use Facebook and Twitter mainly, and I make it a point to post at least a couple of times every day, even when I’m traveling or in the middle of a deadline. I also use Google+, Wattpad, Shelfari, and Goodreads. It’s all about being visible and giving people the opportunity to recognize my name when they’re browsing books on Amazon or one or the other sites. It’s a subconscious thing for them to see my name and think, “Oh, I recognize that name. She must be a big seller, so I’ll give that book a try.”

J. J. Graves Series: Book 3

J. J. Graves Series: Book 3

Which series do you feel most proud of and why?

Gosh, that’s like asking me to choose a favorite child. I’m not sure I can do it. I really love writing the Addison Holmes series. I have a blast writing them from start to finish. But I’m probably most proud of my J.J. Graves series. I love the way that series is evolving and the character growth I’m able to weave into the stories.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your writing career?

To never quit. There have been times I’ve wanted to—when the writing got too hard, or back when I was going toward the traditional path and couldn’t sell. If you want it bad enough you’ll keep going. Just write the book. And then write the next one after that.

If you’re a sucker for romance and mystery books like us, check out these bestsellers by Liliana. Whiskey for Breakfast is the second book in her Addison Holmes Series and is available now! But when it comes to a series, you always want to start at the beginning. So download the first book, Whiskey Rebellion, for free on Amazon Kindle Edition by clicking here (we did!). Dirty Rotten Scoundrel, the 3rd book in her J. J. Graves series, will be available on November 5th. So now is the perfect time to catch up on Dirty Little Secrets (book 1) and A Dirty Shame (book 2).

Thanks again, Liliana. You rock!

We love indie publishing

Kindle 1st Quarter Sales Numbers Down? Maybe Not….

amazon kindleIn the last quarter of 2011, Kindle put up a mean fight and took names with their sales numbers. What happened between then and now is anybody’s guess. Apple has been flexing their iPad muscles for awhile now in an effort to dominate the tablet market. As a result, the iPad accounts for 68% of the tablet market, according to market-research performed by IDC. What’s the deal?

I read quite a few articles and blogs with similar sentiment: Apple beat out the Kindle Fire by a long shot. But then I saw this article by Jeff Bertolucci from PC World that offered a different perspective on Kindle’s sales numbers this quarter. Jeff says these numbers are “misleading” and that “many tech bloggers and journalists don’t understand the difference between “shipments” and “sales” of a product.” After reading his article and digging a little further, it makes more sense.

What are your thoughts?

Close Encounters of the Literary Kind: Part 12

Isabelle works at a tiny coffee shop in my neighborhood that I walk past daily. She has a very slight frame, which makes it easy for her to squeeze between the espresso machine and the tall standing thermoses behind the counter. Within this narrow space she has just enough room for herself and her Kindle, and with the view of the front door in place, she can easily see when a customer walks up. Cheers to reading while you work!

woman reading
1. What book has been the biggest influence in your life?

Bad Childhood Good Life, by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I think so many people (myself included) use their less than perfect childhood as an excuse to live their lives as perpetual victims because it’s easy. When someone suggested that I read it, I was skeptical. Self-help books are a dime a dozen. But I gave it a chance and soon found myself agreeing with what she said. Bad Childhood Good Life showed me that when you’re a victim, the past is in control of your present but when you’re a conqueror…the present is controlled by your choices. It was very inspiring.

2. What author and/or character do you identify with most?

A few come to mind, but I would have to say Marianne Dashwood, from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.
3. What do you think happens to you when you die?
Sleep? I don’t really think about it.

4. Have you ever penned anything yourself? And if so what’s the recurring theme?
I have several drafts on my computer that I’ve been working on and one day hope to self-publish. It’s about growing up with a bi-polar parent, essentially, it’s a book about my life. I’m not writing because there was anything special about my circumstances, but because I’ve never seen any other books written from this perspective. At least nothing for teens and young adults and I think its important for them to be able to relate to something or someone. Just to know they’re not alone. Growing up is hard enough, having to do it amidst chaos is a challenge in itself. I’d like to tell anyone out there going through something similar that it gets better.

5. If you had to re-live your life as a character in a book, what book/character would it be?
Scarlett O’Hara. I’ve always wanted to wear a hoop-skirt on a daily basis. Just don’t tell my husband that.

Due to the candidness of her answers, Isabelle asked that I not post her photo in our blog. I respect her wishes and am thankful for her honesty (and look forward to reading her book).

Thanks, Isabelle!

Get Your Readmill On

Earlier this month my boss, Tim, informed me of his plans to visit the folks at Readmill in mid December. Being in the eBook/Self Publishing industry, I knew who they were, but now I had a special interest and wanted to know more. So I did what anyone in my shoes would’ve done. I went online and snooped! After plugging in their site address, my eyes were pleasantly met with a clean, sleek design layout. Well played, Readmill. Their tagline “Books have a big future” struck a chord with me since BookRix embraces the same mentality.

Readmill logo2Don’t let my comments surrounding their site aesthetics fool you. The team at Readmill offer much more than an polished website. This past year, they’ve built a solid e-reader platform that allows their users to connect with one another regardless of the e-reader device they’re utilizing (Kindle, iPad, Nook, Smartphone, etc). Brilliant, right? According to them, their goal is to “integrate books with the web making them linkable, embeddable, shareable and hackable.” Who wouldn’t want this level of freedom?

Sadly, my Kindle was laid to rest this past November after a nasty fall down my apartment stairs. Until Santa brings me my new iPad for Christmas, I’m stuck bugging everyone with an e-reader to test various apps and programs for me. When I asked Tim about Readmill for iPad, he sang its praises and was quick to recant how “easy and comfortable” the app was to use. That’s what I like to hear!

With the Readmill Reader for iPad, you can read books, track your progress and share your highlights. On you can follow people you like, explore books, and see what your friends are reading. It’s also a great companion for the books you discover with us on BookRix. Rather than listen to me talk about it, why not take a look and see for yourself? Check it out:

Comment your thoughts below. I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Close Encounters of the Literary Kind: Part 5

LAXIf any of you have ever frequented LAX airport, you’ll understand my pain. It’s crowded, it’s hot (at least it is every time I’ve been there), kids are screaming, and the overhead speakers shouting out flight updates make my brain hurt. Needless to say, when my friend asked if I could pick him up from the airport I wasn’t thrilled at the opportunity, but agreed because he’s awesome and would do it for me. As luck would have it, his flight was delayed 40 minutes due to bad weather. Yay for me.

$7 bought me a snack sized bag of trailmix and a Reeses peanut butter cup. Walking out of the store, I saw a tall, white haired woman in uniform take a seat in the only secluded area of the airport and I decided this was my best bet. She pulled a Kindle out of her bag, put on her glasses, and let out a sigh. Five seconds later, she returned the Kindle to her bag. I guess I was staring because she met my gaze and clarified: “dead battery”. Her tone was so full of disappointment that I couldn’t bring myself to pull the Bret Easton Ellis book out of my bag and crack open the first chapter. Instead I offered up my unopened Reeses and struck up a conversation with Rachel. (She wouldn’t agree to a photo)

1. What book has been the biggest influence in your life?

Eloise. Is that odd? When I first read it with my mother, we both laughed ourselves silly. Over the years, I came to realize that my mom bought the book for me not just because it was about a wonderfully imaginative free spirited girl, but because she hoped it would instill in me a belief that growing older doesn’t have to be a bore. Be a character and make no apologies.

2. What author and/or character do you identify with most?

Gloria Steinem. I can’t begin to explain why. Perhaps I see her as “Eloise” all grown up. I’m not sure

3. What do you think happens to you when you die?

[chuckles] That’s a pretty heavy question to ask someone you’ve just met. I’m quite certain that when I die, I’ll cease to exist. No frills there.

4. Have you ever penned anything yourself? And if so what’s the recurring theme?

I’ve written a few short stories. I rarely write about the same subject, but the theme is consistent. Irony is always around you.

5. If you had to re-live your life as a character in a book, what book/character would it be?

Lotty Wilkins in “The Enchanted April” by Elizabeth Von Arnim

Is @author Opening Pandora’s Box?

booksRecently I heard about Amazon’s beta launch of @author and it got me thinking. Sadly my initial reaction was more Negative Nancy than Positive Polly. I couldn’t help but think how obnoxious this new feature could be, and I found myself thankful not to be a published author. If you’re unfamiliar with @author, allow me to break it down for you.

First things first, you’ll need to own a Kindle as well as a Twitter account (which must be synced together). Got ‘em both? Let the author nagging commence! Say you’re reading a self help book on your Kindle and one of the self improvement exercises seems a little vague or unclear. Hell, maybe you even disagree with it. With the @author feature, you can highlight the specified text and send it directly to the author along with your question and/or comment. Sure, you’re limited to 100 characters, and who knows if you’ll actually get a response. But at least you’re no longer tweeting to an author who has to filter through pages of @mentions and spam, right? Well, let’s hope some spam filters are in place.

In my worst-case-scenario brain, I envision this as just another avenue for folks to troll and flame their favorite (or least favorite) literary wordsmith. Throw in the occasional nagging question “what did you mean by (insert euphemism here)?” or comments “What the hell were you thinking when you….” and this shiny new feature sounds like the Pandora’s Box of social media for authors. Ugh.

Let’s hope these beta tests go off without a hitch and the authors involved don’t go running for the hills. #BestOfLuck guys. I think you’ll need it.


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