Good morning, everyone! I hope you're enjoying your summer as much as I am! As a homeschooling mother of four kids, we take our summer break very seriously. LOL.
But, as always, it's time for another blog interview with a fellow Indie author. A few weeks ago, I got to interview Marie McGaha. According to her website, Marie is an ordained minister, counselor, inspirational speaker, multi-published author, editor, and publisher. She's lived on a farm in SE Oklahoma in the beautiful Kiamichi Mountains with her husband, Nathan, but now lives in Idaho. She enjoys spending time with her kids and grand kids. Marie loves serving the Lord and talking about Jesus! She hosts a blog, "He Reigns", has two online ministries on FB, one for addiction counseling and the other for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence. She also hosts "60 Second Scripture" daily scripture videos on YouTube. She is a member of the National Gun Association, NRA, & Soldier's Angels. Read below to find out what she has to say.
AJ: Thank you for joining me in this interview today! Please tell us a little about yourself and your background that led you to become a writer.
MM: Thank you for having me, Alisha. I'm Marie McGaha and I've been writing since I was a little kid. I think I came out of the womb with a pencil in my hand. I wrote my first novel at 13, a historical romance that I no longer remember the title of, but it was about a school teacher from Boston who came to the Wild West and fell in love with the town Sheriff. I've always had a great love for books of all kinds but especially American history. As I got older, I discovered historical romance, and my first published book was of that genre.
AJ: How many books have you written and in what genre would you classify your works?
MM: I've written several historical romances, and one contemporary romance but then my faith took over and I've been writing Christian non-fiction for several years now.
AJ: Have you had much success in marketing and selling your books?
MM: I had quite a bit of success in selling my books, but now, I concentrate more on the publishing side. I opened my own publishing house, Dancing With Bear Publishing, in 2011. My best friend and author in her own right, Debbie Roppolo, and I publish family fiction, non-fiction, and Christian self-help books.
AJ: Do you have any advice for other authors on how to successfully market their books?
MM: Marketing will take up more time than writing, and it's essential to being a successful author. Marketing begins as soon as you have a contract to publish your book and it doesn't stop. If you've never marketed anything before, do your research, learn to write press releases, contact every blog, podcast, newspaper, TV station, etc., and get your name out there before your book is published. When people know who you are, they are more likely to buy your product. It's why companies use celebrities to sell their products. Find reviewers, beta readers, and others who will help spread the word about your book. Marketing isn't about selling your book all of the time, it's about selling who you are.
AJ: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
MM: Hmmm.... are there times I'm not writing? I think that's called sleeping! Seriously, if I'm not writing, I'm editing or marketing or creating book trailers or doing something book related.
AJ: What has been the toughest criticism you’ve received as an author? And the best compliment?
MM: In the days before computers and on line publishing, manuscripts had to be sent to publishers by mail, and then the months of waiting began, and if you heard back at all, it was a small miracle. I received a rejection letter that basically said, "This is the worst manuscript I've ever read. I suggest you give up writing and find something better suited to your apparently limited skill set." So... I cried for days!
The best compliment I ever received was a reader who told me my book, Comfort & Joy book one: Forgiveness changed their life and helped give them perspective so they could move on.
AJ: Does your inspiration come from real life or is it purely fictional?
MM: Real life. Even my fiction is based on some aspect of real life, either something I've experienced or someone I know has experienced it.
AJ: Do you have any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
MM: Don't worry about it. When you worry, it makes it worse. We all have moments of great creativity, and moments that aren't so great. It ebbs and flows, so when it flows, make the most of it, and when it ebbs, do something just for you. But don't worry about it!
AJ: Who designs the covers for your books? If you design them yourself, which program do you use?
MM: I do design my own book covers and I use a combination of programs that includes Microsoft Publisher and Photoscape. Debbie and I work together on all aspects of publishing and bounce ideas off one another, including artwork and trailers. Now, if there's something we can't handle, or something we want done special, we have our go to gal, Val Muller, who is an outstanding cover artist and children's author.
AJ: What do you see as the main benefit of being an indie author and what advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
MM: Do your homework, do your research. If you decide to go with a publisher remember, money should always flow from publisher to author, never the other way around. If you decide to self-publish, make sure you know what you're doing. Just because your mama likes your story, doesn't mean it's going to sell. Before you hire an editor, or anyone else to help you, do your homework. There's a lot of people who say they know what they're doing and are happy to relieve you of your money. Don't be gullible or naïve. This is a hard business, so get a tough skin now.
AJ: How can readers discover more about you?
MM: I'm everywhere on the web! If you Google my name, you'll know as much about me as my mama does, maybe more! But you can go to my website here and click on the social media icons to "follow" me! Or, go to www.dancingwithbearpublishing.com
If you'd like to find or follow Marie, click on any of the above links or pictures.