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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Who is the Renowned Author Mama?

Over the last couple of years I have had the wonderful opportunity to host Christina Katz several times. I'm thrilled to welcome back Christina again and she shares with us her latest accomplishment.

Christina will be checking-in throughout the day, so be sure to leave her a comment and/or question. She looks forward to interacting with our visitors!

An Interview with Christina Katz About Author Mama ~ April 2010

Why would you do an e-book after two traditionally published books?

Like most traditionally published authors, who blog, teach and speak, I have a backlog of quality content to draw on and some of it, though not all of it, will lend itself to the e-book format. So I plan to write several e-books over time and Author Mama is the first. I have old sketchbooks full of ideas I’ve had over the years, which will lend themselves well to e-formats. Equal opportunity access to e-publishing technology offers all of us writers a lot more creative leeway than we have traditionally had, which can lead to exciting and fun possibilities.

Besides being in e-book format, how is Author Mama different from Writer Mama and Get Known Before the Book Deal?

Author Mama is the story behind how I landed my book deal for Writer Mama and then wrote the book. I wanted to describe in play-by-play form what writing a non-fiction book is like for the benefit of moms considering the possibility with the lessons I learned along the way. One of my students who is on the verge of querying agents with a nonfiction book proposal says that Author Mama “goes there.” In other words, it deals squarely with the rollercoaster ride that most first-time authors experience. The format of my traditionally published books is not as driven by my personal experience, even though it informs them both. In Author Mama, I include all of the books that I recommend first-time authors read before, during, and after the book deal, so they can become as informed and empowered as possible.

Who are the intended readers for Author Mama?

Well, my two traditionally published books don’t target the same exact audience and neither does Author Mama. When I wrote Author Mama, I had my Writer Mama readers in mind, but of those readers, I was specifically focused on anyone seriously considering writing a book someday. Not every writer mama wants to write a book someday. Some are perfectly happy writing and publishing articles. So Author Mama is a slice (a writing book), of a slice (for moms), of a slice (who are considering becoming an author some day), and therefore too small of an audience for a traditional publisher. But many of my students and fans have this question and would like to answer it for themselves. Author Mama is for them.

Did you have any hesitations about self-publishing?

Considering how much content I have sitting around languishing on my hard drives, I am sorry that it’s taken me this long. The person I had the hardest time convincing was myself. I’ve had some hang-ups about e-books that I’ve had to get over in order to move forward. As long as my work continues to serve the best interests of my readers, why wouldn’t I self-publish? I certainly have a lot more to offer than I would just letting it sit around collecting virtual dust. At this point in time, I feel like it would be foolish not to e-publish, even as I continue to write traditional books.

Are publishers anxious about traditional authors self-publishing? Doesn’t this undermine their business?

I think, when it comes to self-publishing the opportunity always exists to take the enlightened view or the fearful view. I have heard people in publishing make comments that authors self-publishing is terrible news, which is absurd. The fearful attitude is, “Oh no, if that author can self-publish, then we lose.” The enlightened view is that when the people you partner with are more successful it’s good for you too because it raises all boats. Besides, when all the folks involved in a partnership are empowered and come together because they want to be there, that’s good for the relationship. It’s important to have good boundaries and communication in business and know the difference between what’s yours, what’s not yours, and what is joint ownership. When you keep these things in mind, and communicate clearly, there is really nothing to fear but fear itself.

How do you keep people from "stealing" your e-book?

I can’t stop people from stealing my e-book. I am completely powerless over that aspect of e-publishing, as most of us are. However, my target audience is not teenage boys and young men, who are supposedly the folks who do most of the pirating, according to the experts who study these trends. So I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. Also I don’t plan on giving my e-books away to avoid the impression that they are “freebies,” whereas with a traditional book I always do a lot of giveaways to get the content out into circulation. E-books are a lot easier to circulate. I can send one to you in seconds. So at this time, I don’t see the point in giving them away and encouraging others to share them without permission. I’d prefer to sell them to a smaller, more exclusive audience, who will see the value and, hopefully, respect my copyright.

What are three major points you hope aspiring writers learn from reading Author Mama?

That landing a traditional book deal and delivering a well-written book is possible but not easy by any means.

That someone else has survived the rollercoaster of emotions that come part and parcel with a first traditional book deal and you can too.

That some writers actually give up along the way and don’t succeed at delivering their first book but this won’t happen to the writers who read Author Mama because forewarned is forearmed.

Is this book only for nonfiction writers or can fiction writers benefit from it too

Author Mama is specifically about my nonfiction book writing process, which is different from the process for other genres like fiction or memoir. However, a lot of my readers, who write in other genres, have said over the years that they find a lot of takeaways in my nonfiction experience. Also, I fully expect Author Mama to convince a few readers to try writing a nonfiction book, who might have only considered themselves other types of writers or not even writers at all.

Can I order a print copy of Author Mama?

When the book comes out in the final version in May, I will make it available for purchase in print-on-demand format, as well as all the other e-formats. During April, while it’s in beta, Author Mama is available in PDF format, which means you can print it out and put it in a binder yourself, if you prefer a hard copy. I’ve invited the first readers to participate in the process, so I’ve included a feedback form with the e-book but participation is voluntary. However to sweeten the deal, I will provide those who share feedback on the beta version with the final version for free, after it’s updated in PDF form.

How can I order this e-book for someone as a gift?

Sure you can. When you place your order, simply submit their e-mail address in the notes section and I will e-mail the copy to them instead of to you.

Thanks for your questions about Author Mama. If you’d like to learn more, please visit http://christinakatz.com/.

About Christina Katz, The Author Mama

Christina Katz has been teaching writers to cultivate thriving careers for the past decade. Many of her students start by writing short articles and work hard and long until they eventually succeed in landing traditional book deals. Christina is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise A Writing Career Alongside Your Kids, both from Writer’s Digest Books.

In addition to writing books and articles, Christina publishes a weekly e-zine, The Prosperous Writer, hosts The Northwest Author Series, travels to writing conferences and literary events, and coaches a hundred writers a year. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia College Chicago and a BA from Dartmouth College. She lives in an idyllic cottage in Wilsonville, Oregon with her husband, daughter and far too many pets.

Keep up with Christina, if you can, at http://www.christinakatz.com/.

13 comments:

  1. I really appreciate your e-book information. Thanks for all of the insight.

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  2. I can't wait to read Author Mama. I've thoroughly enjoyed Writer Mama and am looking forward to gaining more of your wonderful insight.

    Karin Larson
    http://www.karin-larson.blogspot.com

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  3. Thanks, Kristi and Karin. It's great to be here again. :)

    Donna, I love the design of this site. Great work!

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  4. Hi Kristi and Karin:

    Thanks for stopping by today to visit with Christina. I appreciate your ongoing interest.

    Christina:

    Thrilled to have you as a return guest author. I'm looking forward to reading your e-book.

    Glad you like the new design! It was rather simple, I used a template from http://hotbliggityblog.com.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Warm regards,
    Donna

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  5. This was a great interview with good tips and information for those of us afraid to break out into the ebook world. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I enjoyed this interview, Donna. Thank-you. And thank-you, Christina.

    PS I'm going to FL for a week, the first time in almost 30 years without my kids and I've got my laptop and looking forward to my writing "retreat"! Been reading and doing my homework, now it's time to focus on writing! ; )

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  7. I'm a little confused. You keep talking about ebooks and self-publishing as if they were one and the same, and that wasn't my understanding. You talk about using a POD press, but in the same sentence talk about ebook format. So, am I to understand that you're publishing it in BOTH ebook and POD publishing venues? Thanks for responding.

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  8. Great interview with important information. Thanks much!

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  9. Thanks, ladies.

    Katie, you bring up a good point. I did just recently write a blog post about e-books from the traditional author's point of view at christinakatz.com, if you want to check that out. But here's a quick run down of what's what and which is which.

    There is either getting traditional published or self-publishing. These are two different things and, to my mind, should be kept clearly separate. Self-publishing can involve many formats, including digital formats (e-books, POD--print-on-demand, and hard copy print runs). Under the category of e-books, there are many formats: PDF, html, and a bunch that work with various e-readers like the Kindle or the Nook or whatever. When you put content into digital (e-book) formats, you have to specifically format it for each type of reading experience.

    What I did with Author Mama is publish the beta version in PDF format only. Then, once I have the final version updated and edited, I will create the e-book in as many of the formats as I can, including PDF and Kindle, for sure, and also upload to a site like Lulu.com, so it can also be purchased in POD.

    There is no set approach that anyone takes with e-books, but, clearly the best outcome is to get the book into as many e-formats as possible in order to please the largest number of readers.

    Better?

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  10. More and more I'm seeing traditionally published authors who later self publish an ebook. Good for you and best of luck with the ebook!

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  11. Much better. Thanks. I think that even for someone who is traditionally published (moi), it is good to get the book into as many e-formats as possible given the ebook revolution that is shaking publishing. I noticed when I went to Amazon and the page where my book is listed, there is a link on how to create a Kindle version of the book!

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  12. Hi Katie,
    Just be sure you check your contract, if you are traditionally published, to make sure that you actually own the rights to the e-versions of it, and don't share those rights with your publisher. Okay?
    Thanks again, Donna!

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  13. Christine:

    Thank you very much for being my guest author yesterday. I was a true pleasure.

    Warm regards,
    Donna

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Thank for you taking the time out to visit with me and to learn about my writing career.

Please be sure to leave your blog address so I can reciprocate.

I look forward to visiting you too.