Michelle Martin Dobbins introduced me to hybrid-published author Debbie Herbert about nine months ago, and I was charmed by her southern style and love for mermaids. In fact, she’s done some awesome behind-the-scenes editing for a couple YOTB titles this year, and I hope to entice her to share her skills even more in the coming months (after fulfilling a 2-book contract for Harlequin… gee, talk about priorities!).
Demi: As essentially a full-time author for Harlequin, my writer friends are dying to know how you did it. What was your first novel? Did you need an agent?
Debbie: I wrote two books and a novella before finally hitting pay dirt with a quirky mermaid manuscript. After numerous agent rejections, I started receiving agent interest on the mermaid story. Finally, an agent offered representation and within three days of her submitting to editors, Harlequin offered to buy. You don’t need an agent for Harlequin, but it definitely helps with them and many of the major publishing houses will not accept unsolicited submissions. Bottom line: I wrote for three years before selling. For most of us, it takes persistence! BTW, the two novels no one wanted to buy (New Adult Paranormal Romances)? I Indie-published them and they are doing well.
Demi: What was the biggest surprise about book contracts and negotiations? And does it get any easier over time?
Debbie: I stay out of book negotiations entirely. My agent knows the market and is my advocate. This allows me to keep my editor relationship amiable and focused on the actual writing. A win for me!
Demi: How much of your own publicity do you do? And what kinds of social media or publicity activities do you find reap the best rewards?
Debbie: Unless you are Big Time you are expected to heavily contribute to marketing and publicity. It took some time, but the most effective publicity tool for me was networking with other authors which helped me find opportunities to grow my reader newsletter list. Currently, I have about 10,000 subscribers and am always looking for ways to increase readership. Recently, I started a Facebook street team and have found it very helpful for garnering reviews and getting to know readers on a more personal level. And it’s fun!
Demi: Does being traditionally pubbed make it any easier or harder?
Debbie: Traditional publishing can be difficult to break into, but Indie publishing is harder in that there’s a large learning curve since you do so much of the work yourself. I hire out book covers, formatting and editing, but still need to understand what works and how to market the books once it’s uploaded to vendors. Year of the Book is an excellent resource for authors to gain high-quality editorial, professional covers and the opportunity to be guided in the publishing process. Thanks, Demi for the opportunity to share my story and much success to everyone!
Connect with Debbie on Facebook @DebbieHerbertAuthor and get rewarded with a FREE book just for joining her email list.
About Demi Stevens
Founder and CEO Demi Stevens turns writing dreams into successfully published books. She has personally assisted in the production of nearly 150 titles by more than 100 authors, ranging from children’s picture books to sizzling romance, award-winning mysteries, and bestselling business books. A self-acknowledged book slut, Demi loves crocheting, roller skating and travel. She is a classically trained flutist and author of two children’s picture books. To start your book project, contact her at email@example.com