Interview with Angela Adair-Hoy, author of How to Write, Publish & $ell E-books

Interview by Magdalena Ball

Are you still making $4,000+ a month from e-book sales?

The total is more than $5K/month now.

You wrote your book in 1999. Has the market changed much since then?

Yes, very much so.

What do you think the future might hold for e-books and other types of electronic media?

While the large, traditional publishers are closing their ebook programs, ebooks are growing tremendously in popularity. The problem with the grandfathers of publishing failing with ebooks is that they don’t understand our industry. They tried to implement traditional publishing processes and marketing in a new
industry which, of course, failed miserably. Ebook publishers with Internet marketing backgrounds are doing quite well.

You are very open about your personal life, and your “News from the home office” led readers through your last pregnancy and birth quite closely. Do you think that this is part of your success; this intimacy with your readers?

Absolutely. In a recent survey of our readers, that was listed as the most popular column.

Does your family mind being chronicled? Or do you worry that they might once the kids are older?

Oh, I don’t publish EVERYTHING. Believe me! I would never publish anything that would embarrass the children. If there is something that I think is funny but they might be embarrassed about, I ask them before I write about it.

With 4 children, including one very small baby, do you find that your writing time (and speaking engagement capability)has diminished?

When I was 3 months pregnant with Max, I retired from the speaking circuit. The pay was good…but no amount of $$ can replace the time lost with the children while I was traveling. So, I quit, and I’m much happier staying home all the time.

Any tips or tricks for maintaining a writing schedule with young children?

Yeah…write when they’re asleep. 😉 I get the most writing done early in the morning or very late at night.

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Do you think that POD is the way of the future for print books?

Absolutely. There is no longer any reason to publish millions of books each year (and kill millions of trees) that won’t sell. I predict that bookstores will have POD machines at their locations so they can print books on demand for walk-in buyers.

In How to Write, Publish & $ell E-Books, you advocate keeping e-books short, and indeed How to Write is only 30pages, but Booklocker only accepts books over 100 pages. Why is that?

100 pages is at 5.5 x 8.5 (the standard print book size). We found that buyers who buy books of less than 100 pages occasionally complain that they’re buying an “article”, not a book. So, about a year ago, we changed our guidelines.

What types of e-books sell the best at Booklocker?

How-to business books. However, one of the best selling books in the entire history of the site is “How to Make and Market Gel Candles That Sell Like Wildfire.”

Do you find e-books have a limited selling life? How does their selling life equate with print books?

No. In fact, our best sellers continue to sell at a steady rate, even though most of them are several months old. It really depends on how hard the author pounds the virtual pavement to promote their words, rather than the actual age of the book.

All of your own books are writing related. Do you ever hanker after writing something completely different, like fiction, or poetry?

Yuppers! I’m currently co-authoring a novel with another well-known author. I can’t tell who yet. I’m also just about finished with “The Emergency Divorce Handbook for Women” which contains essays by myself and other women. It helps women make better choices before and during divorce…better choices for them and their children. And, each essay
contains each writer’s personal story and then specific advice. Some of the stories are quite horrific and contain topics I hadn’t originally considered, which made the book about twice as long as I originally intended.

You’ve been very vocal about the need for writers to be paid for their work. Will some types of non-lucrative work (for publishers as well as writers) like poetry and other types of non-commercially oriented writing disappear if writers stop doing it for free?

Poetry will never disappear. But, it really is a starving-artist profession. My brother is a poet and, unfortunately, only my family will ever read his work. He won’t write for free and is content to keep his work in the family rather than contribute to the content coffers of greedy publishers. So, no, those art forms won’t disappear…but they’ll not keep food on the table either.

Although it is very hard to make money as a poet, it seems to be, by far, the most popular form of writing, at least on the Internet. Why do you think that is?

The only poetry I’ve written is funny poems for my kiddos, so I’m not speaking from experience. But, poetry is a form of therapy for many. Anyone can write poetry, really…thought not anyone can write GOOD poetry. I think, perhaps, that is why it is so popular.

Are you working on something new at the moment?

The fiction novel, the divorce book and pondering another novel as well. And, we’re about to launch WritersWeekly University where writers can sign up for online writing classes. Our first instructor, MJ Rose, will be teaching two classes; 1 on book marketing online and the other, “How to Procrastinate Your Way to Writing a Novel.”