Paulette Harper, author of books such as Completely Whole, talks about her approach to writing and her plans for the future.
Why do you write? Is it something you’ve always done, or always wanted to do? Or is it something that you started fairly recently?
I started my writing career in 2007 with a desire to help other women that were facing the same issues I was going through. Some people are born writers; others develop the craft after facing life transitions – and this was how my writing journey began. The purpose of me writing today is to inspire others to develop and tap into every gift that God has placed within them so they can become all that He has created them to be.
Tell me a little about your books.
I have authored two non-fiction, inspirational books, one author’s manual, and co-authored two books. My first book, That Was Then, This Is Now: This Broken Vessel Restored, was written from my personal journey while facing divorce. Within the pages of this book are my personal struggles with rejection, abandonment, and low self-esteem. I had no idea that God was going to have me write my first book that exposed my brokenness, vulnerability, and weakness; from that, I realized He was going to use my pain to help others.
My latest book, Completely Whole, is a resource-filled guide, full of practical and Biblically-based principles, real-life application strategies, and prayers to give the readers a holistic approach to living a life of wholeness through Jesus Christ. This book is inspiring, optimistic, hopeful, and encouraging, while providing a clear-cut, Scriptural blueprint for each reader to follow as they allow the Word and the power of God to transform their pain and restore their lives on their road to becoming Completely Whole.
Write Now Authors Manual was released this year. The idea around this manual is twofold: First, I want to help writers maneuver through the process of writing, promoting, and publishing their books as easily as possible. Secondly, I want this manual to be used as their guide to answer some of their questions as it pertains to the publishing industry. This manual is their handbook, author’s guide, writer’s workbook, dictionary, how-to book, and instructional tool to help them become all that they desire in the area of writing. In this manual are keys to success; it is loaded with website links, terminology used in the industry, recommended books, marketing strategies, and promotional ideas that will help them bring their books to life.
Are there any authors who inspire you?
I have several authors who have made an impact on my life and in my writing career. My inspiration comes from authors such as Michelle Stimson, Joyce Meyers, and TD Jakes.
How do you write? Do you make yourself write a certain number of words per day?
Before doing anything, I make sure I’m in a quiet area, free from distractions. When I’m ready to write, I sit at my laptop and begin writing. Depending on the chapter I’m working on, that determines the direction I’ll go. I am able to write as long as there is a constant flow.
Did you try to get a conventional publisher or agent interested before you opted for self-publishing?
My first book, That Was Then, was published by Tate Publishing, which is a subsidy publisher; however with Completely Whole, I wanted to learn the process of self-publishing, and I’m glad I went that route because the journey of self-publishing has helped me develop as a facilitator and writing coach.
What goals have you set yourself? Do you want to sell a certain number of books in 2012?
When I started writing in 2007, one of my goals was to write a book every year and I have achieved that goal. I believe I can continue achieving that goal if I stay focused and determined and don’t lose sight of my purpose for writing.
Is there some way you measure success, on your own terms?
When it comes to success, I measure it based on a few factors. First, is my writing achieving the results I expect? Secondly, is my writing reaching my audience? And thirdly, are the lives of my readers changing because of something I have written? If I can say yes to these questions, then for me, I am successful.
How have you marketed your book(s)? Have you used social media (Twitter, Facebook etc.)? Have you paid for any advertising (Facebook Ads, Google Ads etc.)? And how did it go?
Over the last several years, I have used many forms of marketing, including the use of social media, paid advertisement, speaking engagements, and conducting writing workshops. I’m constantly seeking ways to market and promote my work as well as works of other authors who solicit my services. As a writing coach, I am the visionary behind my own writing ministry called “Write Now,” a literary program that specializes in coaching aspiring writers in the areas of creativity, development, and publication of Christian books. I provide listeners with tools, resources, and opportunities to help them succeed in the writing business. I am a member of P.F.L. Publishing, and I serve as the marketing specialist. Just recently, I have expanded my services to include Virtual Blog Tours. Each of these avenues have been used as a platform to introduce my books.
Have you signed up for KDP Select? If you have, how has it gone for you? Do you think free promotions are helping with your paid sales? If you haven’t signed up, why not?
As of yet, I have not signed up for the KDP select program. I’m a member of an on-line network of writers who have participated in the program with some being successful and others not so successful. Eventually, I will participate. I can only hope that once I participate, my others books will increase in sales. I believe that’s the whole idea behind given away free copies of your work.
Are you worried about the exclusivity clause?
I’m not overly concerned about the exclusivity clause because it’s only for 90 days. If it was a longer period of time, I would reconsider my position on participating in the program.
Away from Amazon, have you had much luck with other outlets? Do you use Smashwords, Barnes & Noble etc.?
Completely Whole and the Write Now Writers Manual are both on Smashwords and Barnes & Nobles. I try to use any and all outlets to get word out about my books.
Do you worry about Amazon gaining a monopoly in the e-book market?
I don’t necessarily worry about Amazon gaining a monopoly on the e-book market. I realize they own a majority of the market when it comes to books. I think it can be frustrating to their competitors, knowing that buyers, for whatever reason, will eventually order from Amazon.
What’s next? Are you working on anything at the moment? Do you have anything new coming out in 2012?
I’m currently working on my first Christian fiction book. The first of two installments in the Trinity Lake series is called The Sanctuary. I’m extremely excited to be able to introduce to readers another side of my writing ability.
Paulette Harper’s books, including Completely Whole, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. You can also visit her blog and her website, find her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, visit the Write Now Literary site and find her on Pinterest.