Case Studies

How Bestselling Romance & Mystery Writer Nancy Warren Uses Pressbooks

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Nancy Warren

Author Nancy Warren

Vancouver-based writer Nancy Warren is a USA Today bestselling author. She has written more than 50 novels, mainly in the romance and mystery genres. In addition to self-publishing, Warren has authored numerous books for Harlequin and Harlequin Blaze. We asked her how she does it, and how Pressbooks helps.

You’ve written more than 50 books. How do you stay disciplined as a writer to get to completion on each one?

I started my career in newspapers. Nothing teaches you to stick to deadlines like working for a news outlet. When I turned to fiction, I first sold to Harlequin and, again, deadlines were part of my life. Once I began self- publishing I simply gave myself deadlines. Okay, sometimes I fudge those a bit, but I try to keep up a reasonable release schedule so readers know when they can expect a book from me.

When did you begin self-publishing, and how many of your self-published books did you produce using Pressbooks?

I self-published “Frosted Shadow,” a Toni Diamond mystery, in December, 2011. I had no idea what I was doing but luckily had good friends who helped me. My graphic artist friend designed the cover, another friend hooked me up with a formatter, I hired a copy editor and I learned to upload. When I discovered Pressbooks, in 2013, I discovered how easy it is to take a Word document, place it into Pressbooks and have the book formatted in no time. I love being able to make changes myself and re-upload the file as needed. I think I have around 18 books done with Pressbooks.

Do you do both print versions of some of your books, and why or why not?

Yes. I provide print versions of my mystery novels and of my contemporary romances. I don’t bother with short stories, though I will be putting together an anthology of Christmas stories this season and I’ll have that available in print. Lots of readers still enjoy a printed book so it’s nice to give them that option. It’s always about the reader.

How do you use Pressbooks in your workflow as a writer?

I will usually do a final proof of the book as I lay each chapter in.

What feature in Pressbooks helps you the most? Any tips or tricks for other users?

Being able to create MOBI and EPUB files almost instantly is fantastic. My only tip, and I’m sure it’s an obvious one, is to keep a master book list already formatted for each vendor. Then as you add a new book, you can quickly change the back matter for each retailer.

What has been your most successful marketing strategy for your books?

I’m very lucky that the genres I love to write in are popular with readers. The best marketing strategy by far is to write a good book, get it professionally edited and proofed, make sure the cover is professional and engaging and that the back cover copy is enticing. Writing in a series, publishing regularly, engaging with readers through a newsletter or social media all help.

You publish in multiple bookstores. Which has been most successful for you in terms of sales? And did you find that publishing in multiple stores rather than just one was more effective?

Amazon is still the 900-pound gorilla, but my sales at Barnes & Noble/Nook and Apple are significant and increasing. My Kobo sales have been paltry but recently I’ve seen some improvement there. I like giving readers the option to purchase my books wherever they shop.

What advice do you have for indie authors?

Be prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life. Seriously. Even after 15 years as a published author, I was shocked at how much work it is to self-publish because you are in charge of everything from writing the book to the cover to promotion. My advice is to write the best book you can, present it professionally and then sit down and do it all again. Most of us aren’t successful overnight. It’s a slow build. It’s also the most fun I’ve ever had.

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