Monday, February 21, 2011

Marketing Monday - Carole Anne Carr

Today I would like to welcome Carole Anne Carr, a children's author who has self published several books for children, including two novels and a picture book. She will also have fantasy based on Norse mythology available soon.

Many of you already know Carole from her blog; she writes historical fiction set near her home in England. Through her books, she is making a tour of Shropshire's historical sites, which must be a wonderful experience for local children.

What has the process of self-publishing been like for you?

Very hard work indeed. I began this process as I started serious writing very late in life and didn't think any publisher would be interested in me at my age.

First I tried to discover whether I was on the right track by completing a part time three year course on creative writing. When I did well, I then decided to go ahead with this project.

Then I had to work out how to be a self-publisher. I didn't want vanity publishing, or a pay on demand printer, so I set about finding a good printer whose work I liked and who would publish one hundred books at a time - a number I thought I could sell to begin with.

I then used Google to discover how to be a publisher, learned how to make print ready files, asked my Grandson how to design a book cover and also make it into a print ready file, and learned about ISBN numbers and how to attach them to the cover. From the printer I learned about types of paper, how my book would be bound, costs,how long the process would take. I visited the printer to see the whole process from start to finish.

Then I wanted to add a picture book to my published work and so purchased a simplified version of photoshop - elements 8 - which was the correct one for my needs and struggled to place my illustrations into the book file.

Of course I edited my own work, a long tedious process, found a friend who would act as accountant and helped me set up as self-employed. I have since found someone to help with the editing, dicovered on LinkedIn, who is also at the beginning stage of his career and as yet does not charge.

How has online social networking helped you market your books?

Not a great deal as yet. It leads people to my website and bookshop, but it is only by my author appearances that I later have people buying from the site. However, I have found many useful connections, people who have kindly helped me along the way, through LinkedIn. Moral support that I receive from Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, is always welcome.

What steps have you taken to market your books in person (with bookstores, schools, libraries, etc.)?

I have sold over 1000 books since I started at the beginning of 2010, not a great number, and this has been due to selling myself to independent bookshops, working in local libraries and schools as visiting author, (placing my books in county libraries), visiting schools, (I taught for 25 years) and reading from my books and teaching creative writing.

I have joined many societies, Women in Rural Business and joined them at large county shows, attended craft fairs, I'm a member of the Society of Authors, Jelly, and the National Association of Writers in Schools and attend their conferences. I keep in touch with Nielsen, and have finally been recognised by Gardners the big book distribution people. I also give talks to women's groups.

My books relate to historical sites, although children's fiction, and I have made sure they are for sale in museums and bookshops related to those sites. My next book is fantasy, I'm hoping to widen my apppeal. I am constantly working to improve my visibility whilst writing more books. My first two books are shortly to become eBooks so that I can reach a wider market. If you google me, you will find that I appear over many many pages, very hard work indeed.

What advice do you have for other children's authors who might be thinking of self-publishing?

It is possible to be successful, and I think with much persistance you can become reasonably well known as an author. If you have the ability, and you can always take courses as I did to make sure you are on the right track, and you have the drive, then I'd say 'go for it'. However, I must add that it is easier for me, being retired!

If you are a published author and you would like to share your experiences with marketing and promoting your book(s), I'd love to share your story! Please contact me at anpstevens [at] gmail [dot] com.


  1. Thank you so much, Alison, that is lovely. I do appreciate your help. Carole.

  2. My pleasure, thank you for sharing your experience!

  3. I think 1000 books is a good milestone personally. Here's well wishes on the next 1000 and thanks for sharing all that you've learned here for me to read.

  4. Well this was an absolute treat! Carole is a doll and this interview was no exception!!! I look forward to snagging a few of her books for my niece and nephews!!

    Happy Monday!

  5. Nice post. I'm a fellow crusader and new follower. Nice to meet you.

  6. I'm a fellow crusader! See you around.

  7. I am a crusader also. I noted your coment. I will be following your blog I have 1 self-published book and 2 traditionally published books so I have had both experiences. It will be interesting to help each other.

  8. Hmm, I'll have to check into these titles for my 12 year old. I'm always searching for something he'd be willing to read. Thanks for the introduction Allison.

    Carole this was an interesting, informative interview. Thanks for sharing your journey.


  9. Michael: certainly for a self-published author, 1000 is a good initial target, I'd think.

    Jen: She is great, isn't she?

    Margo: thanks, nice to meet you!

    Zan Marie: thanks for stopping by.

    Jeanne: I'll be in touch. :)

    Donna: My pleasure.