Author Interview with Jennifer McKeithen
Introducing Jennifer McKeithen
Below is my interview with historical fantasy author Jennifer McKeithen. This teacher turned writer has taken her obsession with myths and legends and created a book series around it. You can learn more about her self-publishing journey and motivations to write below!
Atlantis On the Shores of Forever (September 2015)
Atlantis On the Tides of Destiny (August 2016)
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Romance--Fantasy
How long have you been a published author? I've been a published author since September 2015.
Atlantis On the Tides of Destiny book cover
1. What made you decide to become an indie author? What do you like to write about?
This is probably the best time to be an author! I love the freedom and complete control over my stories the indie publishing route gives me. After learning that some of the best selling authors today were rejected many times because they didn't fit a certain mold, I decided it best to forge my own path starting out.
That being said, I don't think traditional publishing is going anywhere. Someday, I intend to ink a deal myself. The indie path isn't necessarily the easier way, but I have no regrets.
I love fairy tale and myth re-tellings, and I love classical and medieval history. It's thrilling for me as a writer to discover “what if this happened?”
As you can probably guess, the Atlantis myth is my current obsession. It's one of those universal stories—virtually every culture in the world has some version of it. I borrowed elements from several Atlantis legends for my novels.
Also, writing “clean” fiction is important to me, meaning I don't rely on the crutch of excessive sex, language, or violence to tell a good, engaging story. Not that those elements don't have a place in storytelling— the Bible is chalk full of them! It just seems to me that many people think those components are necessary for a story to be interesting.
I was a teacher, and I could never write anything that might set a poor example for my former students. Which is why it's equally important to me to write men and women characters who are heroic, but who struggle with very human flaws like the rest of us.
2. How did you publish your first book?
I used CreateSpace for the paperback format. For the eBook format, I used Kindle Select for the first 90 days, then added my book to Smashwords in order to expand my distribution options.
3. Did you ever try to submit to traditional publishers? If so, what was your experience like?
I have not yet tried to submit to traditional publishers, but I plan to in the future. One of my goals is to get a Star Trek novel published.
4. How did you market your first book? Has your process changed with subsequent books?
I enrolled my eBook in Kindle Select for the first 90 days, in order to take advantage of Amazon's promotional opportunities. Then after those 90 days, I added my book to Smashwords because of their impressive distribution list: Kobo, iBooks, Over Drive, Nook, and lots more. Both Amazon and Smashwords offer giveaways and discounts, and I've used both.
For my second book, I plan to follow the same method, but I'm going to concentrate on finding more reviewers this time. Ultimately, the best way to promote your book is to write another book. Readers (including myself) love series. If they enjoy the first book, they want more and look forward to more like it. I've already seen this is true after publishing book two—more customers have bought the first one than the new sequel I just released!
As with my writing, I'm always learning how to improve my marketing skills.
5. How do you support other indie authors?
I'm looking for new ways to support other indie authors. Up to now, I've liked other authors' Facebook pages.
Also, I'm an active National Novel Writing Month participant, which has an author forum. In the “real” world, I moderate a writers' group at my local library. The other indie authors in the group and I encourage newer writers and answer their questions about indie publishing. I'm proud to say our library is an official Come Write-In stop for NaNoWriMo 2016!
6. What responses have you received from telling people that you are a writer?
Pretty much the entire spectrum, from some people who've told me I'm wasting my time, or “Why would you want to do that?” to other people who think I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread (“Remember your friends when you become famous”).
An important thing I've learned is that other people's opinions of me do not determine my reality. I know I'll do well because I'm committed to constantly working to improve both myself as a person, and my craft.
7. What/who has been your biggest support as an indie author?
My husband, Japheth, has been my number one biggest supporter. I would never have attempted to do any of this, or stayed the course, if it hadn't been for his selfless love, encouragement, and wisdom. He is my knight in shining armor!
8. Quote from a positive review of your work.
“A great book for anyone going to a Renaissance Festival. An historical romance but with so much information about a period that isn't well taught. Thank you for taking the time to share your passion for this period. And am looking forward to the next in the series.”