By DIXIE EDDY
Special to the Courier
Pam Clark went looking for her father, only to find herself immersed in a different world altogether.
A retired bank fraud investigator, Pam’s search resulted in the writing of her father’s biography, “…but they call me Sonny.”
Not to be outdone, her husband Norm retired from running the couple’s small business and wrote a CIA spy adventure, “Resurrected.”
Writing the books was one thing, getting them published – and sold – was quite another. At first, Pam worked through an online publishing company, spent $2,000 in the process and received no editing help.
Norm went a different route.
“I was watching her travail with the publisher, so I started checking out Amazon. It was free to publish, so I decided the price was right. I was tickled pink… (with Amazon),” Norm said.
According to the Amazon site, “Create a Space,” an author can “upload a copy of their book for free, retain all creative rights, and 70 percent of all royalties.” In a matter of minutes the book will be available to Kindle users.
Amazon offers some promotional help, but the couple realized they needed to do more if their labors were to pay off.
That realization led to their excursion into the world of social media.
“Before I wrote my book I swore I would never be on Facebook, Twitter, etc. I thought it was a waste of time,” Norm said.
“You have to promote it (the book), and that’s where social media comes in,” he said.
The most helpful tool in learning to promote his self-published book was an e-book downloaded from Amazon called, “The First Ten Steps.”
The book gives the first-time published author a map on how to use social media to find readers and get them interested in buying your book.
“The book basically says, ‘Twitter will be your best friend.’ You use Twitter to ask followers to visit your Facebook page, your blog, etcetera,” Norm said.
Social media seems to be a realm for younger generations, and Norm and Pam – like many retirees – entered the fray with a little skepticism and apprehension. However, they found that getting started was simple, and not at all frightening.
“You can sign up for Twitter in four to five minutes,” Norm said. “Older people, if they’re not dialed into social media, most are afraid of it. They don’t need to be. There are some frustrations. The only way to learn is to do it, make some mistakes. It’s trial and error.”
Now, Pam and Norm spend at least four hours a day promoting their books using social media sites such as Shelfari, and Librarything, Twitterfeed, and Authorpress, from their office set up in one half of their double garage.
“It takes five to six months to get comfortable using sites. You have to have followers; you have to be dedicated,” Norm said.
“When you do stuff like this the hours fly by,” Pam said. “You can lose a day. I want to say thank God for Sara Lee and Marie Calendar, otherwise we might not be married.”
Pam and Norm say the income from the amount of books they have sold is a small stream of steady income at this point.
According to an online CNN article,” a 1,007-person survey earlier this year found ‘DIY authors’ make $10,000 a year on average, and half of them make less than $500 a year.”
Pam and Norm say this lifestyle keeps them young and connected. Pam said she has followers from all over the world, “in far flung places such as Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the U.K.,” just to name a few.
They admitted they aren’t getting rich as writers, and don’t plan on moving to the Bahamas anytime soon, but both agree their quality of life is rich.
Congratulations Kris! Kris was one of my students who completed my class, “Easy Secrets To Self-Publishing for Kindle & Nook: Make Extra Money From Your Creativity & Passion” in September of this year. Kris had her cookbook ready to go but was unsure how to publish it for Kindle and Nook.
Just FIVE HOURS after completing the course, Kris was hitting “Publish” on her eBook!
Busy is not the word for Kris Mazy of Chino Valley. She is the mother of seven children aged 5 to 14, four of whom she home schools. The other three are in public school. Besides being a wife and mother, canning all her own food from her large garden, and cooking all her food from scratch, she has managed during those years to work at her father’s gun store each day, worked to get an art degree from Yavapai college, and this fall, she received her BA in Education from Liberty University.
“People ask me ‘how do you do all this,’ and I say, well, I have 14 little extra hands that help me, as all the kids help out in the kitchen,” Kris said.
Seven and a half years ago Kris and husband Larry found out their third born daughter Elwyn, who seemed to always be sick, was allergic to red dyes.
Kris did a lot of research online and in books about red dye and found out that many foods and other products contain the dye.
“Red dye is not only in food, but lotions, medicines, play dough, paints and hundreds of products,” she said. “I had to start cooking and making everything from scratch. We reorganized our whole kitchen, and I put all my own mixes for things like breads, cakes, oatmeal, etc. in large jars to store them.”
“My husband and I started compiling recipes and testing. We read every label and ingredient to make sure there were no dyes in the ingredients. Since we started using these recipes my daughter has had no outbreaks. Our lives have so changed. The rule in our house now regarding food is if Elwyn can’t have it, no one can,” she added.
Since these recipes worked so well for her daughter’s allergy to red dye, Kris decided to write a book about cooking from scratch and using homemade dye-free mixes.
“This started out to be just for our family, then I realized how many people are in the same situation and could benefit from it. My book ‘A Kitchen Full of Mixes,’ has all of my everyday recipes in it. Cooking from scratch is a lost art, and this is the starter book for moms who are used to cooking out of a box,” Kris explained.
Kris’s book can be purchased on Amazon, or Barnes and Noble and locally at Kathi’s Books and Mazy’s in Chino Valley. It can also be checked out at the Chino Valley Library.
Kris already has three more books in the works -one on solar oven cooking, one on soups and stews, and one called “Kid Tested and Approved From Scratch Recipes.”
“I feel that because our kids have allergies, God has given me the inspiration to write these books to help other parents,” said Kris.
Contact Kris at mazybooks.com.
In an email today to all publishers, Barnes & Noble announced that authors can now sell in the UK for Nook!
Great news! NOOK is now available in the United Kingdom and that means you can reach even more readers when you publish your eBooks through PubIt! We have added new features to PubIt! so that your eBooks will be available for sale in the UK on NOOK.co.uk (if you have indicated that you have Worldwide Rights to your titles).