Friday, June 10, 2011

Firsts Fridays: Author Traci Hall and Signed Book Giveaway!

If you haven't signed up for the Gearin' Up to Get an Agent Blogfest, now's your time!

Update: Congrats to Mandie at Time4Mommy!  She won Traci's autographed book Diary of a Bad Boy!
Are you trying to figure out whether traditional publishing or e-publishing is right for you?  Well, maybe our Firsts Friday's spotlight can help you out a little.  Traci Hall has experienced many firsts in writing but is recently giving the e-publishing route a go round.  Today she will share with us a little bit about what she's learned working both ways AND we'll get a sneak peek into her new book, Wiccan Chalice coming out in August 2011.

So what are we waiting for, lets get to know Traci Hall...

My name is Traci Hall and I love to write. Now that my kids are in college (yikes!) I figured I'd have more time to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, but that's not the case at all. I still find myself fighting for writing time. I am a barista at Starbucks - an excellent company to work for if you need a flexible schedule - and I market, promote and edit, which takes more time than writing the book.

***Read more to learn how you can enter and win a copy of Traci Hall's Diary of a Bad Boy ***

DB: You are already a published author, why now are you making the switch to self-publishing? And are you going to make this a permanent switch?

TH: Traditional publishing is soooo slow J My agent is shopping three different YA stories right now – paranormal stuff that is typical for today’s New York market. 
The coming of age stories that I am publishing under Kendelle Publishing are books about the aches and pains of growing up – nothing flashy, just great themes that appeal to a steady audience.  I have two other partials already completed and ready to shop as soon as the first three sell, which are in the same genre.  Self publishing my coming of age novels gives me freedom to have books available while I wait for New York.
DB: What a great idea!  You sound like you've been one busy lady with all those books:)
You are currently published through Medallion Press and Samhain Publishing which are smaller publishers, what is the process for a book going through this market?

TH: The process for submission to Medallion or Samhain is the same as it would be for any size publisher or agent.  Study the guidelines.  Query.  Be professional.  Never burn any bridges because you never know when the editor at the small niche house gets promoted to the BIG traditional house.  In this era of multi media, what you say can be repeated forever, lol.
DB: Great Advice!
Is there more work involved in self-publishing as far as marketing, book covers, editing, etc.?
TH: These days every writer I know has to work extra hard at doing their own marketing and promotion.  We all have websites, facebook, twitter and a mailing list.  I am considering a publicist to help keep me focused, so I don’t feel overwhelmed by the big wide web.  My experience at a smaller press was similar, where I did the majority of promotion– although both publishing houses were awesome about getting me into places to be reviewed.  I also had a say in my covers, and back blurb content.  Doing it myself – which in my case means hiring a professional, allows total control.  I recommend doing your homework and learning everything you can about why a book will sell, what makes the cover appealing, editing, formatting and creating a sales platform before actually putting a book up on Kindle or Smashwords.

DB: You nailed that one...even us non-published joes work our butts off marketing:)
Can you give someone unsure about whether to self-publish or go the traditional route some advice you have picked up along your journey as a writer?
TH: I recommend doing whatever feels right to you when it comes to self publishing or finding a traditional publisher.  From what I understand, how people make money in e format by self publishing is by having a large list of books to choose from.  You should be prolific, and ready to market at the drop of a hat.  The idea is to get your name and your stories out there to the reading public – I decided to try as many roads as possible.  One of them is bound to lead to success J

DB: Perfect advice!  What's right for one may not be right for the other. 
Could you tell us a little about your book coming out in August?
TH: Wiccan Chalice is the fourth paranormal young adult novel in the Rhiannon Godfrey series, and it will be available in August.  Rumor has it that the first book in the series, Her Wiccan Wiccan Ways, will be available as a FREE download that month – so keep your eyes open for it!  Rhiannon is a psychic prodigy who has Wiccan parents.  She claims her abilities come from a scientific base, while her mom and dad give thanks to the Goddess for all of her gifts.  In Wiccan Chalice, sixteen year old Rhiannon finds out that her mom is going to have a baby, and Rhee has to adjust to the idea of not being the only child in the family.  Weird psychic phenomenon begins happening, and Rhiannon has to figure out where the energy is coming from – her friend Melody, who recently moved into town, or Rhee’s ex boyfriend, Jared?  It could be Bonnie, or Corey - or maybe it’s the spirit showing up in every picture Rhiannon takes.
DB: These all sound so exciting!  And guess what folks?  Traci is giving away a signed copy one of her books, Diary of a Bad Boy  to one my readers.  Just leave a comment and I will randomly select someone Wed. June 15th.  The giveaway is only for the US.  Sorry everyone else:( 
Okay, last question, just for fun…
Can you tell us something we just have to know about you?
TH: A little known fact about me is that I love sand dollars.  My idea of a great day is walking the beach and finding a whole sand dollar – I live on the coast of Jupiter and we don’t get very many.  I think they are pure magic!!
DB: Very cool tidbit!  Traci, thanks so much for joining us today.  I wish you the best of luck in all your writing endeavors.
TH: I wish everyone success in their writing journey, and if I can help in any way, please email me at
I am part of a writing video series called I WANNA BE A WRITER that you can find on you tube – they are pure fun, but there is excellent information there too!
Haven't gotten enough of Traci yet?  Check her out on her website:


Patrice Wilton said...

Traci - this was a very interesting blog as we are facing such new opportunities and challenges in our writing careers, and it's not easy to know which path to follow. I love that you're self publishing while waiting for that NY contract. Why wait? This is much more productive, and you are taking control. Best of luck to you.

Summer said...

Having been in publishing (in one form or another) all my life, I see both sides of the “self vs traditional” publishing challenge. Self-publishing is indeed a LOT of work. Not everyone is cut out for the amount of effort it takes to be a publisher, and doing so is in and of itself, a learning process.

I find many people are still a little “mystified” by the marketing and promotion process, and this is certainly a concern in making a publishing decision. Many aspiring authors I talk to tell me they “aren’t Facebook people” and Twitter confuses them. Just as you pointed out, Traci, it’s wise to educate yourself on the publishing process before attempting to self-publish a book, and it is also wise to make yourself comfortable with the social tools you will use in marketing and promotion. You do a fantastic job of that in your “I Wanna Be A Writer” series. (Which every aspiring author should follow!)

Kristine Cayne said...

This was a great post. Everyone is talkign about the traditional vs self publishing dilemna and it's nice to hear from someone who has done it both ways. Hopefully, the stigma on self-publishing will disappear in the next couple of years and everyone can do "what feels right" for them!

Thank you!

Janene Clapp said...

Hi, Traci...
I am thrilled about your writing career, and love to read about your journey. Who knew, 'way back in the day?!
I was interested in the chosen topic about self publishing. My Aunt has had a very interesting life (federal government job in embassies around the world, university teacher; writer) She has a written a number of books for foreign school teaching, to teach the students English. Along with these books, there is a disc included, so the student can hear the words spoken, also. She also has written a number of historical self published books. These books are about her travels around the world, and also family history that she has researched. I treasure her books, and we know that we would not have these important family histories and antidotes if it were not for her writings! And...if she had chosen to wait, instead of self publishing...we may still be waiting for the books!
Enough about that...Congratulations and my very best wishes on your exciting career, and I will be sure to read your newest book!

Unknown said...

You live on the coast in Jupiter? Aha! That explains your paranomral side . . . and your love of the elusive sand dollar! Anyone commuting the 390 million miles from Jupiter would certainly love both! :)

BTW, this reader LOVES Traci Hall and her novels!

Book Lover said...

Thanks for the interview, it was wonderful hearing from someone who has done it both ways.Wiccan Chalice sounds like a great book too.


Alleged Author said...

Really great interview! I like that some traditionally published authors are getting into self-publishing. Much success with the subbing!

Traci said...

First of all - thanks again to Deana for inviting me to post on her fabulously funny site, and thanks to everyone who has commented. Good luck in the drawing!
Patrice, thank you so much for your support - why wait, is right!!

Traci said...

Hello Summer! Thanks for the shout out on the videos, lol - Piks and I can't wait to do the other half of the promotion series. We are hoping to get my hubby to dress up in angel wings this time, lol

Traci said...

Hi Kristene - are you considering traditional versus self publishing?

Traci said...

Janene - you are so right!! Some topics are just going to be off of New York publishing radar, and so why not find another way to get your books out to readers? Good for your aunt. Thank you for the pat on the back, lololol

Traci said...

Kathleen Pickering, meet everybody, everybody, meet Piks - the other half in the video duo, lol. Isn't this a fun blog??

Traci said...

Hi Mandie!! Her Wiccan, Wiccan Ways is the best selling book I've written - people really seem to enjoy Rhiannon and her family and friends - definitely look for it and the free download in August!

Traci said...

Thank you AA!!

Summer said...

i just had to run back by and wave at Piks: Hi, Piks! Still laughing after the ACRA workshop you and Traci gave in Jax. You two are awesome. (And I totally gotta see the angel wings...)

Traci said...

Summer, that is where I know you from - that was such a wonderful time, and you guys were so patient as we gave the longest workshop in history, lolol.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Traci, great interview. I love your voice and agree with you. NY, publishers, small press publishers or self, as long as you are happy with your books sales, go for it.

Summer said...

Oh, Traci, that was a great workshop and we loved it. I didn't think it was that long, but then, I'm a digital/self publishing junkie. :)

Traci said...

Hi Mona!! And kudos to you, my friend, on your upcoming release :)

Rosi said...

Thanks for this post, Traci. It gives a lot of food for thought.

Emily R. King said...

Thank you for sharing all the great information about publishing. It's a scary thing to commit yourself to self publishing, especially when you've never done it before. I appreciate your wisdom and look forward to reading your latest work!

Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

Great interview! It's always interesting to hear why a writer chooses one path or another.


Deana said...

Whew! I went to my daughters b-day and I come back to some fabulous conversation! Now that is what I like:)

Traci you are so very welcome and thank you for taking the time to come visit my blog. I think you have really helped answer some questions about a writers road and staying true to themselves.

Thanks to all those who commented also! It is amazing how much talent we have in our writing community:)

Also, those who have commented are entered to win the signed copy of Diary of a Bad Boy! Good luck. The drawing will be done Wed.

Fresh Garden said...

Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful!

Arlee Bird said...

Gosh, it's sounds like writing's a lot of work! Things are changing in the writing world like everywhere else.

Tossing It Out

S.B.Niccum said...

Great advice Tracy! One question, you mentioned that you are considering a publicist, how do they help exactly and how much do they charge?

Traci said...

Deana, this was a terrific experience - Arlee, writing is hard work, but you know what? My friend has a great saying - "if it was easy, everybody would do it" lolol

Traci said...

hello S.B.! This is new territory for me, lol - honestly, I have priced publicists from the high thousands, to pay by the item houses that you just buy want you want. Book Candy Studios seems reasonable, and they have a few different packages but no set price sheet. Their rep seemed to want to keep packages around a thousand dollars, for a book trailer and author interviews that would reach 20,000 'new' people. Apex has an ala carte style to what they offer, and book trailers START at only 49 dollars. I am looking for something that will help me reach more readers. I have a tight budget, and some computer skills. I could make my own trailer, but I don't know if it is worth the time when I could buy one so inexpensively. Publicists offer a little relief in the marketing department so it doesn't seem like I have to do it all :) At the back of my head is that saying - "you get what you pay for" lolol
Check out my site to see how it goes, lololol - and good luck to everyone!

S.B.Niccum said...

I'll book mark you for sure. I did have a trailer made by a fellow author who was published by my same publisher. His main business is in the advertising industry (worked on the show "Touched by an Angel" in some major capasity (not sure what) any way he charged me $125 for mine.
I just wondered what exactly a publicist would do beyond that. I'll check out your leads! Thanks!!!

Karen Cioffi said...

Self-pub has come a long way from even two years ago. It really does give the author an alternative path to take. I've published both traditionally and self-pubbed. The key behind any form of publishing is to create a polished, quality book and promote, promote, promote.

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

Karen Cioffi said...

S.B. Nickum,

You can try One True Media to create your own videos - it's free.