7 Questions With Children’s Author Carole P. Roman
Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of over fifty children’s books. Whether it’s pirates, princesses, or discovering the world around us, her books have enchanted educators, parents, and her diverse audience of children.
She hosts two blog radio programs and is one of the founders of a new magazine, Indie Author’s Monthly. She’s been interviewed twice by Forbes Magazine. Carole has co-authored a self-help book, Navigating Indieworld: A Beginners Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing.
In today’s interview, Carole speaks about the truths and myths around self-publishing vs traditional publishing, the valuable lessons she’s learned about Amazon and the setbacks of the profession.
She’s one of the most honest authors I’ve had the pleasure to interview, and her support toward upcoming writers is second only to her talent.
Oh Susannah is her first Early Reader Chapter book series. She lives on Long Island near her children and grandchildren.
Her series includes:
Captain No Beard
If You Were Me and Lived in… Cultural series
If You Were Me and Lived in… Historical series
Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag – Early Reader Chapter Books
Navigating Indieworld- with co-author Julie A. Gerber
Indieworld Marketing- with co-authors Angela Hausman and Julie A. Gerber
If you too are an upcoming writer, make sure you check out the tips & tricks From Writing To Publishing Your Novel.
Esther Rabbit: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I may fool myself into believing I’m a plotter until my characters take control and finish the story. When an idea hits, I’ll daydream a bit letting the characters take form in my head.
They are hazy at first, and then as I start typing their quirks and personalities develop from someplace, I can’t quite figure out. By the time I’ve reread the first few chapters, they are not who I imagined and make sure I understand they are not going to be bullied into doing what I expect.
They make it very clear what direction they are taking, and sometimes I sit back and say, “Well, who would have thunk?”
Esther Rabbit: How does a day in your author life look?
My day is jam-packed from the time I rise. I get up early and head to our office where I meet my sons and brother. We have breakfast together and then handle our day job. I am the CEO of a global ground transportation company that handles travel for the major film studios.
I have four offices in the states, and I spend the next few hours contacting each of the managers and going over daily issues. I do my day job until about ten or eleven and then I move to my second career, or maybe it might be considered my third career at this point.
I manage marketing and promotion for close to one hundred books. My assistant and I go over Facebook posts, marketing plans, and the maintenance that comes with handling books. (Entering them into contests, following through with newsletters, contacting authors to feature on my own blog or radio shows.)
I have three blog radio shows, so now is the time I’ll look for guests, prepare a script or put together a schedule. I write articles for both Medium and the magazine I founded with the author, RL Jackson, so this is when I usually write them.
I head for home after two, and twice a week I take up yoga, Friday nights are for the grandkids, and I read at least four books a week. I write in the late afternoons or into the evening. If something hits, I will write all night.
Esther Rabbit: What were some major setbacks of this profession?
Two major setbacks have crippled indie author. Amazon had changed their rules, making it virtually impossible to gather reviews. Reviews are the building blocks of sales, and Amazon is thwarting authors.
Many of our hard-earned reviews, gained through extensive mailing lists have been deleted. I have spent a fortune building these lists, and they have been whittled down to a minimum. It’s a crapshoot if you pay to send a book, the review will even be published.
They make authors feel paranoid with witch-hunt-like tactics when they decimate reviews accumulated by hard work.
The only resources left are fueling Amazon‘s coffers by assigning a book onto Kindle Unlimited (KU) or paying for expensive advertising on their sites. It’s a monopoly that is silencing the voice of independent authors and creating a funnel for people to stay with the traditionally published authors.
Three years ago, I published a book called Navigating Indieworld. It was an easy guide for novice authors to avoid some of the pitfalls that I experienced as a newbie.
It cataloged our history, the victories, and mistakes, and while it wasn’t perfect, it served as a navigator for other new authors. Today, most of the advice, especially inexpensive ways to market a book are no longer viable.
Amazon started out staunchly supportive of indies, pitting them against many traditional authors and making the books visible to the public. They suddenly reversed gears shoving indies into the background and showing a marked preference for traditionally published books.
It has become harder to promote and if an author isn’t aware of many of the booby-traps along the way, their book can languish in the million rankings of Amazon, and not be seen.
The best advice is to talk to authors that have marketed already. Sites like GoodReads and BookWorks, magazines like Indie Authors Monthly will help guide them against making mistakes.
Esther Rabbit: How do you deal with negative feedback or negative reviews?
Getting new reviews is like opening a present. They are exciting, they make us feel great, and we learn from them. We discover what our fans liked and what disappointed them.
While I don’t like getting a negative review, I do try to read them with an open mind. Books are subjective, and sometimes our stories just aren’t liked. I take apart the review and consider the things that offended. I have learned from them and reconsidered things that I do moving into the future.
The worst is criticism for typos or mistakes because that is our fault. I can feel my face burn with shame when a reader points out something sloppy. However, I don’t take offense when they don’t like something in my plot, or prose. Different strokes.
Is there anything you learned from reader reviews? Based on reviews of my cultural books, I launched a historical series. I think my Captain No Beard books improved with each new story that came out. I studied things people said and considered their advice when I wrote the next book. My cultural series became more involved as time passed, as well. Reviews commented what they wished I’d done and I added many more details as the series grew.
Esther Rabbit: What are some of the myths around self-publishing/ traditional publishing?
If you have a traditional publisher, you won’t have to spend on marketing, and you’ll make tons of money on the sale of your book.
Wrong, many traditionally published authors have to work hand-in-hand with publishing publicist and are expected to help out with the heavy lifting. They have to work to get noticed, and while they do get a budget, they have to contribute in time and energy.
Furthermore, if your book doesn’t sell well, they will stop promoting after a few weeks, and then the book may even go out of print.
I know of several traditional authors who want to publish as indies because they will cut out the middleman. I know most indies are dying to be picked up by a traditional publishing house, so they can concentrate on writing and make more money.
The rule of thumb is that if your books sell, traditional or indie, you’ll make money. If it doesn’t, you won’t.
The other myth indies believe is that their book will be picked up for a movie, and you’ll have it made. Indie books are rarely picked up for a film. The studios prefer to work with traditional publishers. Even if your book is picked up, they will try to get a publisher to republish the book.
So, you got noticed. A producer wants your book. This time next year you’ll need an outfit for the premier. Nope, a book can sit in production hell and never get made. They can even option your book, that is, give you a token amount of money while they try to get a studio to back them, and your book will never see a movie camera. Sometimes it takes a miracle to get a movie made.
Esther Rabbit:What would you do if you wouldn’t be writing?
I’d be working my day job and being the best grandmother in the world.
Find Carole here: