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Five Questions for Angela Adair-Hoy

Angela Adair-Hoy

Angela Adair-Hoy is one of the most prolific and profitable self-published authors on the Internet today. Sales for her own e-books (five of them) generate more than $5,000 every month. Angela is co-owner of epublisher (which pays up to 70% royalties) and, the free marketing e-mag for writers, which distributes freelance job listings and new paying markets to more than 33,000 freelance writers every week.

1. You write a weekly newsletter for writers and have successfully promoted your books - print and electronic - online. But where does one start in terms of online promotion? How does a self-published author even begin to go about making the Internet work for them?

The very first step is to get online, start surfing and find groups of people who are interested in the topic of your book. Join these discussion lists, subscribe to these newsletters, and dive in. Participate and make your name well-known in those communities. The second step is to start publishing your own e-mag, offering quality content to your readers ... for free. An e-mag sent on a regular basis to your target readers is free advertising space for you and builds loyalty.

2. In terms of your online presence, what's the biggest mistake you made along the way, and how did you recover from it?

Looking back, the biggest mistake I made was publishing on a monthly basis. Last year, when I went weekly, my sales quadrupled. When the second weekly issue went out and I realised I had already doubled my income from the prior month, my palm smacked my forehead. Why didn't I think if that two years before?

3. What aspect of publishing and promoting online has contributed the most to the overall success of your work?

Publishing a free e-mag is absolutely the key to my success. I not only have a weekly communication vehicle going directly to my readers, but I also have a personal communication with them. I personally reply to every email from my readers (except for the weirdos ... I get those on occasion).

Each issue not only provides editorial content they can't find anywhere else (new freelance jobs and new paying markets) but is also very personable. My column, News from the "Home" Office is very popular, especially with my readers that are moms. I interact with everyone on a personal level and let everyone know I'm human, too. Just being myself and writing like I talk makes a key difference in my readers' hearts. Being funny is a huge key as well. I don't provide droning editorial that puts readers to sleep. I joke, I laugh, I make up words to describe my exclamations, and I really enjoy what I do ... and it shows.

4. You've turned self-publishing into something that really works for you, but do you ever feel that your work still lacks legitimacy because it's not traditionally published?

Oh, heavens no. My work has never lacked legitimacy because I had no difficulty proving that I was making more money each month on e-book sales than many authors in print were making in a year.

And isn't it funny how one form of book delivery can be made legitimate overnight by Stephen King. Hmmm ... I have to remember to send him a thank-you card.

5. What would your advice be to a new author who has just completed a manuscript and is trying to decide whether to submit the work to a big-name publisher or to just go ahead and self-publish the work?

My personal advice is to go ahead and self-publish electronically. Why wait a year or two to be discovered when you can start selling your book online today? And, if you sell a couple thousand copies, you'll have no trouble at all attracting a traditional publisher... and probably more than one.

That's what happened with our book, The Secrets of Our Success (co-authored with M. J. Rose). Only two months after we started selling it as an e-book, it was sold at auction for a hefty advance. Had we not e-published and simply mailed book proposals, the book would still be sitting in publishing offices and I wouldn't have made that nice down-payment on a new house this month. Since we were able to prove its sales history and its popularity as an e-book, our agent had no trouble lining up multiple publishers to bid on the book. Two months was all it took. Any writer who writes a good book and sells it successfully online can do this, too.