Fiction Authors are Different

After publishng my first novel, Hollow, in 2012 in the early days of  print-on-demand and digital publishing, I began reading every bit of advice I could get my hands on about promoting independently published books.

I tried to faithfully follow all the advice about establishing an author blog, newsletter, email lists, giveaways, tweaking keywords and meta-data, setting up pre-orders, using book promotion sites on social media and planning booklaunches, etc., all with mixed success.

It is only in the past year that I’ve seen articles confirming my earlier suspicions that much of the advice I’d been getting up to then actually was meant for non-fiction authors. Webinars, for instance, don’t really suit most fiction authors.

While it was much easier to break into the market when relatively few indie authors were producing quality work, it has become almost impossible with the millions of new books hitting the virtual shelves every day. Indie authors can become frantic and grasp at each new technique. Thankfully, and perhaps surprisingly, the increased competition has not kept indie authors from supporting each other. In fact, many of us sell more books to fellow authors than to the general reading public and we constantly share helpful advice.

To that end, I want to say to new independent authors of fiction, “When you read advice for independent authors, be sure the wisdom being offered is targeted for fiction writers.”

While some successful indie fiction authors have gone on to make careers out of non-fiction books of guidance for other indie authors, most fiction writers are less comfortable with self-promotion and need to use our limited promotion budgets in ways that work for us.



Publisher’s Imprint: does it matter?

Independent authors have an uphill battle to overcome the perception that we are less legitimate than authors affiliated with traditional publishing houses.

Many indies, recognizing that some readers shy away from self-published books, create their own publishing imprint in the hope that a name other than their own, CreateSpace or Smashwords, etc. will get their book into the hands of more readers.

I have been tempted to create my own publishing imprint for this very reason, but have resisted, feeling a twinge of dishonesty in the practice.

I believe it is perfectly legitimate to give yourself a creative logo and publishing name, especially as indie authors do all the publishing work themselves, but how does the reader feel?

JaBerHawky logoIf I designed a logo, like this one (well, not exactly like this, you understand!), and listed JaBerHawky Press (for JBHawker, get it?) as the publisher, would you, as the reader, feel somehow tricked if you found out later the publisher was the author?

I suppose until I can feel comfortable under my own imprint, the best thing I, and other indies who feel as I do, can do to overcome the stigma of self-publishing currently hanging over independent authors is hone my craft, write the best story I can and be sure my editing and production standards are as high as I can make them.

Super cool!

3d .png Body coverWith Thanksgiving just passed, please forgive me for indulging in a bit of giving thanks for these five-star reviews of my latest release, A Body in the Belfry:

5starsThis book captured me from the first page. If you love a good mystery with interesting characters and a beautiful setting, you will love this book. Can’t wait to read more in this series!

Let me tell you about a really good book — A Body in the Belfry by J.B. Hawker. A Body in the Belfry is the second book in The First Ladies Club Mystery series, following book one, The First Ladies Club, also really good.

From the first chapter I was thrilled with this book! This is the first book I have read by this author, and I look forward to reading more.

Awesome book ! Loved the story line, this book will keep you reading till the very end. So many Wonderful characters…

 I thoroughly enjoyed this suspenseful novel.

Absolutely fascinating characters, I enjoyed meeting every one of them. This story took me for a ride from the very beginning and that feeling was there until the end. I recommend this book to anyone with a sense of adventure and daring. Can’t wait for the next book!

 This book had a lot of twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat, I couldn’t put it down, and I highly recommend it. All the characters are multi-dimensional and I had to keep reading the book through until the end. J5stars.B. Hawker is a wonderful author and you will not be disappointed.

I love this second book in the First Ladies’ Club series. J.B. Hawker is a very good Christian author and has, once again, provided a great read!

I realize these are only the first eight reviews and, eventually I will disappoint someone, but for this launch week I’m riding high.

You can read the complete reviews for these snippets by clicking the book link above.

If you want to check out the book to see if you agree with these generous readers, A Body in the Belfry is on sale at only 99 cents during this launch promo, before returning to its regular price of $4.99. (Featured as a New Release today 12/5/15, on Free Kindle Books & Tips)

The first book in the First Ladies Club series, The First Ladies Club, is also being temporarily discounted to celebrate this new release.

Once again, THANK YOU, wonderful readers!

Be sure to check in next Saturday, December 12,  when I interview author, Cindy Davis.



Interview with B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree J.B. Hawker

Vain Pursuits honored by Interview on Layered Pages.

Layered Pages

J.B. Hawker J.B. Hawker

I’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree J.B. Hawker to talk with me about her book, Vain Pursuits. J.B. was born and raised in rural Northern California. After twenty years serving small churches from Alaska to South Dakota as a pastor’s wife, she returned to her California roots to start over as a single business woman, speaker and author. She has published many articles on faith and ministry. J.B. has three grown sons. Her oldest, the father of her three beautiful granddaughters, lives in northern Italy, where J.B. visits as often as possible.

As Jonna Hawker Turek, J.B. is an inspirational leadership trainer and conference speaker and has published the book Power for Women’s Ministry Leaders.

Hello, Jonna! Congrats on a second B.R.A.G. Medallion and thank you for chatting with me today. Please tell your audiencehow did you discover indieBRAG?

I stumbled across it when doing…

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Paying it forward for fellow authors…one more time

Today I am happy to introduce you to fellow author and Rave Reviews Book Club member, Rebecca Reilly.


Rebecca Reilly is a pastor and has been working in ministry for over thirty years. A wife and mother of two, Rebecca enjoys hiking, jogging, and taking cruises to Hawaii. She discovered–like Phoebe–that life is way more fun when you’re healthy, so Rebecca became a Zumba Instructor and now helps women lose weight as a Certified Health Coach with Take Shape for Life ( You can follow Rebecca on Facebook ( and Twitter (  @RebeccaReillyL)

Rebecca writes books for children, as well as adults, and receives stellar reviews for them all. Follow the links below to find the one(s) you want to read today: Diary of a Christian Woman Haunting Megan Into Dark Waters Heart of a Kitty (children) Jammers and his Flying Bed Adventure (children)

Do You LIke Poetry?

If you like poetry you can check out this 12-page effort by Louise Findlay and Jan Hawke, available from Amazon for just 99 cents.

poetryThis is Pay it Forward week at the Rave Review Book Club, an organization where readers can get to know writers and authors support one another.

If you like to read or love to write, this is the group for you. Join today! #RRBC.




An independent author, especially one just starting out, must become a Jack, or Jill of all trades, writer, promoter, and designer. To that end, I have been learning to use the free image manipulation software products Gimp and The results are above.

I haven’t become an expert, by any means, but I was able to give my Bunny Elder Series covers a more cohesive look, and that’s a start.

I tried to find an affordable cover designer, but most wanted me to select the images and do the creative designing for them to manipulate into cover images, when what I really wanted was someone to design and produce the covers. One day I hope to be able to pay the costs of truly professional cover design, because I know how important that is, but for now, I’ve managed to get one step closer.

My Last Promo for awhile, I promise

After today, I’m taking a break from promotion to concentrate on writing my WIP, The body in the Belfry, preparing for speaking engagements and redesigning the series covers to add coherence to my brand.

Please help me go out with a bang with this promotion of The First Ladies Club on the promotion network by going to, to check out the New Releases feature spot, then hop on over to their Facebook page    

fkbt says: We would also appreciate asking your fan members to give the post a “Like” on the blog’s web page for this specific post once it goes live, as the Facebook computers will publicize the post to more people not directly connected to the blog based upon the level of “Likes” for a given post: more exposure is what you want for your book today!

If you have read and enjoyed this book, this is a great opportunity to let your friends know. Please also consider posting a review.

To receive weekly updates on my personal experiences as a indie author, plus the latest updates on book promotions and works in progress, please sign-up for the email listing.

Authors and their readers are on this journey together, and  I thank you so much for all your encouragement and feedback.

Next week I will report on the success of our efforts.


First Blog Book Proof Copy on its Way.

I completed the book of weekly readings for leaders of Women’s Ministries. The proof copy should arrive next week.

I’m working on the book of daily inspirational blogs and am up to April. Slower-going than the weekly entries, of course, but very satisfying work. It’s like reading an old diary and seeing how I’ve changed and how I’ve remained the same.

I just hope the books will be interesting and inspirational to the readers.

As you can see, I’m trying out a different blog style. I would welcome your comments on this new format.