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.



indieBRAG Christmas Blog Hop


Hello, wonderful readers! Bunny Elder Banks here to welcome you to J.B.Hawker’s B.R.A.G. blog party. J.B. is too shy to brag about herself, so, since I was in town, I offered to be your hostess.

I actually don’t mind, since J.B. never would have won her two B.R.A.G. medallions without my help.

If you think it is easy being the heroine of one of J.B.’s books, well…you can just think again. The things she puts me through!

You know, she looks like such a sweet little church lady, but some of the things swirling around in her imagination…my dear, I mean, really! It’s all right for you who only read about these things, but I have to live them.

Dealing with the serial killer in Hollow, her first Medallion winner, was an eye-opener, believe me. She took an innocent story about a small town Halloween decorating contest and almost got me killed.

When she took me off to Italy in Vain Pursuits, her second award-winner, I thought it was going to be my reward for what she did to me in Hollow…no such luck. She got me kidnapped by the Mafia in that one. Well, she did give me a few romantic scenes with my Max, so I guess I will forgive her. Still…you should just read what she gets me up to in Seadrift and in …and Something Blue.

I thought when she concluded that series with such a nice, happy ending, Max and I could retire in peace. But then what does she do? She kills him off! And brings me back to Bannoch in The First Ladies Club to help rescue her latest victim (what does she have against pastors’ wives, anyway?).

Oh, I know, she hints in A Body in the Belfry that maybe Max isn’t quite as dead as we were led to believe (led to believe by you-know-who), but with her fascination with dead bodies, what am I to think?

Now, where was I? Oh yes, I’m here today to welcome you to J.B. Hawker’s BRAG Christmas Blog Hop… and to brag about her, I suppose. Hmmph! I don’t think so.

Oh, well…it is the Season of Peace and Joy, so I guess I can cut her some slack. The poor dear probably doesn’t have much excitement in her own life and needs to live vicariously through mine.

Best wishes to you all for a Blessed Christmas and happy reading.

The next stop on the indieBRAG Christmas Blog Hop is tomorrow, December 8 with Vinnie Hansen  who is probably much kinder to her characters than you-know-who.

Until next time…bye from your pal, Bunny.

Own your passion! Respect your gifts!

3d FLC cover   I have a dear friend and former co-worker whose experience can be an inspiration to us all.  My friend, I’ll call her Michelle, joined the Department on a short-term contract to help out in technology. She did the work with such competence and flair that she was hired full-time as head of the education technology department. Michelle’s unique vision and passion for education soon led her to become CEO of her own educational consulting company and she is now one of the faces of the Maker movement for rural education.

Interestingly, along Michelle’s journey, she was frequently the object of resentment from coworkers and others. They tried to discourage her from implementing her dreams and seemed angry when those dreams became reality. Dreams, they seemed to say, are not to be taken seriously. 3d .png Body cover

Independent authors face this same attitude.

One member of an author’s Facebook support group posted this today: “What books have you written?” People ask this question when I introduce myself as a writer. This question has always been terrifying for me. If I give them the titles of my books or tell them where my writing can be found, they may read and find out…I’m not very good. This lack of trust in myself once kept me from publishing my work.3D Hollow

Why are so may of us afraid to trust our vision and gifts? Just having a dream is an accomplishment, putting it into action is an act of bravery and should be admired.3D Vain BRAG

While we never want to be accused of taking ourselves too seriously, we should be proud of taking our passions very seriously, indeed.

We may not all become CEO of our own successful company, or 3D seadriftsee our work on the best seller lists, but if we have followed our vision and stepped out to bravely use our gifts and passion to turn that vision into something concrete, we should not be embarrassed, ashamed or afraid of criticism.  3D Something Blue

The images on this page represent the fruits of my passion to write, they are books I’ve written and published for all to see.

Writers, creators and dreamers of all kinds, I urge you: respect your gifts and own your passion.

Monthly Author Interviews Coming to The Works of J.B.Hawker

Since beginning my writing career, I’ve been amazed by the generosity of my fellow authors. Rather than a competition, the writing community is more of a support group.

With that in mind, I would like to do my part to provide encouragement and support with a series of monthly author interviews.

My first author interview will be posted October 10 with the delightful Karoline Barrett, author of the Art of Being Rebekkah and the soon to be released Bun for Your Life, the first book in her new Bread & Batter mystery series.

There is always room for another entertaining book on the shelf, and another great author to follow.

Drop by next Saturday, October 10, to get to know Karoline. She’s sure to become one of your next favorites.

With a little (or a lot) of help from my friends

I belong to an online support group for indie authors, and the wonderful folks who read them, called The Rave Reviews Book Club. The driving force behind this smaller, more intimate Goodreads-type group is Nonnie Jules, a powerhouse of energy dedicated to supporting and promoting her fellow authors.

This month I have the privilege of being named Member of the Month, and being a focus of social media support from the others in the group. It is a humbling experience and seems to be having an impact on the downloads and sales of my books. The Amazon ranking of my latest release, The First Ladies Club, has jumped over 600,000 places during the first week of the month.

I often read experts who say Twitter and Facebook don’t have much impact on fiction sales, but when it comes to support from other authors, they can’t be beat. At least not with such active promoters as those in the Rave Reviews Book Club.

Check them out here raveand if you like to read fresh new works, or if you are a writer who wants to network with both other authors and impassioned readers, join the group.

Paying It Forward for fellow indie author, Carl Stevens

carl stevens
Indie authors have something for every taste. Today I’m featuring Carl Stevens.
Carl Stevens has written a philosophical mystery on time travel . Take the journey he’s written and decide if the time traveler has actually done the impossible, or if he is merely delusional.
You can learn more about this author on his website, by following him on Twitter or visiting his Facebook page.


Twitter: @carlstevenswrit


Paying It Forward for fellow indie author, Marlena Hand

While some of my fellow authors appeal to a vastly different group of readers than I do, Marlena Hand is tending a more similar vineyard. As she says on her website,I am a writer at heart, a reader of words, a student of life, a believer of the impossible, and a dreamer with hope. I believe in making the most of every day. I believe that purpose and reason is behind every good and bad thing that happens to us. I believe that dreams are essential to a happy and full life and, more importantly, you should never stop chasing those dreams.” 

A fellow Christian, Marlena lives her faith by her generous support of other authors through reviews, promotions and interviews on her bsouplog. A member of  the Rave Reviews Book Club, Marlena is a contributor to the popular anthology, “Rave Soup for the Writer’s Soul.

Contact Marlena on her website or via Twitter


Twitter: @mlh42812

Paying it Forward for fellow indie author, Kam Carr

kam carToday’s author is in a brand-new world of print-on-demand, self-promotion and independent publishing, competing with literally millions of other great books for the readers’ attention. Fortunately, there are literally billions of voracious readers looking for their next good book…and they all have different tastes in reading matter.

Today I’m introducing you to Kam Carr, a prolific writer of romantic, erotic and paranormal novels. If this sounds like just what you are looking for, then check her out by clicking on the book image.

You can contact Kam on Twitter and Facebook to let her know how you like her books or to find out more about her.

Twitter: @kam_carr



Nook Hardback Self-Publishing

I got an email last week announcing Barnes & Noble’s new hardback self-publishing feature. You can now have your books printed in hard cover and even with a dust jacket.

When I read this I was so excited. How cool to have hardback copies of my works on my own bookshelves and available for readers to buy.  My first four books are currently on the shelves of my local library in paperback and I thought I might donate hard copies, once I have them all formatted, etc.

My enthusiasm dimmed when I read a post from a fellow independent author criticizing the quality of the hardback books and making me aware that any books I have printed through this service will not be available from resellers.

I double-checked this information on the B&N site and this is what they say when asked:

No. The NOOK Press print platform program is for you to print books for your personal use, and does not include selling those books through Barnes & Noble stores or You may sell the books you print on your own, however.

So, my fellow author is correct. This facet of the Nook self-publishing service is merely a vanity press.

I may still print single hardbacks of my books for personal display and as gifts, but my enthusiasm has been replaced with disappointment.

This incident illustrates one of the many benefits of joining Internet groups of fellow Independent Authors.  It was a member of the Sweet Cozy Mystery Writers’ Support Group, a closed group on Facebook, who alerted me to the limitations of this Nook service.

While it may be overwhelming to see just how many other independent authors are writing in your own genre, the blessings of shared experience and the support we give each other more than outweigh possible feelings of competition or discouragement.