Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Meet Christiana Miller, Witchy-wonderful Writer and Self Publishing Maven. #Free Book plus #99-cent Book

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with No comments

Meet Christiana Miller, single mom, weirdly wonderful paranormal author, and independent publisher expert. I've heard her speak about publishing (an action-packed lecture. I am still reeling), and I've read Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead. By the way, Aunt Tilly #1 is Free right now. I loved it. It has 1,188 reviews/ 55% are five star. I am one of the 5 stars.

Christiana, I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when you decided to self-publish.

I had been laid off from my day job, and then the TV show I was writing for, General Hospital: Night Shift, got canceled, at the same time that the economy tanked. I couldn’t find work anywhere. While I was pregnant, I had started writing a novel, Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead, mostly for my own amusement (since Janet Evanovich hadn’t released a new Stephanie Plum in a while) and to teach myself how to write novels. (I’ve been obsessed with books, my entire life). And that was about to save my life.

After I finished it, I started sending it out, and the feedback was uniformly positive and uniformly “I have no idea how to sell this, so we’re passing on it.” At the time, I was producing and moderating a panel on self-publishing for the Writers Guild of America, so I thought, why don’t I go ahead and self-publish? That way, if nothing else, I would at least know what questions to ask the panelists. Six months later, I was making a living as an indie author.

Did you hire an editor?
At the time, I was so broke, I didn’t have any money left to hire an editor. So, friends with English degrees contributed free editing for the book. At the time, the conversion software for ebooks wasn’t great, and it would turn words with accents into gibberish. So, when readers started emailing me with a conversion glitch, I let them know that if they caught any errors, and they let me know about it, I would fix it, add their name to the acknowledgment page, and republish. And the readers took that to heart. So, even though I was flat broke at the time, Tillie wound up going through two editors and a huge number of volunteer proofreaders.

How did you choose the cover?
The first thing I did was create my own cover and then I had the good sense to realize
that my cover, as proud as I was of it, was atrocious. I found a freelance cover designer who was having a sale, and I hired her. And then I went on stock art sites, and sent her all of the images I wanted on my cover, or that I thought would fit. I really had no idea what I was doing. Thankfully, she was able to take the images I sent, pare them down and create a really amazing cover. Much, much better than anything I could have done on my own.

What advice do you have for other authors who are considering self-publishing?
There’s a learning curve, which seems daunting at first, but it’s not that bad. However, you have to remember to split your time between being a writer and being a publisher. It’s too easy to spend all your time writing and forget you also need to market. On the flip side, it’s even easier to spend all your time on the publishing side, especially as you watch your numbers climb, and forget you still need to write another book.

And the best piece of advice I can give…I know, for newer writers, it’s tempting to write stand-alone novellas and short stories because novels are daunting. But a novel series will sell much better, and be a better investment for you, than stand-alones or shorts. It can mean the difference between making a living or making Starbucks money.

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?
Meeting Janet Evanovich and Deborah Harkness. Meeting and working with other indie authors, whose work I totally fan-girl. And finding new authors. I just found one, who I think is going to be the Janet Evanovich of zombie hunters. H.R. Boldwood’s book, The Corpse Whisperer, is one of best manuscripts I’ve had the pleasure of reading. It’s on preorder now. And last, but not least, the day I realized that I could make a living as an author. That was pretty awesome.

 What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
Hanging out with my kids. Hands-down favorite. Being a mom is my absolute favorite thing in the world.

How do you motivate yourself when inspiration takes a vacation?
The rent being due really motivates me. Rent, utilities, groceries, and knowing I have a kid who still depends on me, is huge motivation. The lack of someone to share the financial burden with is really the sucky part of being a single mom. That’s when it really does become publish or perish since you’re completely responsible for whether you and your kid are living in an apartment or out on the streets.

Tell us about your latest book
I just released a new one, The Thief Who Stole Midnight, which is 99-cents for this week only. So, I’ll tell you a little bit about that one, as well as Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead since that one’s free right now.
99-cents??!!!When I read this, I flew over to Amazon by link and one-click purchased my copy of The Thief Who Stole Midnight. I'm looking forward to the read. You always make me laugh.

In The Thief Who Stole Midnight, Mike and Maddie, a young couple with a new baby, are rushing home to prepare for their first New Year’s Eve party as a family. When they arrive, however, they’re shocked to find their condo has been burgled. Even worse, the burglar is still there—passed out on their bed! But New Year’s Eve in Chicago means they’re on a wait list for the cops. With Maddie’s anti-city, pro-suburb Greek family due to arrive at any minute, they decide to take matters into their own hands. Which means this night is about to go from wacky to worse.

The inspiration for that book was my own experience, being locked in a bank after closing hours, and not being able to convince the cops that I wanted to break out of a bank. I always wanted to use that type of humor response to a 9-1-1 call in a story.

In Somebody Tell Aunt Tillie She’s Dead, Mara is having the worst month of her life. At least, that's what her tarot cards tell her and they've never been wrong. Before she knows it, she's evicted from her apartment, fired from her job and banned from Beverly Hills. But when the cards start predicting her imminent demise, she uses a little magic to make her world right. Suddenly, an aunt she's never met dies, leaving Mara as her sole heir. When Mara moves into her inherited home, she discovers Aunt Tillie never moved out. She's still one pissed-off old lady--even post-mortem--and she blames Mara's magical meddling for her untimely death.

 And finally, where can we find you?
You can find me online at:
Or drop me an email at: christiana@christianamiller.com

Christina, Thanks for being here.
Thank you for this opportunity to chat with you and your readers!

Look at that cover! It's 99 cents for a limited time. What a nice holiday gift.
Have a wonderful week.


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