Kathleen Brooks has story ideas constantly floating around in her mind. She tries to grab them all by putting them on paper. So far, a number of those ideas have turned into e-books – very successful e-books.
Brooks is a best-selling writer with her works having appeared on the best sellers lists for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. But it wasn’t always that way. Brooks was once a lawyer who worked for a non-profit for animals. Those story ideas were just milling around until she finally took the leap as an indie author.
“I think career change is always scary no matter how you do it,” Brooks said. “Going from one job to the next is always scary. I know it was a huge decision. It was something I was really petrified with until I saw I had so much time to write.”
Time is what Brook really needed. Since 2011, she’s managed to put out more than 10 novels with a few novellas thrown in. Even though she has done so much writing, she finds the novellas more difficult to write, getting all the themes she wants condensed into such a small space.
However, pushing herself to do different things is part of what drives her writing. She wants to do as much as she can, and get books into the hands of her readers.
“I always say the best marketing is to put out another book,” Brooks said. “I was able to do that with more consistency, more frequency and I was able to expand. While it was scary, I feel like if it’s something you love, why not take the leap and try it?”
This summer, Brooks was part of a growing segment of self-published authors represented at BookExpo America in New York City. She set up along with about 10 authors including Hugh Howey, Jasinda Wilder with Amazon’s Kindle promoting indie authors – and just a few steps away from their booth were the big houses.
Just because these authors have taken the path of self-publishing doesn’t mean they aren’t familiar with the traditional houses. Brooks has been approached by all of the big publishers. While she listens to all offers, she has the same line for them.
“My response to the offers is always nice and I appreciate them approaching me,” Brooks said. “It’s just that this time it doesn’t make any sense economically for me to do it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from them again because you never know how the market is going to change.”
Brooks’ first books were in the Bluegrass Series, romance books set in a small town in Kentucky. Brooks’ Bluegrass Series appealed to many as they were able to relate to the characters and the settings. She even had a reader email her saying her small town was so similar to her own – in Tanzania.
Brooks’ latest venture is the Women of Power series, a twist on the male billionaire who gets what he wants stories. This time it’s rich, smart and sexy women who have taken over. She has already put out two books in the series Chosen for Power and Built for Power. Brooks plans on finishing up the series in early 2015.
Then, it’s back to more writing.
But being an indie author isn’t just about getting as many books out as possible. Marketing plays a huge role – as with any endeavor. Only indie authors don’t have a team of specialized agents who can cultivate marketing and business plans. In Brooks’ case, her husband has become her manager and her PR rep and the person who formats her books.
Brooks likens her writing to owning a small business, which she has had lots of experience in. Her parents and uncles have all owned small business.
“When my husband and I got to the point where we could work together and start our own company with the writing, it was like our own small business,” Brooks said. “With it comes to control and knowing what you put into it and seeing what comes out, it was me and getting that work done. It was very rewarding.”