[Interview] Carol Denbow

In 2006, Carol Denbow self-published her first book, Are You Ready to be Your Own Boss?

She followed this up with Stress Relief for the Working Stiff (Publish America, 2008), A Book Inside: How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Story (Plain & Simple Books, LLC., 2008), How to Organize a Virtual Book Tour (eBook through Plain & Simple Books, LLC., 2008) and The Writer Within (Plain & Simple Books, LLC., 2008).

In this interview, Carol Denbow talks about her writing:

What are your main concerns as a writer?

The same as every other published author out there -- selling books. Secondly, is my writing good enough?

How I deal with these issues?

For one, I spend three or four hours everyday on the Internet marketing my books and sleepless nights trying to dream up new ways to do that successfully. As far as further developing my writing skills to perfection, I’m just doing the dreaming part of it. Mostly I read good work and try to pull the lessons from it as best I can.

My biggest challenge is one I face everyday -- to keep trying.

With near 300,000 new books released each year in the U.S. alone, there is some fierce competition out there. I think new authors are shocked at how difficult book selling is and how few books they sell -- me included. I try to remind myself daily that books really do sell just one-at-a-time.

Do you write everyday?

I do write everyday -- but not always books. I write articles, blog posts, and tons of emails to keep my titles up-to-date.

Some days, I will wake up with the burning desire to write a new book. When this happens, I take my muse and run with it! I once wrote a book in two days. Another time, when I wanted to try my hand at fiction, I drove up the coast to a beachside hotel and locked myself in silence for four days. During that time, I wrote about a third of an awesome crime novel with a twisted and suspenseful plot. Unfortunately, since then I haven’t had the “quiet time” I feel I need to finish the book -- pity.

How many books have you written so far?

To date, I have written five books and contributed to several other wonderful publications.

My first book, Are You Ready to be Your Own Boss? was released in 2006 through a publishing house I founded, Plain & Simple Books, LLC. I’m thrilled with the feedback I’ve received from this book. Many who have read it, have succeeded in creating very prosperous businesses they enjoy. Others have shied away from their business plans after reading the book; which was probably a good choice for them.

In 2008, Stress Relief for the Working Stiff was released by Publish America, followed by A Book Inside: How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Story (Plain & Simple Books, LLC.), and How to Organize a Virtual Book Tour (eBook through Plain & Simple Books, LLC.).

My personal favorite and best seller is A Book Inside. That book has helped many a writer complete and publish their books -- that’s exciting for me!

With the help and contributions of several other very talented authors, I released The Writer Within through Plain & Simple Books, LLC. in late 2008. This short eBook is one full of inspirational articles and is offered free for the asking.

What would you say A Book Inside is about?

A Book Inside was out in September 2008. The title tells the content. This book is an accumulation of all I had learned and experienced during my book writing and publishing period of the previous four years. I didn’t submit the manuscript for this book to any traditional publishers. Not because of a fear of rejection, but because my experience with being traditionally published was negative in many ways.

I enjoy the “start to finish” of book publishing as well as the complete do-it-yourself process. In other words, I write, edit (hire out professionally), design and layout, print and sell my own books. It’s possible I am a control freak, but more likely I give myself the opportunity to present a polished and professional book of which I net more money per copy than a traditionally or Pod published author.

Which aspect of the work you put into the book was most difficult?

For non-fiction book writing, research is likely the most difficult aspect in preparation for publishing; that’s no different for me. My note pages for one book can be four inches thick. When you are writing a reference book, it’s extremely important to have your sources correct and organized, as they should be included in the contents of your finished book.

What did you enjoy most?

Even though I expressed, above, the difficulty of accurate research, I still find this part of my projects to be the most interesting and enjoyable; only second to the day I sold my first copy to someone other than a friend or family member.

I love to learn new things and research presents that opportunity.

What sets A Book Inside apart from other things you've written?

What can I say other than it’s quite possibly my best work. I get emails from writers who have ordered my book and they are so excited to finally be on the right track.

My first book was fulfilling in that I was privileged to meet new business owners who were fulfilling their dreams because of my book. But the number of responses from A Book Inside has been overwhelming and even more satisfying to me.

The satisfaction of knowing I’ve helped someone achieve their dream always gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling. I plan to reach for that same goal in my future releases.

What will your next book be about?

The competition for book sales is fierce. My next book is tentatively titled, 101 Ways to Market Your Book For Free (or really cheap). I have never spent a dime on book promotion yet my sales ranking is 200% better than the average author. There are numerous ways to promote for free; authors just need to know how to locate those free resources. I plan to show them in this new book. Respectfully, I’m guessing it will be released within the next two months.

How would you describe your writing?

I hope this doesn’t sound egotistical, but I like to help. I’m a volunteer for Hospice, I teach, train others, and enjoy communicating. All my books are categorized as self-help for the novice. Whether it be business start-up, dealing with the stress that follows, or writing one's own book -- my books are all references to the “best method” of fulfillment.

Writing isn’t something I planned or practiced like many other authors; it just happened one day. I was a self-employed single woman trying to make it in a primarily male dominated business. I struggled with this obvious obstacle as well as the complicated quest all self-employed persons attempt -- business success. Along the journey, I tried to think of how a small business owner could have a better chance to succeed; what would that take? I began to write and soon I was knee deep in my first-to-be book.

After nearly two years, my first writing project was complete. From there, the long and difficult publishing process began. Receiving at least five heart breaking rejection letters from traditional publishers, I made the decision to self-publish the book. Self-publishing requires a tremendous amount of research and planning -- just like the business did.

We all need a kick at some point to take the gamble and reach for our dreams. Had I not kicked myself in the fanny, I would never have accomplished what I have. Who is my target audience? -- the world! Those who dream of achievement, reaching the goal, leaving a legacy.

Which authors influenced you most?

I’d love to join the popular group and say [J. K.] Rowling or [Stephen] King, but I can’t. Influence is a mild word in relation to the inspiration I once (and still do) receive from a rather unknown author. When I was ready to quit, and that was pretty early in this career, it was a lady named Yvonne Perry who boosted my confidence and inspired me to push on. What began as most likely a “hit” to obtain my business (Yvonne is a writing coach, ghost writer, and editor), evolved into a life-long friendship and respect for her. No, she didn’t get my business, but she deserved to.

Have your personal experiences influenced your writing in any way?

Wow, I think I explained part of this in the first question. But influence is defiantly why we all start and complete our writing projects. If the inspiration runs out, we end up with numerous incomplete projects in our closets. My husband watched painfully as I learned the lessons of book publishing by trial and error. After my second book was traditional published, he said, “I really think you should consider sharing all you’ve learned through a new book on writing and publishing.”


My best book was born. I just love that guy -- he’s so smart!

What has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

We all have dreams, and the realistic dreamers like myself shoot for the lower placed stars in the sky. I love being a writer. But the greatest achievement to date is that in the process of book publishing, I have been blessed to have gained the respect and friendship of some very talented and wonderful authors to whom I am grateful. Maybe they are the stars higher up?

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