peeps: Paisley Ray
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Marquette University, author Paisley Ray migrated cross country, eventually landing in Southern California where the mild weather and “relaxed beach vibe” for that “year-round feeling of being on vacation” kept her there.
Her professional background was in branded apparel sales and marketing. “I entered the writing world naive and clueless,” she says. “I thought, hey, I can write a novel, and gave myself a year to do so.” She didn’t hit that personal deadline, but she was addicted. The story idea for Deep Fried and Pickled “wouldn’t leave me alone.” She also knew that she wanted it to be a series.
Paisley joined writer’s meet-up groups, attended writer’s conferences and took novel writing courses, all devouring writer’s “How-to” books while she was at it (“My favorites — On Writing [Stephen King], Writing the Breakout Novel [Donald Maas], and Method Writing [Jack Grapes]”).
“Writing, re-writing, crafting plot, developing character, tinkering with dialogue, and on and on, every free moment (seriously!). I loved it and made a vow to myself. Make it happen.”
And so she did.
How Paisley Got Started Self-Publishing
Not surprisingly, Paisley initially traveled the traditional route to publication: looking for an agent and publisher. But, with a stack of rejections “two inches thick” and an even larger “no response” list, she began to consider her options. She most definitely noticed the buzz over ebooks and epublishing and began to seriously consider taking the entrepreneurial path.
“I listened to other writers with agents, many with tales of frustration with these same agents, and I also listened to writers who were epublishing on websites like Amazon, Smashwords and Nook,” she recalls. “Then at a conference, the guest speaker was Mark Coker of Smashwords. His recap of the current industry trends, the closing of book, brick and mortar stores, downsizing within publishing houses, and the untapped potential in the ebook industry, clinched my decision.”
A “no-brainer,” publishing her books herself as ebooks. “Once you have your manuscript, with a little research on formatting and covers, and a simple upload, you are published — and you own the rights.”
No-brainer, sure, but she does add a cautionary note: “I have tell you that, once published, you have to figure out how to sell your book…”
- “Put some money into a copy and structural edit, and after that, run your book through a website like Grammarly, for an additional copy check.”
- “Think through the product you are putting out there. You are creating a brand, and every brand has an image. Make your product features obvious through a unique, simple cover design and wow readers with story.”