peeps: Delia J. Colvin
Like many others in the field, while developing her skills as an author, Delia J. Colvin worked in a variety of occupations. Working in marketing and as an entrepreneur, those you probably could have easily guessed, but you’d likely be lying (or freakishly psychic) if you also figured out that she once was an air traffic controller and a Russian interpreter!
She figured out, however, that her real passions lie in helping people and writing. So, Delia has consistently donated both time and money to literacy programs around the country — that helps a bit with the first passion. As for the latter, it’s a pretty good bet to say she’s pursued that passion quite admirably as well: She is the bestselling author of The Sibylline Trilogy: The Sibylline Oracle (voted Goodreads’ #1 Best Book of June 2012 and #1 Best Romance Set in Italy), The Symbolon (Goodreads’ #2 Best Book of November 2012) and the soon-to-be-released The Last Oracle.
Here’s what I found to be the most interesting in her backstory, though: For a woman who seems to have no problem whatsoever facing her fears and overcoming nerve-wracking challenges — moving cross-country multiple times as a single mother; learning to scuba dive despite a fear of water; learning to rappel down 50-foot cliffs despite a fear of heights; and there’s that air traffic controller thing — writing wasn’t quite so easy! “To make a living as a writer, someone else has to actually read what you write,” she says. “And for me, that was a BIG problem!”
After managing to eventually complete her first novel, she finally mustered up the courage to ask her husband to read it. After he finished, he simply turned to her and said, “Forget air traffic control. You were meant to write.”
The rest is history… in the making. Yay for supportive spouses!
How Delia Got Started Self-Publishing
But as luck would have it, so to speak, one of the top six publishers went out of business. This prompted her to read up a bit on indie publishing. She came to the realization that “books were now going the same route as Indie films, with the gatekeepers now removed.” The timing was perfect!
Not that she wasn’t getting any attention from traditional publishers. One even upped its offer to publish her book, which was enticing. But by then, her answer was no. “I had done my research. I knew a few things. I believed I had a compelling story that people would like.”
What else did she know? She knew she needed a professional editor. And someone who knew formatting and other technical aspects of the job. And that she needed a killer cover. Delia was confident she could get all those needs squared away. But she also felt she needed help from “someone who understood book marketing in today’s rapidly changing environment,” and she wasn’t sure where she would come across that person. Until she found Melissa Foster and her Fostering Success courses for self-publishers. “Through her courses I gained a basic understanding of what I needed to do,” says Delia. “Within weeks of following Melissa’s advice, I found my first two books on Amazon’s bestsellers lists and discovered that my second book was one of the most downloaded Paranormal novels on Amazon over Christmas — the hottest book-buying time of the year. Thrilling!”
Self-Publishing Tips and Observations
- “Right now there is a glut of indie-published books on the market. The competition is fierce and a percentage of that is not well-written or edited. Still, I believe that we are headed in the right direction, thanks to Mr. Bezos and Amazon! The gatekeepers have been removed and the market has spoken — they love it!”
- “I believe that there will be a system of vetting new books while still eliminating the gatekeepers of new emerging authors. Perhaps that system is already in place by way of ratings/reviews.”
- “One of the things my husband and I have done right (he handles a lot of the marketing) is to request reviews from anyone that reads the book. I do read my reviews… really a pretty masochistic thing to do. It tells me quite a lot about my marketing efforts and product: who doesn’t like the book (wrong market), who does like the book (realign my marketing effort), and if there are consistent criticisms (tweak the book or correct errors).”
- “Always continue writing! I don’t lay down and roll in the muck of bad reviews (at least not anymore). Some reviews are just people that yearn to be the Simon Cowell of books (the “mean” Simon, not the “good” Simon). Still, 95% of the reviews are just beautiful and I am so grateful to those that take the time to write them!”