peeps: Abigail Keam

Abigail KeamAbigail Keam is an award-winning beekeeper, with sixteen Kentucky State Fair honey awards. She also got the Barbara Horn Award, given to beekeepers at the fair who rate a perfect 100 in a honey competition. A metal house by the Kentucky River is what she calls home, where she lives with her husband and “various critters.”

Oh, and she also happens to be an award-winning author, the person behind the Josiah Reynolds mystery series about a sleuth who used to be a — surprise! — beekeeper. Besides winning Gold Medal Awards from Reader’s Favorite, her first two books were listed as finalists on USA Book News’ “Best Books of 2011″ list, and her first book, Death By A HoneyBee, was on Amazon’s 100 top book list for Women’s Literature and Women Sleuths in March 2012.

She recently just released the fifth book in the series, Death by Lotto.

How Abigail Got Started Self-Publishing

B003UV988Q Death By A Honeybee by Abigail KeamAbigail first started publishing back in 2010, releasing HoneyBee. With the evolving marketplace, Abigail had quite a bit of learning and adjusting to do, as she navigated her way through the developing technology for print and ebook editions. “The technology changed so quickly,” she recalls, “that every six months I had to develop another marketing strategy.” It all started coming together the following year, however. “It became quite apparent in 2011 that Kindle was where the money was and an author had to adapt quickly to take advantage of the changing market from print books to virtual books.”

She reports that although she does have her books selling on the Nook and Kobo platforms, 90 percent of her income comes from sales to Amazon Kindle readers. But she is planning her marketing strategy very intelligently. “Since I don’t know how long the gravy train will last with Amazon, I have a future marketing strategy for audio books and other ebook listings.”

She realizes that she could be making more money if she could do everything she should be doing to market her existing books. But unfortunately, she’s up against a very real and common constraint faced by many indie publishers: time. “I don’t have time to take advantage of all the marketing possibilities available at the moment. I don’t even have time now to keep my website updated. It would be lovely to have an assistant to handle all those marketing details so I could just write.”

Definitely some food for thought.

Self-Publishing Tips and Observations

  • “Write a series.”
  • “Put two or more books on Kindle at the same time.”
  • “Enlist the first book of the series in the KDP Select program for five days in a row — Tuesday through Saturday.”
  • “Make sure you contact all the sites that advertise free Kindle books for your free days.”
  • “Establish marketing relationships with other authors.”
  • “Never respond to an ugly review — no matter how much you want to. It will only cause you harm.”
  • “Your book cover is more important than the contents to attract interest from potential readers. Don’t skimp on the money to have a good cover done.”
  • “Pay to have a professional editor edit your books.”
  • “Amazon is shooting itself in the foot with its punitive policies. Something else more revolutionary will come along and take its place, but at the moment it is the big gun in town and is helping to level the playing ground for writers, who would have been shut out by traditional publishers. I am very grateful for that.”

Learn more about Abigail and her work by visiting her Amazon author page and her website. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Article by Eldon Sarte