peeps: Rachel K. Burke

Wordpreneur Peeps logoIndie author Rachel K. BurkeInterestingly enough, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this from an author: Rachel K. Burke credits her love for R.L. Stine’s murder mystery novels as a youngster for inspiring her to start writing her own stories.

She also loved music. In 2008, she combined that passion with writing and began freelancing with a music column in Massachusetts’ Worcester Magazine, and became a music journalist for Starpulse News Entertainment and Jamsbio Magazine, as well as a fitness journalist for Prevention Magazine.

After getting her B.A. in Communications and Media Studies from Bridgewater University in 2011, she released her first novel, Sound Bites: A Rock & Roll Love Story, the following year, which quickly got ranked an Amazon Kindle Top 100 Bestseller in the Girls & Women category. She followed that up with Finding Mia, another Kindle Top 100 Bestseller in both Women’s Fiction and Literary Fiction. She is now working on her third novel, Love Bites, the second in her Sound Bites series.

How Rachel Got Started Self-Publishing

Sound Bites by Rachel K. Burke“To be honest, I never wanted to self-release because to me, it felt like failure,” admits Rachel.

She actually finished Sound Bites in 2009 and signed on with a literary agent. While it was being shopped around, Rachel went to work on her second novel. Her agent, however, who primarily represented non-fiction work, was unable to break into the fiction market. So in January of last year, after reading a bunch of success stories from authors who were in a similar situation and had successfully taken the Indie route, Rachel decided to publish and market both books on her own.

“[T]he way the industry is now, with everything being digital, the Kindle store has been a huge success,” she observes. But she did have to cut her teeth learning what she could about ebook marketing. Judging from her bestsellers in various fiction genres, looks like it worked! “It was incredible.”

Self-Publishing Observations and Tips

  • “Needless to say, marketing is the most important part of your book’s success.”
  • “As an indie author, it can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to learning how to market your books. There is so much information on the Internet… that at times it seems like we spend more of our time researching marketing strategies instead of writing the actual books!”
  • “One of the best marketing strategies I’ve discovered is to enroll your ebook in Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Select program, which allows you to give away your book for free as a way of promoting it.”
  • “[M]ake sure that you have a marketable cover and attention-grabbing book summary. Because once word starts getting out about your book, you want to make sure it grasps the full attention of your audience and makes readers want to buy it… I hired an editor to help write my summary — I found the book title and summary to be the hardest parts. I also went through 5 different book covers before I found THE ONE. So take your time, and don’t release anything until it’s 100% the way you want it.”

Learn more about Rachel and her work by visiting her Amazon author page and her website (where she also gives a lot of good advice and tips for Indie publishers). You can also follow her on Twitter on Facebook.

Originally published: August 28, 2013