peeps: Karen Pokras Toz
A natural numbers person, Karen Pokras Toz worked many years as a tax accountant. Her writing was pretty much “limited to emails asking for client financial information.” So she really surprised herself more than anyone else when she started writing stories.
She couldn’t explain it — one day she just opened up her laptop and started writing fiction. And she’s glad. “It’s been a love affair ever since.”
Now the author of several middle grade and adult contemporary fiction books, including the Nate Rocks series, her work has won several awards — two Readers’ Favorite Book Awards; First Place in the Children’s Chapter Books category and the Grand Prize overall in the 2012 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards; and first for two Global E-Book Awards for Pre-Teen Literature.
Not bad at all for a tax accountant!
How Karen Got Started Self-Publishing
So she did what most people do this day and age : “I Googled, and then Googled some more.”
Eventually she joined a LinkedIn Author group, which proved to be a tremendous help getting her books out on the marketplace. “I met some great folks who really taught me so much about the industry and publishing in general.”
Although now an indie publishing veteran, Karen is still very much grounded. “Everyday is a learning experience.“
Self-Publishing Observations and Tips
- “My best advice to new authors looking to self publish is to put out the best possible product (and yes, think of your book as your product).”
- “Put together a group of beta readers — think of it as market research! Ask other authors for advice — we love to dish it out.”
- “Spend money where you need to (editor and professional cover — but be frugal about it — you don’t have to spend a fortune for quality)…”
- “[T]ake advantage of all the free and low cost marketing opportunities that exist on the Internet and within your community and own personal contacts.”
- “Know that you will need to spend a good amount of your time marketing, but don’t forget to carve out time to keep writing. After all, that’s what got you here in the first place.“