Welcome to the six hundred and fifth-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with non-fiction writer Nikki Leigh. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Nikki. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Nikki: My primary pen name is Nikki Leigh and I’m from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in the US. I am an award-winning & best-selling author, a social media publicist and a Certified Love and Relationship Coach.
My dream as a kid was to be a writer – it took far longer to get serious about it than I planned, but a month after I turned 40, my first two books were released – and I recently released my 28th, with more to come.
Morgen: Wow. You must spend most of your time writing (you lucky thing!). 🙂 You write non-fiction, how do you decide what to write about?
Nikki: Some of my writing is non-fiction and I use my training and experience to write these. I have two business books and three food service management books – those tap into my 28 years of business management and my experience as a manager at Domino’s Pizza. I also have two promotional books – which tap into about 20 years of promotional experience. My latest non-fiction books are about relationship topics and those were inspired by my coaching training.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
Nikki: Most of my books are published as Nikki Leigh, my business books are published under Shri Henkel and my children’s books are planned to be released under Aunt Nikki – but that could change.
- Journey of a Lifetime by the Members of the Readers Station
- 365 Mistakes Smart Managers Make Everyday
- How to Run a Financially Successful Pizza and Sub Shop
- Non Commercial Food Service Manager’s Handbook
- Successful Meetings
- Restaurant Manager’s Handbook (ghostwritten but credit on the title page)
- Widow’s Walk – Misty Cove Series Book 1
- Lady Lightkeeper – Misty Cove Series Book 2
- Lilah and the Locket – Cape Hatteras Mystery 1954
- Book Promo 101: Learn the Basics of Book Promotion
- Book Promo 201: Harness the Power of the Internet with Web 2.0 and Social Media Marketing
- Recommended WordPress Plugins (Ebook)
- Learn to Love Yourself, How a Love Coach Can Help You (Ebook)
- Art of Kissing from Head to Toe – A Love Prints Report (Ebook)
- Importance of Touch in a Healthy Relationship (Ready for Love Radio Series)
- First Stepping Stone to Love Yourself – Prepare for the Journey
- Second Stepping Stone to Love Yourself – Envision the Possibilities for Your Life
- Third Stepping Stone to Love Yourself – Overcome Your Inner Critic
- Fourth Stepping Stone to Love Yourself – Guilt Anger and Anxiety
- Fifth Stepping Stone to Love Yourself – Dig Deep and Be Completely Honest
- Sixth Stepping Stone to Love Yourself – Repair Issues from Your Childhood
- Seventh Stepping Stone to Love Yourself – Love Your Body Including the Flaws
- Eighth Stepping Stones to Love Yourself – Face Inner Obstacles to Relationships
- Tips to Improve Your Gas Mileage (Ebook)
Morgen: Some great titles. You’ve self-published – what lead to you going your own way?
Nikki: I have self published my relationship books and some other genres. After having 12 books published through three different publishers, I felt comfortable about self-publishing some books on my own. These are only in the Kindle store at this time, but I have several in the works, that could also be released in print in the future.
Morgen: Are all your books available as eBooks? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Nikki: All but one of my books are available as ebooks and 16 are only available as ebook – I like having options and the flexibility to use both mediums and will likely delve into audio books at some point.
Morgen: Audio’s my favourite format because it means I can multitask, although I’m usually writing, editing or reading when I walk the dog. Did you choose the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
Nikki: I have been able to choose the titles for all of my books – except the five business books. I have also had a lot of input in all my Nikki Leigh cover art and I have designed most of them.
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
Nikki: I’m finishing the last four e-books in my 12-part Love, Accept and Respect Yourself workshop and a new relationship e-book about erogenous zones. It will be a great addition for people who enjoyed my Art of Kissing Head to Toe report and who are anxious for my Kissing book.
Morgen: 🙂 Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Nikki: I used to do a lot more editing, but the more I plan ahead, the less overall editing I need.
Morgen: Do you have to do much research?
Nikki: I do extensive research to ensure accuracy in my work and I love to learn new things. The research I did for the family history I created for my first novel, lead me to write two historic books with the same family and hopefully a third book in the historic series.
Morgen: Do you pitch for submissions and / or are you commissioned to write?
Nikki: I have done both. My business books and 19 ghost writing projects were all commissioned. But I also pitched four for publication and I’m fortunate that my primary publisher approves a series – so if the first book is accepted, the entire series is automatically accepted. Definitely lessens the stress.
Morgen: That’s a great position to be in. Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Nikki: I have a pile of rejection letters from my first book – but that is the only book that was rejected. Since that time, that manuscript was accepted by one publisher and I am reworking it and it has been accepted by another publisher.
Morgen: Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Nikki: I tried the agent route in the very beginning, but for my goals, I prefer a small publishing house with a publisher who actually knows me, who wants me to personally succeed and who can be my publisher and a friend. I also like that my books stay in print and remain available. While I would like to be able to say I was published with one of the big publishing companies – I really am happy with the way things are. Sorry – got a little side tracked – I think the need for an agent, totally depends on your personal goals and how involved in the nuts and bolts of the business you are willing to be.
Morgen: Small presses and authors do seem to have a special relationship, with the publisher being able to be more supportive in their endeavours. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Nikki: I do all of my own marketing although I must admit that my promotion takes a backseat to clients who hire me to promote their work. I’m doing more and more website design lately and thoroughly enjoy it. I’ve been doing design work since I was 15 – and love it. Who knew that starting out with mechanical, architectural and land survey drafting would be helpful years later when I started doing website and book cover art?
Morgen: What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Nikki: Too many ideas for books and not nearly enough time to write them all. I love writing, creating new places and people or sharing information to help and entertain other people. I also really like the community of writers I’ve gotten to know over the years.
Morgen: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Nikki: Never give up, always continue to learn and to hone your skills and tune out the nah sayers. I have a lot of them – including all of my family, but I made the decision to press ahead anyway and I’m thrilled that I stuck with it.
Morgen: You’ve written three novels. What would you say are the differences or similarities between writing non-fiction and fiction?
Nikki: I always create a rough outline for my books – fiction or non-fiction. This keeps me on track and has helped me write faster. When I freelanced fulltime, I was being paid to organize, research, write, edit and submit a book in 3 months or less – so I had to figure out how to streamline the process. Even though I create an outline – I’m not limited by it. I keep an eye out for other possibilities in the story and often get suggestions from the characters as I’m writing. When I’m deep into a novel, I often dream upcoming scenes. That is very helpful – just have to raise to the computer as soon as I wake up.
Morgen: I do too, and have a Mac which I never switch off (it’s recommended you don’t as with any electrical item, it’s the powering on / off that kills it) so it only sleeps when I do. 🙂 Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Nikki: There are bits of me in each character, whether it is something I have done or things I’d like to do. There are little pieces of friends and even strangers I’ve noticed in public – and I think each of these things makes them more real to me. As I’m working on a novel or a series – the characters are very real to me. I used to have conversations with my mom about some of my characters and dad would ask why he hadn’t met our friends. 🙂 Since I write in first person, that gives readers the chance to get into the mind or my characters which also helps make them more real.
Morgen: Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Nikki: I do website design and SEO work, so I also write website content. It is possible that I’m be working on a script for a TV pilot – that’s a whole new world. I’ve also written over 2500 articles and many interviews – and hope there are many more to be written.
Morgen: Wow. You’re an inspiration. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Nikki: I am in the process of updating and re-creating my website. The site that’s been online for over 8 years is www.nikkileigh.com and that will soon be redirected to www.nikkileighauthor.com which is the most up to date. I also have a coaching site, www.lovecoachjourney.com. For people who would like to check out the promotional work I do, that is www.bookpromotionservices.com. Over the last 6 years, I’ve also shared hundreds of author interviews, character interviews and many other interviews at www.learntosellmorebooks.com.
Morgen: Thank you, Nikki. Great chatting with you today.
Award winning best-selling fiction and non-fiction author, Nikki Leigh, provides Web 2.0 and Social Media Marketing services. Nikki brings over 25 years of business management & reorganization experience, 18 years of promotional experience and over 12 years of online promotional experience to each project. She works with her clients to help them establish and/or build their online presence and helps them learn to identify and reach the correct target market for their promotion. Promo 101 Promotional Services is always open to finding new ways to help you learn to promote more effectively. In addition to business books, novels and relationship books, Nikki Leigh is the author of Book Promo 101 and Book Promo 201. For much more information, www.nikkileighauthor.com/ and http://www.bookpromotionservices.com.
Nikki Leigh is a certified Love Coach and works with single and married, men and women to help them understand themselves better and to improve their most personal relationships. For much more information, visit http://lovecoachjourney.com/. She is also host of Ready for Love? radio show – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ready4love.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
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