Guest post: Self-Publishing is No Longer a Dirty Word by Jean Henry Mead

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of self-publishing is brought to you by mystery writer Jean Henry Mead.

Self-Publishing is No Longer a Dirty Word

Not everyone agrees that independent publishing is the key to writing success, but a growing number of authors are proving the naysayers wrong. More and more writers are leaving their publishers to strike out on their own, some with unparelled success, such as Robert Walker, who has repeatedly said that the secret to success is to consistently turn out quality work on a regular basis.

But even Rob will admit that there’s more to it than that. We’ve all heard that writers need a platform and a fan base of readers who trust the author to turn out quality work. But how does one acquire a fan base? Not by hermitting him or herself at the computer without making contact with the outside world. Those days are over.

When I put together my second volume of mystery writer interviews, I met some successful new writers, among them Canadian bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif, who publishes not only her own work but others with her Imajin Press from Alberta.

She says in The Mystery Writers: “In 2010 Amazon opened KDP to Canadian authors and I went back to my roots—to indie publishing. For me it’s probably the best fit. I am by nature very independent and a strong marketer. Plus I’m ‘an idea person’. Even my old publisher saw this in me and often called me a “guru” or “marketing genius”. While I don’t consider myself a ‘genius’ I do know that I’m a risk-taker.”

Independent publishing isn’t for everyone. It requires not only writing talent but good marketing skills and industry know-how to succeed. A number of other self-publishers are included in The Mystery Writers as well as bestselling traditionally published novelists such as Sue Grafton, Lawrence Block, J.A. Jance, Vicki Hinze and James Scott Bell (former Writer’s Digest fiction columnist).

Tim Hallinan, award-winning author of the traditionally published Poke Rafferty mystery/thriller series, decided to self-publish his Junior Bender series—humorous stories of a burglar with a “moral code who works as a private eye for crooks”.  Tim’s earlier novels earned him critical acclaim but not enough money to retire from his day job. He now earns thousands of dollars a month with his self-published ebooks.

He said the reason he decided to leave his agent and publisher is because “the money we were offered by the publishers wasn’t very good. I looked at the offers and thought, ‘I’d rather own my books”.

Rebecca Dahlke once managed her father’s crop dusting service in Modesto, California, and decided that her protagonist—a beautiful former model—should also be a crop duster. She then decided to independently publish her novels, with successful results. Rebecca, like Cheryl, is a promoter and a humorous one at that. She says, “Self-publishing is no longer a dirty word. Eons ago, back in the dark ages (of publishing)—was it really only five years ago?—all we authors could hope for was a good agent, a decent publisher, a slowly growing fan base, and a list of book stores that might, or might not, keep our books on their shelves for three to six months before returning the unsold copies to the publisher. We could send in Advanced Reader Copies to prestigious reviewers or magazines and hope they would say nice things about our books, or pay a publicist to tout it, take our dog and pony show on the road, eat bad food, stay in crappy hotels, be at that next book store, book fair, conference, and smile till our cheeks ached.

“The changes have been exciting, and for this author, validation that I too can write books that readers enjoy. So, for all the august veterans who see the Internet as an encroachment onto their hard-won personal turf, let me paraphrase one of my favorite movie lines: ‘Saddle up boys and girls, it’s going to be a bumpy ride’!” You can read how Rebecca accomplished her success in The Mystery Writers.

And, after ten publishers of my own over the years, I decided to independently publish The Mystery Writers with my own small press. The 406-page book is featured on Createspace and is available on, Kindle and Nook.

The 406-page book is a veritable bible for fledgling writers because the advice offered by 58 bestselling, award-winning and midlist writers is invaluable for any genre. Twelve subgenres are represented and the authors write from as far away as South Africa, Brazil, Thailand, the U.S. and England.

To promote the book, I’ll be blog touring from April 16-28 with the Mystery We Write blog group and my schedule is up at: I’ll be giving away a print copy of the 406-page book and an e-book copy in a drawing at the conclusion of the tour to visitors who leave comments with their email addresses.

Thank you, Jean!

Jean Henry Mead is a mystery / suspense and western historical novelist as well as an award-winning photojournalist. She’s published 17 books, half of them novels, and served as a newsreporter; news, magazine and small press editor in California and Wyoming. She was also a correspondent for the Denver Post. Her website is

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with fantasy and science-fiction author Rachel Cooper – the three hundred and twenty-ninth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. My eBooks are now on Amazon, with more to follow, and I also have a quirky second-person viewpoint story in charity anthology Telling Tales.

I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email meI am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for my Post-weekend Poetry page.

Author Spotlight no.33 – Jean Henry Mead

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the thirty-third, is of Jean Henry Mead.

Jean Henry Mead is the author of 15 books, half of them novels. She’s also an award-winning photojournalist who served as a news, magazine and small press editor. Her Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series consists of A Village Shattered, Diary of Murder, and Murder on the Interstate. Her juvenile series, the Hamilton Kids’ mysteries, are Mystery of Spider Mountain and Ghost of Crimson Dawn. She also writes historicals; her first in the series, Escape, a Wyoming Historical Novel, will be followed by No Escape: The Sweetwater Tragedy. Her books, regardless of genre, are laced with humor and light romance.

And now from the author herself:

How would you react if your publisher died and orphaned your mystery series? Panic? Tears? Or would you follow the trend and republish the books yourself? Few publishers will consider a mystery series after the third novel, so I decided to establish my own publishing company.

I’m electronically challenged, but my husband learned to upload the files for both ebooks and print editions. And, because the books were previously published, there was little editing to do. It wasn’t long before we had seven books online as well as local stores interested in stocking them.

We have an unusual publishing website at and plan to publish other writers’ work as well. Fortunately, I’ve served as an editor, and my husband is good at designing book covers. We’re both bibliophiles with a large home library, so our love of books keeps us motivated.

The next problem is how to promote our books. With so much competition from more than a million ebooks, and thousands more published each day; we need to find ways to make our books stand out. But how to do that? Too many blurbs on Facebook and other social media sites only turn readers away. So how do you let readers know about your books on a limited budget?

I decided to take part in virtual book tours. I was asked to join the “Mystery We Write” Holiday Tour, which will run from November 25 until December 9. Fifteen mystery writers, including award-winning Tim Hallinan and Michael Orenduff, are taking part in the tour and we’ll be collectively giving away more than 60 mystery novels from our individual sites.

My own tour schedule is up at: (as well as the other writers’ sites) and I’ll be giving away 14 ebooks, one each day of the tour to visitors who leave comments and screen names. I’ll also draw three additional names at the conclusion of the tour for print copies of my mystery novels.

The best part of blog tours is hearing from readers who stop to say hello and comment about our books. Having someone say, “My husband grabbed your book before I had a chance to read it,” really makes a writer’s day—an entire week even. So I hope you’ll have a look at my tour schedule and choose a number of the tour sites to visit. There’s a good chance you’ll win a great mystery novel (or two) and enjoy what we all have to say.

Before I close, I’d like to ask you, the readers, how publishers attract your attention and what makes you decide to buy their books? I appreciate any comments you’d like to make.

Wishing you all the best holiday season ever!

Morgen: Sadly we here in the UK have to wait ’til Christmas for our holiday but we’ll make up for it I’m sure. Thank you Jean. 🙂

You can find more about Jean and her work via… website is and she also has a Wikipedia page!

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with author of short stories, mainstream novels, and mysteries John M Daniel – the one hundred and one hundred and ninety-third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords (Amazon to follow).