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Member Spotlight: Jennifer Bresnick

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Mar 12, 2013 6:26:48 AM

JenniferBresnickHeadshot_m.jpgBefore 2009, Jennifer Bresnick was just an average reader who loved the epic fantasy genre. But when she decided to participate in NaNoWriMo that year, she made the jump from fan to author with her first book, The Last Death of Tev Chrisini. Now, she's selling her book in print and eBook formats with CreateSpace and KDP, winning awards, and collecting five-star reviews. We interviewed Jennifer to learn about her publishing story, successes, and the advice she has for her fellow authors.

 

Tell us about your book.

My book, The Last Death of Tev Chrisini, is a fantasy novel about a soldier who can't die caught in the middle of a never-ending war. I've always loved epic fantasy, from Tolkien to Tad Williams, and when I first decided to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) back in 2009, I knew I wanted to explore the genre. It was my very first attempt at a novel (not to mention my first try at writing 50,000 words in one month), and it was definitely a challenge. I managed to cross the finish line, though, and a few months later, I finished up a manuscript I was really in love with.

 

Care to share your author bio?

I'm a 2007 graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a major in history. Born and raised on Long Island, NY, I now live in the Boston area, fervently avoiding all discussions about professional sports.When I'm not writing down the conversations in my head to give them an appearance of respectability, I enjoy crocheting silly animal hats, being creative in the kitchen, and on a completely unrelated note, putting out kitchen fires.

 

Why did you initially choose to independently publish?

I queried a few agents after finishing The Last Death, but after my first 10 rejections, I decided to investigate self-publishing. I learned that it was far from being a last resort for authors who couldn't break into traditional publishing; CreateSpace and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) offered me a way to have total control over my work, on my schedule, and produce some really high-quality, professional results - for free. The options seemed perfect for me.

 

How did you choose CreateSpace and KDP?

I really liked the way KDP interfaced with the Amazon.com store, and seeing my book on its own official page was very exciting. It's incredibly easy to use. CreateSpace is a NaNoWriMo sponsor, so I learned about its program through NaNoWriMo's special offers for winners. Once I did more research about the CreateSpace process, I decided to order a proof copy. The trade paperback I received was beautiful, and I've been very happy with the results ever since.

 

The community of authors at KDP and CreateSpace has also been great. You wouldn't think authors could be that supportive of each other, but it's such an encouraging environment. Also, all of the free information on the CreateSpace and KDP websites has been invaluable to me.

 

Tell us about your marketing efforts for your book. How did you get the word out?

I started with a blog, made a Facebook page, and took part in a lot of different communities, like Shelfari and the CreateSpace forums. I also spent a lot of time nagging people I know who'd read the book to leave me reviews and berating them into spreading the word (surprisingly, they're still speaking to me). After that, I offered free review copies to a series of book bloggers, and entered the Shelf Unbound Magazine writing competition. I was fortunate enough to have won the grand prize, which has really boosted my visibility.

 

What were your goals with your book project? Have you met them at this point?

Originally, my goal was to use KDP to allow a few of my friends an easy way to get access to my work. When it started to generate interest, I decided to take it a step further and really try to market myself. My fans were asking about paperbacks, and CreateSpace was theJenniferBresnick_cover_m.jpg best way to make them happen. Now I'd like to keep building my audience and keep writing. KDP and CreateSpace both make it easy for me to do so.

 

What would you consider your biggest success so far?

My biggest success has been getting positive reviews from people I've never met. Seeing those five yellow stars on my Amazon.com page has been fantastic, and connecting with readers and authors from around the globe has been eye-opening. I've learned so much from the process and from the people I've met along the way, and I wouldn't trade that confidence and that experience for anything.

 

 

Any advice for your fellow authors?

A do-it-yourself business like self-publishing can either be truly fantastic, or truly daunting. If you go into it knowing how much work you're going to have to do - and knowing that not everyone will be an instant millionaire - that's half the battle. Committing to your project, having faith in yourself, and being patient for the first few months while you gather your audience and figure out the best strategy for your particular book will be vital. Explore social networking. Start a blog. But most importantly, have some fun with it! Indie publishing is a fantastic market just entering its prime, and it's a great place to be.

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