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Author Spotlight: Suzan Tisdale

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Aug 6, 2013 1:33:53 PM less than a year, Suzan Tisdale was able to quit her day job to write professionally. After publishing a series of romance novels independently with CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), sales took off. Now, more than 91,000 copies later, Suzan can officially call herself a full-time author, which is something she always dreamed about. Here, she shares the story of what she calls her "incredible and accidental journey."


Tell us about your books.

Currently, I have four books out with a fifth on the way. My first book, Laiden's Daughter: Book One of The Clan MacDougall Series, began this incredible and accidental journey. I certainly didn't start out to be a full-time author, even though it has been a dream of mine for years.


About two years ago, I decided to give my mom a Kindle for her birthday. I thought it would be nifty if she could see something I had written when she turned it on for the first time. My husband did some research and encouraged me to try self-publishing. In the meantime, I asked a very dear friend to read my work, fully expecting her to tell me to give up because it stunk. My friend's response to my first few chapters took me completely by surprise. Instead of "don't give up your day job," she said, "Where's the rest of it?!"


The excitement from my husband and friend was contagious. I started to get up extra early every morning (3:30 to be precise) to write until the last possible minute before leaving for my day job, and my weekends were devoted to writing. For a brief moment, I let myself believe that maybe, just maybe, I could sell 10 copies. That was my goal: 10 little copies and I'd be a very happy camper. That was more than 91,000 copies ago!


Care to share your author bio?

I live in the Midwest with my very handsome, very supportive carpenter husband and the last of our four children, a 15-year-old, 6'3", built-like-a-linebacker son. We currently accept monetary donations to help offset the costs of feeding him and keeping him in shoes. With a carpenter for a husband, I have learned how to live in a perpetual state of remodel. Saw dust, drywall, wood, nails, paint, loud tools...they are all part of my daily existence. I also have three perfect and beautiful grandchildren who I love more than my next breath.


How did you come to independent publishing?

The thought of submitting to a traditional publishing house never entered my mind because all I had ever heard was that it was easier to buy a ticket to the moon than to get a book published. I thought my only other option was "vanity presses," but I could not afford to spend thousands of dollars for one book, especially if it was just a gift for my mom.


When I discovered it was free to publish to KDP and CreateSpace, I was all in! I really had no idea what I was doing in the beginning, but I found that the KDP community board was, and is, the best place to go to for advice on formatting and technical issues. And once I discovered the CreateSpace templates, I was in seventh heaven! They make everything a breeze. All of the tools are easy to use, and everyone is so helpful. It also takes very little time to upload a book.


Hands down, no one beats Amazon's indie publishing. No one treats authors with as much respect as Amazon does.


What are your goals with your book project?

I've daydreamed about being a full-time author for many, many years. But that was all it was, just a simple little daydream that I was certain would never be realized. But when I started selling thousands of copies of Laiden's Daughter each month, I realized I could do this. My original goal was to retire from my day job in five years.


In September 2012, I released my second book, Findley's Lass. I was floored when it hit Amazon's Top 100 just a few days after its release! I actually thought it was a glitch on my Kindle; I hurried to every computer in the house just to make sure I wasn't imagining it. That was when my husband suggested we move up my retirement date.


Because of KDP and CreateSpace, I was able to give up my day job in less than a year after releasing my first book. Two years ago, if someone had told me I would be a full-time author and making money, I would have laughed until I cried.


What have been some of your biggest successes so far?

Since its release in December 2011, Laiden's Daughter has sold more than 55,000 copies around the world. I've even sold copies in Japan! Grand total, the sales and borrows of all three books are at over 91,000 copies.


The royalties are mind-boggling. We are currently constructing a room addition that will house a new kitchen, dining room, and a beautiful office for me. I'm paying for the entire project with my book royalties. I am also able to help finance my mom's medical care now more than I ever could before. If it weren't for Amazon, CreateSpace, and KDP, none of this would be happening, unless I had hit the lottery.


What's next for you?

My fourth book, McKenna's Honor, was released in July, and book five, Rowan's Lady, will come out in September.


What advice would you offer your fellow authors?

My honest advice is this: It must always be about the story, the writing. There are so many great books out there that don't get the attention they truly deserve. For the life of me, I don't know why. But I believe that as long as those authors keep writing, things will eventually happen for them. If you want to be successful, you have to work at it. When you finish one book, move on to the next. Write from your heart, with passion, fervor, and zeal and you cannot go wrong. And get an editor!

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