Welcome to AskALLi, the self-publishing advice podcast from the Alliance of Independent Authors. This week it's our monthly beginners' self-publishing salon with advice, tips, and tools for indie authors just starting out.
Topics discussed this week include:
- What are the differences between a hobbyist and business mindset?
- Being a “content provider” for somebody else vs. actually being in business.
- Writing for yourself vs. writing to make a living.
- What is the focus of ALLi members?
- Writing for a market vs. writing for your passion.
If you haven’t already, we invite you to join our organization and become a self-publishing ally. You can do that at http://allianceindependentauthors.org.
Now, go write and publish!
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Tim: Hello and welcome to the AskAlli Beginners Self-Publishing Salon and today I've got a new co-companion, well, not that new, she kind of runs the Alliance of Independent Authors which is, Orna Ross. Welcome to the show, Orna.
Orna: Hi Tim, not that new, very old, actually.
Tim: And today we're talking about writing or self publishing – are we running it as a business or are we running it as a hobby? So this is kind of rehashing something I had on my show many years ago where I talked about this same topic but I think it's an important distinction because some self publishers and some writers are doing it very much as a business and other people are doing it very much as a hobby. So, let's start by, I'll ask you because you've been in this way longer than me, you've been in the self-publishing and writing game for quite a while, you're a real veteran. Do you think you always had a business mindset or did you start with a hobbyist mindset and what really are the differences between those two kind of approaches to self publishing and to writing?
Orna: Yeah, I think it's a really interesting question because I think a lot of people who are in business as self-publishers fell into it by default. I didn't. For me, it was very much from the start it was going to be how I hoped to make my living because I came from having been trade published and I'd been in writing, media, publishing all my working life, well if you discount all of the jobs that creators tend to have before they find their niche, you know, I did the barmaid and the waitress and you know, taught aerobics and done all sorts of jobs along the way to supplement writing as we do but it was always writing for me really and then when self-publishing emerged I was instantly taken with its potential because I had worked as a literary agent and I knew the value of owning your own rights and being able to put them out there yourself.
I instantly saw that and I was instantly thinking about it in business terms because if the publisher has licensed your rights you're not in business, you're a content provider, really and the same thing, I must say, if you only self-publish through one outlet and that outlet is not your own website and then two, you are a content provider but if you are publishing wide with a lot of different outlets and particularly if you put your own website at the heart of it then you are in business and when you are in business you own the metadata, you own and control everything and that was very attractive to me and so for me it was a business straight off and I would draw the distinction between the writing and the publishing.
I think you can just, you know, write as a hobby without ever wanting to be published and that is a really valid and brilliant thing to do. I'm a huge fan, as well, of writing for self, you know, free writing, journaling, all that kind of stuff. But I think if you publish then you're into it at a minimum paying hobby, you are in business, you will have to do tax returns, you will have to do certain things, so to me it seems if you are in business you might as well be good at business.
Tim: Yeah, I mean, I've written down some things which I covered. I mean, there are, there is kind of a mindset difference and to be honest, sometimes I'm still on the hobby side of it in as much as business people tend to have more procedures and things they do. I mean, the 20 books to 50k people, they do almost industrial self-publishing, they're producing like 14 books fantasy series and they hire in-house editors and they genuinely do it as a business and then there are people like me that write maybe a book or two a year and we will approach it in a reasonable way but we're not quite back stream and then there are other who, I mean, it's very easy to say that hobbyists are people who spend no money and business people are people who are prepared to spend money but in some cases there are people who are hobbyists who spend way too much money on things like covers and editing and various other services.
So I think the business has an element of cost control that a hobby doesn't necessarily have. Though hobbyists can be people who don't pay anything on editing or don't pay anything for cover design, they do it themselves, they just want their work out there. So in terms of the experience of the authors that you've dealt with, how many would you say, pulling a figure from the air, totally unprompted, what proportion of self-publishers and writers would you say would fit into the more hobbyist kind of side and what proportion are more business focused in your experience?
Orna: Well, again, it's levels, isn't it? As you're talking, I'm conscious and its definitions, what exactly do you mean by hobbyist and so this is all, because we're in this creative zone it's all grey areas and you don't have this black and white kind of thing. At ALLi, I think we get more people who want to make a living from their writing, you know and they may be at the very early stages of that journey, sometimes they haven't even finished their first book never mind published it, lots of our membership is in the associate membership category and that they are people who are preparing to publish and I'm sure lots of people who are listening to this podcast fall into that category but their goal, their aim, their ultimate creative intention is not only that they will finish writing and publishing this book but that they will do a second or third and begin to make a living from it and it's a long, old journey, you know, always to become a good self-publisher is not something that happens overnight.
We have about 8 or 9 percent of our membership are people who have sold more than 50,000 books in the last 2 years or equivalent. So that's obviously they take their business very seriously, lots of them are the breadwinner in their family, lots of them are hiring a spouse or somebody else to do assistance for them, they have teams of virtual assistants and you know, they're definitely in business and then there is a big swathe of people in between and I think it's really interesting what you said that sometimes you're in hobbyist mode in that you're doing something for the passion, for the love of it and I always kind of distinguish between those two things and and say that in creative business, it's different. It's not like, and I know there are those authors who do, as you say, almost industrial type, it's very much about the profit.
Profit is what we're talking about really, it doesn't matter how much you spend if you're making more than that, and you're making enough, you know and you can cut your costs right back and make nothing and still not still not be in profit and of course, time has value as well so it's about balancing “Am I spending time here? Am I spending money? What combination of those two am I doing? We have some members who want to work with a self publishing service who will do everything for them and they pay thousands of pounds for that because or thousands of dollars because time is actually their most precious resource and they have plenty of money, so I think ALLi's unique in that we have the full spectrum.
I think there are lots of groups out there who are more, take particular way with it so a lot of, though I know not all the 20 books to 50K people will be Amazon only, K.-U., pages read would be their focus, where we have members like that but they're by no means our only members.
Tim: So we've got somebody who's listening or watching the show and they think, “Well, I want to write this book that I've had in me but should I be going for something, should I be writing my book with profit in mind. So maybe they wanted to write poetry of Welsh rivers, what they really want is their passion project but they kind of think that maybe there's not the market there for that book or they can write their vampire thriller book that they had an idea for and they want to write a series of 7 books about vampire thriller or whatever. How should somebody go about making that business decision as to whether they want the right to market approach or whether they follow their passion and they just have to kind of say that they're going to do it as a hobbyist thing and maybe doing it more as a training exercise rather than as a commercial venture, how do people make that choice?
Orna: Yeah it is totally about balancing that passion and profit kind of thing and understanding where you're coming from. So the first thing I would say is be ruthlessly honest with yourself because I hear a huge number of authors saying, you know, “I'm going to write such and such a book and it's going to make me money” and they tell you the topic and it's the poetry of Welsh rivers or whatever, that's a good one and it's a good one because in these days you know, with micro-niching actually getting very narrow with your book is a good thing to do but yeah, there is and with a global audience, even poetry, even literary fiction, you know, things that conventionally didn't make money now can but yeah, there are some books that are quite clearly not going to cut it at that level, that level of financial profits.
So if it is a passion project for you, be honest about that, it's something you loved and that is a completely valid thing to do but if you're in need of money then, you know, start thinking and looking at it through that filter also. I I think people, what gets in author's way a lot of the time with this stuff is mindset, unconscious mindset that they don't even know they hold so it's really about examining your unexamined assumptions, “I can't make money on that,” for example.
I am guilty of that myself. For a long time I made the assumption that there was no money in poetry and my first self-published book was was a poetry book, not Welsh Rivers, a little bit more a little more, a little bit more wider interest than that but you know, quite Irish, quite female, inspirational, sort of, you know, about life, about the usual things that poetry is about but from a certain perspective. And I published my first self-published book as an experiment and it was a pamphlet of poetry and I was shocked and stunned when people bought it and I leaped straight from there to getting my rights back from my publisher, putting up my novels, then writing nonfiction guides for authors, then being led into this whole world of creative entrepreneurship and business of mine, you know, creative business and assuming all the way that poetry couldn't and didn't make money and then a very short time ago, really last year.
I was talking to Robin Cutler at Ingramspark, which a lot of artists will know is one of the major distributors of books globally and she was telling me that the best sellers on the Ingram platform now at the moment are the poets and poetry is as valid and valuable a genre financially as others and so I began to approach my poetry then in the same way that I had approached my fiction and my nonfiction and I'm really only getting that up to speed now and I tell that story to say I had completely unexamined assumptions about self publishing poetry that were borne out of my time in the trade publishing industry which was if you put out a poetry book, it went through the bookstores and you're selling to a small group of people in your own country and there's not enough poetry readers in any one country to give you a living but there are enough poetry globally, sorry of poetry readers globally to give you a living if that's what you want to do.
So I'm not talking about the outliers, now the you know the Ruby Cores or people who are at the best selling end of things, I'm just saying if we can have bestsellers in that genre, we can also have mid-list sellers in that genre and all the way down through it, all the way down to the hobbyists and a huge number of people who write poetry are definitely in the hobbyist end of things, they don't care about money, they don't want to but there are poetpreneurs now who actively do want to treat their poetry as a business and really, the idea that poetry was beyond money is quite a new concept, it came in with the Romantic poets, it's only about 50-100 years old, really, which, you know, when you're as old as me doesn't sound very long.
So, you know, it's in times of yore, people made money from their poetry and various ways, probably by sucking up to some king or something but you know, this divorcing of poetry and putting it in some way beyond the financial remit is a relatively new concept and it doesn't have to be like that and we've got lots of poets who are making sure it isn't like that.
Tim: Let's talk about something which is I would class as a higher business activity, mainly because I don't really know many people who do it. I would suspect maybe you, Joanna Penn, maybe other people, which is selling rights. Basically, I don't know if this is something you've done personally, I mean, poetry, I'm not sure how translatable poetry is, which may be because I'm not very poetic, but every book has a whole set of rights for different formats and different countries and different things, now I would say that somebody who is selling rights to their books is probably way on the business side of things because most self-publishers don't even know they can do it and they're not necessarily going to be getting to the level of sales where they can go to somebody and say “Do you want to buy the Korean rights to my book about Welsh rivers or whatever.” So, what kind of stages would you say, like, I would say selling rights is right at the end of the business scale, what other kind of things that you would suggest to self publishers who are looking to become less hobbyist but become more business, what sort of thing should they be doing and thinking about?
Orna: Great, great question. I think the first thing to realize is that selling books is not an easy way to make money and there are lots of ways to sell words that are easier, I'm sure you'd agree with that. We kind of worked out that there are 7 different business models that a writer can use and so it's about supplementing the book sales with other forms of writing, for most people.
So, selling books in in of itself has very, very seldom given, you know, there's a very tiny proportion of writers who just made their money from doing that and they do tend to be people who work in the genre where the readers eat books, you know, so romance and certain kinds of mystery/thriller and you know, some fantasy and so on, with fantasy a lot of it is so long that people can't put the books out that quickly anyway so that is one model and it's a model that's put out there a lot for self publishers, you know, get another book out, write another book.
To be honest, that's great in certain genres but it's not actually going to do you all that many favours in other genre where a different sort of rhythms is appreciated and a different sort of craft level in the book is appreciated and so on. So there are there are lots of different reasons why you wouldn't do that, another is that writers just can't do it, so it's a real gift and a real skill to be able to write that quickly and turn books around up, hit readers' spots in all the right places and do it again and do it again and do it again and keep on doing it again.
So for most of us, that's never going to be our model and trying to make it our model, sure, give it an experiment, see if you can do it, if you're in the right genre, absolutely, but don't think it's the only way to make a living as a writer because it's not.
So there are lots of things you can do to supplement your book income and so teaching is the time honoured one, writers have always done teaching as well but they used to do it in schools and universities and libraries and things and be very badly paid for it. Now online you can create courses that are far more lucrative and writers have a real advantage her because it's not that much harder, in fact, it may well be easier to put together a good multimedia course or even an email course or whatever and that can earn you, same content, same ideas, same concepts but can earn you significantly more money.
There's affiliate marketing, you're very good at all of this, you would be very aware of all the different ways that writers can make money in addition to books, I don't know if you have any ideas you want to kind of throw in there, anything you've done yourself.
Tim: Well thanks for giving the impression I'm good at this. I have made money from affiliate income, not huge money but I have made a reasonable bit. So to anybody who's wondering what affiliate means, it's the idea, so for example with the Alliance of Independent Authors, if you remember, you recommend the Alliance of Independent Authors to somebody else, you can go into your Alliance of Independent Authors thing and get what's called and affiliate link and anybody clicks through to that and signs up you get paid an amount of money and it's the same with Amazon, you can be an Amazon affiliate, so that if you put the links to Amazon on your website to your books anybody who buys anything from Amazon including your book or anything else, so if you've got a book about a particular expensive driving lawn mower that costs a thousand quid, you probably want to put affiliate links on there just on the off chance that somebody buys a lawnmower as well as your $2.99 book.
So that's how affiliate income works but you're right, I mean, you do notice that a lot of self publishes especially people in those more fringe categories do end up writing courses or doing affiliate or getting into online marketing in general, when there's a lot of, because there are, I mean, books are really hard products to sell because it's so low value. If you've got a $400.00 course then you can spend money, you can spend $10.00 or even $50.00 on advertising each course and you're still going to make like $350.00 but if you're going to sell an individual book and it's $2.99, then you're really limited on how much you can spend advertising on that. So, you're right, there are lots of easier ways to make money than writing books. So that's an argument, in a way, for the hobbyist approach. Maybe you make your money doing other things.
Orna: I think of it as different business models, to be honest, we have on Self Publishing Advice Center, if you just Google, anybody who is interested and just business models for authors or 7 business models for authors, we've listed 7 and different ways that you can turn your words and your influence and the impact that your words are bringing you online turn it into an income stream and the conclusion of the article is that most, for most writers it's about multiple streams of income, it's not about one, it's about, you know, your books are core and they're your, you know, you are an author so books are what you sell and you're absolutely right, books are so low value in terms of how much they cost compared to any other form of entertainment, they're priced way too low.
That is down to all sorts of historical reasons and stiff competition between publishing houses and so on, but for the value that they give up at every level, the price is very, very low. One of the things that we've noticed is that some of the more successful, financially successful self-publishers are breaking that, they're not accepting the, you know, the low base that a lot of the Indies have, a lot of indies have kind of, at the beginning especially, when trade publishers were still over-charging for ebooks versus print books, a lot of indies got a cost advantage by going in at a lower price but actually, there is an argument for going in at a much higher price as well because it gives readers a sense of value and some Indies are putting a lot of time and trouble and thought into their books.
It's the absolute opposite model to the, you know, sell them as fast as you can as cheap as you can. They're doing the opposite and charging a premium price and on Kobo and Apple in particular, not so much on Amazon because Amazon buyers do tend to be more price-sensitive but on some of the other platforms and on their own websites they're charging premium prices for books and actually doing very well and we've had a number of cases where authors have talked on the forum about putting the prices up and selling more so don't always assume that cheap means more sales. It doesn't necessarily and there seems to be no rules when it comes to this thing, it really is trial and error, experiment, explore and see what works for your books.
Tim: Yeah, well certainly, you know, I think if your books sells, it's likely to sell more in paperback than having a higher e-book price that's closer because the cost of paperbacks, especially when it's stocked in bookstores, means that you really have to put the paperback price quite high, so if you've got your ebook at $2.99 but your paperback is like $12.99 then you may want to consider raising your ebook price.
I mean, if you don't sell any paperbacks, anyway then you keep the ebook at $2.99 but I think you're right, I think there's a lot, there is really no one way and also what I've noticed in online business generally is once there is kind of a consensus that one way is the way to do things that stops being the way to do things because everybody's doing that way so by doing something different you're marking yourself out as different from the crowd, so having the confidence to say that my book is worth $6.99 rather than $2.99 can actually work quite well for people. When everybody does it next week, we all switch back to doing the opposite. So yeah, I mean it's kind of, it's one of those things, I think.
Orna: Very interested in that word you use there, confidence. I think we can afford to be more confident. I think when you're a beginner, you're starting out, it's hard to be confident, to be honest. I think it's such a steep learning curve, learning to write in itself takes ages, then learning to publish well takes time and it can be difficult to have the confidence but once you have a book or two behind you, it is definitely worth, you know, and that whole concept of “fake it til you make it.”
Just don't assume, you know, you can feel the lack of confidence, but you don't necessarily have to act from there, so you can sort of feel, “I'm being really cheeky here” but be cheeky and give it a go, because you just never know what's going to to work with this thing and the more things you're trying and the lighter you take it, you know, I think the other thing that happens when you're starting out is this first book syndrome, you know, first book is so important to you and you're learning how to become a writer as you write it, it's that whole learning by doing thing we take ourselves very, very seriously and you know, I think all first time authors when the book is out first, you go a bit crazy.
You expect the whole world to care and you know, you're going around in the old days, when books were only published through bookstores, you know, authors would always be going around turning their books out so that a passing reader just might see it and you know, checking your Amazon stats every 5 minutes or whatever form the mania takes, there is definitely a postnatal craziness that kind of sets in after the birth of the book.
Getting beyond that is your first task as a self-publisher, particularly if you are one of the ones that's going to take it as a business if you want to make money ultimately, your first task is to get your first book behind you and stop caring so much about it and get a second one written. Second book is where so many people fall off. And there are all sorts of reasons for that, but if you can get beyond book two then, you know, everything gets easier after that, I think up there it's hard and just keeping going is the challenge.
Tim: Yeah, I mean it is interesting what you say about the first book because I agree in some ways but on the other hand, I think a lot of people would benefit from the fact that there is because it's their first book a lot of friends and family and people who have just encountered them over the years will buy their book. So I think there is a little bit of a push that some people get from having it be their first book but on the other hand, I think you are right in that it's very, some people are so traumatized by writing their first book that they never write a book ever when maybe they should be thinking about writing their next book or even start writing their next book when they're in the editing process of their first book, just so that they get that kind of they're always writing thing.
Now I've always been terrible at this but I know a lot of people try to write every single day and they would just be, they'd be working on the editing side with their editor on the production side of their first book but they'll be writing the second book and I think that probably is the healthiest way to get through it so that they actually do get to that second book stage so they're not book fading, to use that podcasting term. Bookfading, where you write one book and you never write again. I've christened that term here on the show.
Orna: It was born here, folks, you heard it here first, bookfading, I think it's really good and I think the advice you're giving is definitely the ideal. My challenge is always too many projects on the go at once. I'm trying to get myself to the stage where I only have one in the editing phase and one in the writing phase and that is ideal. I believe, from my own experience and from watching other people, that is also maximizes productivity if you do it that way and everything else just stays in the ideas phase, you're just taking ideas and putting them into a notebook separately but you're not working up those ideas until you're actually ready to work on it and I think, again, people who are starting out, who are listening might be thinking, “Oh gosh, you know, I wish that was my problem, lots of ideas” but I definitely think what happens is that the more books you write the more ideas you get for books and it is like a snowball. It has its own energy. The main thing at the beginning is just to keep on going.
Tim: Yeah, I mean, I think one of the things that would distinguish successful self publishers and people who are more business focused is all the planning. I mean, it is basically a project. Every time you're writing a book you are creating, you are running a project, whether you like it or not. And certainly when it gets the point where you are involving other people, editors and cover designers, VA's potentially for marketing, I mean, you can run this book project anywhere you want to, because even as a hobbyist, you are running a book project every time you're writing a book, basically and that is where experience gets better and better and I keep meaning to formulate like proper goals of what exactly you do in each stage but most of the time it's still in my head.
So yeah, I think that's where the real business, more business-minded people have an almost, have like marketing and business plans and they, you know, really do go for the organization side of it, which to a lot of writers is almost a never mode, it's the opposite of what they want to be involved in, they don't want to be talking about business and planning and all of the kind of, I can never remember if it's right brain or left brain but whatever the organized side of the brain is, so I think that's the distinction between the more hobbyist and business side but I think that's where having that planning in can really work well for an author.
Orna: I completely agree and I do think that creative business, you know, digital business makes a lot of that stuff lighter so I found it in my own business and in ALLi, we did an ALLi first and then I did it in mine where we did actually document all the processes, and we wrote everything down, how we do it and so on and it was useful in loads of ways because you can hand it from one VA to another if somebody's out sick or, you know, or leaves or whatever because when you're working with virtual teams it's not the same as when you have full time staff or employees but it was actually, that was why we did it, it's value went way beyond that because we have to examine the processes and we tidied up so much just in that act of writing it.
Again, it's the power of writing in a most unexpected way and then I took that over into my own publishing side as well and I would have been somebody who was quite resistant to all that. I didn't want to do that, you know, writing was to be my escape time and blah, blah, blah but you see, you're not a writer when you become a self-publisher, you're more than a writer, you're also a publisher.
So the distinction that I've kind of drawn that has been very useful to me and that I'm kind of now documenting in these books on creative entrepreneurship is 3 hats, really, that you wear as a self publishing author or a creative entrepreneur of any kind. You have the crafter hat, the maker, the person who kind of does the making, you have the manager, the creative director, the process person who looks after the profits and the systems and so on and you have the entrepreneur, the person grows the business, who kind of makes the partnerships and talks to the influencers, puts out pitches, you know, whatever it might be and documenting all of that and then realizing, “Oh I'm wearing this hat now, so I approach it in this way.”
Actually, very little managerial time to the right brain, left brain stuff, very little of that is needed in the digital business, the tools we have really make a lot of that very, very easy so we're very lucky and I think that's why so many creatives now are managing to run very successful businesses because it's not management-heavy, you know, which doesn't sit well with most of us.
Tim: Yeah, well, I mean, I know ALLi has quite a few guides which I should probably read more myself about how to do the self publishing you get as being a member, I think you can find them separately as well, can't you?
Orna: You can buy them separately, everything we produce is for members, obviously.
Tim: Yeah. I mean, one example of something where if I'd had written down, like, this is what I do after I self-published a book list is with my latest book, which I'm not going to plug, because I can't be bothered to reach all the way to get it.
Orna: Tell us the title at least.
Tim: Yeah, that social media networking book that I wrote.
Orna: Which I have read and is well worth a read, may I tell you all.
Tim: Yes. The mistake I made was not to remember to go into GoodReads and create the title. So somebody else reviewed the book and they assigned it to a totally different Tim Lewis author who was a preacher in Alabama. Because I've got all my other books under Timothy Michael Lewis which is like my fiction one, and this one's under Tim Lewis but I didn't set up, I should have set up a separate Tim Lewis account on GoodReads and set up a book but I had to basically go to Goodreads support, so you'll see the book on Goodreads is under Timothy Michael Lewis and that's all because I didn't have that step of go onto GoodReads, add the book and it's these things like that and also send in a copy to the British Library and ALPS, there are lots of little fiddly things that you forget about every time you write a book and if you have just like a checklist, do these things, which is the simplest thing to have then that make such a big difference and I mean, I've written like 6-7 books now and I still haven't got that checklist written and I should have it done.
So that's the kind of thing where just having that “do these particular things” and you can't get that right necessary with your first book but you can if you make use of guides like ALLi's ones but you need to be learning how to improve things every time.
Orna: Yeah, that's great advice and we are out of time it seems. And yeah, so it's a very good note to leave on, the checklist, the process, which you can start right now, whatever stage you're at, document what you've done already, document what is still to come and adjust those checklists as you go. And the processes change, that's the other thing to say, you know, you don't, you discover a better way of doing things and you can change it and keep on documenting so it's a living kind of a list that changes with you.
Tim: Yeah, exactly.
Orna: Well, I very much enjoyed our first outing together on the Beginners Self-publishing, we'll do this again and I think we were saying we might also add on a Twitter chat next time.
Tim: Yes, let's just be totally ambitious, and add on a Twitter chat to the end of it.
Orna: Totally ambitious and also let's set a regular time to have this so that the folks know when to show up and listen in.
Tim: Yeah, we'll have to negotiate on that. We'll be back next month.
Orna: We shall see you next month but we shall let you know, it we will be in the events section when the next Facebook live chat will be and of course, this will be going out as an audio podcast also where all podcasts are heard or whatever we say. So thanks, Tim.
Tim: Well, thanks a lot for being on the show and taking it over, given you run the whole ALLi. For anybody who's listening on the audio, you can see the live stream on the Alliance of Independent Authors Facebook page, that's correct isn't it?
Orna: That's absolutely correct and yeah, check it out, just you can google and the podcast any time, it's available both on the membership site and the self-publish advice site. Okay, take care.
Tim: Goodbye, everybody.
Orna: Goodbye. See you next time.
About the Hosts
Orna Ross launched the Alliance of Independent Authors at the London Book Fair in 2012. Her work for ALLi has seen her named as one of The Bookseller’s “100 top people in publishing”. She also publishes poetry, fiction and nonfiction, and is greatly excited by the democratising, empowering potential of author-publishing. For more information about Orna, visit her website: http://www.ornaross.com
Tim Lewis is the author of three time-travel novellas in the Timeshock series and three fantasy novels in the Magpies and Magic series under his full name of Timothy Michael Lewis. He is the host of the Begin Self-Publishing Podcast and is currently working on the book Social Media Networking- a guide to using social media to find your dream job, find love and boost your travel experience.