Be Prolific. Write more books and you'll sell more books. It's a refrain often quoted to indie authors. Today's author, Karl Beckstrand is very prolific with more than twenty titles under his belt. With many years experience in the indie scene, Karl shares some of his best tips for indie children's authors in our interview.
How many books have you written and how many have you published?
I've written about 30 books and published 22
What's your latest book about?
My latest book is called It Came from Under the Highchair – Salió de debajo de la silla para comer: A Mystery (in English & Spanish) (Language learning/parts of speech). It's a bilingual picture book thriller for learning prepositions in Spanish or English. Ivan and Elena have a mystery on their hands—something is eating everyone’s food. Benjer-Man is on the case. There's a lot of humour, plus a full text and pronunciation guide in English and Spanish. It's designed for kids aged 4+.
Where do you sell your books?
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart.com, Target.com
What's your best sales channel, and why?
Ingram and Follett bring me the most revenue. I approached each once I had a few titles under my belt. They offer my books to libraries and schools. Since my books often teach language (Spanish) or STEM concepts, they seem to be popular with these audiences.
Marketing your books can be hard. What's one thing you've tried that's worked well and why?
BookBub and free publicity via press releases. BookBub can give exposure via free downloads (they email their huge database when books are free). Exposure helps gain reviews and sales. With press releases, I use distribution services, but I also email them to my local news outlets. Following up with a phone call can often get me TV or newspaper exposure.
What is something you’ve tried that didn’t work at all?
Gimmicks by promotion companies. I once paid a company to be able to email their bookstore contacts. It didn't work at all, as those contacts didn't know me and likely ignored the emails. Some social media platforms--like Facebook groups--are more productive than others. (Twitter is my least productive social media.)
What would you say to someone thinking of writing their first book?
I hope you have a story/message that's burning to get out--rather than a simple desire to write something. If you do--never quit until your book is out.
Can you share a lovely moment you've had as an author?
It was a great honor when the State of Vermont selected my book, The Bridge of the Golden Wood: A Parable on How to Earn a Living, for curriculum in primary schools.
Compulsive smiler Karl Beckstrand is the award-winning and bestselling author/illustrator of 21 multicultural titles and more than 80 e-books (reviews by Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, The Horn Book's blog, School Library Journal, ForeWord Reviews). Beckstrand earned a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from APU, and a certificate from Film A. Academy. Formerly a technical recruiter in Silicon Valley, Beckstrand's early work was produced by small publishers (his first publisher died the day they were to print his book!). Since 2004 he has guided Premio Publishing & Gozo Books.
You can find out more about Karl by going to his website and following him on Facebook or Instagram.
Where to Next?
We hope you enjoyed this insight into Karl Beckstrand's author career. His tailored approach and ability to adapt and write to his markets has certainly paid off. We'll be sharing more author stories and the best way to keep in touch with these is through signing up to our author newsletter. You can also get tips on publishing in our free indie author guides. Plus of course, you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
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