Cendrine is a creative soul. Besides her books on how to build your social media audiences, she also does photography and has published several books of poetry. Check out her full Author Interview below!
1. List the titles of your published books (include publisher and year published) plus your author website/Facebook page links.
Sortons des chemins battus (2006) - Lulu
And They All Rejoiced! Soul-Stirring Poetry (2006) - Lulu
Short Poetry for Those Who Fear Death (2006) - Lulu
Project: Heartbeats and Elevation (2009) - Lulu
Five Years And Counting. A Journey into the Mind of Soul Poetry (2010) - Lulu
The Little Big eBook on Blogging: 40 Traffic Generation Tips (2012)
The Little Big eBook on Social Media Audiences: Build Yours, Keep It, and Win (2014)
When the Mind Travels: A Poetic Journey into Photography (2015) - Blurb
Life’s Little Things - Les petites choses de la vie (2016) - Blurb
Life’s Little Things: The Quotes (2017) - Blurb
Social Media Slant - http://socialmediaslant.com
Cendrine Marrouat Photography & Books - http://creativeramblings.com
2. When did you start writing your first book? Where did the idea come from? Include the synopsis.
Gosh, it was a long time ago! It was months after the poetry bug had hit me. So, 2005.
Some friends read my poems and encouraged me to put a collection together. I listened and started working on the book. However, in the process, excitement got the better of me and I ended up releasing three collections within a year.
Here is the blurb for my first book, titled And They All Rejoiced! Soul-Stirring Poetry:
“In her first book in English, the author displays thirty-nine poems dealing with topics like love, life, and spirituality.
Her poetry evokes her inner self, and reflects her interest in anything spiritual. People of all faiths can embrace the themes of this work.
Poem after poem, her writing evolves, growing away from worldly concerns. Let yourself be lulled by rhymes and word!”
3. What was the hardest part about writing your first book? What hurdles did you have to overcome?
And They All Rejoiced! Soul-Stirring Poetry was released in 2006. At the time, my level of self-confidence was nowhere near where it is today. So, the book was a good excuse for me to break out of my comfort zone. I had to face my fear of being judged by others.
Of course, at the time, I was an unknown author and self-publishing was the laughing stock of the publishing industry. Further, the social media realm was completely different. The opportunities to get exposure and be featured anywhere were rare. And poetry is one of the least sellable art form around.
I remember feeling discouraged more than once.
4. Once your manuscript was finished, what did you do?
Professional proofreaders looked over the manuscript to ensure that typos and grammatical errors were gone. Then, I went to a local printer, who made the book a reality. I had two dozen copies printed.
Months later, I discovered Lulu.com and decided to use the company instead. Things suddenly became much simpler and cheaper for me.
5. What did you expect from the editing process? How was the experience?
As a translator and proofreader at the time, I knew the drill. So, I tried to simplify the work of my editor. Everything went very smoothly as a result.
6. Describe what re-writing involves and how it makes you feel. How is it different than the initial writing?
Sometimes, you get stuck or realize that your initial idea is going nowhere. Re-writing is about looking at your work from another angle and improving it.
I have only had to re-write one book in my career. I do not regret it one bit.
7. Did you have non-editors read your book for feedback (Alpha Readers)? What did you get out of that?
No. My books are always edited before they are sent to advance readers.
8. Who designed your cover? How much input did you have? How important is the cover design?
Two of my books are ebooks. They have professionally designed covers.
As far as my other eight other books are concerned, I designed the covers. But, as a fan of the “crowdsourcing” concept, I always request my audience’s feedback. People love witnessing the journey of an author. They feel closer to them that way.
It is also a way to educate readers about the work involved in making a book. You build trust, which is important.
A cover is the first thing people see. The impact it has on a potential reader is even bigger than a good title.
A great cover is not just appealing. It is also captures the essence of a book.
9. How did you go forward with publishing? Why? How was that experience?
I went the self-publishing way because I work better independently. I know a few very talented people who can assist me with cover design, proofreading and editing. So, it tends to be an organic process.
Honestly, self-publishing is fun. I get to make all the decisions. And as a social media coach and trainer, marketing and promotion are my fortes.
10. How have you marketed your first book?
To be honest, it was too long ago, and I don’t remember much. What seems to stick is the mistakes that I made.
11. How was the initial feedback from readers?
Feedback has always been very positive. I would say that 90 percent of my readers have pinpointed two things: My unique style and the fact that my books make them think.
12. How have sales been on your first book? Did they go as expected? What helps you the most to sell books?
When I released my first books, I did not think I would sell anything. After a couple of bookstores had ordered copies from me and once the initial printed batch was gone, I was blown away.
What helps me most sell books? Ten years ago, it was local word of mouth. Now, it is features on blogs and online reviews. For example, I tend to sell copies of my social media ebooks when I write post on my website or contribute content elsewhere. Reviews from Amazon also play an important role.
When it comes to photography, things usually happen after sharing an interview or posting a video on YouTube. I also use Twitter and Instagram quite a lot. I love getting to know and chatting with people.
13. Talk about print vs ebook. Do you get more sales with one than the other?
No, the difference is more in the type of books.
Readers of poetry and social media content prefer ebooks. That’s probably because most of them have small wallets. They buy print books if they have known the author for a while and really like their work.
Most sales of my photography books come from print. The audience tends to be wealthier and love collecting physical books.
14. Did you set the prices of your print and ebooks? How do you decide how to price them?
When I started writing books, the pricing recommendation followed this process: You asked printers how much they charged to print a copy; and then you multiplied that amount by 7 or 8. That was it.
Then, ebooks took off and authors started pricing their between for $0.99 and $2.99. The idea was to increase their chances of selling more copies and become Amazon Best Sellers.
While this approach works for short books in specific genres, it has also lowered standards for everything else. Perceived value has been negatively impacted as a result.
Nowadays, a majority of readers are unaware of the amount of work involved in book creation. And indie authors tend to cut corners and release subpar products. (I was an art critic for a while and remember rejecting 50 books one year because they were full of typos and grammatical errors.) Many do not take the time to educate their audiences on their creative process either.
So, pricing has become a dangerous affair.
Poetry is not an art form that sells much. However, I work very hard to create quality books. So, I price them accordingly.
15. What made you decide to write more books? How were those experiences (writing/editing) compared with your first book? Did you do anything differently?
The release of a book is thrilling, exhilarating. Once you have done it, you want to do it again.
After self-publishing my fifth book of poetry, I felt stuck, as though I had nothing left to prove in the genre. Switching to social media, then photography opened my mind. I realized that creativity is multi-layered. Those fields are different, but also more challenging and demanding. I honestly enjoyed the process more afterwards.
I approached marketing differently. I leveraged the knowledge I had garnered from promoting previous books to create a tailored strategy for each new release.
16. Anything different in the publishing process for your other books?
17. When did you consider yourself a "writer"?
In 2005, when I started writing poetry seriously.
18. When do you write? What motivates you to write?
Since I am a very slow writer, I am forced to work when inspiration hits me. It is not very easy but I am used to it. I am especially productive at night.
The world around me is a wonderful muse.
19. What do aspiring authors ask you?
Authors usually know that I am a social media coach and trainer. So they ask how they can get more visibility on social media.
20. What advice can you offer for aspiring authors about writing, editing, publishing, and marketing?
If you want to be taken seriously, hone your skills and value yourself. Be self-confident without letting your ego lead the way.
Treat everything you write with the utmost respect. That is the only way others will respect you and your work in return.
Should you choose to self-publish, please do your due diligence. Do NOT cut corners. If money is tight, leverage bartering.
Writing a book is easy; promoting it is a very different story. Have a strategy in place, build relationships with members of the media, treat your potential readers like human beings, and support fellow authors and writers. Always give a lot more than you are willing to take.
Most importantly, learn the basics of good self-promotion. People do not care about you or your book(s). They care about the way your words will make them feel.
Thank you very much for having me on the blog today!