Sunday, May 22, 2016

Five Awesome Reasons For Going Indie

THREE YEARS AGO I sat down with a friend who worked for a publishing company. I had gobs of questions for him about how to publish my book. The picture he painted for me was very discouraging–two years of sending out manuscripts with stacks of rejection letters. Even if a publisher signed me on, since I am an unknown author, they would provide little if any cash advance.
Plus, I would mostly have to market the book on my own until I had shown my ability to sell. Only then would the publisher step in and help more. Even though legitimate publishers have established distribution channels, I left the coffee shop with images of my garage chock-full of books waiting to be sold and a feeling of hopelessness. It definitely halted my rush to finish the book.
Lucky for me it took a few more years to complete my book and in that time a totally different publishing world has emerged. Today a successful independent author is no longer an imaginary creature like a unicorn or a fairy. The key element to this success is putting out a polished and professional product to be able to compete with the traditionally published books that are in the marketplace. It is crucial in this market to hire an editor and create a high-quality book cover. For more tips see this post.

Picture of Indie Author Unicorn
A successful independent author is no longer an imaginary creature like a unicorn or fairy.

Five More Awesome Reasons for Going Indie:

1. Independence – I’ve always worked better with a big-picture goal and no one breathing down my neck. As an Indie author I have no one asking for a draft or cramming deadlines down my throat. This whole journey has been a free creative process without outside pressure to perform or deliver. I think my novel is so much better for it, too.
I hear authors talking about writer’s block. I can honestly say I’ve never had writer’s block because if I wasn’t in the mood to write, I’d work on the plot outline, or character backgrounds, or something related to the book. I have worked hard at every turn of my novel to surprise my readers, to keep them on the edge of their seats. For me that is a craft that takes time, takes thought and bursts of writing and pausing to develop the next layer.

2. New Ideas – There is a marketing term that researcher use – Innovator – and describes someone who is at the forefront of their peer group for trying new products regardless of the price. I think this describes me to a tee. I have been very innovative with my writing, with my marketing and the spin-off projects I’m working on. A majority of my jobs have been working closely with new technology, new ideas, and or new practices. I love change and can turn on a dime to take advantage of a new way of doing something or a new technology offering solutions in a unique way.
It is the same thing with the indie market. Look at the market just six months ago. We now have the traditional publishing market turned on their ear scrambling for market share against the rising tide of indie authors. See my guest blog that outlines our recent climb to the top of the heap of the e-books market here. What it will be in another six months? The big publishers will continue to fade away if they don’t change their business practices and big players are developing as we speak. I couldn’t be more excited to be in the heart of the Indie tide. In fact I’m innovating something as we speak for my novel, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise. It is still in the development stages but I cannot wait to get working on it.

3. Diversity – Being an Indie author takes a diverse set of skills to succeed. First of all you need to be a good writer. Pretty much a deal breaker – if you can’t write well you’re in for a rough ride. Another crucial element to being an author is marketing skills, because once your book is done the work really starts to get your book in the hands of your reader. You are completely in charge of that as an indie author. To succeed you need a giant serving of perseverance and a thick skin.
Understanding the book market – eBooks and otherwise – is also as important as any of these other skills. I love the challenge of being and indie author. My destiny is in my capable hands and my success will be measured by my actions not anyone else’s. My efforts, or lack thereof, are the key to making it and to me there is nothing more exciting than to create something out of nothing with my skills, my blood, sweat and tears and succeed at it.

Cover of Stealing Time
4. Instant Gratification – I still can’t get over the fact that I can write something today and have it out in the world in a few hours. Conveniently I can also take it down and fix it without a lot of hubbub. Not that I’m planning on doing that but it does take away some of the pressure when you go to release the book. I love the flexibility of being an indie author. One thing that excites me about this flexibility is that you can make a few edits to your novel to take advantage of trends.
For example, my short story Blow I wrote in a month and published in days of getting it back from the editor. It was really exciting to have something in the market so quickly and within a few days it reached #6 on Amazon. 
5. Endless Possibilities – The learning curve for publishing your first book is steep, but once you’ve mastered the basics of Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the other e-book providers, marketing, promoting, social media, print books, etc., the skills are there and you’ll only get better as you go along. The potential to use these skills for other projects is boundless. Here are some of the projects I’m working on are using the same skill set.

  • Books – My novel Stealing Time is the first book in the series covering Hurricane Charley in 2004 in an action packed time travel thriller.  My second book in the series, Shattering Time halfway written and book three partially mapped out. When I get the chance, I want to focus on this stupendous idea for a children’s book. I’ve been chewing on it for about ten years and I think it will be completely unlike anything out there.
  • Book Covers – As an Indie author I was really bothered by some of the covers my cohorts were using for their books.  Last winter I decided to partner with a professional photographer, Jody Smyers, to start a business to provide custom covers for authors. Check out our site here: Blondie’s Custom Book Covers. We are excited to provide a highly professional alternative at a reasonable price for indie and other authors. See here for a guest post on how to create a winning book cover. In the process of creating covers for authors I had to find models. Since then I’ve signed on fifteen people of all ages who are ready for anything that may come up. I’ve become quite good at approaching strangers to ask if they want to be on a book cover, much to the chagrin of my children. Over the summer, Jody and I shot six of these models for stock photos.

Picture of Crouched Man
Blondie’s Book Cover Model: Lee Pat

Picture of man aiming pistol.
Blondie’s Book Covers Model: Zach
  • Fitness Calendar — One of our models is a physique show competitor and he introduced us to a number of other men in competition. The models were so good we are now in the process of finalizing a fitness calendar called ‘Men of Steel.’ We shot and sold the calendar in 2014 and it was great fun. 

Picture of Blondie's Books Muscle Model
BCBC Model Zach Featured in the “Men of Steel” Calendar Coming Next Month.

  • Podcast. Last fall I created a podcast called Blondie and the Brit with Suzanne Kelman. We interview authors of both traditional and Indie publishing and talk about writing, publishing and social media. You can find more.Here. or on our website at

Please take a minute to tell me your Indie thrills and spills in the comments section. You can see how enthusiastic I am about this market, I’m very curious to hear more about your experiences.

This was published on in 2014. Thank you Jeri Walker for once again allowing me to write a guest post for your blog. My last post was picked up by Where Writers Win for publication on their site. It has been a great honor to meet the other authors and bloggers that visit your site regularly. Jeri is my  editior and I highly recommend her. Her blog is full of great information as well. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Caragh O'Brien -- Episode 35 -- You Can't Help Dreaming

Caragh O'Brien -- Episode 35 -- You Can't Help Dreaming

Click on the link above to listen to the very creative YA author, Caragh O'Brien, as she shares her journey from high school English teacher to published author.

Suzanne and I loved chatting with Caragh about her initial agent search and subsequent three book deal with Roaring Brook Press. She gives us the inside view of a traditionally published author and what it is like to go from first draft to final book with a team of designers and marketing staff to create the final product.

Caragh also talks about two of her series, The Vault of Dreamers and the Birthmarked Trilogy and gives us an exclusive reveal of the third book in the Vault of Dreamers series. Find out what inspires this talented author.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Stealing Time To Become a Best-Selling Author

Stealing Time to Become a Best-Selling Author

Have a listen to my latest podcast on Blondie and the Brit as international best-selling author, Suzanne Kelman interviews me about my long and twisty journey to Amazon best-seller. 

KJ Waters -- Episode 34 -- Stealing Time A Ten Year Journey to Best Selling Author.

It was a lot of fun to sit down and chat with Suzanne about my writing journey from newby author writing here and there in between diapers and moving across the country to my recent best-selling status. 

Where to find KJ's Books

Here is all of the gory details and links of the various books and what not. I am 
the best-selling author of the time travel series Stealing Time and short story called Blow. The second book in the series, Shattering Time, is in development and is slated to be released in the fall of 2016.    

I am also the CEO of Blondie's Custom Book Covers and the co-host of the popular podcast, Blondie and the Brit.

Where to find KJ Online:

Instagram: @kamajowa
Other Twitter: @BlondieandBrit @Blondiebookcov


I’m giving away 50 copies of BLOW
#AmazonGiveaway for: Blow -- A Short Story (Kindle Edition). No Purchase Necessary 50 #Free Copies!:

Amazon Linker:
Barnes and Noble: Barnes and Noble

Caught between a hurricane and a deadly secret, Rick Harris struggles against a ticking clock when the wrong people show up at his door looking for shelter. As the storm closes in wreaking havoc on Pensacola, Florida, he has to make a choice between saving their lives and exposing a secret that could cost him everything.


Stealing Time is a "Breathtakingly original" time travel adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat. As Hurricane Charley churns a path of destruction towards Orlando, Florida, Ronnie Andrews and her best friend, Stephanie McKay, scramble to prepare for the storm. Ronnie seeks shelter at her boyfriend’s weather lab while Steph heads back to her house.

During the peak of the storm Ronnie is hurtled back in time to eighteenth-century London where she is caught in a web of superstition, deception, and lies in a life and death struggle to return to her own time.

Steph is thrust into the middle of the hurricane, but it quickly turns into a living nightmare as she is faced with losing everything. Stealing Time: Book 1 in the Stealing Time Trilogy. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rachel Thompson -- Episode 32 -- A Blondie, A Brunette, and a Bad Redhead

Click on the link to hear the podcast: 

We had such a great time chatting with Rachel Thompson of BadRedhead Media. My first task was to read her bio introducing her to the program. Rachel's bio is so lengthy because her experience in the realm of social media is legendary. Be sure to listen to our little chat, she provides a wealth of knowledge about all of the new trends in social media and book marketing. She had so much to say we've made it into two podcasts. Stay tuned, we will be sharing part two in a month or so. 

Here is her full bio:
Rachel Thompson is the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival and Los Angeles Book Festival), and the multi award-winning and bestselling Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed.
Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope, where she also directs the Gravity Imprint, bringing fiction and nonfiction stories of trauma and recovery to life. She has connected to sexual abuse survivors worldwide through her books.

Broken Places continues her exploration started in Broken Pieces, through honest, raw yet lyrical poetry, essays, and prose, one women's journey from trauma to healing. 
She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post,,, and 

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the blog-sharing hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and the live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish (Tuesdays, 6pm pst). 

She is also the director of the Gravity Imprint for Booktrope, bringing stories of trauma and recovery (fiction and nonfiction) to life. Read more about the Gravity authors and their books on
She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Connect with Rachel here: 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Blow -- A Short Story

Blow -- A Short Story

For the first time in over a year I am releasing a new story! This suspenseful story was inspired by a true account of a storm survivor during Hurricane Ivan. 

After being out one day it's ranked #67 in short stories, teen and young adult and reached #7 in 48 hours! 

Here is the link  It is on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and other retailers.


Caught between a hurricane and a deadly secret, Rick Harris struggles against a ticking clock when the wrong people show up at his door looking for shelter. As the storm closes in wreaking havoc on Pensacola, Florida, he has to make a choice between saving their lives and exposing a secret that could cost him everything.

Top Customer Reviews

If you read it and would like to leave a review it would be so helpful for my rankings. Appreciate the support!

From the UK site:
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a wonderfully gripping story, which make the reader want more!
KJ Waters ramps up the tension to breaking point and delivers a shuddering climax to a truly mind 
blowing and thrilling narrative!
You will not be disappointed in a single word of this utterly compelling piece of fiction!
Bravo KJ....
Comment  One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo  Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition
K J Waters does it again with a wonderful blend of plot lines, characters and atmospheres. A cracking 
short story that leaves you wanting more. Check out K J W's Stealing Time for another thrilling read.
Comment  One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo  Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition
Thrilling, fast paced and exciting, it's another KJ Waters clever and entertaining story. A short story 
that packs a punch, just like I love them.
Comment  One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?  YesNo  Report abuse HASH(0xa2706b40) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2721984) out of 5 stars KJ Waters has done it again. It's no wonder ... 8 April 2016
By Rick Johnson Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
KJ Waters has done it again. It's no wonder that her stories are hurricane themed because she 
delivers her stories with category five intensities. KJ Waters is a master at slipping back and 
forth in time and keeping the reader on the edge of his seat. Rick Harris is caught up with two 
unexpected guests while riding out a hurricane. The presence of the guests threatens Rick's 
freedom and possibly his life if they discover the secrets of Rick's past. Trying to survive the 
deadly storm and his guests this story takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride. The secrets 
are dark and intense. The characters are larger than life, and KJ Waters has once again proven 
why she is a masterful storyteller. It's a five-star ride all the way!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2724bc4) out of 5 stars Blow gets five stars and my full endorsement! 8 April 2016
By Amazon Customer Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Blow is the lynch pin connecting KJ Waters’ thriller, Stealing Tim, with her upcoming novel. Based on a 
true account from a survivor of Category 4 Hurricane Ivan, Blow brings to life the gripping imagery of 
nature’s fury with a plot that keeps the reader completely captivated! While alluding to elements of 
Stealing Time and planting teasers for her next novel, the story stands well on its own with its artful 
character development, sprinkles of humor and a masterful unfolding of events. KJ Waters has a 
keen understanding of human nature and the conflicts that wreak havoc within, forces of destruction 
equal to the unleashed wrath of Mother Nature. If you are not yet a KJ Waters fan, you will soon be one!
HASH(0xa2f3dfc0) out of 5 stars Not for the Faint At Heart 8 April 2016
By D. Bratcher Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Are you brave? Do you like being thrilled by disaster? If Yes - then this is the story for you! Very 
good descriptions and realistic dialogue will bring your hands up to maybe cover your face from 
the scenes this story will be describing.
This would NOT be a movie I would want to see, but MANY people would! I recommend reading 
this is good weather.....