Tell me a bit about yourself….
Kia ora, I’m Julie, a Kiwi author of 10 books, speaker, author coach, and mama of 2 beautiful tiny humans.
What genre/s do you write in?
I mostly write non-fiction parenting and self-help and also dabble in children’s picture books, with many in progress and one published. I have also written 3 terrible novels that will probably never see the light of day.
How long have you been writing?
I loved writing as a child, but then life got in the way and I only started again when I had children myself. My first piece of proper writing as an adult was a blog post about lack of sleep with a new baby, almost 10 years ago now.
Do you have any published books or articles? Tell me a bit about these and what publishing route you took.
I have now written and published 10 books and 2 box set collections, which I did in the space of 5 years! These are all self-published or independently (indie) published. I knew absolutely nothing about being an author and publishing before I started, but drank from the firehouse of indie publishing blogs, podcasts, and courses and learned the ins and outs of it all.
Did you use an editor? If so who?
Yes, I found my editor, Kate, on a freelance contractor website called Upwork through a selection process and she has been my editor for almost all my books.
Did you use a book formatter and cover designer?
I searched for a cover designer on Fiverr (a website that offers freelance services for as little as $5) and after some duds found a cover designer who does a very reasonable job for a very reasonable price. I keep going back to Angie in Bulgaria for my cover designs.
For my first few books, I also outsourced to a book formatter (Polgarus) but then I bought Vellum, a formatting software, and use that to format all my books, except for the picture book. Vellum is an investment and Mac only, but I cannot recommend it enough.
For the picture book, I used an illustrator and a book designer to put it all together. It was by far the most expensive outlay of all my books so far, but the finished product is beautiful and I would use the same services again if I ever finish and publish another picture book.
Did you self-publish or get traditionally published? How did this go for you?
After I wrote a few blog posts and thought I may want to write a book, I decided it would be easier to submit my unpublished picture book manuscript to a variety of publishers and agents. After receiving dozens of rejections and even more no responses, I turned to indie publishing and have never looked back.
How do you market your work and promote your brand?(Include links)
Reply to interview requests from fellow authors! LOL. I market in a variety of ways. I pay for Amazon ads and have paid for book promotions in the past. I also blog, send out an email to my ‘Sparklings’ twice a month, send requests to be interviewed on podcasts, and accept invites to be interviewed on virtual summits and online events. My flagship self-help book, Rediscover Your Sparkle is free in ebook form and includes a PDF gift if you sign up to my Sparkle emails so that draws in a few people. I am always on the search for the best ‘bang for your buck’ marketing techniques, so happy to get any suggestions in this area! I will try anything once.
What social media and writing platforms would you recommend?
This year I am severely cutting back on my social media presence for my own mental health and because, for me, it does not really move the needle on book sales. That said, dirty old Facebook is still my fav and I dabble in Insta and Twitter. TikTok scares the pants off me and I don’t have the bandwidth for anything else, although I keep thinking I ‘should’ do Pinterest.
Do you use an agent?
No. I don’t even use agents when I buy and sell houses, let alone books! I can do it myself.
Do you use paid advertising? If so what?
Yes. Amazon ads. I don’t want to lose my shirt on Facebook ads just yet.
Do you have a blog or website?
Yes. I started off with another website, but then managed to secure my name. Whoop whoop! Find me at my home on the interweb: julieschooler.com.
What inspires you most to write?
A combo of trying to improve myself, a thirst for knowledge, and frustration of not finding the information I need in a way I like to read it. Plus, for novels and picture books – writing is a purely fun, creative outlet.
What do you do to help with writers block?
I write or don’t write. I don’t worry about it.
How do you plan your writing and start?
For my non-fiction how-to books, I research a LOT. I get 10+ books out of the library and read them all and make notes, work out patterns and links and start sorting the book into chapters with a basic outline. Then I set myself a deadline and write, write, write.
Is writing your full time job? If not what else do you do?
Nope. I really tried to make it work, but even with all of my ‘throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks’ marketing, I could not make the kind of return on investment that justified staying at home any longer. Now the kids are both at school. I am back working full time in the corporate space. In these strange times, this means I am still working from home. I simply swap out my Mac laptop which I write on for my PC laptop which I create spreadsheets.
What are you working on at the moment?
Mostly creating workbook versions of my self-help books and dabbling in picture books. In November I will be partaking in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and attempting to write another (first draft) novel in a month.
What is your target audience?
Anyone from 9 to 90 who wants to understand your true self, rediscover your sparkle, and make the most of your one precious life.
How long does it take you to write a book?
About 3 months.
When did you first discover you enjoyed writing?
When I first started writing – I guess from the time I was about 6 years old?
What is your writing schedule look like?
No schedule – just happens around work and family.
What does your family think about you writing?
I have spoken at the kids’ school a few times and they think that is pretty neat.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Now I have reduced the social media and doom scrolling, I am back to reading lots of books again. I will usually have 3 books on the go at any one time – one print, one ebook, and one audiobook. I will read anything and everything, although my favs are self-help, memoir, and women’s fiction.
Where do you get information and ideas for your writing?
What do you think makes a good story?
A satisfying ending. Please, for the love of all good things, make sure you have a satisfying ending to your book!