Today I am welcoming Sandra Kopp to my Indie Spotlight feature.
Sandra Kopp is an Idaho farm girl and voracious reader with a big imagination who decided to become a serious writer in 2003. Her fascination with period homes led her to serve as a volunteer docent at the Pittock Mansion in Portland, OR and to help spearhead the restoration of the James A. Moore House in Pasco, WA after a 2001 fire left it heavily damaged and in danger of demolition. Ironically, this fire and the spirits rumored to haunt the house inspired her book, THE WINDWILDER HAUNTING. Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies inspired her own sword and sorcerer Epthelion trilogy: REALMS OF GLORY, REALMS OF DEATH (Book 1); RED DAWN, ETERNAL HOPE (Book 2); and TIDES INTO OBLIVION (Book 3). Recently she released BELLA, the prequel to THE WINDWILDER HAUNTING, which is the tragic life story of the ghosts haunting Windwilder Mansion. Currently she is preparing to release her Timothy Wonder children’s series and has a family saga and a Windwilder sequelin the works. When not writing, Sandra bicycles, hikes, and plays the accordion.
Contact Sandra here:
Website | Email | Goodreads | Twitter
Welcome to my blog, Sandra!
What made you decide to publish your books independently?
I found the traditional publishing route extremely competitive. Nearly all of the major houses required agent representation, which I found as difficult to procure as a publishing contract. Many asked about my marketing plan, but in my naivete I believed that marketing, too, was a publisher function and had never considered that aspect. An editor at a smaller house took an interest in my work; but that house changed formats and my book no longer met their criteria. Presenters at writers’conferences I attended a few years later talked about the changing industry and advised authors to explore other avenues, including indie. At one conference round table I met several authors who had published independently and decided to take the plunge myself. The freedom and control I have enjoyed over my work made me glad I did.
What are the benefits of being an indie author?
I love the fact that I can seamlessly update my content, if needed, and can place my work in whatever markets I choose. I can also set my pricing and royalty amounts.
What challenges do indie authors face?
The indie author not only writes, but must market the book as well. Marketing poses my biggest challenge, along with obtaining reviews and building a network. A while back a book I had placed in Amazon’s free store made it into the top 100 downloads, yet never garnered a single review. I watched my newly-released treasure plummet into obscurity within a half-hour. Now I focus on formulating and implementing a solid marketing plan and building my network.
I agree, good marketing is everything if you want to sell anything. What advice would you give to aspiring indie authors?
Don’t give up! You can accomplish what you set your mind to. Learn your craft. Books are more than mere words on a page, so educate yourself concerning engaging plots, character development, etc. Pay special attention to proofreading and editing. Write your books, but focus too on networking and building an author platform. Email lists are vital. Choose a service, whether it be Mailchimp, ConvertKit, etc. for capturing email addresses. Offer a freebie: perhaps a copy of a novelette, a list of helpful tips, or a list of your top ten book recommendations. Several authors offer writers’ tips on their websites. Amazon also carries a wealth of information on their help pages. Don’t waste time on social media platforms that yield no results. You may have several accounts, but if only one proves productive, focus on that and don’t waste precious time and energy on the rest.
I do agree that social media can become a waste of time and energy if you let them, however I think having a presence, no matter how small, on each of the social media platforms is important. There are so many social media platforms now, that the message you are trying to get out there is bound to become somewhat diluted. It is time-consuming but I think cross posting your marketing to as many platforms as possible is really important. I have friends who only use facebook and some who won’t use facebook, or refuse to join Twitter – without cross posting it is impossible to reach all these different types of people.
What have you learned from being an indie author?
You don’t just write a book, throw it out on Amazon, and watch the money pour in! Publishing is a complex, involved business, one that requires a lot of time and dedication, not to mention the research required to learn the ropes. It can be mind-boggling, even overwhelming. However, I have also found it extremely rewarding. I’ve dealt with every aspect: writing, networking, editing, marketing, building a website, and building a following. I have connected with and received tons of encouragement and sound advice from successful writers.
I’m glad it has been a rewarding experience for you! What can we look forward to seeing from you next?
A sequel to The Windwilder Haunting, and the saga of the Klotter ranch family and their underhanded, domineering patriarch, Jakob Klotter. Also, I plan to release the first two books of the Timothy Wonder children’s series. I’m working on the illustrations now!
Thank you so much for joining me today under the Indie Spotlight, Sandra! I wish you good luck for your future endeavours!
Realms of Glory, Realms of Death
Valhalea lies in ruins, the victim of sorcerer Lucius Mordarius’ wrath. In the black forests of Barren-Fel Ryadok, a rival sorcerer possessing a weapon capable of leveling the continent, snakes his destructive tentacles across Epthelion. Amid the chaos Destiny unites five unlikely allies: an ostracized mystic and his younger brother; a tradesman and a battle-hardened mercenary; and the daughter of a murdered nobleman–each a thorn in a sorcerer’s side and marked for death. Battling nature’s wrath, the sorcerers’ relentless pursuit, and a land notorious for devouring its inhabitants, they find temporary sanctuary only to be thrust to opposite ends of Epthelion–the girl to the west where she falls into the hands of the blood-thirsty Horse Lords; and the men into the dark reaches of the shadowy east. Victory is essential; defeat spells certain death for their world. The girl must survive the Horse Lord’s brutality and rally them to her aid in defeating Mordarius while the mystic races to destroy Ryadok before his sweeping holocaust.
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Realms of Glory, Realms of Death by Sandra Kopp | Goodreads
Red Dawn, Eternal Hope
Heavy wartime losses. Towns reduced to rubble. A bleak future.
Melinda Greene’s fiancé and her father are killed, leaving her and her mother destitute. But the town’s wealthy butcher casts his eye upon her and, despite their forty-year age difference, Sarah Greene enthusiastically approves the match. When Melinda protests, Sarah compares their impoverished condition to the status and security Melinda would enjoy as a rich man’s wife.
Unwilling to accept her fate, Melinda flees north to a distant colony where several settlers have already flocked seeking new lives. There she meets handsome and prosperous farmer Eldor Rand. Their first meeting proves disastrous, but Eldor warms to her and they marry.
The marriage seems a dream come true. Melinda enjoys a lovely home amid breathtaking surroundings, good friends, and every activity she ever longed for. She notices, however, that Eldor’s attentions seem centered around his herds and fields rather than her. Whispered rumors suggest arcane gatherings involving the area’s prominent men. Monstrous beings roam the countryside at night. People vanish. Some are discovered brutally slain; others are never found. Those entrusted with upholding and enforcing the law–the sheriff included–become the town’s worst enemies, favoring the villains over the law-abiding populace.
Amid the turmoil Melinda discovers Eldor’s true intentions regarding her. But is it now too late to escape with her life?
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Red Dawn, Eternal Hope by Sandra Kopp | Goodreads
Tides Into Oblivion
A seasoned mercenary vanishes and the evidence points to murder by his beloved wife. A Wyar chieftain devises a bloodless coup to recover sacred land but is trapped in a deadly, inescapable web costing the lives of those dearest to him. Heartless shapeshifters ravage the kingdom. When his brother, Davon, is captured by a ruthless shapeshifter called Cumah, Nimbian mystic Arron Helgaard fights his way through the wilderness forests of Barren-Fel to rescue him. But Epthelion’s Black Kingdom holds horrors far greater than he ever imagined. An ancient evil shadows Epthelion. To save his loved ones—and his world—Arron must defeat a foe that cannot die.
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Tides Into Oblivion by Sandra Kopp | Goodreads
The Windwilder Haunting
Once acclaimed the Crown Jewel of Twin Bridges, Washington, a derelict mansion with a sordid past sits condemned, awaiting demolition. At the eleventh hour the great-grandson of its original owner intervenes to rescue and restore it. But few rejoice, particularly those whose lives the malignancy within those walls destroyed.
When Philip Windwilder opens his home as a museum, Madelyn Springer eagerly signs on as a docent. Her life takes a spellbinding turn when she discovers a portrait painted nearly a hundred years ago of a woman bearing a remarkable resemblance to herself–a resemblance that arouses instant hostility from Lillian Carver, president of the Twin Bridges Historical Society, who remains determined to destroy Windwilder Mansion at any cost.
Madelyn’s intrigue with the enigmatic Windwilder plunges her into a rivalry for his affections with an influential and vindictive socialite. Madelyn redirects her energies to unlocking the mansion’s secrets, and as these come to light weird and frightening manifestations begin to haunt her. But what terrifies her most is that the people most involved in Windwilder Mansion’s affairs are losing their minds and that two of its original inhabitants still walk its halls.
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The Windwilder Haunting (Bella Book 1) by Sandra Kopp | Goodreads
The terror began in Miss Pinkle’s sixth grade class. People around Bella Jacqueline Gaviano suffered tragic fates. . .
The middle daughter of devout Italian restauranteur Carlo Gaviano and his French wife Marie, Bella Jacqueline enjoyed a comfortable life. But from an early age she exhibited haughty superiority and entitlement to the privileges of Seattle’s elite. When her family’s best efforts to change her proved futile they let her go, hoping life experience would bring her to her senses. Never could they have imagined the horrific lengths to which Bella Jacqueline would resort to achieve her aims.
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Bella by Sandra Kopp | Goodreads
Who’s Next on Indie Spotlight?
Linda Rainier is a kooky introverted New Englander with a fervent love of history and literature. I fell in love with storytelling at a very young age and am always looking to connect with others who love to read. Wife to an incredible man and momma of two fur-babies and amateur photographer.