Kimberley – Northern California

18 May

 Our latest Chick Story comes from Kimberley Johnson, an author, editor and former daytime drama actress, now collaborating with her mother in publishing anthologies.  Here, Kimberley shares a bit about her journey and some insight into the self-publishing path.  Their first book, The Virgin Diaries, may be found on Amazon both in Kindle format for only $2.99 and in print.  They will soon publish a second book.

The year 2010 marked the start of my own business.  Actually, I partnered up with my mother, Ann Werner, to create Ark Stories.  Our goal and mission is to produce anthologies exploring the human experience.  Later this year we will be adding Ark Fiction and making Ann’s fiction books available.

Our first book, The Virgin Diaries, debuted last April.  We interviewed seventy-two anonymous men and women about what it feels like to have first time sex.  The stories are split equally among gender and includes six gay stories, also equally split.  No commentary is provided, allowing readers to form their own conclusions.  The result is a completely unique book which allows the reader to be a fly on the wall, so to speak, and bear witness to one of life’s most pivotal experiences.  

Prior to my life as an author, I was an actress for a decade, appearing on the daytime drama Days Of Our Lives as a police officer for more than seven years.  On a more pedestrian level, I also worked as a sales rep for various industries including fine bone china, industrial chemicals and energy.

My decision to start in a new direction was facilitated by the crash of the economy.  I had been collecting stories on and off for six years.  My mother joined me in collecting and editing the stories and together we decided to self publish.  As luck would have it in the fall of 2009, I reconnected with Ralph Faust, a gentleman I knew from high school and he did the formatting and provided art work.

Marketing and promoting self published books has been an interesting journey.  My experience in sales and as an actress was definitely to my benefit.  It enabled me to utilize my “hunter” mentality to seek out various avenues of possibilities.  Facebook has given me the opportunity to meet and network with other artists and authors.  We exchange information and help each other.  Twitter is also an amazing way to meet and reach out to others in a very targeted way.

It is important as an author, whether you are self published or not, to utilize all the social media that is available to you.  I have used Help A Reporter Out and Reporter Connection to find people in the media looking for stories that relate to my book.  We have done numerous radio interviews and been reviewed in several publications as well as online book clubs.  It is important for authors to seek out publicity on their own because no one cares for your project more than you.

Our second book debuting May 2011 is titled Ain’t No Sunshine – Men Reveal The Pain Of Heartbreak.  Thirty-eight anonymous men were generous enough to really expose their deepest feelings about lost love and what we found is, these stories also provide insight into how they view love in general.  The stories have opened our eyes about how men process love and rather than it being a sad book, it has turned out to be most insightful.  We anticipate a lot of conversation about the content.  One thing we will do differently is stay out of bookstores.  With our first book, we were in many local independent stores.  We did realize some success with sales but not enough to justify doing it again and have found more success in online promotion.

Because the Internet allows you to reach a global audience, we approach bloggers who review our specific genre as well as reaching out to book clubs across the country.  It is a fantastic way to get our books in to the hands of our exact target audience.  So far the experience has proved successful.

Even though our books are non-fiction, I believe it is important to blog.  Blogging provides another way to allow people to get a sense of who you are and what you’re doing.  It is important to sell your product but also to sell yourself.  As a sales person, I learned that lesson.  When people like you, and what you stand for they are more likely to check out your work.

The self publishing wave is at the very beginning.  It is an exciting time and all of the authors involved are the ones setting the standards and paving the way.

My career as an author has been thrilling. I have had the opportunity to meet interesting people and, with the use of social media, I have been able to reach more than I ever could have  just a few years ago.

If you would like more information on our books, please visit our website arkstories.com.

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One Response to “Kimberley – Northern California”

  1. Denise May 27, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    Great article! I loved the first book and i am sure I will love the second. Keep up the great work. You are inspiring me to get back to writing.

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