Up Close and Personal With Jodi Ambrose.
Hello Jodie, and welcome to Authopublisher.com. It’s nice to have you with us. You are a self published author, tell us what your book is called and what is it about?
While my book has a rather racy title, Sex: How to Get More of It (A guy’s roadmap to paradise, in and out of the bedroom), it is intended to help couples enjoy more happiness in their daily lives. The book takes a no holds barred approach to relationships and helps men better understand the secrets to a woman’s mind and body. With a sense of humor and a dash of feistiness, the book answers age-old questions relating to the female brain, with the ultimate goal of each partner getting more of what they need. Men typically want more sex. Women typically want more attention, security and love. This book unlocks the mysteries on how to achieve all of that in, believe it or not, 20 easy steps.
Tell us a little bit about your writing process? What methods do you use to write and how did you make it through the grueling process of writing your book?
For me, the writing process is all about two things: paying attention to the world around me and being “in the zone” when it comes time to begin typing.
I’ve always been fascinated by human behavior and shocked sometimes by how senselessly people cause one another pain. It always seemed to me that people made life so much more difficult than necessary. Pride, game-playing, abject stupidity, thoughtlessness…all of these things combine to turn good people into lousy mates. So, I paid attention. I tracked what types of behavior and language could produce a genuine smile or a rolled eye or a shed tear. What I noticed was that in most cases, people responded to stimuli in the same way. There are always going to be exceptions, but if the rule holds true 8 out of 10 times, then I thought I could put a checkmark next to it.
For example (and this is so very obvious to women and yet somehow not so much to a lot of men), if a husband/boyfriend/lover checks out another girl while he is with his significant other, at least 8 out of 10 times the girl gets angry. She may not say anything, but I’d see her eye twitch uncontrollably, or a grimace fly briefly across her mouth and I’d know she was at a minimum annoyed, at a maximum livid. I’d immediately think several things:
- Poor girl.
- Why would he do that? Is he mentally challenged?
- JERK! Oh, I already said that one.
- How does he not know that is bad behavior? Someone should tell him.
And that’s what I’ve done in my new book, Sex: How to Get More of It (A guy’s roadmap to paradise in and out of the bedroom). I thought it was about time that someone just laid it on the line for the men out there. What can you do or not do to bring your woman joy? How can you “work it” so that both you and your woman are happy and getting what you need?
As for the writing process itself, after letting all of this people watching swim about in my mind for quite a few years, I sat down on my sofa, put a cat on my right and my husband on my left, propped the laptop up on my actual lap and just began typing. I find that free flow writing works the very best for me. I didn’t outline it on paper ahead of time because I’d been kind of writing it in my brain for over a decade.
I began with the introduction so that men could easily see what they have to gain by reading the book (more sex!), and then went on to write “The List”. The List outlines the 20 steps a man can take to change his entire relationship into something that works. Even if a couple has a wonderful relationship, there are always areas that could use improving—Sex: How to Get More of It helps even those happy couples achieve more joy.
I then started explaining each item on The List. I thought it was important that men didn’t feel preached at. No one wants to be told what to do as though they are 8 years old. I wanted them to understand the “why” when they think their women are acting like lunatics. Believe it or not, we aren’t nuts just for the fun of it. At least most of us aren’t. I figured if men understood what makes us lose our minds with anger or what makes us so happy we could burst, then they could actually follow those guidelines and have a happy woman. Just so you know, no trips toItalyor Gucci bags are required—just thoughtfulness and a bit of manipulation! Yes, you read that correctly. I’m nothing if not honest.
As I was writing the book, I kept it intentionally short. No one (especially men) wants to read 400 pages on how to be a good little spouse. Books like that can seem preachy and full of “you shoulds” that no one wants to read. I figured that men would be much happier to have a concise, “do this and she’ll bang you more” handbook that just got straight to the point.
Once the draft was complete, I gave it to a few friends to get some feedback and was shocked and happily surprised that women loved the book as much as men. They’d nod their heads and laugh saying, “Yep, if ONLY my man did that he WOULD SO GET LAID more often!” After a few tweaks here and there and some editing from my grammatically helpful sister, it was finished and I was very proud of the end result.
Explain to us the process you took to get your book published, from formatting your manuscript to preparing it for print all the way to getting an ISBN and the book cover design.
I decided to go with CreateSpace to publish Sex: How to Get More of It. I’ve been using Amazon forever and since they are such a powerhouse of a company, I figured that CreateSpace would be a safe, convenient way to go. Luckily, I was right.
I’m a do-it-yourself kind of girl, so first I figured out what size book I wanted; I like the 6×9 size. Then I created a Microsoft Word document and resized the pages to 6×9. That way it would look the same as I typed as it would on the printed page. This is a HUGE help and I recommend that anyone who is self-publishing do the same. You get such a better conceptualization of your finished product. Then, when you get your book proof sent to you, there are no surprises.
I picked a font that was easy to read, but not necessarily standard, as I wanted my book to have a different look and feel from mass produced books. I also was fairly obsessed with margins and line spacing as having just the right amount of white space is important for readability. After making sure it looked just like I wanted, I converted it to a PDF, uploaded it and thought that the manuscript part was finished. Ummmm…no. But I’ll get to that shortly.
As for the cover, I wanted sleek and clean. I also wanted copyright free graphics. So I set up my tripod, camera and remote control and took pictures of myself. No, you can’t escape me. I’m on both the cover and the back of the book. Then I just played with CreateSpace’s cover creating online software until I had just the look I desired. It was actually quite easy to use; just make sure to proof all of the text on the back of the book. A typo there is very naughty!
Thinking I was finished, I sent off for a proof. I was so excited that no expedited shipping could be fast enough, but eventually (it felt like 3 months) I finally got my proof. And while most things were just perfect, here are a few things you need to add to your manuscript before thinking it’s complete:
- Copyright information—just look at any other mass market book and include the same type of information
- ISBN number
- Publishing info—include your publishing date, volume number, publishing name (if you have one), etc…
- Credits for editing, photos, artwork, etc…
- Page numbers—you probably don’t want these starting on the very first page, but rather on the page where your story starts. Use section breaks if using Microsoft Word to enable beginning your page numbers on something other than page 1 or 2.
Once I added all of that information and ordered a new proof, I again had about 5 people read it looking for typos and such. Nothing like a typo to kill credibility, especially for a self published author. At last, it was as close to perfect as it was going to get, so I ordered 85 copies of it to sell out of the trunk of my car and then tried to get it sold everywhere I could.
PS: When thinking about ISBN numbers, go for the one that is transferrable so that if you were to get picked up by a publisher, your book could be published by them and retain the same ISBN. At CreateSpace it cost me $99, but was very worth the freedom it provided.
Did you use the services of a book coach or a self publishing company to help you though the process or did you do it yourself? Tell us about your experiences.
Oh gosh, I answered all of that in the previous question. Hope that’s okay.
What would you do differently with the publishing of your next book?
I might use a pen name were I able to go back and do it all over again. I was shocked to discover then when the word “Sex” is in the title of your book, regardless of how non-pornographic the book is, that people can judge you quite harshly. Here I am, thinking that since it’s 2011 and they just about teach how to perform oral sex in 8th grade sexual education classes, that having the word “Sex” in the title wouldn’t be an issue. Alas, I was mistaken. When it comes down to it, I don’t know if I’d use a pen name or not…I’m proud of my book, not ashamed because the title is risqué. That’s a tough question and one for which I don’t know if I have an answer. Other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.
How did you market your book? Can you share some of your creative/non-conventional ways/secrets on how you sold your book?
Whew…this is the toughest part of having a book. I’m going to tackle both this and the next 2 questions here as they all relate.
Marketing is a 24 hour a day job that requires tons of friendliness and focused determination. If I could just hire someone to do it all for me, I would!
Things I’ve done to get my book out there:
- Created a website for the book, http://jodiambrose.com
- Created a YouTube channel for the book and recorded a bunch of videos that correlate to the content of the book, but which do not specifically address the 20 items on The List http://www.youtube.com/jodiambrose
- Created a twitter account for the book: http://twitter.com/#!/sexhowtogetmore
- Created a Facebook page for the book: http://www.facebook.com/pages/In-your-face-publishing/191297024233676
- Had it converted for Kindle
- Joined several book marketing and publishing sites
- Joined blogtalkradio.com and have participated in several radio shows promoting the book
- Bugged all of my friends repeatedly to buy copies of the book
- Begged anyone and everyone to use their connections to help me out
- Designed and had printed marketing materials that I hand out
- Business cards
- Ordered custom bubble mailers and custom mailing labels so that when I ship a copy of the book it looks professional and is attention getting
I felt and still sometimes feel like I’m selling Amway, but it’s all about getting your book into the right set of hands. Sometimes, I get so tired of doing promotions I could scream, but I know that the more I promo it, the more attention it’ll get. The best book in the world will live a lonely life if no one knows it exists. Ultimately, it’s all worth it.
Something I do on my Facebook and Twitter accounts is a “Tip of the Day” relating to relationships. That way, people have a reason to peek at my pages and keep coming back.
Share with us the different platforms you use to sell your book (bookstores, signing, affiliate programs, website etc.).
Do you use social media in book promotion, and if so, which platforms work best for you? Can you share some tricks you got making it work for you?
Care to share some numbers? How many books have you sold to date?
I’ve sold over 100 books in a little over 2 months. I just have 4 million to go and I’ll be happy! I was told that selling that many in 2 months was excellent. To me it seemed horrifying, but I’ll listen to the professionals on that one!
How was your book initially received? Has it been reviewed? What was your response to the reviews?
I have been so very excited and pleased about the reception my book has received. I was so thrilled that both men and women like the book. Men actually learn how to be better husbands/boyfriends and women get to giggle and nod their head and agree with me. I’m like a sympathetic ear to the ladies.
Thus far, no one has given me any negative feedback. Now, before you think, “Well, of course her friends are going to be nice to her,” know that quite a lot of my books have sold to strangers who have still provided me with excellent feedback. People tell me that they like that it just cuts to the chase, no BS allowed.
Here are a few of my favorite book reviews (please forgive the grammar—I don’t edit my reviews):
- “Got your book in the mail yesterday, read it last night, got laid before lunchtime today. Guess it worked! Ok, that’s an exaggeration… But I did enjoy the quick read – very insightful and very funny! I think you’re onto something and only scratching the surface of this blossoming enterprise!” –Keith
- “Your book cracked. me. UP. I seriously cannot remember the last time I laughed so hard at a book. It was candid and hilarious without ever being crass and, most of all, it was right. I kept looking for something i disagreed with (because I am a unique snowflake, damn it, and my reactions cannot be predicted so easily) but i couldn’t find a single thing. I thought you came across as very sympathetic to both men and women. You didn’t pick sides. You said women are sometimes crazy bitches, but explained why. Kudos to you, lady, kudos to you :)” –Sarah
- “I want to buy a million copies and just leave them around random places for men to find. The world would be a better place.” –Shelby
- “I cannot remember the last time I laughed so hard. This chick is hilarious. What I liked most is that she seems to get that women can be insane and that men can be pretty non-observant, but doesn’t criticize either gender. All men should read this book and if you are a man and don’t think you need this book, you do. Every guy could learn something. And hey, if it gets you more “nookie” as the author suggests, isn’t it worth it? You have to give this a read. If for nothing else, numbers 4, 6, 13 and 19 are the funniest things you’ll ever read. WELL WORTH THE MONEY! (Actually, after having read it I’d have paid more for it, but shhhhhh don’t tell.)” –Amber
How do you handle negative feedback from critics?
So far, I’ve been blessed with no negative reviews. I know that sounds crazy and I’m sure once it starts selling at a higher volume that I’ll get some (you can’t please everyone), but I’ve been quite lucky so far. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that while the book is funny and snarky, it’s also quite clearly from the heart. It has a racy title, I know, but once you get past the cover you’ll see that its intention is quite simple; I just want couples to learn what they can do to be happier. Nice and simple.
Where are some of the places where you sell your book besides through book distributors, your website, book stores etc.
Seriously, out of the trunk of my car. I’ll sell it to anyone, anywhere. I’m considering going to all the local bookstores and seeing if they’ll buy a batch of them. I’m willing to sell at a discount for bulk purchases! J
Right now, it’s available on:
- My own book website: http://jodiambrose.com
- CreateSpace.com: https://www.createspace.com/3555647
- Amazon as a paperback: Click here to buy
- Amazon via Kindle: Click here to buy
Do have any future projects you’d like to tell us about?
I’m planning on writing a companion book for women. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from guys that women could use the same kind of help. As I could not agree more, that is going to be the topic of book number 2.
I’m trying to think of a title, but a one-liner my husband gave me as we began our relationship always haunts me as being the perfect title: “How Not to be a Controlling Douchebag”. I laugh every time I think of that line, but it couldn’t be more true. Of course, if I give it that title, I’ll have to follow it up with a book entitled, “How Not to Alienate Your Audience”!!!
Thank you for being on Authopublisher, Jodi, and I hope to hear from you again!
You can find more of Jodie at http://jodiambrose.com.
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You gotta hustle if you’re to make your dream happen!