Author Spotlight: JB Richards
Indie authors are a unique community of people. We write across all genres, publish our own work on our own terms, market by any means possible, and can be found lurking on all social media outlets, particularly Twitter. Perhaps the best thing about indie authors is the commitment we have to each other.
JB Richards is a fabulous example of indie virtues! That sounds so corny but it's completely accurate, trust me.
Join me now as we learn more about the author and founder of the Indies Helping Indies Book Review Project or IHIBRP.
When did you begin writing? Is this your full-time occupation?
I first began writing in grammar school. I loved our Writing Class so much that I often handed my teachers short stories that I had written during summer vacations and holidays. Can you say "Teacher's pet"?
Right now, at this stage in my life, I guess I'm considered officially retired, but I still work on my writing and author servicing about 35-60 hours each week. I just love working when creativity, expressing oneself, and helping others is a major part of the job!
"As a team, we're unstoppable"
Are you a "panster" or a planner?
Duh... What's a panster, Kristin? I'm over 60, so I had to look this one up on Google--Thank goodness for Google, by the way--It's like the god of the internet!
I guess I'm a bit of both. On a daily basis, I try to work according to a plan. But with an adult son who just started college again and has special needs, three highly-active but fun-as-heck dogs, a husband who works the weirdest hours this side of the moon, and a 1940's 2-story home to manage, flying by the seat of my pants is always the order of the day.
Thank goodness I have a ton of experience as a Customer Relations and Research Manager. For 15-years, I never knew from hour to hour whether I was going to be training new people, doing a DEA investigation, auditing an employee, or dealing with an irate customer. After several more years dealing with doctors, corporate bosses, and the general public, I now know how to get things done and get them done to the satisfaction of all those involved.
Up to this point, what has been your most rewarding experience as a writer?
Like many new authors, I would say that my most rewarding experience as a writer was researching and publishing my first novel, "Miriamne the Magdala". This first volume of a saga that I've just begun to expand upon represents over 20-years of research on the lives of 1st-century Roman occupied Palestine, featuring the lives of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the early Christian community. This project truly made me an expert in this field.
An equally rewarding experience was developing close friendships with five of the most talented and savvy Indie authors on this planet--Aliya DalRae, Renee Gauthier, Eva Pasco, Aryl Shanti, and Joanne Van Leerdam. As a team, we're unstoppable, cheering each other on as we develop and publish our growing library of works. And not only does our team span the globe, we've grown as individuals, providing valuable author services, both individually and as part of our author team. From graphic designs, to editing services, to book promotions, book reviews, and author/reader information, the Indie Fabs span a wide array of resources for Indie authors of all experience levels--Beginners to professionals. That's something to be proud of!
Tell us about the inspiration for The Dragon's Heir Trilogy.
In researching promos for "Yeshua the Christ: The Silk Road" (my upcoming book in the Yeshua and Miri Novel Series), I happened to run across a photograph of a simply dressed medieval warrior who seemed to be standing aside from a battle that was raging all around him. He seemed to be reflecting on whether or not it was worth continuing the fight. Everything about Kirin, and everyone around him, started there.
But, there's a twist to this story... I also wanted to dedicate my very first fantasy novel to my author teammates, The Indie Fabs. So, the Fabiosa sisters (the sister-witches in the Dragon's Heir Trilogy) each possesses a name that is a variation of the real Fabs' first names... For example, Aliya became Aalyi, Renee became Enree, Eva became Ave, Aryl became Yral, and Joanne (who's nickname is Maple) became Pemla. Although there are some qualities of each individual that I chose to include, that is where the similarities end.
Including my teammates in my novel was my personal tribute to each one of them, and I believe The Dragon's Heir Trilogy will preserve our friendship for all time.
Which character from this series do you relate to the most and why?
OOH, that's a tough one! Each one of the characters in my novels is a facet of me, so I'm invested deeply in each and every one of them--even the villains.
I suppose the one character that I identify with the most is Yeshua form "Miriamne the Magdala". I was always misunderstood as a child because I had been a victim of child molestation. I felt like an alien for most of my childhood and well into my adult years--highly misunderstood. I presume that Yeshua must have felt much the same, with all his strange ideas and having grown up in a world full of humans.
What are you currently working on?
Believe it or not, I just uploaded my first Horror novel on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) today, "Kin: Horror in Moonlight Holler". The Ebook and paperback should be available on Amazon by the time this interview comes out.
Now, I'm moving on to a holiday children's story about a young girl who learns the value of friendship and giving in "Angela's Apples: A Holiday Short". This charming story, with a powerful moral, should be available in plenty of time for Thanksgiving.
"You know, Indie authors are like lone wolves... When they first start out, they're so hungry for their book to get attention and reviews."
You are the founder of the IHI Book Review Project. Tell us about your inspiration and goal for this endeavor.
First and foremost, I dearly love my Indie community, and I make an honest effort to pay-it-forward in thanks to all the authors and readers who helped me get started on my journey as an author. You know, Indie authors are like lone wolves... When they first start out, they're so hungry for their book to get attention and reviews. But their venues for marketing and promotion are highly limited by their knowledge and experience, By giving these authors an opportunity to gain a book review and join the pack, per se, I can help guide them through the difficult process of marketing and promotion, and give them a head start on achieving their writing goals.
My own goal for IHIBRP is to continue promoting and introducing the best in Indie reads written by phenomenal but sometimes obscure authors who are either just starting out on their writing journeys, or who require a much needed boost for a new publication.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of being an Indie author?
The biggest challenge for an Indie author is getting your books in front of the public. Sure, having a published book is great, but it means nothing if no one looks at your buy page. Indie authors can find it truly rewarding to join a group or author team to interact with as many other Indies as possible.
Speaking of guidance, I try to make myself available to offer personal mentoring for Indie authors who have questions on how and where to get started in their careers, as do many of my author friends and teammates. And if I can't find the answers, I'm happy to point authors in the right direction. It's always a joy to help out a fellow Indie!
If you could give one piece of advice to Indie authors, what would it be?
Don't try to succeed in this business on your own. Everyone needs support, and support is here for you if you choose to receive it. We are a community of authors, all learning from each other, and there are plenty of resources available (free and at a fee) to help you get your books in front of readers. Let others like me help you find your way.
"I believe that independent (Indie) authorship is the wave of the future, and we're about to see more and more traditionally published authors joining our ranks."
Where do you see the Indie publishing industry going in the future? Would you consider a traditional publishing deal?
Why or why not?
Now, that's an interesting question! From what I've garnered lately through publishing magazines and blogs, more and more authors are choosing to retain their rights and control their own works. Those big publishing houses that used to award authors with huge advances just aren't making those kind of offers anymore--Not even for famous authors who are niched into certain popular genres.
I believe that independent (Indie) authorship is the wave of the future, and we're about to see more and more traditionally published authors joining our ranks.
Reviews are an essential part of the author journey. What do you find most impactful in a reader's review?
I won't purchase a vacuum cleaner without looking at the reviews, why would I buy a book without getting a sense of what readers thought about a story? Don't get me wrong... I don't want to read spoilers or rambling paragraphs of how one related to a certain character. I prefer a basic review about the author's ability to tell a great story and how that story comes across to the reader. That's the meat of a real review--It answers the question "Is this item for me or not?"
Is there anything else you would like to share?
First, I genuinely want to thank you for giving me a platform, Kristin, and for allowing me the opportunity to tell your readers a little bit about myself, my books, and my author/reader services.
One of my proudest accomplishment thus far, aside from my writings, and belonging to a wonderful community of Indie authors willing to share their knowledge and expertise with others, was having launched a versatile new website in 2017 at AuthorJBRichards.com that allowed me to pay-it-forward to the Indie community by offering a vast collection of free author and reader services, like my Indies Helping Indies Book Review Project (IHIBRP) and my Indieverse Resource Library. I'm also thrilled to head up our popular Holiday #IndieBookParades, which are sponsored by my author team--The Indie Fabs. These book parades, which started out in obscurity and now have a 95% response rate, give readers and authors a chance to interact and talk about books in every genre. It's so rewarding and heartening to watch a live conversation take place between a reader looking for a book and an author who is confident enough in their own skin to recommend another author's work! Now, that's community!
In closing, I'd like to invite everyone--authors and readers--to visit my website and see what types of books and services I can offer you. I'd consider it a real honor if you allow me to be your guide through this wonderful place that I call "The Indieverse".
"I'd consider it a real honor if you allow me to be your guide through this wonderful place that I call 'The Indieverse'."
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