Gisela is a self-confessed protector of Indies. Namely, of their wallets. She has made it her personal crusade to protect them from marketers promising the moon and delivering, well, cheese I guess (fine, so similes are not my thing, but you get my drift).
As this is a passion we share, I wanted to get to know her better after reading her latest book, Naked News for Indie Authors: How NOT to Invest Your Marketing $$$. I found it to be a straight-forward, no-nonsense approach to book marketing, placing emphasis on things one can do for free. Plus, for the first time in my life I finally understood how to use Goodreads giveaways properly.
The only thing I’d have liked is for the book to be longer. There’s the subject of paid ads, as well as inclusion in catalogs, for which there seems to be precious little information. The lack of hard data on this area is hardly Gisela’s fault, though… And you can help fill that void by taking my 3-question Book Ads Survey!
So, here’s Gisela in her own words.
Hi Gisela, What inspired you to write this book?
I am the most peaceful person anybody can imagine, but when I see true injustice, the peaceful kitten turns into a roaring lion within seconds.
Having self-published books since 1988, I watched the changes in the industry. In the days before e-books only a few authors took the risk of self-publishing. Since independent authors had to prepay the costs of printing of their first edition, they needed to prepare accordingly.
Twenty-five years later, the successes of “Wool” and “Fifty Shades of Gray” are enticing many people to write books. Not all of them want to get rich; many just want to share their story in the hope that it will help others and draw attention to a cause.
From my front row seat I could observe how, over the years, the predators swooped in with offers to “help” with marketing. Then one day, I realized that scammers similar to the ones who used to sell financial pyramid schemes and miracle weight loss programs had focused their efforts on indie authors. Preying on indie authors has become an industry.
Most of these predators use motivational and inspirational self-help techniques to convince people that if they just buy their program, success will happen.
Every day innocent authors sell their novels to publishing companies who do nothing for their books. I know many authors who had to buy back their own books to regain control again. A friend of mine, who is retired on a fixed income, spent $1,300 to have his book formatted, get a cover (which happens to be very good), and get his book uploaded into the various e-book stores. That’s too expensive. Another one of my friends had to buy back his book for $800.
I could tell many more stories like this. Then again, there was no real information on how to spot the scammers and predators. So, I sat down and wrote “Naked News for Indie Authors: How NOT to Invest Your Marketing $$$.” Having seen too much injustice I was motivated and fueled; I wrote the whole book in one week.
One week! You must have been fuming 😀 What was the first thing you ever wrote?
I self-published my first book in 1988. It was an aerial photography coffee table book about Vienna Austria; thus, there wasn’t too much text. I not only designed the book, but also created an elaborate marker system, which allowed even readers who did not know Vienna to figure out where each attraction was located and how the city was laid out.
The book itself was stunning, beautiful and quite expensive. I was extremely honored that big organizations bought this book as gifts for celebrity guests, such as President Clinton, Mick Jagger, and George Foreman. I have pictures of all these celebrities receiving my book.
The interesting thing was that my design was rejected by the publisher who we (my late husband, the photographer, and I) talked to. That’s why we self-published it in the first place. The huge success of the book reinforced my thought that self-publishing authors can be successful, and I have been hooked onto self-publishing ever since.
What other writing have you done? Anything else published?
After a short stint into educational publishing I now publish “naked (meaning no-fluff) books”:
- Naked Truths About Getting Book Reviews
- Naked Words: The Effective 157-Word Email
- Naked News for Indie Authors: How NOT to Invest Your Marketing $$$
- Naked News for Indie Authors: How to Get on TV
- Naked Determination: 14 Stories About Overcoming Fear (a multi award winning life skills book)
- Naked Elaborations: Our Time to “Fix” Things is Running Out (blog book)
- 4 Naked No-Fluff Books for Authors
Quite prolific, then! Any hobbies or interests that you enjoy in your spare time?
Reading, home improvement, and gardening. To compensate for long hours on the computer I like to be active and do something with my hands.
I know what you mean… What are you working on at the moment? Tell us a little about your current projects.
I am working on “Naked Eye-Opener: SUCCESS Comes From Being Invested. That’s All!” – It will reveal what all self-help books I have ever read missed. Getting on the road to success is actually easier than it looks.
Also, I am working on a work book that will complement my “Naked Words: The Effective 157-Word Email”
Who are your favorite authors and what do you love about them?
This is a difficult question. I really like Hemingway’s work, but having read hundreds of books over the last few years, I have found many cool books penned by authors who need to be discovered by more readers. Considering the way the market has exploded with new authors and new books, it is a lot harder than it used to be only twenty years ago.
How true! What genres do you read mostly and what are you reading now?
A bit of this and that. I like to read non-fiction, biographies, history, and adventure; I read barely any sci-fi and erotica, and I do not read fantasy or horror.
Lol – shame, really. So you have any advice for other indie authors?
My advice to anybody who considers publishing a book is to read my “Naked News for Indie Authors: How NOT to Invest Your Marketing $$$” ($2.99). It reveals all traps and potholes from finding a publisher to marketing your book.
Writing a book is almost like having a child, only typically authors need longer than nine months to write their book and get it known. Thus, authors need to protect their babies – their books – from scammers who want to get a piece of the pie even though they did not write anything.
Tell us about your website/blog. What will readers find there?
At my website, I also offer e-mail writing services for authors, to contact top reviewers or book bloggers. I am an e-mail evangelist, who has analyzed 100,000+ e-mails for effectiveness and personal appeal.
I also have a blog. My latest blog titles are:
• Why I have stopped reviewing books from Celebrity Authors
• The Project Management Triangle applied to Winning Customers
• Do NOT hire a publicist to get on TV – You can do this Yourself!
• 8 Reasons Why You Should Love E-mail & 7 Ways to Make Yours More Effective
• Write Your E-mails Like a Soldier in the Field
What are the things in your life that you’re most grateful for?
My two children! They are healthy, smart, and beautiful.
I lost my husband fifteen years ago, my brother three years later, one of my two aunts another year later, and my best friend since childhood the year after that. There was a time when I was scared to pick up the phone. Life is all about the loved ones in your life.
Oh my God, that’s awful! I’m so sorry, it must have been a terrible time. How would you like to be remembered?
I’d like to be remembered as a person who helped others, especially underdogs other people wanted to take advantage of.
Additionally, I know I will be remembered as one of the last adventurers. Not that I did it all, but I traveled to Tibet in 1987, before the second Chinese Revolution, and spent time in the Dalai Lama’s bedroom; I traveled the Trans Siberian Railroad twice, once in the summer and once in the winter; in 1988 I discovered Zanskar and Ladakh on the Indian side of the Himalayas, and so much more. I’d like to think that I went for every adventure I could be a part of.
Pick a famous person to have dinner with, What would you talk about?
I’d choose Ted Turner. He and I have a lot in common, only he does everything on a much bigger scale.
His father died a violent death; my husband did too. Ted Turner lost his sister to an incurable disease; I lost my beloved brother to MS. I am a mass media specialist, who graduated with a master in Arts of Film and Mass Media from the University of Vienna; Ted Turner founded CNN. I am a dedicated environmentalist; Ted Turner is too but on a huge scale. Ted Turner met and admired Jacques Cousteau. I met and admired the “Austrian Jacques Cousteau,” Hans Hass.
However, I do not sail, and if would have been Ted Turner, I would have given up on the Fastnet Race 1979, which Turner won.
Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Where are you from?
Earth – I love it here. I am kind of weird in a way. In that I have never owned a new car, don’t dress expensive, barely ever eat out, do my own home improvement jobs, don’t spend much money; but boy did I travel – almost 100,000 kilometers. And, even when I travel, I travel cheap; I want to stretch my dollars as far as I can go in the literal sense of the word.
Is it true you’ve been abducted by aliens?
Haha… No, not yet; however, I expect to get abducted if the aliens decide that they need somebody to write naked (meaning no-fluff) books.
Lol – I’ll let them know. Name your claim to fame.
Gisela Hausmann is the author who wrote the “naked no-fluff books” which empowered indie authors to make best decisions when marketing their books.
What is the weirdest thing that’s happened to you?
When I traveled China for the first time, I knew that I would hear a gong sound off at the Temple of Heaven. I had a real vision that the temple would come in sight and I would hear the gong.
Since in 1987 it was extremely difficult to travel in China – barely anybody spoke English – I hired a cab to bring me to the temple. To my surprise, the temple was not visible from the street; the cab driver gesticulated that I should walk through the surrounding park. So, I did. I must have walked through alleys for a good ten minutes till finally I could see an open space in the distance. As I arrived at the plaza and actually saw the temple for the first time, a gong sounded off. At first I could not even figure out where the gong was; then I saw that there were loudspeakers on poles arranged around the temple.
The amazing thing was that the gong was so loud that I would have heard it while walking had it sounded off earlier. But no, it sounded off right when the temple came into view. It was weird and amazing, as if somebody knew that I was coming to see the temple.
Must have been quite the experience! Which one do you prefer: Elephants or tigers?
Tigers, I was born in a Chinese Year of the Tiger.
Ah, that explains it then 😀 If you had to live over again what would you change in your life?
Nothing – so far it’s been a great ride!
Where in the universe would you live if you could travel anywhere?
Haha… In a way I am a nomad; so far I am living in the fifth city since I was born. Typically I move about every fifteen years. Right now, I live in Greenville, SC, 4,831 miles from Vienna, where I was born.
Quite a way from home, then! Thank you very much, Gisela. Let’s hear about your book now!
Naked News for Indie Authors: How NOT to Invest Your Marketing $$$
In this new book “Naked News for Indie Authors: How NOT to Invest Your Marketing $$$” marketing expert, email evangelist, and indie author Gisela Hausmann reveals how indie authors can avoid wasting time and money.
She also offers free and/or cheap alternatives to many common marketing methods and myths. The book includes five helpful illustrations.
The book contains the following chapters:
- Overcoming your biggest disappointments
- The Flipside of this Wisdom
- Find a Publisher or Self-Publish?
- Facts to Consider BEFORE Trying to Find a Publisher
- Direct Marketing E-Mails Can Lead to Making Great Business Contacts – Or Not!
- Newsletter Marketing
- Use a Template to Contact Book Reviewers and/or Book Bloggers
- Get as Many Reviews as Possible
- Hire a Publicist
- Get Book Reviews via Review Swaps
- To Succeed you Need to Find a Profitable Book Niche
- List a Giveaway on Goodreads and everybody Will Start Talking About Your Book
- Book Promotion Programs, Tools, or Products
- Where Should I Start?
Gisela Hausmann is a marketing and mass media expert. A known email evangelist, she has analyzed 100,000+ emails for effectiveness a personal appeal.
The author of eighteen books, she publishes books under her “naked” brand of books, meaning Gisela publishes “no-fluff” books.
Born to be an adventurer, Gisela has also co-piloted single-engine planes, produced movies, and worked in the industries of education, construction, and international transportation. Gisela’s friends and fans know her as a woman who goes out to seek the unusual and rare adventure.
A unique mixture out of wild risk-taker and careful planner, Gisela globe-trotted almost 100,000 kilometers on three continents, including to the locations of her favorite books: Doctor Zhivago’s Russia, Heinrich Harrer’s Tibet, and Genghis Khan’s Mongolia.
Gisela Hausmann graduated with a master’s degree in Film & Mass Media from the University of Vienna. She now lives in Greenville, South Carolina.
Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.
Thank you OwlLady for reblogging. Indie authors help indie authors.
Had to smile when I saw your handle. Last year I had two owls living in my backyard. At night I would listen to their “hoot concertos.” Sadly, this year they moved away. Two hawks have made my neighborhood their home. Supposedly, that’s the reason why they left. They don’t hunt in same territories. I hope next year the owls will be back. Thank you again for reblogging. :)) Happy 4th of July!
Wow, that is so cool!
Fantastic interview. I would be interested in reading Naked Words: The Effective 157-Word Email. Perhaps we could convince Gisela to write Naked Twitter. I really need help there.
Lol – you could read Rayne’s book: https://www.amazon.com/Twitter-Writers-Authors-Tweeting-Success-ebook/dp/B00KUCPG6G
Thanks, Nicholas. I will definitely check it out. How are things going in Greece? The news doesn’t paint a pretty picture for you.
Thanks for asking! I’ve scheduled a post for the 5th explaining it all. Our politicians are bonkers, but the people are pretty calm, all things considered. I think we’re all just waiting for the madness to pass.
I’ll be looking forward to it. Don’t get me started on politicians. Tomes could be written on the inefficiencies or politicians worldwide, past and present.
Could and have 😀
Thank you @Macjam – I haven’t written “Naked Twitter” yet because twitter marketing changes so quickly. But I have written many other “naked” marketing books. Since I publish “naked books” I only publish strategies that work for sure. However, now that you said it I feel I should look into it. Thank you for the input.
Fantastic post Nicholas. Thanks for sharing. I will definitely check out her book. How are you? Rae
Thanks, glad you enjoyed the post 🙂
I’m freaked out by everything that’s happening, of course, but otherwise fine. Thanks for asking 🙂
You deserve the success. You have worked for it. I am working with author Simon Williams at the moment. He is a lovely person. I don’t know if you are getting to travel at all in the Autumn. If you are able to get to the UK Wimbledon bookfest is definitely worth looking up. The line up is incredible this year. I saw Ian McEwan last year. The event is in association with my old university Roehampton where Jacqueline Wilson is a fellow. Best wishes. Rae
Thanks for that! I have no idea what will happen between now and autumn, but I’ll keep it in mind 🙂
Best of luck with everything. Rae
Thank you RJ. – Onward and upwards! Together we are strong!
Gisela – I love your passion and enthusiasm!
Great, and the book sounds very interesting! I’m off to check it out now. Thank you for sharing that Nicholas! 🙂
I’ve now read three of her books, and they’ve all been pretty interesting!
Thank you Celine – Onward and upwards, Indie authors!!!!
(my battle cry)
I hear all these discussion about how Amazon takes advantage of authors and of course there are also the “predators.” I think the predators are much worse, If I only hear “Do … xyz… to got on Oprah…” I am ready to throw up. Oprah does only what she wants and period.
At least Amazon gives indie authors some great opportunities but the predators think only about their own wallets.
Gisela is a very intelegent, strategic marketer–she has aimed for the top and she will climb over any and all obstacles on the way. Her little books are big in value–Congratulations to her
Thanks and welcome! 🙂
Thank you Gloria, yes, I will including that I will go against the so-called “author self-help industry”. I might just be the one, who gets them. After all mu home country has produced one “Conan” (Arnold) so it’s looking promising. Thank you again.
Gisela, you spent time in the Dali Lama’s bedroom?? When will THAT book be coming out? Honestly I’m totally in awe of all you’ve accomplished.
Thank you @purpleslobinrecovery
This book is already published. It’s my life skills book “Naked Determination, 41 Stories About Overcoming Fear”.
I was born in Austria, thus had the opportunity to meet Heinrich Harrer, the Dalai Lama’s teacher, in person. He is Austrian too. Harrer told me that if I wanted to see Tibet, I should go as soon as possible.(I was ~13 at the time) Shortly before I turned 25 I managed to do so.
Of course I could not find anybody, who knew how to get there best. Still, it was worth every effort. When I visited the Potala (and the Dalai Lama’s bedroom) I was there with only about 20 people, and even stood there, alone by myself, for 1/2 hour, just soaking in the atmosphere. It was truly magnificent.
Harrer was right. Then came the second Chinese Revolution. Today, the Chinese allow 2,500 people PER DAY, to walk through. They turned it into a kind of Disney World. The spirit is gone.
My book has “historic” pictures from that trip. The spiritual paradise will never come back.
Excellent interview and the book sounds helpful. I will definitely be checking out that blog!
Glad you found it useful 🙂
Thank you D Wallace, I have been self-publishing since 1988. In the many years I had an opportunity to see what’s going on from my front row seat. It was time to act! Thank you again. I am sure you’ll enjoy my “naked books”, they are complete no-fluff. Thank you again.
Outstanding interview. We need more honest people who aren’t out looking to scam poor authors (or anyone else). Interesting and informative. 🙂
Thank you @Let’s Cut the Crap. From your handle I gather you and I see things the same way. I agree, it’s time to cut the crap, I just called it the publishing of “naked books” – no fluff, no wishy washy info, which kind of looks good, but that’s about it. I have been self publishing for more than a quarter of a century; it was time to reveal. :)) Thank you again.
You are more than welcome and I thank you for sharing. 🙂
Thank you @Nicholas , for the opportunity to interview. Getting invited by you is a particular honor. Your “Call to Arms” campaign is important to the industry! Thank you very much
Thank you for visiting, and for helping spread the word 🙂
I really appreciate what Gisela is trying, no succeeding in doing. I have several friends who are Indies. I will share this on Facebook with them especially.
You may not believe this but I was born and raised in Greenville, SC!! In fact I just saw the River Park there in downtown Greenville just two days ago! What a coincidence!
Great interview with a very smart lady! Thanks!
HI neighbor Joy. It seems you moved away before I moved here in Nov 2013. If you visit again, let’s meet for aw cup of coffee. Thank you for your kind words.
Definitely!! Greenville has changed so much since I moved away in 1973. I would go back and see my family often. I love downtown now!! Very proud of it. Are you on Facebook? I am Elaine Estes. Would love to meet you!
Hi Elaine, Just sent you are friend request :))
Wow, what you don’t know that you don’t know. Thank you kind sir!
Lol – a pleasure, fair lady 🙂
Thank you @Annette Rochelle Aben – Times are getting tougher for indie authors. We need to stick together :))
Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
Gisela is someone you’d WANT as well as need on your side if you’re an Indie Author 😀
Thank you @TheStoryReadingApe
My take: TOGETHER indie authors are stronger! thank you again
Indeed Gisela 😀
A very enjoyable encounter Nicholas, and good to be reminded of Hans and Lotte Hass, names from the TV of my youth! https://www.wildfilmhistory.org/person/102/Hans+Hass.html
I wonder if some unscrupulous publishers deliberately buy good new books with a view to actually suppressing them, and allowing a wider market for their existing authors? This has often occurred to me, even during the days of ‘paper’ books.
Best wishes to you and Gisela, Pete.
Thanks for the fascinating link! 🙂
THX @Beetleypete – Allow me to respond with a quote
“The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.”– John Steinbeck
That being said, it needs to be said that Amazon has empowered writers worldwide. I find so many people, who complain about this or that in connection with Amazon. Amazon allows authors to be in charge of their creative work, and that is more than authors used to have (see Steinbeck’s quote). I quit even talking to publishers in 1988 because they weren’t willing to even contemplate suggestions.
Wonderful interview, Gisela, Now I know some more of you, with the same name. hehehe. Very good
THX Gigi :))