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?
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.