August 24, 2022 (Last Updated October 24, 2022)48 Hour Books
We sat down with USA Today Bestselling author, K. Webster, who specializes in dark romance fiction. Here’s what she had to say about becoming an author, her writing process, the importance of book covers, and more!
48 Hour Books: Can you start by telling us a little about yourself?
I am K. Webster, and I am the author of about 130 books. I write everything in the romance genre, basically, you know, everything from historical romance, to dark romance, to forbidden romance, to college romance. Like, everything. I even have a few psychological thrillers under a pen name. So, I just love to write books. And I'm from Oklahoma, and yeah, that's all there is to know about me.
48 Hour Books: How long have you been writing and when did your author journey begin?
I have been writing for almost nine years, and, you know, I've always been a voracious reader. I've read all the books, it seems like, because, you know, I'm just obsessed with books. And I actually had a friend, and she said she was going to a book signing, and I was like, "Okay, I'll go with you." And it was in Oklahoma City. It was like a two-hour drive, and so we got in the car, and she starts telling me that she's writing a book. And mind you, she is... She's never talked about books before. But I'm obsessed with books. I could not get past that, so I just started picking her brain, like, "Okay, so how are you doing this? How are you publishing this?" Like, you know, and she basically said, "I’m gonna self-publish it." And I was like, "Oh. Okay. I can do this." And so basically, we got back from the signing, and she never finished her book, but that day, I went home, I opened a Word document, and I wrote a book in like 10 days, and I never stopped since. So that's kind of how I started. (laughs)
48 Hour Books: What inspires you to write?
A lot of it starts to feel the same, so it's, you know, wishing there was something different and then writing that different thing. So, that's a lot of what inspires me. And then my husband, he plays guitar, so a lot of music, like, you know, starts making me think about a character, and then I think, "Okay, let me give this character a story." So, I'd say definitely books and music are inspiring to me.
48 Hour Books: Describe your writing process. Do you have a routine?
I'm a binge writer, so I have to be in the book writing mode, because there are so many other things of the business that I do, and I just have to be in book mode, and then I will just, you know, sit down and tell myself, "Okay, for four hours, all I'm doing is writing." And just do that over and over and over for, you know, a couple weeks at a time, and then I'm done with the book, and then I won't write for a while. So, it's very project driven. I just got to get it done until I'm done, and then I move on and do all the little moving parts that go along with it. It's not very spaced out or every day, do a little bit of this or anything like that.
48 Hour Books: What advice would you give to authors struggling with writer’s block?
It's all about getting your mind back to what you're writing. And a lot of times I will reread what I've written so far, and that kind of helps me get excited about it again. Or I'll tell a friend about the book, and they like the characters and are excited, and they're wanting to know when it's gonna happen. And so, it's just getting that excitement again, because it's very easy to just get bored and then move on to something else that's more exciting, but really, you loved that book and those characters at one point, so it's just finding that again.
And I'll look at my Pinterest boards with the inspiration, or just anything to try to get back into the book mode. And a lot of times, when I reread the book, I think, "Oh, that's really good. I, you know, now I want to finish it 'cause I need to know what's gonna happen next. So, a lot of times, it's just taking that next step to just put yourself back into the book.
48 Hour Books: How many books are in your catalogue? What would you say is the key to remaining a productive author?
Last time I counted, there was around 130, but there's a lot. To me, I try to make sure that I'm constantly putting something out there and it doesn't necessarily have to be every month. I know people don't need to be like me. And for a while there, I was doing it every month. But just putting it out on the calendar, like, for my own mental thing, like, okay, in six months, I would like to put out this kind of book, and really start working towards that.
Something that I do a lot of times is I write a lot of short stories and novellas, because I feel like those break it up, and it gives people something to read that's not just a huge time commitment for either one of us, the writer or the reader. So, I do those a lot, and my readers really enjoy those. And a lot of people think, "Oh, nobody wants a novella or a short story," but they really do. They, I mean, in this short attention world, people do like that kind of stuff.
48 Hour Books: Are your short stories available on your website?
What I started doing was, I make them free on my website, the really short ones, as a newsletter builder. And I invite them to read it for free and they can sign up for my newsletter. And a lot of people will just go through and read all of my short stories, but then it's kind of like the gateway into all of the other books, especially if it's a short story that leads into a series, or if you liked this style of book, now you can go read the full length that you have to go pay for.
Something that I've recently done is I started printing the... They're only like 5,000 words, but I printed the paperbacks. And, you know, I kind of fluffed them up a little bit so that they would actually make a paperback, but you guys actually printed them for me because I just like y'all's quality. And so, people buy those off of my website, and I usually make them as an add-on to buy paperbacks. I do a discounted add-on for those little baby books, is what I call them. And people love them. They just collect them. And you would think, "Who wants a, you know, 49-page book?" But people do.
48 Hour Books: Many self-publishing authors come to us for marketing advice. How did you initially find your audience and build your marketing strategy?
Obviously, the landscape has changed a whole lot from nine years ago, but for me personally, I always thought, you know, the best way to get new readers is to give them a book. And so, a lot of times, a friend would have a release party, and I would help them out and then do a giveaway of one of my free books. And I got so many new readers because I'm just giving away this one thing, but then, you know, then they read that book and then go and get more books.
Or even if it's just recognition of me as an author, "Oh, I got that free book. Even if I didn't read it, but now I remember her." You know? And so, it's just doing stuff to make people remember you and putting yourself out there. And now, it's not so much those takeovers for new releases that are the thing, but a lot of times it's just social media in general, like TikTok and stuff like that. And it's just being consistently present and saying, “Remember me? I write books." You know? And "Oh, remember, I have, like, all these freebies over on my website." You know? And people are like, "Okay. Well, that's not gonna cost me anything, and I can test her out." And then they get hooked.
48 Hour Books: You have a pretty impressive following on your social media channels. What advice would you give to aspiring authors for utilizing their online platforms?
The main thing is being consistent, even if you just make a schedule for yourself. So, for me, I try to post every day, everywhere. And that's a lot of scheduling, but once you get it scheduled, it goes out there and then you don't have to do it. Even with, TikTok, I will batch record a whole bunch of TikToks that are about things that I want to talk about on the same day. You know, I don't want to put on makeup every day, so I just do it one day, and I'll do like 13 TikToks. And then I know that every day, I can put out a TikTok, and I don't have to worry about getting ready.
And it's just a little bit more planning, but it does help. And then once you have those posts that you put out wherever you put them, it's commenting back to the readers and answering their questions, or giving them a little heart, letting them know that you see them. That goes a long way. They feel like they're connecting with you. And people connect with everybody differently, so you may think, "Nobody wants to hear what I have to say." Well, they do, 'cause I get out there and I'm silly and just, you know, cheesy, and people like it. So, everybody has, something to offer. And even if you don't want to show your face, there are still things that you could do that people would be interested in. It's just finding what you like to do and what you're comfortable with that you can easily put out. At first you may think, "Nobody's gonna care about this," but eventually you'll have this group of people who totally care about it. You just have to do it. (laughs)
48 Hour Books: You’re a USA Today Bestselling author. Did you do anything to increase your readership starting out?
It's connecting with other authors and doing anthologies, you know? because with everybody's collective efforts, you can get more books out into the hands of other people. For me, I did a lot of those things in the beginning because I was like, "Okay, people know me for dark romance, but maybe I want to be known for contemporary romance,” so I'll write a novella for this anthology that's a contemporary romance novella, And so it was just basically about trying all the different things and seeing what works, and then really just putting forth all of your effort, to share and put it out there and connect with all the other audiences to really make that happen.
And so now once you build that kind of foundation, it's easier later on down the road when you put out new books 'cause people are like, "Oh yeah, I remember I saw her all over when this thing happened," or whatever. So, I don't do advertising all that. All of my stuff's organic, so it's very... I hit the pavement and talk to the people, online, obviously. But it’s just a lot of leg work as far as that goes. And then also, with newsletters, you would be surprised how many people you can reach and who want to know about your stuff and will buy your stuff by doing your newsletters, too.
48 Hour Books: Were there any specific resources you used to connect with other authors or find people interested in your genre?
No. For me, there was no list to look up these people or anything. It was really a matter of, what do I like to read? What do I like to write? Where do those meet? And then who falls in that area? And then you start to follow those people, and then you comment on their stuff, and then next thing you know, you're building relationships with people. And sometimes I would reach out and say, "If you guys have a project, think of me. I would like to be on it." And then a lot of times, they would think, "Oh, we keep seeing K. Webster. Maybe she'd like to be on our project."
It never hurts to ask people. And now I'm too busy to take on all these extra little projects, but I'm always like, "Okay, thank you so much for asking me. I can't do it, but I have a friend who would like to do it," or "Do you need another name?” There's always people that come up to me and are like, "How do I get into these projects?" And it's like, they're out there. You just have to keep your eyes peeled and be open and available for them.
48 Hour Books: You write a lot of dark romance, but also write in other subgenres. What advice would you give to authors marketing to a niche audience?
If it's really narrowed down, then you just have to be prepared that. Whenever I write something that's really taboo that's not gonna be “Amazon safe,” I go in knowing, okay, well, I'm not gonna make as much money because it's for this little, tiny group of people. So, just know that going in that it's just for this little nugget of people, and that's fine. The more narrow you get, don't try to expect mainstream results. You know?
But at the same time there is carry over, so a lot of times your dark readers are gonna pick up your taboo stuff, or even your paranormal readers might try your dark stuff, because there's a lot of dark themes in paranormal. I have a lot of readers that I trained to like all of, or the most of my stuff, because it still has the K. Webster voice, or the vibe.
And so that's what they'll say. it can be a rom com, and they still know it's gonna be a K. Webster book because something crazy will happen, or whatever. And so, I think it's more about selling your brand, yourself as the writer, and then, "Oh, I have this book." And so basically, they already love you, they love your style, they, love whatever you're gonna do, so they're gonna go buy that book.
48 Hour Books: What is the most difficult part of self-publishing and what made you decide to take that route?
It's actually the same answer for both. The most difficult thing is that you have to do all the things. But when you're self-published, you get to do all the things! You don't have to ask anybody. You get a say in every single aspect of every single thing along the way. You can pivot when you want to; You can change. You can try different things, like a different cover if that one's not working, a different blurb. Whereas if you're traditionally published, it's a lot harder to try to get any kind of movement.
With this kind of industry that's constantly fluctuating, you need to be able to move on a dime, you know? And while that's hard because you're responsible for every little thing, not just writing the book, but, coordinating editors and formatters and cover designers, or, like me, I design my own, so you then you have to put that in there, and then the teasers and the marketing and advertising and newsletters and social media and swag, and just…everything.
But you get to DO everything. So, it's kind of like... It's same. You know? And some days you're like, "Yes, I get to do all this myself," and then other days you're like, "It would just be so much easier if somebody else would do all of this for me." (laughs) So you got to think about what you're giving up. If you let somebody do everything, I mean, they're gonna do it. And it's been hard for me. I've had a couple of traditionally published things where the covers don't look like my books and it bothers me, 'cause I want to go in there and change them, and I can't.
And they don't do paperbacks. They only do the eBooks, and it's like, my readers are very paperback-loving readers. And obviously, 'cause I order books from you guys all the time, they, want those paperbacks. I can't have paperbacks on those books, and that's out of my control. And my readers are like, "But, but, but..." And I'm like, "I can't do it. So sorry!" So it really is... You know, for me, the control thing is what I like the most, because I do like to be able to have control of all of the things. But some people don't, and if they don't, then self-publishing probably is gonna be more difficult.
48 Hour Books: Your book covers are always well-designed. Do you hire a designer? How important do you think an effective book cover is for book sales?
Well, I do most of my covers unless I'm in a project or something and they have their own cover designer. But all the ones I send over to you guys I do. I love it. It’s part of the creative process for me. It just kind of ties the whole story together. I feel like the cover is the most important thing, because people are visual and that's what they see first even before they click to read the blurb or anything, even the tagline. People see the picture first, and then they move on to the words.
And so, it's super important. And nowadays with social media, everything is like, "Look at this. Look at this. Look at this." So, you know, not everything is, "Let's read the words first." And so the cover has to be really eye-catching and makes you want to read it or own it. A lot of times, I don't even want to read the book. I just want it 'cause it's pretty. It would be some book that I don't even read that genre, but I'm like, "I have to have it because I love the design of it. It's so pretty."
For me it's super important because I have my online store and I sell all of my paperbacks and stuff, and I have a Patreon that has special editions, which I send a lot of those to you guys. And that's all something people can show off, and it's just so visual. I mean, Instagram, TikTok - everybody wants to see the pretties. And I feel like that's really, really, really important. (laughs)
48 Hour Books: What would you say is the most rewarding part of self-publishing a book?
I love it when people reach out to me and say, "I read your book. It was so, you know, it just made me so happy," or "I cried," or "It touched me in some way." You know, a lot of my stories have psychological elements, and they're kind of real life, and people can relate to those things. And getting that feedback, and then even on social media, when people do TikToks about how much they loved your book, it makes you smile.
And then you go to the book conventions and the book signing, and then you see them in real life and they're like, "Oh my gosh. I read this book. I loved it so much, and now I have all your books, and I get to meet you. This is so exciting." And it's just very... I don't know. It just kind of, fills your cup. It makes it worth all of that hard work to know that there's people that absolutely love your books.
You can learn more about K. Webster and view her catalogue at https://authorkwebster.com/
Find her on social media:
Facebook icon: /authorkwebster
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