In This Episode, Author Chloe Holiday Shares:
Her family mantra that has served her well in life.
Both How and Why she became an Author.
What she did for a career before she started writing and why she left it.
How a bout with insomnia and a misdelivered...
In This Episode, Author Chloe Holiday Shares:
Her family mantra that has served her well in life.
Both How and Why she became an Author.
What she did for a career before she started writing and why she left it.
How a bout with insomnia and a misdelivered postcard helped birth her first novel.
Who Chloe Bros are.
How long it takes her to write a novel.
Her beliefs on the old phrase, "You can't judge a book by its cover."
How she finds reviewers for her ARC - Advanced Review Copy.
What has surprised her the most regarding being an author.
How she connects with her readers and fans.
That she produces her own audiobooks.
Who used to do her covers and why she changed.
The value of newsletter swaps.
How collaboration with fellow authors helped her to become an Amazon best seller.
Greg Mills: Our guest today is a retired military physician and is now a number one bestselling Amazon author who writes the things she loves to read steamy fun stories about ordinary people and extraordinary circumstances and smart women and men who aren't jerks. She wants to bring readers all the feels, the thrill of a smoldering gaze or the barest brush of fingertips.
Greg Mills: The shocked gasp at the underhanded villain, the angst of heartbreak, the joy of reunion. And of course, happily ever after she loves humor, great banner and embarrassing situations. She hates to read the same old thing with only the names and places changed. So her goal is to bring readers of fresh, fun, new story.
Greg Mills: Every time with no cliff hangers, more than anything she wants to deliver or rollicking, great story that readers can't put down one where the good guys prevail in the end one that will whisk people away from their own tribulations. Introducing the one and only Chloe holiday.
Chloe Holiday: Hi, glad to be here. Thanks for having.
Greg Mills: Glad you're here as well. It's great to have you on the show now, Chloe, can you take a few moments and fill in the gaps from that intro and bring us up to speed with what's going on in your world today.
Chloe Holiday: Well, I'm relatively new at the author thing, and it was quite a change from my previous career, but it's been wonderful, fun and a whole different set of skills than I used in medicine.
Chloe Holiday: It's been tremendous fun and I'm enjoying connecting with people in a different way. So right now I've just released my latest novella, which is called Flyboy it. About a crop duster in Texas. And I have just also signed a traditional contract with the wild rose press. That makes me a hybrid author.
Chloe Holiday: So I'm mostly self-published for the majority of my stories, but now I have that traditional contract as well. So ideally it'll be the best of both worlds.
Greg Mills: Now, do you come from an entrepreneurial background at all? Did anybody in your family have their own business or was anybody an author for that matter?
Chloe Holiday: Nobody was an author. And in fact sort of a horrible thing that was a joke in my family for a long time, was about a census worker who was interviewing somebody and they said, oh, I'm a writer. And the person said. I'll just put down unemployed because the implication was that it was that you basically were just a slacker.
Chloe Holiday: Who'd never make anything of yourself if you were a writer. So no one else in my family rights, I come from a family. Of doers though who can fix anything with bailing wire and duct tape. And I grew up dirt poor, and that was really good in a lot of ways because it helped with those times you have to tighten your belt, which you do if you're doing a startup of any sort.
Chloe Holiday: And it gave a good can do attitude in a fear of. It kept me from having a fear of doing things. My own self, this, this audio booth is something that we put together because why not? You know, it's not rocket science and the price was right. And the otherwise the barrier to audiobooks was just too high for me to do on my own.
Chloe Holiday: And so that has served me really well. That kind of redneck can-do background that I grew up with.
Greg Mills: What part of the country did you grow up in,
Chloe Holiday: in Arkansas? My family still lives there. We were in this dingy little town with a population of 52 and there were seven of us. So it was kinda like in Flyboy a small little town with a lot of gossip where you really couldn't get away from your past.
Greg Mills: What motivated you to change careers and start writing now?
Chloe Holiday: I really did love what I did. I was a blood and cancer physician for many years, both in and out of the military. And I was good at it. And, you know, there are people alive today cuz of what I did. That was tremendously rewarding, but it also was.
Chloe Holiday: Soul sucking in a lot of ways, you can't do that job decently, if you just phone it in, so you have to be a hundred percent there for you, for your patients and their families. There just wasn't a lot of time left for me. And when I got to a certain age My colleagues were starting to die, you know, healthy triathletes, ke over of heart attacks.
Chloe Holiday: The patients started to be a lot younger than me and my kids were getting older too, where they were Tribulation at times. And so it just seemed like maybe it was time to make a change. That was actually one of the scarier things I've ever done. You know, I mean, who does that to leave medicine where you're somebody and you have , a secure, maybe lucrative gig, but it just seemed like the thing to do.
Greg Mills: Did you get a lot of pushback on that from your colleagues and friends or family?
Chloe Holiday: Well, my family. They don't judge much. They're supportive of whatever I do. And most of what I've done has turned out and they're really good people who don't try to tell all of us kids how to, to raise our lives or to live our lives.
Chloe Holiday: But. There was a lot of pushback from my colleagues. And I imagine this probably is the case for anybody who does a major career change, especially if they're successful. And that pushback came in in several different flavors, but, but it happened again and again, and one of them was, gosh, if you're not a doctor, You know, what are you gonna do with your time?
Chloe Holiday: You're not worth anything else. This is the one good thing you're you can do. This is your God-given gift. And so you're a dirtbag. If you turn your back on that. There are some physicians who practice until they're. Gone, you know, it's all they know. And they're so married to the idea of being doctor, whoever that they can't stand the thought of just being some ordinary guy.
Chloe Holiday: But for me, it was really good to be some stealthy middle-aged woman in the grocery store, no one came up to me and asked me to look at a mole and, if a beeper went off in a restaurant, it was not mine anymore. So that was a really, really nice change. There were also A lot of docs who could not fathom walking away from the financial security because you, I think it's really easy in any, in any career to get used to a certain level of affluence to the point where you can't fathom not being able to have that new car or what have you.
Chloe Holiday: And the good thing is growing up , a dirt poor redneck I was not the kind who had two houses and took a bunch of trips to Europe and had a new car all the time. So that helped me know that I was gonna be fine and the time was way more important than money. And so it helped me stick to my convictions on that.
Chloe Holiday: Which was really good because that last year when I announced it, it was near constant. Every time I ran into.
Greg Mills: I'm thinking that they probably weren't meaning to be cruel, but that you were kind of in challenging their belief system almost.
Chloe Holiday: I think that's exactly it. I think that is exactly you hit the nail on the head there because It's human nature to grouse about your situation.
Chloe Holiday: Right. And I think it's very, very easy for people to complain about their long hours or call or how you know, whatever it is that you don't like about your current gig and medicine is no different. But I think the fact that I dared to say I'm done. I've achieved what I need to it's time for me, that was very threatening to them.
Chloe Holiday: And, and I think either they had to say, wow, why am I not doing this? If they couldn't face that for whatever reason, then their only recourse was to say, nah, nah, nah, you're making a mistake. You'll regret it, mark. My words you'll regret it. So I think that was. Probably the bulk of it. And maybe some of them were truly worried too.
Chloe Holiday: You know, if they were the kind who had to have that new car and thought they were sling without it, it was probably unfathomable to them that I would go back to not making a lot of money. And no guarantee of that. Potentially for years.
Greg Mills: Kinda walk us through your first novel and how you start your writing process.
Chloe Holiday: Well, my first novel happened because I had insomnia. When we moved from the Midwest out here we loved it so much when we were here stationed here years ago that we knew we wanted to come back to the Northwest.
Chloe Holiday: But. When it happened when it was time, then the way that housing prices were, I was separated from my husband for a while, while he tried to sell the house in the Midwest. And I started here in a little cabin and, and started building this house that, that I'm sitting in now And, you know, I missed him and I had the kids here.
Chloe Holiday: And, and so for various reasons, I, I wasn't sleeping at all. And, and because I'm a maniac, I couldn't just lie there and flop. And so I got up and, and, and thought, well, you know, maybe I should write, I was reading about a hundred novels a year at that time. Cause I loved to read. And it was a real luxury because I'd.
Chloe Holiday: Medical journals and not a lot else for years and years and years. So it was wonderfully decadent to read these novels and I thought, you know, I could do this, I can do this well. And then I got a MIS delivered postcard and it was to a hydrodynamics conference out east. And at that time there was a call for more stem heroines in in fiction.
Chloe Holiday: And I think that's still an issue. Now you read about You read about a lot of people who are, you know, accountants and social media, mavens and, and waitresses, but, but not a lot about engineers and scientists and astronomists, and, and so I thought, you know, I'll write a novel about A woman, who's a hydrodynamic engineer.
Chloe Holiday: And so that was my first novel. That one I haven't published actually. Because it, it was actually two novels shoved together because I didn't know what I was doing yet. And I love that story and that story will still be published at some point. I hope in the next couple years, but I've got a little work to do to To make it perfect.
Chloe Holiday: And I'm not somebody who wants to, you know, every author has to find their own path. And there are people who can crank out a novel every, every two months. But for me that isn't, you know, I would rather have really great reviews and people who love my work than have 40 books in mostly four star reviews and four stars are good, but I'm more vain than that.
Chloe Holiday: And I'm, I'm. Wanting to give into the pressure of that kind of treadmill. I just got off a treadmill and, and so I don't wanna get it on another one just for the writing.
Greg Mills: So, you've got that novel, actually, those two novels in the bag. What was the first one that you released was
Chloe Holiday: that Helios?
Chloe Holiday: Helios was the first one I released and I I have enjoyed some romance novels in the past, but an awful lot of them Had problematic features, you know, they weren't realistic at all. Or you know, the heroes were really horrible jerks, you know, who were into kidnapping and, and stuff. And, and, and there are people who like that sort of story, but that's not me.
Chloe Holiday: I like my stuff to be realistic and I, I wanted to appeal to The discerning reader who likes to learn something and ideally to both men and women. And actually I'm really happy that I have this cadre of Chloe bros who are, you know, straight men who read my stuff. And, and so that's been a lot of fun, but anyway Still because there's so many different kinds of romance.
Chloe Holiday: I was stymied as far as where to start, you know, at least with vortex, I had the, the postcard to cumy. And, and so with HES, I, I finally just thought, you know, this is stupid, you just making excuses. And so I took all the tropes and put 'em in a bowl and drew. Those. And that's how I got the, the basic plot for Helios, which was rich for an alpha guy, repressed young woman beach read and workplace romance.
Chloe Holiday: And after that it was like, yeah, I can do this, this isn't, this isn't hard at all. This is, you know, this is like a lot of fun.
Greg Mills: So how long did that take you to, to write that first one or that, that
Chloe Holiday: one? Well, you know, you, the power of insomnia is just a big thing. So I'm the kind that, that once I start.
Chloe Holiday: I just am gonna finish. And so, Helios probably took me two months to write it, but because I don't like to just throw something out and, and it was scary. It was my first one, you know, it, it's a scary thing to put yourself out there for this. So my process is to write a story and then I put it up for my alpha readers.
Chloe Holiday: And then they go through and they say, Ugh, you know, this is funny, or I'm confused about this, or this one seems like a real bitch here, or, you know, whatever their comments are. And then I pick and choose from those, whether I'm gonna alter my story or tweak it a little bit. And then, so then I do that. And then put it up again for another read and then I do my final formatting and so on.
Chloe Holiday: So, so it, it probably took. Six months to, to publish it from writing to actually doing it. But, but some of that was because it was all new to me, you know, doing the covers and, and researching how to do the independent publishing and, and so on. And in fact, I queried Helios traditionally For a little bit while I was writing my next novel and I thought, you know, I'll just start the next one.
Chloe Holiday: And if I get a traditional contract with Helios, great. And if I don't, you know, then I'll go ahead. And self-publish because I just was not the kind who wanted to wait by the phone for, you know, years and, and to be traditionally published, you have to have a decent Product, but some of it is simply alignment of the stars, you know, did you catch the right agent at the right day when they hadn't just signed a similar work or what have you and It, it, it I'm as a little bit of a control freak.
Chloe Holiday: It was better for me just to take control and, and whatever successes I had or mine and whatever failures I can own them, myself, and learn from them rather than kind of having somebody else, try to tell me what to do. So it's worked out really.
Greg Mills: Okay. Now you mentioned your, your arc, the advanced review committee.
Greg Mills: I believe that's what it
Chloe Holiday: stands for. Advanced review. Copy. Copy.
Greg Mills: How did you get people to I guess how did you identify the people to send your novel? For that
Chloe Holiday: there are different ways to do it. And some people post on Facebook. There are a bunch of reader groups there. Other people twist arms of their family members or coworkers, that kind of thing that, but that is a little bit fraught with parable because some family members will say.
Chloe Holiday: Your novels, rats. It's terrible. You know, this is bad, but a lot of people will say, gosh, that's so nice. You, you tried really hard and they won't say anything bad because they don't wanna hurt your feelings. So it's better to have strangers if you can. And it, it also makes you tougher cuz they are not gonna like everything.
Chloe Holiday: And. I belong to this online writing community called SCR file. And I don't know how many authors are on there, but it's thousands and international. And so, What I do. You have to critique other people's work in order to get your work critiqued. And so I, I have formed partnerships with people that way, and, and many of them comprise my arc team.
Chloe Holiday: I also have gone on other platforms like there's something called story origin, where you can post your novel for. People who, who can read the blurb and, and look at the cover and then decide whether they would like to review that or not. And you do the same thing actually with audio copies.
Greg Mills: Okay.
Greg Mills: Now what, let me take a step back here. How are you interacting with your readers and fans? How are you keeping. Keeping in touch with them.
Chloe Holiday: Well, right now I have I have a presence on good reads and on book Bob and Amazon has an author page that you can sign up for. And I have it set so that my blog comes out.
Chloe Holiday: And it's spread to those platforms so people can see me there. And then I have a newsletter that comes out every two weeks and my newsletter is on all kinds of weird things. Some of it. Much of it has to do with my content or things I found researching for my stories, part of what I really love is learning things.
Chloe Holiday: And so I had one on really rude Greek hand gestures because Helios is, is mainly set in Greece. And I had one on mythology and I've had them on. Camel sex and, you know, all kinds of things that are just weird enough maybe to interest people. And I suppose probably there are people who unsubscribe because they think, oh my gosh.
Chloe Holiday: But you know, I think, I think a lot of people. Enjoy a sound bite of something different, whether that's be what happens to, to divers when they get the bins or, or, you know, things, things like this. So that's mainly what I have done. I have considered getting a TikTok channel and I've considered starting a YouTube channel two.
Chloe Holiday: And. I'm busy, but I probably could take the time to do that. My main appeal to that would be, there are a lot of things that you can't very easily put in, just a newsletter, for example Flyboy, which is about the crop duster, you know, I'm a pilot. And so that was nice that I, I didn't have to do as much research on that part of things, but the crop dusting I've never done.
Chloe Holiday: And, and so, Even such a simple, simple thing as golly G how do they choose the patterns to do the dusting of the different fields? Well, you know, there's three main patterns and now I know all about that and maybe other people would think that was interesting, but that's the kind of thing that you can't really do unless you're, you know, able to draw something or wave your hands in the air.
Chloe Holiday: . And so I might do it because. Some of my content or things that are in are, are interesting need maybe a little more explanation or, or some visual aids. So we'll see if I do that, you, the problem is you can't do everything and you really have to kind of pick and choose what's worth your time.
Chloe Holiday: And I, I kind of have all these plates spinning really nicely now, and I don't wanna go off in, in the wrong direction and have it all collapse. So I need to kind of pace myself and, and keep in mind that it's a marathon, not a sprint.
Greg Mills: Let's talk a little bit about the plates then, because I could see just the book, promotion being almost a full-time job.
Greg Mills: And you're talking about writing, you're talking about doing audio books, you're talking about doing promotion and I'm probably leaving a bunch of stuff out as well.
Chloe Holiday: Yeah, that's true. And, and the problem is that that the writing is. Only about a third of it. And that's kind of a shame because the writing is what's really fun.
Chloe Holiday: And, and if all I had to do was write, then I could do more books per year and, and, and faster. But oops, sorry about that. But you know, we retired. With enough funds to make it, we think mm-hmm , but not with this huge, huge, huge nest egg. And so it's important to me, not to just fritter it a way on A whole lot of farming things out.
Chloe Holiday: And so that's why we did the audio booth. You know, this audio booth cost us, I think, less than 600 bucks with everything we did. And to get an audio book made it's about 250 to 450 per finished hour. Now it should take six, 6.2 hours of ding around per finished. Actually and so that's why most authors don't do audio books is because it's just too prohibitive.
Chloe Holiday: So, so my process now is to finish a book and then as I do my very final edit and my formatting, then I come out here and I I narrate the audio book and that's my final check. Because it's a different way of hearing your story. It slows me down. I'm a really fast reader , and sometimes in my brain, things don't sound difficult, but when you're saying them, it could be really a challenge sometimes.
Chloe Holiday: And so, That's been a good part of my process. And doesn't a add that much, but it is a lot, if you're going to learn how to advertise, which I've not done much of partly because I'm just afraid to spend too much money. And I have this hope that, that organic reach, you know, people who hear about my books will like 'em and then they'll, you know, become fans.
Chloe Holiday: But yeah, it, it can be a huge amount and, and the skill sets for everything is different. For, for being an advertising person versus an audio book person versus a writer or an editor. I'm very lucky that redneck or not. I grew up with good language skills. So editing is not that hard for me. And my online community does an awful lot of that developmental editing and, and the.
Chloe Holiday: The, you know, word usage, that kind of stuff. Formatting I've learned to do myself relatively quickly, the covers are the hardest. And then the, the promo too, and the promo is really I think the worst thing for me right now, because. It's hard to make it fun. Actually, this is fun. You know, sitting here with you, just chatting about things, this is fun.
Chloe Holiday: And part of me still wants to make life better for somebody else. So if someone can learn from my mistakes here. Great. So that makes it fun as well. But certain other things just aren't fun. You know, how can I sell my stuff? That's just not. That's not me. In high school when we had to sell advertisement for the yearbook, that was horrible.
Chloe Holiday: And partly what I liked about medicine is I did not have to sell myself at all. People came to me and it didn't take very long before I got a good reputation. And so I was busy, busy, busy without having to. Do any kind of sales and it was probably a little naive to think the same thing would happen with, with novels.
Chloe Holiday: Simply because one people aren't desperate to read and they are desperate. You know, if they have cancer, my God, you know, there's nothing more scary. And also novelists or a dime a dozen and there's over a million new books on Amazon every year. And so. That means that you can make the most wonderful book and flip it into the Amazon pond and it'll sink like a stone if you don't have your act together.
Chloe Holiday: So that's getting the reviewers so that when your novel hits, it already has a bunch of decent reviews and trying to get some visibility through, through networking with other authors.
Greg Mills: What has surprised you the most about the writing business?
Chloe Holiday: Oh, how little writing is involved. But that's been a bit disappointing to me that, that the actual writing is mainly only about a third of it. And the rest of the time is all the ding around with, you know, covers and formatting and that sort of stuff, but it has to be done. And. So until I'm at a point where I can just throw money at it and have some minion who does it for me.
Chloe Holiday: Then you know, I've gotta do it. And really who cares about it more than me? Nobody and, and thank God I am retired. And so that means I have the time to do it. So until I get a minion and I'm hoping that that might happen someday, but until I'm at that point, it just, it just has to be me, but it it's the amount of time it takes for those sorts of things.
Chloe Holiday: Particularly the advertising. I take, I've taken a couple courses. Mm-hmm on that and, and done a few ads on Amazon, but I don't have the, the might touch for that for sure. I think I might as well have just ripped my money into pieces and thrown it in the ditch for all the good it did. It did, but maybe it's just as well because you know, organic reach people who blunder into my book somehow and they love it.
Chloe Holiday: And then they wanna read all of 'em. That is probably somebody who's gonna become a real fan over time, as opposed to someone who gets pulled in by an ad. And so that's, that's my happy story that I'm, that I'm sticking to for my dismal ad results.
Greg Mills: Okay, well, what are some of the ways other than ads that you're promoting your books?
Chloe Holiday: Well, I'm starting to do a few podcasts like this and, and certainly the audio book has done the audio booth rather has done double duty to make this possible. I don't know. Are you getting pretty good sound? I mean, can you hear things out there or no?
Greg Mills: You may have better sound than I do actually.
Chloe Holiday: Well, I, you know, we worked really hard to get it because, you know, no one wants to be in the middle of something and then have an airplane drive over or, or tree frogs. We have a lot of tree frogs out here. But, but networking with podcasters. And then there's a whole lot of author swaps where you can say.
Chloe Holiday: I will put your new release in my newsletter, if you will do the same for me later. And there are some people who don't like to do that because they think, well, we're all in competition and I'm not gonna give anyone else a chance. They, I want 'em to buy my book. I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna share, but the truth is If there's a lot of bees, there's gonna be a lot more flowers, you know, and, and a reader can read way faster than any one of us can write even the eight week story people.
Chloe Holiday: And so I don't worry about sharing with, with other. Authors that way. And I I've found that that is fun. And, and actually has some long term benefits. In fact, two of my stories, the, the a boy and his dog and Flyboy are. Collaborations with other authors in which we each wrote our own story.
Chloe Holiday: It's entirely my story, but all of us had a, a shared world that we had to put our stories within. And then we all had to have boy in the title as well, which is why they're, they're titled the way they are. But that was great exposure. And that's why when a boy and his dog came out, it hit Amazon.
Chloe Holiday: Number one best selling author because of. Amplifying power of all those different authors, each promoting the series. And you know, it's not unfair advantage because if the book was bad, it would've tanked no matter who promoted it, you know?
Chloe Holiday: It's a, a really great way potentially for authors to get their books out there and be seen to have a lot more exposure.
Greg Mills: Now you mentioned newsletters. How are you doing that? Are you, how are you a getting the people onto your newsletter and B how are you delivering that?
Greg Mills: Is that like through, you know, convert kit or mailer
Chloe Holiday: light or something? I use mailer light, actually. I have send box to, I. I really love seeing now people are gonna hate me. But I love the people who, who came up with sin Fox. They are amazing entrepreneurs and I have zero doubt that over time it is gonna be a killer product.
Chloe Holiday: But right now, it doesn't quite have the bells and whistles that mailer light does. And so I have mailer light for my main list and I just relentlessly call people who don't open the newsletter because you know how you can, you can bloat your list up so much that you're paying a lot of money. Money a month to send newsletters to people who don't open it, that just doesn't make any sense to me.
Chloe Holiday: So I went on my list down and then I send it out on mailer light and keep it thin. And that makes my open rate really high. My, my open rate is about 50%, which is pretty darn good for, for an author actually. So I have a what's called a lead magnet, which is the first story in my series Helio series finders keepers.
Chloe Holiday: You can get it in paperback, but, and you can pay for it on Amazon, but you can also go to my website and you can download it for free. And that's a way for people to taste the soup and they can judge for themselves. If they're gonna be. Chloe holiday people. And if they are Huray, there's a link in the back of the book that says, golly, gee, if you like this, here's a samples chapter of Helios, go get it.
Chloe Holiday: And it's also a plea for reviews. And if people don't like it, that's great. Nobody is gonna like everything. And that's part of what you have to learn. If you're gonna put yourself out, there is some people will hate your stuff. That's just life, you know, I don't like everything either. So you can't let that beat you down or, or, or, you know, make you jump off a roof.
Chloe Holiday: But that's, that's what I do the lead magnet to bring people in. And then the, the newsletters through mailer light and the collaborations through story origin to, to get, to get them out there.
Greg Mills: Okay. So is it almost a hundred percent people going through the lead magnet to, to your news, to your mailing list, to your newsletter?
Greg Mills: Or is it any, any other sources?
Chloe Holiday: The, one of the problems about being an author is it's hard sometimes to know what goes on behind the curtain. You can, you can have tracking links so you can know aha. This many people signed up because of this newsletter or that collaboration or what have you. But Sometimes you just don't know.
Chloe Holiday: If your, if your signups bump, for whatever reason you don't know how much of that is word of mouth or because maybe somebody got one of your stories in a library and decided that they'd Google you and see what happened. It's a little hard to know, but I think it's, I think most of them are probably newsletter driven right now.
Chloe Holiday: Okay.
Greg Mills: You mentioned the audio booth, and doing your own audio books. Kinda walk us through the process of that? Just a little bit. You talked about using that almost as like a. A final check, I would imagine. Right.
Chloe Holiday: Well, it, it is because that way that way, if I find that I've got an incoherent tongue twister there, I can quickly change it in both the print book and the ebook and they can all go out.
Chloe Holiday: Perfect. As an independent author, it's not hard to change either book, but it's a lot of dinking around in time, whoops. To upload. And so it's nicer to have a cleaner. Story that matches everything and it's really important. To have really good concurrence between the ebook and the audio book, because Amazon has this thing called whisper sync, you know, that, that aligns where people are in, in an ebook, in, in audio.
Chloe Holiday: And so you want the, the verbiage to match really, really closely. But the other thing is, it, it it's fresh in my mind. The, the first one I did, I went back to my back list and started with finders, keepers and Helios. And I'm almost done with Helios, but going back that far the story is maybe not quite as fresh in my mind, and it takes a little longer to do the audio.
Chloe Holiday: Whereas, you know, when I wrote a boy and his dog and I wrote Flyboy bam, bam, bam. You know, I could just do one after another, after another. And it was really fast and really easy. So that is my process from here on. And the next novel is gonna be an audio book before I finish my back list. Even though I have a fan who, who loves submerge hopes and she, and she writes me and she says, you've gotta do this one next is this one next?
Chloe Holiday: This is my favorite. So I'll get there. It, it it's, it takes a while. I use a free program called audacity and this mic, which is a blue Yeti with a pop filter. And you, I, I narrow, I download my store to my Kindle and then I narrate it from that. And If I make mistakes, which I do, then I just immediately say the line again and go from there.
Chloe Holiday: And then I edit out the, you know, if my stomach growls or a tree frog is extra loud or, or something. But, but it does take a fair amount of time to do that. And even with a perfect take it. It's at least two hours per finished audio, right. One to narrate it and then the other to listen to it. Even if it was perfect.
Chloe Holiday: And then since it's not perfect, then you have editing and chopping and ding around with room tone and taking out the clicks and those sorts of things. So, I have some of my chapters that are better than the, the industry benchmark of that 6.2 per finish hour. And I have a few that are, that were lot longer.
Chloe Holiday: The, the. Stories need a Greek accent at times. And, and so, you know, that that is a little bit harder, a little bit harder to do. And so anyway, then you take out all the clicks and do stuff, and then you just upload chapter by chapter to either Amazon or well, they call it ACX or find a way voices or both, whichever you choose.
Chloe Holiday: You can, you can either be exclusive to one platform or the other, or you can go wide and have your audiobooks in both.
Greg Mills: Now that brings up going. Both wide and deep. And right now haven't you been almost exclusively on Amazon
Chloe Holiday: it's a funny mix right now, but, but yeah, you're pretty much right.
Chloe Holiday: So, so I have three different products per novel, right? I have an ebook, I have a print book and then I have the audio book mm-hmm and so right now, All of my eBooks, except for finders keepers are in Kindle unlimited, because that gives you that gives you a. Better money. And it gives you mainly certain promotional benefits.
Chloe Holiday: Like certain days you can promote the book for free which may lead to a spike in downloads and, and then higher visibility in the rankings. But, but if you're in Kindle and unlimited, you can't give your book away. Any place else. So to have my lead magnet finders keepers available on my website, it would be cheating to do that so that one's not in KU because that's the only way I can ethically and legally have it available for download So right now, all my eBooks, other than that one are in KU.
Chloe Holiday: And my print books are wide and my audiobooks are wide. There's a certain appeal to being wide. I don't like the idea of having all my eggs in one basket. And so I'm hoping this will be the best of both. I'm toying with going wide with all my stories at some point, but Right now it's, it's, you know, I have this list of 40 things I'd like to do.
Chloe Holiday: And, and it's, it's, you know, maybe at number 14 right now. And so it, it has to take a backseat to the other things.
Greg Mills: I meant to ask you this earlier, you had mentioned about your covers. Did you do your own covers originally? I did. Or do
Chloe Holiday: you still do your own covers?
Chloe Holiday: Okay. Uh, Some of each, some of each. Yeah, I, I can these, these back here are mostly proof books, so proof book has this, you know, do not sell line across it. But it works just fine to, to narrate from, or, or double check. Some, but anyway, here, here was for example, one of my. Covers for submerge hopes.
Chloe Holiday: And it it's about a Greek, a deaf Greek archeologist. Who's excavating to sunken ship with a Navy guy. And there's, there's a, a very tense underwater scene because I'm a thriller writer at heart. And, and I have a lot of suspense in my romance stories. And I still like that cover, but. It confused.
Chloe Holiday: Some people, it doesn't look romancey right. I mean, there's no bare male chest of abs or smooch in that story on the cover. And so it was confusing people. Some people thought that it looked like a drowning in debt, you know, we can help you kind of, book And, and so I, I finally caved and got a new cover for that one.
Chloe Holiday: Let's see. I
Greg Mills: thought, I thought that was a good cover. I
Chloe Holiday: liked it too. And, and this one, I mean, this one, the heroin is a rock climber and I just love this. I mean, it says what the story is about, but it, it didn't say romance to the enough people and, you know, part of why I didn't want it is I think my stories do have a lot more depth and I don't want it to just be, you know, girly stories.
Chloe Holiday: I have a lot of men who like my stuff and I thought they would be put off by the bear chested, burly dude, you know, the, the new iteration of Fabio, if you will But, but the, the new covers are a little bit more romancey looking, but the good thing is, you know, it's easy enough to change a cover.
Chloe Holiday: You don't have to do a new copyright for that. And so, so find your keepers is on its third cover, but, but yeah, if someone went on Amazon and they click the ebook and the audiobook and then the paperback. Or they go, go on good reads. They can see the, the earlier coverage that I did, you know, the price was right, but I think it probably hurt me.
Chloe Holiday: And so that was a good lesson in sometimes pinching pennies is a great plan, like doing your own audio booth. But other times pitching pennies is bad, and it's gonna hurt you in the end. And, and I think even though I think cover design is fun, I think it's maybe not my best skill set. And that is something that more and more I'm having someone else do.
Greg Mills: Okay. Yeah. I, I would've thought that would've been a perfectly fine cover, but I guess you kind of have to go with what the genre demands.
Chloe Holiday: Well, I think it's that old adage, you know, don't judge a book by its cover. People do people wanna see one glance? What is this story about? And if there's a half naked man or two couples smooching, they know immediately that this is a romantic sort of story.
Chloe Holiday: If there's the back of some man running away into the city, they know at a glance that it's a thriller. So, you know, that's why they all look the same is, is, you know, so that people don't have to. To spend too much time weeding them out.
Greg Mills: Okay. Now what's next for you?
Chloe Holiday: Well, I'm a little bit of a masochist, I guess.
Chloe Holiday: And so instead of just writing to market, well, that's
Greg Mills: an entirely different podcast. yeah.
Chloe Holiday: but, but you know, the writing to market is where you look and you say, aha, this is selling dystopian stories with really young high school kids, you know, or vampire stories with really young high school kids, you know, the Twilight kind of Sort of things, you know, so if you just write that kind of story, that's very simple.
Chloe Holiday: It's kind of cut and dried, but I, I kind of have this thing where I wanna, where I tell myself, Ooh, I wonder if I could do that. So that's why I have a deaf pro protagonist, cuz I thought that would really be a challenge to write a story from the viewpoint of somebody who couldn't hear at all and, and quite a challenge with relationships too.
Chloe Holiday: You know, if you're speaking a foreign language and, and actually maybe not speaking at all or not, not hearing So, you know, that's fun for me to do a challenge. So anyway, my my newest story that that I'm working on now is about a transplant surgeon. and it's it's my attempt to take a really old trope that's way overused and overdone and see if I can give a fresh spin on it.
Chloe Holiday: And, and so we'll see, we'll see how that works. The, my beta readers really think it's a great story. But I that's what I'm working on now. I was over there before I came over to my little audio booth. That's my, my current project.
Greg Mills: Okay. Let's get ready to wrap this up. Is there anything I haven't asked you that you'd like to go over or talk about?
Chloe Holiday: Ooh. No, I don't. I don't think so. But I would say, you know, if you have readers who are on the cusp of. You know the edge of the high dive, they're looking down thinking, oh my God, oh my God. It's so it's so scary, you know, should I do this or not? My, my take would be to say, absolutely to go for it.
Chloe Holiday: You know, it's no mistake you make is fatal. Whether that's the wrong cover or, or, you know, not knowing what you're doing with ads. And, and I think. It helps to have talent I'm sure in life, but you know, what, what really counts is persistence and just the courage to do it. And that's what keeps people back, I think.
Chloe Holiday: And so I would just encourage, you know, your, your listeners, wherever they are in life, to try something new and, and maybe they'll find their new path that they really, really love.
Greg Mills: Is there a book that you currently recommend to move someone interested in becoming an author?
Chloe Holiday: Boy, there's, there's a, a ton of there's a ton of craft books out there. And I read a bunch of 'em because you know, you, it, it's stupid not to at least inoculate yourself against the common mistakes. So. I, I don't have one. That is my Bible in particular to recommend Craig Martel, M a R T E L L has, has a series for independent authors, which is really good.
Chloe Holiday: But there there's a lot of be out of Alaska. Yeah, absolutely. Marine guy. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. He runs the 20 to 50 K group on Facebook, which is fantastic, but I don't think you can do better than just writing, you know, write something. It's probably gonna be terrible at first. And then you put it out there for people to look at and then you get feedback, what, what works and what didn't work.
Chloe Holiday: And, and that's the fastest way to learn. You know, you, you can only learn so much from a book and, and. Writing is not only learning, but it's, it's toughening you up for the criticism you're going to get so that you're not crushed. If someone doesn't like a book it is also teaching you some discipline that you've gotta get it done instead of saying, oh, I'm waiting for inspiration.
Chloe Holiday: You know, that, that just doesn't work if you're, if you're hoping to make it. And it teaches you to not give up and walk away. You know, all of us can write a crappy book, but to take a book that's not perfect. And fix it into something wonderful can be done. And that's a skill you will have with you for the next book and the next book and the next book.
Chloe Holiday: So I am a big, big fan of this online community scribble file. I, I get no no brownie points for mentioning that I or affiliate links or any of that. But, but that I think is the biggest tool in my toolkit. Is is that ability to get out there, do the writing and get some critiques and build those relationships.
Greg Mills: Okay. Is, can you spell that out for us?
Chloe Holiday: Scribble file. Yeah, it is S C R I B O P H I L E. I think it's dot com. Have a premium service that gets you a little more stuff, but, but they have a free version too.
Chloe Holiday: And a free version is perfect for people just to stick their toe in and kind of sniff around and see, you know, what's out there and what's what's for them, but it's really nice. Mentally and emotionally, it's good as well. Cuz some of us come from families where authors are no better than being unemployed.
Chloe Holiday: Right. And, and so it's really, really powerful to meet people who also have the bug who, who think it's worthwhile, who have that passion. And that can be really uplifting. When you're, when you're thinking, what the heck am I doing? Is this even crazy you're with the other inmates and they all are all in.
Chloe Holiday: So I, I really think it's a fantastic site.
Greg Mills: Okay. I'll try and have that up in the show notes as well. Now what's the number one piece of advice that you can give for our listeners?
Chloe Holiday: As far as writing or just
Greg Mills: life advice writing, or it could, could be writing or it could be life advice. I will let you choose.
Chloe Holiday: Oh
Chloe Holiday: I guess one thing that one thing that was kind of a family mantra of ours growing up, that stood me in great stead all my life. Maybe got me in trouble sometimes too, but our informal family motto was how hard can it. And I just love that because it's, it's, it's very, very powerful. The truth is if someone else had ha has been able to do this thing, why not?
Chloe Holiday: You. What's so varied, tricky. The, the secret handshake used to hold people back for a lot, a lot of things, whether that was learning how to do well in the stock market or any number of things. But nowadays with all the information out there in the internet, YouTube, you know, and networking, a lot of, lot of things are within the reach of a person who just spends the time to do it.
Chloe Holiday: So that would be I think my advice, how hard can it. You, you have nothing to lose if you don't take a shot.
Greg Mills: Well, that's a wrap.
Greg Mills: Thank you, Chloe, for being a guest on entrepreneurs over 40.
Chloe Holiday: Well, thank you very much. This is a lot of fun. I really appreciate it.
A retired military physician, Chloe is now a #1 Best-selling Amazon Author who writes the things she loves to read: steamy, fun stories about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, smart women and men who aren’t jerks. About friendships, whether it’s close women or a good bromance. She wants to bring readers all the feels: the thrill of a smoldering gaze or the barest brush of fingertips, the shocked gasp at the underhanded villain, the angst of heartbreak, the joy of reunion, and of course, happily ever after!
Chloe enjoys providing a sneak peek into intriguing groups, whether from her own background ( military personnel, medicine, aviation) or another culture like Greece. It’s fun to live vicariously and go sailing, diving, or rock climbing. A bit of danger always gets her going, so many of her novels have a thriller or suspense subplot.
Chloe loves humor, great banter and embarrassing situations. She hates to read the same old thing, with only the names and places changed, so her goal is to bring readers a fresh, fun, NEW story every time, with NO CLIFFHANGERS!
More than anything, she wants to deliver a rollicking, great story readers can’t put down, one where the good guys prevail in the end, one that will whisk people away from their own tribulations.