Holly Bush was born in western Pennsylvania to two avid readers. There was not a room in her home that did not hold a full bookcase. She worked in the hospitality industry, owning a restaurant for twenty years and recently worked as the sales and marketing director in the hospitality/tourism industry and is credited with building traffic to capacity for a local farm tour, bringing guests from twenty-two states, booked two years out. Holly has been a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and has done public speaking on the subject.
Holly has been writing all of her life and is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, particularly political and historical works. She has written four romance novels, all set in the U.S. West in the mid 1800’s. She frequently attends writing conferences, and has always been a member of a writer’s group.
Holly is a gardener, a news junkie, and was the vice-president of her local library board for years. She loves to spend time near the ocean and is the proud mother of two daughters and the wife of a man more than a few years her junior.
Thank you for this interview, Holly. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Sure and thanks for having me. I’m married with two grown daughters and I live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I’ve been writing seriously for about than fifteen years.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
Reed Jackson returns to his family’s plantation after the Civil War in a wheelchair. Schooled as a lawyer, he moves west to start again after his father deeds the Jackson holdings to a younger brother. Circumstances bring Reed and Belle Richards together, a dirt poor farm girl aching to learn how to read.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
I’m not so sure that I choose the genre as much as the genre chooses me. I see scenes and/or characters, often traveling, and wonder who they are and where they are going. In this case, I saw a man in a wheelchair on a train platform and thought about why he was there and began to write Reed’s story.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
Time is always my greatest challenge. Balancing work and home and family and writing is very hard. It is a little easier now that my children are grown.
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
I am self-published.
Was it the right choice for you?
Yes. Absolutely. I did all the things that everyone in the writing community tells you to do. I attended conferences, queried agents and small presses that accepted queries, used professional editors, joined a writer’s group both on-line and in my community and wrote as much as I was able to. I don’t regret any of it, I learned so much and met some great people, but I received little interest in my books from agents and none from publishers. I was convinced that my books would linger on my computer’s hard drive till the version of Word they were written in could no longer be updated.
Then I started to think about self-publishing, mostly because reading devices had become more main stream, and Amazon’s market share, and my ability to sell my books on Amazon leveled the playing field between me and authors published by one of the big houses. I’ve been very fortunate so far to have strong sales and very good reviews for my three books and it has been so thrilling to hear readers comment that they loved my books. Yes, this was a very good choice for me.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
I request reviews at a wide range of sites. I do some advertising on a few of the popular romance sites and participate in chats as I am able. Good Reads has been a very good marketing tool for me and helped me find readers in the vast internet universe. I’ve found some great writers there as well! I also have a Face Book page and post regularly on Google+ and Twitter. I’m just dipping my marketing toe into the pool of book marketing professionals like Pump Up Your Book. So far- terrific!
How is that going for you?
Actually, very well, if sales are to some degree representative of marketing.
Can you tell us one thing you have done that actually resulted in one or more sales?
Blog tours have been very successful for me.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Yes I do, I work in the Quality Assurance office at a large egg producer.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
Don’t try and be involved with every single type of social media. Choose the one(s) you are comfortable with and then make some friends. It’s nearly impossible to build any relationships when you’re spread too thin and relationships are the basis for success in marketing.
What’s next for you?
I’ve got one more historical romance that will be published this spring and then I’ve got a women’s fiction novel ready to go for the fall of 2013. I’m currently writing my second women’s fiction novel and am having great fun.
Thank you for this interview, Holly. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
Thank you! I’ve enjoyed chatting. Please stop by my website at www.hollybushbooks.com