Q&A with Author and Marketing Expert S.R. Johannes

currently playing on my laptop: Daydreaming by Radiohead

Shelli Wells (aka S.R. Johannes and Shelli Johannes-Wells) is a hybrid author.

Shelli-44-color

She indie pubbed her YA Nature of Grace series and sold over 100,000 copies. Wow! Greenwillow recently made a deal with Shelli and her writer friend Kimberly Derting (Body Finder series) to release two picture books, the first being LUNA AND THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD. Huzzah! Science and girls? It’s sure to be fabulous! 41yJo+sfR7L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Shelli certainly has some wisdom to throw around. She is especially sharp when it comes to marketing strategies. I’ve heard her on podcasts, read other interviews, and can’t wait to hear what she has to say at the SCBWI Midsouth’s fall conference this year. (Registration is THIS SUNDAY people!!)

Without further ado, let’s get our super speedy Q & A on.

Me: You’ve done really well in the world of self publishing. The biggest reason is that your books are fantastic. Other than that biggie, can you give us three events and/or actions that led you to success?

Shelli: I focus on connecting with readers, not just selling books.

Me: Are you publishing any new books this year?

Shelli: I hope to have my sci fi series (Breathless) finished and packaged by the end of the year.

Me: With regard to book marketing, what will you do differently this year?

Shelli: I am focusing more on teachers and librarians. I realize they don’t get a chance to build author connections like the bookstores does. I always focus on the teen readers – they are who I write for the most.

Me: This sounds supremely dorky, but I’m a huge fan of conferences. The camaraderie, the quiet of a hotel room, the energy during sessions. I’ve met almost all of my better-than-gold critique partners at conferences. Do you enjoy conferences? And if so, what do you want most out of a conference as an indie author?

Shelli: I consider myself as a hybrid author so I attend different conferences for different reasons. I love SCBWI conferences for craft and meeting other authors. I go to digital conferences for the latest and greatest in the digital publishing space. I also love RT and RWA because they have self-publishing tracks that cover the business of writing.

Me: What would you tell an author before they attend their first conference?

Shelli: To take notes!! And try not to get overwhelmed.

Me: Describe the first hour of your Monday.

Shelli: Sadly it is not glamorous. Coffee, Kids, and carpool. Then I start most days with Hot yoga. It helps me get quiet and write.

Me: What is the best idea you’ve had that you’ve never acted on?

Shelli: I try to act on all my good ideas. They are few and far between.

Me: Ha. I doubt that! Well, thank you so much for your time and I look forward to seeing LUNA on shelves as well as your upcoming Breathless series.

If you’d love to pick Shelli’s amazing marketing brain, sign up for her one-on-one marketing strategy sessions during the SCBWI Midsouth fall conference registration!

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