J.J. Hebert first made a splash on the literary
scene back in 2009 with the launch of his debut novel, Unconventional, an
inspirational book that quickly landed on Amazon bestseller lists and, over
time, sold over 100,000 copies worldwide. The success of his novel allowed him
to expand MindStir Media (the
company he initially started to publish Unconventional)
and to start taking on author clients to help them replicate his success. Now,
in 2016, he has helped produce several hundred books for authors throughout the
world. Many of the titles are bestsellers and award winners. J.J. Hebert is
also known as the “Self-Publishing Guru” and runs a popular blog
centered on self-publishing and book marketing.
BREAKAWAY DAILY: Did your plans always include
self-publishing your book and starting your own publishing company?
J.J: To be perfectly honest, no. I went down the traditional
publishing route near the beginning of my writing career. I had an agent for a
while, with the intention of pitching the book to major publishers, but things
didn’t work out … An award-winning author friend of mine turned me on to
self-publishing thereafter. I ultimately saw self-publishing as a viable option
and I went for it. It wasn’t until the book really took off that I decided to
open MindStir Media to the public and help other authors self-publish. I had
heard from countless would-be authors. They were all telling me the same thing
– basically that they needed help publishing their books and could use coaching
and services from someone who had been there and done that … and that’s
when MindStir Media was born.
What were some of the reasons behind
choosing self-publishing to release your bestselling book?
I could have saved myself a lot of time and anguish
if I had gone the self-publishing route to begin with; however, I had seen
self-publishing as somewhat of a last resort. In 2006, a decade ago – and I can
hardly believe it’s been a decade – that’s how many authors viewed
self-publishing, as a last resort. But I quickly found, through hard work and
perseverance, that self-publishing is definitely a worthwhile venture.
Self-published authors can reap the benefits of their hard work on a larger
scale than some traditionally published authors’ experience. For instance,
self-published authors receive more of the profits from each book sale.
Self-publishing is also extremely attractive from a control standpoint. I was
able to keep my publishing rights and control the content of my book. Sure, I
hired an editor – as all authors should – but I had final say over the content
of my book and didn’t have to transfer control to anyone else.
If you could tell would-be
self-publishing authors one thing, what would you tell them?
Wow, that’s a great question. I’ve given a ton of
self-publishing advice on the MindStir Media blog
throughout the years. A couple of my most popular posts include a self-publishing
checklist and a list of some rarely discussed
self-publishing mistakes to avoid. But, if I must condense everything into one piece
of advice, I’d say that you have to treat your book as a product and you must
create an affordable and top-notch product and continuously market the heck out
of it in order to succeed.
Who’s your greatest inspiration as an
J.K. Rowling gave me the desire to take writing
seriously. I fell in love with her Harry Potter series and that led me to
writing my first fantasy novel. I wrote numerous drafts of that fantasy story
and learned how to write in the process, but I ultimately put that book aside
to focus on Unconventional.
You’re also an entrepreneur. Who inspired or inspires you in your journey as the
owner of MindStir Media?
I can’t really name one individual in that regard,
but I can tell you that I read entrepreneurial articles almost daily and I love
studying marketing, specifically. I always try my best to be open-minded to
advice. I’m also always testing new business and marketing strategies and that
keeps me sharp and engaged – and inspired, I suppose.
What do you attribute to the success of
I think having a unique selling proposition is
helpful. In the case of MindStir Media, I
offer mentoring to my author clients and try my best as a bestselling author to
help them through the self-publishing process. That’s probably the most obvious
U.S.P. in my business. Mindstir also offers royalties up
to 100% and all its design work is custom, meaning that we don’t use
template-based cover designs. Everything I provide is U.S. based as well.
In closing, where can people get in
touch with you?
I’m active on social media. Find me on Facebook and Twitter. If
you’re an author in need of help with self-publishing, you can schedule a free book
publishing consultation with me by heading over to mindstirmedia.com.