Sandy Mercier and Jule Pieper are two very successful authors and strong women. Sandy writes thrillers that take your breath away, and under her alter ego Jule Pieper she delights us with witty advice novels. “On the side, Sandy coaches young authors, has her own blog, and shares her life as an author with her fans on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. We asked Sandy about her life as an author and coach and were able to elicit a few tips from her.
Dear Sandy, How Did You Get Into Writing?
A burnout and several near-death experiences woke me up to the fact that I should finally do what I always wanted to do deep in my heart. Writing.
You Write Motivational Novels as Jule Pieper. What Do You Mean by That?
Strictly speaking, they are advice novels, only that doesn’t sound so nice. Because my books are often an advice book hidden in a funny novel with a lot of self-irony. You can read the book and just laugh, shake your head at the protagonist, and go on with your life as before. Many of my readers, on the other hand, watch my protagonist change and improve her life step by step. Automatically, they begin to ask themselves what they want, what they don’t want, and what they could do to achieve their dreams. A side effect can be cleaning out clothes or even the toxic husband.
You Write Not Only Motivational Novels but Also Thrillers as Sandy Mercier? How Do the Two Genres Get Along?
For me, the genre mix is a valuable balance. With thrillers, I process my real emotions, which is not always easy. Because I relive the feelings when I’m writing. After that, I need something light myself, and my ironic side wants to let off steam again and process my favorite topics: Personal development, mindset work, becoming happy.
How Do the Two Genres Get Along? Is There a Common Component for You?
Although the genres couldn’t be more different, they have one thing in common: they’re always about women who have been down and have fought their way out of it. Therapy as well as mindset work always comes up somehow. So you can definitely read a thriller of mine and find tips on how to deal with panic attacks, for example.
Why Did You Decide to Use an Open Pseudonym?
I was advised by experts that I should separate thrillers and motivational novels/guidebooks so as not to confuse them. That’s why I decided to enter the book market with two names. I’d already had experience with a closed pseudonym, meaning one where the reader never knows it’s me who wrote the book, and that felt awful – like hiding. If your identity can never come out, then of course that makes sense, only with my books everyone can know it’s me writing them.
So I decided to go with an open pseudonym so it’s always clear who readers are dealing with. I find marketing so much easier because I can show myself.
You Are Passionate About Self-Publishing. Why Did You Ultimately Decide to Do This?
One of my most important values is freedom. As a self-publisher, I can choose who I work with, what I write, and when I release a book. I can also see directly which marketing efforts have made a difference and which haven’t, and learn a lot in the process. The most important reason at the time, however, was time. I wanted to be able to make a living from writing and couldn’t afford to only get paid once or twice a year. I needed it monthly, and I needed it now, because I wanted my rent paid. So waiting was not an option.
How Has the Reputation of Self-Publishers Changed in Recent Years? Especially in Relation to Booksellers?
I think there is still a nice change going on. Some booksellers still look at you askance, others display your books as recommendations. I am confident that this will continue to improve.
What’s Your Favorite Marketing Channel?
Instagram. I’m close to real people there and have a lot of fun through it as well.
You Publish Your Ebooks via Amazon Kdp and Your Print Books via Nova MD. Why Did You Choose These Two Providers?
For me, they are both the only real alternatives for making money with my books. Amazon offers a lot of nice opportunities for authors to market their books. And Nova MD is not just for self-publishers in the book trade, as other distributors do, which gives us a much better chance. Because as I said, not all booksellers are yet convinced that self-publishing can be professional.
What I also think is great: I can look for a printer myself, which also means I have much lower costs than if I were to do it with other distributors. And again, there are great opportunities for advertising.
You Offer Author Coaching. What Does Collaboration Look Like and Who Is the Offer Aimed At? Self-Publishers or Also Publishing Authors?
I offer individual coaching and since this year I have the program: Write YOUR book of your life. This is an intensive ten-week program that gets down to the nitty-gritty. I help authors to build a successful writer’s identity. It’s personality development, so to speak. It’s about the craft, about writer’s block, about marketing and also about a lot of mindset work, because I believe that success stands and falls with it.
So basically it doesn’t matter which path you take. In the program, I also go into more detail about the differences and help with decision making, because a different path is suitable for everyone. Since most marketing tools are also important for publishing authors these days, anyone can learn how to better market themselves and their books.
In Working With Your Coachees, Have You Found That There Are Typical Beginner Mistakes?
Oh, yes. After all, I’ve made them all myself. That’s why I think it’s so important to work with coaches, because they save you from that. It’s like taking a shortcut. A great example is professionalism. People always cut corners on the cover or editing, sometimes it’s done by themselves or by someone who knows graphics or is a German teacher, and then self-publishers are sad when the book doesn’t sell.
How Can People Contact You for Coaching?