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About the Episode

Author Emilie Haney shares her unconventional journey of funding self-published books through a Kickstarter campaign and how the strategy of using crowdfunding can bring your literary dreams to life. With a focus on writing under pen names, exploring various genres, and the age-old debate of traditional versus self-publishing, this discussion offers a captivating perspective for both aspiring and seasoned authors alike.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • Self-publishing Novels
  • Utilizing Crowdfunding to Bring Life to Your Literary Dreams
  • Balancing Earning Income While Building Your Writing Career
  • Writing in Multiple Genres
  • Writing Under Pen Names
  • Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing vs. Self Publishing
  • Learning from Disappointments

GET EMILIE’S BOOK ✅CLICK HERE👉 https://amzn.to/3Lczxgi

Author Emilie Haney shares her unconventional journey of funding self-published books through a Kickstarter campaign and how the strategy of using crowdfunding can bring your literary dreams to life. With a focus on writing under pen names, exploring various genres, and the age-old debate of traditional versus self-publishing, this discussion offers a captivating perspective for both aspiring and seasoned authors alike.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • Self-publishing Novels
  • Utilizing Crowdfunding to Bring Life to Your Literary Dreams
  • Balancing Earning Income While Building Your Writing Career
  • Writing in Multiple Genres
  • Writing Under Pen Names
  • Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing vs. Self Publishing
  • Learning from Disappointments

GET EMILIE’S BOOK ✅CLICK HERE👉 https://amzn.to/3Lczxgi

About My Guest

Emilie is an author, graphic designer, photographer, and podcaster living in Indiana with her husband, two dogs, and a cat named Pages. She’s a member of SCBWI and ACFW, and writes fiction in multiple genres. She spends more time on Instagram than she probably should and has built a thriving community around her Instagram platform and brand CreateExploreRead.

Grab Emilie’s book



Click for Transcript

Emilie: [00:00:00] But in that it’s like, well, where do you go next? Honestly, I knew I wanted this book out, but I didn’t know how the best way to do it. There was quite a few small presses that had interest, but I just didn’t feel like that was a right choice. I felt confident I could do it myself and do it well. So to do that and to fund it that’s where I turned to Kickstarter. 

 Rachel: Welcome back to the business of Christian fiction. I’m here today with my friend, Emily Haney, and she’s here to talk to us about her experience in the publishing world as a writer but also she owns a shop and she talks about books. So you got a couple of different things going on. 

So I’m excited to dive into it. You write under a couple of different pen names and you have done a Kickstarter for one of your novels. So I think we have a lot to talk about and I’m excited to get into it. To kick us off, why don’t you just tell us a little bit about yourself and your publishing journey so far?[00:01:00]  

Emilie: Sure. Thanks again for having me. I’m so excited to be here. So I, I am a lot of people. It sounds a little crazy, so it’s hard to kind of keep them straight. I started writing forever ago and up into this point finally now have a few, well, at least a published book out and several more on the way, which is really exciting. 

So under the pen name E. A. Hendricks, I write young adult science fiction and fantasy and contemporary, and that’s where the Kickstarter comes in. Then under my actual name, Emily Haney, I write romantic suspense and cozy mystery, and I just had a book come out, it’s called, “Expired Promise,” with Sunrise Publishing. 

And then under the pen name Bell Renshaw I write just Sweet Romance . There’s sometimes there’s touches of faith in it for sure, but it’s just just like Sweet Romance, kind of like a Hallmark movie. I have a completed Christmas series and some things on the [00:02:00] way. So yeah, that’s me . 

On, on the side of all of that I’m also a book cover designer, graphic designer. I work with authors. I do have a shop, as you mentioned, and I’m a photographer, so I do a lot of things. Very creative things.  

Rachel: Yes, very creative. And I love the covers. I was looking through them just a little bit ago and I’m like, Oh, those covers are gorgeous. 

Like you’ve done a beautiful job.  

Thank you.  

So definitely for those authors who need to hire a book cover designer, they should definitely check you out because you do a great job.  

Thank you. 

So how did you decide on using all these different pen names? Because this is a question I often get. 

They’re like from authors who, especially those who maybe want to do a couple of different genres. They always ask me, should I do different pen names, different genres? So how did you decide to do that? And would you advise other authors to do that?  

Emilie: I’ve actually been asked this question a lot as well, and the answer kind of varies depending on the situation. 

But for me [00:03:00] a little quick history, if I can make it as quick as possible. I’ve always been a writer, as I said, just, I love story and I’m an only child. So I think that that created this imaginative world that I love to live in. I probably still live in it. And through that I did a senior project focusing on writing a novella. 

I just was really, really interested in becoming an author, but I didn’t really know what that looked like. And more than just writing, you know, ok I write in November for NaNoWriMo National Novel Writing Month. I would kind of do that and then go about my business just doing the other things that I had to do. So I think it was about 2012. 

I remember like very vividly reading the end of a Rachel Houck book. I couldn’t tell you which one it was, but I got to the end and I like to read the author’s note and she had thanked A C F W and I said, what is this? I have no clue what this is.  


Looked it up and it’s American Christian Fiction Writers. 

And I remember that that was [00:04:00] the moment that was a moment that I decided to take my writing seriously and I put my money where my mouth was and I was like, I’m going to this conference. This is crazy. You know, but if I really want to be a writer, I have to figure out what that’s about. And I’m sure it’s all vague because it’s been so long now, but I looked into it before then, but getting to that point was really just doing a lot of writing and figuring out, like, do I even like this, those types of things. So actually two weeks before the conference started, they reached out to me and said, Hey, do you want to be our photographer? Did not know what that meant. And I said, yes, and it was awesome. It totally worth it. 

And it started a journey. I think this is going to be my 11th year or something like that of of being the photographer doing headshots. Meeting authors. I met Rachel Houck and I now have like, I have her phone number. I could text her, you know, stuff where you’re just like, this is crazy. I know. Right. I was like, this is crazy, but all of that to say up into that point, I knew I needed an agent and I knew I wanted [00:05:00] to, at that point I wanted to write romantic suspense and that was my hardcore focus. 

That’s what I love to read. I was really just like intent on that. But it takes a long time, right? I met with agents and got rejected, which is a good thing because it tells you, you know, go back to your work, learn something new, figure out how to hone this and got to a point where I had submitted a pitch for I think it was a love inspired contest and they wanted to see my manuscript. 

Through that, I was able to secure an agent and then actually ended up not publishing that book. I didn’t feel comfortable with the changes. That’s a, that’s another side story I could get into later, just because of the way that it shifts your mind about being a business and not just being a writer, but I digress. 

So anyways, all through that came to a point where I was still trying to get picked up, writing book after book, after book, trying to figure out what, what is this? What’s going to be the book that does it for me. And I got a little tired of waiting. [00:06:00] So I decided to write a Christmas I think it was a novella at that point. 

And I just said, I’m going to write this for fun. Then I wrote it and then I thought, well, what if I just published it? Now, this was, I think like 2016. And at that point in the industry independent publishing was still not quite as accepted as it is now. And I was really afraid, I put this book out. 

This is it. . It was a very new field and I was a little worried about tanking my career basically by putting out a book and having it fail. 

Yeah. So, Enter my very first pen name. And I did a lot of research about what that would look like and just decided, Hey, if I go ahead and publish under this and I don’t tell anybody that it’s me, I don’t have to reveal those sales numbers. I don’t have to do anything. And I could just purely do it for fun. 

And I loved it. I dedicated my first book to my dad because we watched Hallmark movies together at Christmas and it was super fun. And I started on this journey. I [00:07:00] created a whole social media account for her, a website, all those are, I call her, her, it’s like my alter ego you know, went through all of that. 

So that was my first pen name. And then through the course of, gosh, it’s been, I think it’s been about 10 years is what I decided by the time that I signed with sunrise publishing. That was the moment. This was a couple of years back as the book now has just come out, but that was the moment when I talked with my agent and said, okay, what do we do? 

Because I’ve signed this under Emily Haney. I want, I want it to be me. I want to be able to say that it’s me, but I also don’t want to just lose Bell Renshaw. I mean, I don’t mind so much about the name, but more of like the books. I want to be able to still talk about them. So we decided to just kind of burst it open and say, “Hey, guess what? It’s been me this whole time,” and then combine. So I combined Bell and myself into one person on Instagram and on the website and all those different things.[00:08:00] So I, I keep the delineation there because- 

Rachel: Yeah. I noticed you have like a note that says like pen name. Yeah.  

Emilie: Yeah. Mainly because in talking with my agent, she really highly suggested when people come to the Emily Haney pen name, they’re going to want to see romantic suspense, not necessarily sweet romance. Now I think of Irene Hannon now she’s made it, she’s huge, but I think of her and she gets away with writing both. 

And so I was very tempted to kind of push back on that, but I submitted to her wisdom in that and have kept them separate yet together, because they’re both in that adult sweet romance category. Just 1 has suspense and the other doesn’t. And then the crazy mystery came in because I was a ghost writer for eight, nine years, and I did a lot of cozy mystery. And so I sold a couple of books to write for hire under the Emily Haney pen name as well. Or it’s my name, but whatever.  

Rachel: Underneath that name.  

Emilie: Then lastly, because it wasn’t [00:09:00] crazy enough, my heart books are really science fiction and fantasy, and they’re hard to sell and I understand that. 

But as someone who loves YA, and I have worked with youth for many years, I decided to go for it. And that’s a whole long story about how I even got to the Kickstarter stage. But I decided that I would publish those science fiction and fantasy books in the young adult category under E. A. Hendricks. And so Emily Anne is my 1st and middle name. And then Hendricks is my main name. So it’s kind of a nod to, my family on that side, I’m carrying out the name through my books. 

That was a, a strict delineation because the young adult world and the adult world is very different and people who come to, especially my Create Explore Read Instagram page, which is where I host my EA Hendricks pen name. They’re looking, I wouldn’t say exclusively, but mostly for general [00:10:00] market, for science fiction, fantasy and young adults is like the focus there. So I thought that it would be the best bet to think that people who would come to search out me as EA Hendrix would be looking for young adult whether that’s science fiction, fantasy, contemporary, something like that, but they wouldn’t be looking for like sweet romance in the adult category. 

Rachel: So it’s almost like I’m thinking of brands, like clothing brands that are owned by a parent company, but then they have like three different clothing brands and those all have very unique end users. So they kind of have different logos, different, whatever, but you know they’re all part of the same parent company. 

And so it’s kind of the same here that you are like- 

Emilie: I’m the parent company.  

Rachel: You’re the parent company. Yeah. It’s just weird when we’re talking about writers and we’re like, it’s me though, but it’s not. But you have like these very unique brands. And so your pen name essentially becomes [00:11:00] your branding. 

Emilie: And to your last question too, about, whether I recommend it to people, I, I really do feel like it’s a case by case scenario because there are, it’s going to depend on the market that you’re going into. It’s going to depend on how many ideas you have. That’s kind of sounds weird. But if to me, writing one science fiction was just like something I really wanted to do and that was it, it kind of makes more sense to like, just do a one off and maybe put it under a random pen name. If I wanted to come back to it, I could. Obviously we’ve discussed why I do it and it’s not just one off. I’ll be writing a ton under that. But it just, it worked better because my other main brand was in the Christian adult market. 

They’re just so separate. Like there’s just not a lot of crossover. If I was looking back and I had it all to do over again, I would probably just write romantic suspense and sweet romance all under Emily Haney and cozy mystery and just leave it all in that [00:12:00] category. And maybe someday I’ll get to that point and just transition Bell over to that completely. 

I don’t know. I haven’t decided that yet, but I would say whatever works best for you to keep the sanity.  

Rachel: I was going to say, when writers asked me this question, I typically say, start with one, start with your name. Because it’s very hard to manage multiple social media accounts on your own. If you have a team, it’s a little bit easier, but if it’s just you, it is so hard to manage and it’s hard to bring your authentic self to vote to all of them. 

One of them is gonna kind of fall a little short. So I always, I always advise them to just start with one and just do it under their name and to look past the genre to a deeper messaging and you know what is the experience or what is the message that kind of is a common thread throughout all of your ideas and market yourself around that and knowing that the genre is more of like a tool in order to deliver that [00:13:00] messaging. 

And so that’s how I’ve coached people to do it. Because it is, it’s a lot to manage. It’s a lot. It really is. And if you’re a solopreneur but you, you’re a little bit of a different case in that you’ve been around for a while. So these are kind of established names that you’ve had for a bit. Though I’m wondering, is the social media still kind of hard to navigate all of it?  

Emilie: It is definitely, like you said, one gets less that would be my, ironically, my Emily Haney one, which is unfortunate, because that’s the one where I have a book out right now, but it’s -I’ve had my create, explore, read handle on Instagram for so long. 

Probably 2016, I think is when I started it. There’s so much wrapped up in that. It really is its own brand. And when it, like having the book come out was kind of like a cherry on top. It wasn’t, ” oh, we’ve been doing nothing this whole time and now you have a book.” It’s been leading up to that. 

I’ve been using my marketing and my message to get me [00:14:00] there, but it’s so much more than that. That’s the one where I’ve got publishers sending me books that I’ve got to post and reviews I’ve got to do and things like that. So it does take more of my energy. Also, I just really love science fiction and fantasy. 

So it’s not that I don’t love romantic suspense, but I tend to just gravitate towards that. So I really have to be a better manager of my time in, kind of going to both. But yeah, that’s definitely part of it.  

Rachel: So let’s switch gears a little bit here and go to your passion. Start talking a little bit about your young adult suspense. 

And let’s talk a little bit about this Kickstarter that you had in the book. First of all, what is the book that you currently just released?  

Emilie: Yes. So that was, “Expired Promise,” with Sunrise Publishing. So we’re paired up the mentor author, so Lisa Phillips is my mentor author, and we’re writing in her world, which is really fun and unique. 

It’s kind of a little like, it’s not, I wouldn’t say it’s like ghost writing, but it’s the idea of, it’s not just your [00:15:00] own idea. You have to really fit into her world as well. So that is out with them. Yeah. So I had the Kickstarter and then kind of had to really quickly transition gears to putting this book out, and they’re in totally different galaxies. 

Rachel: The book you just released is a romance, like a mystery, romantic suspense- 

Emilie: Shooting and murder and not too much, but just a little bit . 

Rachel: Little bit, enough to make it interesting.  

Yes, exactly.  

So how did you come around to doing a Kickstarter? Like what prompted that?  

Emilie: I’m such a storyteller. 

I’ll try to make it short. It’s hard.  

Rachel: We love stories here. That’s why we do this, right?  

Emilie: Right. That’s true. That is true. So before I got the contract with Sunrise, my friend, Kristen Crum, who I think you know as well, she’s amazing. She reached out to me, August of 2020 and she said, Emily, I’ve got this great idea. 

I feel like this happens all the time. I’ve got [00:16:00] this great idea. And I’m like, okay, Kristen, what is it? She said, let’s write a book on our blogs for a month. It’s just thing. I think she found it through someone’s newsletter. Okay. So I said, I’m up for a challenge. Let’s go for it. And at the time I thought it was actually going to be a prequel to another series and then it just became the series. 

It’s a whole thing, but I stuck with it. I don’t think Kristen made it to the end, but she did start a really fun book, which I hope she finishes. So I got to the end of it and I had people reaching out. I was able to write every day. It was at least 1, 500 to 2, 000 words a day, basically for 30 days straight. 

And I had people saying, Hey, like this has become my nightly ritual to read this, like, when is it going to be out? So I can buy it as a book. And I said, well, it’s actually only half done. I didn’t realize that, “Oh, this is like just the beginning of the story.” So I decided to take some time. I reworked some of the plot. 

I added another [00:17:00] 58, 000 words, basically to make it full and finished, which was challenging in and of itself, but got it to a point where I was happy with it. And then I took it to my agent and I said, “Hey, can we shop this out?” But I wrote it as a general market book, and I don’t mean that in the sense that there’s anything included in it that would preclude it from a Christian market, but I didn’t put a specific Christian message in it . 

Because I wanted it to have a more wide appeal. And I, it’s always hard to talk about this because I don’t want people to think that I took my Christianity out of it.  

Rachel: It’s the difference between writing a book that has an overtly Christian message in it and writing a book that is written from a Christian worldview. 

So I always liken it to, instead of writing Psalms, you wrote Esther.  

Emilie: Yeah. I like that. That’s perfect. Yeah. It’s like, for me, obviously it is from a Christian perspective and there’s some really great themes in it that I wanted to hammer home. But [00:18:00] also I just really love to write a fun adventure story with romance. 

It’s a circus in space. So how fun is that? I call it The Greatest Showman meets Star Wars, basically. 

I love it.  

I kind of combine those. So we shopped it out to probably like nine or 10 different publishers and we got great feedback, which was really encouraging. I mean, we’re talking big name editors are like reading it and enjoying it, but there’s always that but it’s a science fiction, it’s really hard to sell and I didn’t have a platform. 

I mean, I do, but I don’t have quite a big enough platform for something like that to go general.  

Rachel: You don’t have a small platform. 

Right? Yeah.  

Because combined, you probably, well, how your create, explore, read how many you’re like around like 14, 000, right?  

Emilie: No, I just actually passed 17, five, which is fun to give away though. 

So I think that’s part of it, but yeah.  

Rachel: But 17, 000 is nothing to sneeze at like there’s authors, I’m one of them who [00:19:00] was like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to the day when I can say I’ve got…” that’s just one of your platforms. It’s just crazy to me. ,  

Emilie: It’s a general market. It’s, I think it would be even in the Christian market, but still- 

Rachel: I’ve heard 50, 000 in the Christian market. 

Holy cow, like, like that’s nuts. But you know, it ranges. It depends on who you ask.  

Emilie: That is very true. Yeah. So we didn’t really get a bite, which is fine. Honestly, it was a great experience and I’m glad that we did it. I don’t feel bad. I didn’t get anything that was just like, that made me feel like, oh, I made a mistake. 

But in that it’s like, well, where do you go next? Honestly, I knew I wanted this book out, but I didn’t know how the best way to do it. There was quite a few small presses that had interest, but I just didn’t feel like that was a right choice. Then between going small press, well, depending on the small press, of course, but or going independent, I felt confident I could do it myself and do it well. 

So to do that and to [00:20:00] fund it that’s where I turned to Kickstarter. I think, I want to say I had a couple of friends who had gone before me. I know one specific friend, CJ Malasi. But she had done a Kickstarter, a year before. 

She reached out to me. And so I created a cover for her. So I followed her through this whole process and I was like,” Oh, this is so fun.” And like, it’s graphics heavy, which I totally do and all these different things. And so through seeing her progress in it, I was like, you know what? 

I think I could do this. She helped me a ton. I did a lot of research. I’ve backed a lot of campaigns and at the end of the day, I just kind of went for it. I don’t necessarily say that’s how everybody should do it. But I will say leading up to it, there are a few things I know that helped me. 

One, I had put out the book already in a sense on my blog. It was on Wattpad. I took it all down. So you could only read the first chapter, which is changed a little bit since then, but there were readers [00:21:00] already  

Rachel: You had tested your product. Essentially, you knew the product at interest.  

Emilie: Exactly. Exactly. 

And then on top of that, I had been talking about it. Like I said, on my Instagram page people were ready, I think, for a book for me, that sounds bad. I don’t mean it like that, like arrogantly, just in the sense I’m talking about it so much. It’s like, well, finally. 

Aesthetically it’s fun. Like you get this space circus vibe. And then also I released my cover the day that I released the Kickstarter. And I think that if I could pat myself on the back for anything, it would be that because that really just rocketed it into everybody’s feed. I got over a hundred signups for my cover reveal. 

Because I do a lot of things for other people. I try to reveal as many covers as I can. 

So I had revealed a lot of other people’s covers. I had worked with them. And so I think that that sharing, it goes both ways. Right? Yeah. I had a lot of people who are like, I’m ready to help you. How can I help you? [00:22:00] And that was just amazing and huge. So that got it into the eyes of a lot of people for talking about techniques. I did a lot of really fun, well, I thought they were fun updates. 

I used a lot of memes and funny, like inside joke type of things and just really try to have people I guess see my personality and you were talking about having a genuine platform. That’s something I speak on too, is just that your best, I guess, product in a sense is yourself, right?  


You’re selling who you are to other people and then hoping that they’re going to get on board with the things that you’re passionate about too. And it seemed to have done well so far at least.  

Rachel: So what was one of the biggest lessons you learned? Like, what would you not do again if you were to do it again?  

Emilie: Oh man, I think it’s, it’s two fold. And the first is to not be myself, which, well, I mean that in the sense of don’t be a procrastinator. I left it to the last minute to do [00:23:00] everything because I was busy with other things and it’s no excuse, but I just underestimated how much time I needed in order to really flesh out a well thought out project. 

Like there were some designs I didn’t have ready at the, at the front. I did have my cover done, which was a big selling point. I did it myself and just, I wanted to make it eye catching and beautiful and fun. And that was good and very helpful, but I didn’t have a bookmark. 

Well, what does the bookmark look like? I have to design it. I’m like in the middle of my campaign, designing these things, which worked out honestly, because when I would drop them, I would see an increase in in my sales, just because now people are seeing what they’re buying. But I think it probably would have been better to have a lot more of that done upfront and stretch goal wise, be able to say, okay, now, now I can reveal to you what the design is for this stretch goal. 

But, you know about the other backing type of things. I think for me, that was the main thing I’m thinking for my [00:24:00] next campaign is just to be a little bit more like start early. Start earlier than you think you would. Then on the flip side of that, realize that probably you’re going to get nothing done while your campaign is live. 

I’m sure that will shift being my second campaign, if I do another of my third, that type of thing, but I was just so consumed by it. Cause there’s just, you’re writing these updates. And so you want to make them relevant. I thought, Oh, maybe I could write them before, but it has to be in the moment. 

I think to, to respond to what it is that, you’re updating about and you don’t, you can’t guess, at the time of things but also just it’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s oh, gosh, social media. It will captivate you because, you’ve got all these people posting. Well, I want to say, thanks. 

Thanks so much for doing this. And I want to be responsive in that also creating my own content and stuff to share. So it’s just, it’s, it’s a lot of time. [00:25:00] It’s a lot of time. And I definitely, it put me kind of off the rest of my schedule for the year just because it was so much time, but now I know, so moving ahead should be better. 

Rachel: So a couple of like specific follow up questions. How long was your Kickstarter campaign?  

Emilie: I did. Ooh, gosh, 20. I want to say it was 22 days, so maybe it was maybe a few days longer than that, but roughly three weeks.  

Rachel: Do you think that was a good amount of time or do you think you should have done it longer or shorter?  

Emilie: I am glad I didn’t do any, any shorter. I know they talk a lot about the lag in the middle. 

I did sense that for sure, but I never felt like it was too laggy. If I can say that I could have gone a little longer. I don’t know that it would have made that much of a difference. Cause when you’re ending your ending, you do see, an uptick at the beginning and an uptick at the end for sure. 

But in order to kind of circumnavigate that I had people scheduled [00:26:00] very loosely. It’s just like if you can almost every day of the campaign to post something on Instagram and they all did that for no other chance than to get, I think they read like the first two chapters or something . 

I just asked, I just said, Hey, would you be willing? And there were people who, who were, so that helped a lot to kind of keep it in the eyes of people.  

Rachel: Would you recommend authors approach like indie authors to do that? Essentially what you did is pre sale, right? 

Emilie: Yeah, in a sense. I, I go back and forth. I 100 percent do recommend a Kickstarter if someone has a desire to do it. But I think that you will see varied levels of success based on what it is that you’re selling because Kickstarter, if you spend time on Kickstarter, you’re going to see what campaigns tend to do best and what ones don’t kind of do is as good and a lot of that is, I mean, I’m in that kind of [00:27:00] sweet spot for Kickstarter because it’s a little unique. 

It’s, it’s a fantasy and it’s science fiction, or I should say it’s a science fiction with fantasy. That’s like weird it’s just like something different. It’s not your typical I can go on the shelf and just pick this out. 

That tends to do well. Obviously there’s like a lot of tangible items that tend to do well, so I’m not, I’m not saying that you can’t do well. I just think that it will really depend on your own audience as well. Kickstarter says they don’t guarantee it, but they usually tend if you bring two people, they’re going to bring two people. 

If you bring 50 people, they might bring 50 people. It’s like I said, not a guarantee, but it is something that they they say on just like their end of the marketing. And then that increases. If you get the project, we love that, which I did, which was really fun. Okay. It’s just you’re thinking about, okay, if I can bring 50 people personally and they’ll buy, maybe like my lowest tier of 10 or [00:28:00] something like that, you can start to like see how you would be able to make your, like, where does my goal need to be, what do I want to do with this? 

There’s a lot that goes into it, obviously. So there’s more than that, but- 

Rachel: It sounds like to me, if you’re going to do a Kickstarter, you need to study the platforms. See what other people have done to see what works and what doesn’t work like any tool that we use, right? Any platform we use, they all have their unique fence to it and we kind of have to play to it. 

Emilie: Definitely back other projects. That’s like one of the top things I know what everybody recommends, but it helps. It helps to see. So you have to think about too, when people are coming to Kickstarter, they’re not just thinking, oh, I’m going to buy an $8 ebook or something like you would get on Amazon. 

They’re buying into an experience. So they’re willing to pay more, which is really nice. But it’s, it’s not just because you can gouge money out of them. It’s because it’s going into, well, I had to front the cost of my editing and if I hadn’t designed it, I would have had to front the cost of a cover and these things that will help me [00:29:00] sell the book faster. 

So there’s a lot that goes into it, that it’s a culture, right? So understanding that culture as you would for any, any audience that you would step into, it would be really helpful.  

Rachel: That makes a lot of sense. And I think that’s a really great word of advice right there that you have to understand the thing that you’re using in the community that you’re appealing to before you can really be effective in marketing or selling. What other kinds of online marketing have you found helpful or useful?  

Emilie: So I, I’m going to say the first thing about me is that I’m cheap. Now I don’t mean that in a bad way. And obviously I have a lot of books. I have a lot of, I have good things, but I try to do things as efficiently and inexpensively as possible. To the extent that it’s still helpful. Now, obviously when you need to pay more, you need to pay more. I completely am behind that. 

But so for me, I would say I don’t put a lot of marketing money into my [00:30:00] myself as a writer yet. But I do put a lot of marketing time in, and I think that that looks like me being on Instagram probably more than I should, and spending time to connect with that audience there, which I would say paid off. 

I think that the people who saw what was happening with my campaign wanted to be a part of it because they know me. And then obviously there are people who are new to it too, which was really exciting, but I do a lot of that. I don’t, I’m not sure if this technically falls into marketing, but I kind of think it does. 

So one of the things I started when I was just beginning my writing journey was a blog and it was really popular and it was just like everybody had a blog. But on that blog, I wanted to kind of maximize, I guess, my effort there. I would invite authors to come and do an interview process with them. 

Then if they wanted to pay for to give a book away type of thing, I would offer that. So through that I was getting their [00:31:00] audience on my platform. Right? Yes. And that’s what we like to do, right? It helps.  

Rachel: Collaborative marketing is so good.  

Emilie: I love it. Mm-hmm. . And so I took that thought process and then with my friend Kristen Crumb decided, “Hey, what if we did a podcast?” because that’s kind of like the new blog, right? 

Rachel: It is, yes.  

Emilie: And so together we then have really awesome authors on our podcast and are able to then, obviously their audience is coming to hear them, which is awesome. And which is what we want, but we’re also on there too. So there’s the chance that there’s some crossover there, right? 

So I think in thinking like that, or like doing giveaways on Instagram where it’s a collaborative effort. I see the most results for those things where maybe for like a giveaway, I’m part of, with other people, and that’s so fun because it’s like, there’s like 17 books, I think that we’re giving away. 

And so we’re only just responsible for our portion of it. Right. And so that’s, I think to me, that’s really good money spent. It’s a book. It’s, some swag and fun things like [00:32:00] that, but you’re also part of a group of other like minded authors with books that we’re going to get some crossover readers, I would say so. 

Rachel: Now you’re in another kind of collaborative writing that’s coming up, right? There were the three volumes. I know one of the authors, Liz Bradford and her- 

Oh, you know Liz? Yeah, from way back in the day.  

Emilie: We live in the same town. We go to the same church.  

Oh, you’ll have to say hi to her for me.  

I totally will. 

That’s really awesome. And that’s another thing. So that, and that’s completely on the other side of things. That’s on my Emily Haney side. That is so fun. So Lisa Phillips, who’s my lead author for that sunrise book, she was the one who suggested it. It’s a great way to have like kind of a bit of a bridge for me, although it’s coming a little early to really technically be a bridge, but from this first book that I’ve released with sunrise and then to hopefully another book in a year and a half or something like that. 

Where you’re like, well, what can I offer you in the in between that’s in that [00:33:00] romantic romantic suspense genre? Well, here’s a collaborative novel or well, I guess it’s a novel collection because we’re all doing novels.  

Rachel: I was going to say three volumes and it’s got four books in each one. Yes. So cool. That’s another way, like you’re pulling your cross promoting, right? Like you’re pulling in audiences. Writing’s kind of a lonely gig and we don’t often talk about collaborative marketing as a way to go about doing it, but really is really powerful. 

And if you can figure out ways to do it, then you definitely should.  

So before we wrap up, I wanted to cover a couple more things. So you don’t just write, you also have this where you provide services. So you do design, you do photography. You also have an SD shop with some things that you’ve designed. So you have other things that you’re doing in addition to your writing. 

And I’m wondering, at what point did you kind of say, okay, I’m going to add in these different things or did they come first? That’s kind of one question, one part of the question. [00:34:00] And then the second question is has it, is it easier for you to think like an entrepreneur with those businesses than it is with the writing or does it pretty much work across the board the same way for you? 

Emilie: So the Etsy shop actually came first. And that was when I started my Instagram in 2016, I think. So I, I think I’d had something up. I don’t remember what it was, but something on Etsy, because it does say that I’ve been on Etsy since 2012 as like a shop. I don’t know what that was. I did something. 

I probably did something up that never sold, but as I became more just involved in the design world and the bookish world I realized, wow, at the point that everything was starting, which was kind of around that 2016, maybe a little earlier. There are so many shops that were selling bookish items that I looked at the items and I thought,” I could make this myself.” It was nothing against , the design, but it was just simplistic. And I was like, well, this can’t be that hard. But what if I did something of my [00:35:00] own mind basically? And so I, I would say that the shop kind of peaked in those early days, in a sense. I don’t put as much effort into it now just because I’m so busy with other things. 

I let it just kind of stay open. Eventually I’ll put some swag and stuff from my current books in there as well. Just so people have a chance to purchase those items later. Before I really started doing more in the design world for authors, it was a way for me to create these designs that I just enjoyed and loved. And then authors would see those and think, oh. Maybe she could do a bookmark for me or maybe she could create a sticker that would match with my book.  

Rachel: That kind of became a portfolio for you. 

Emilie: Exactly. Yeah. And while also making me some money on the side and through that, I’ve expanded to add in t shirts and mugs and things like that. So it’s been really fun and I enjoy that, but I think, I think it works the best when I am passionate. And right now you don’t have enough. Like mental space to be [00:36:00] passionate to create new designs because those are the ones like you try and you’re like Oh, maybe this will make something fun and it’s just like it doesn’t hit right right because it wasn’t created off of I just read This amazing book and I want to make this quote designed or whatever  

Rachel: Right. 

Emilie: So yeah, there’s there’s those things that kind of get in the way with it but It is a lot of fun and it is a great way. I’ve had people purchase bookmarks. My beauty and the beast bookmark is like really popular for weddings. So people buy them to like, yeah, to like give to their, you know, wedding guests and things like that. 

So things like unexpected things, it’s just like popped up that. Have been fun. So I, I basically started that first and then I would say maybe kind of along the same time that I was starting my design business. I had done photography since 2011 and that was, I was in wedding photography and then kind of just mostly transitioned to headshots and things like that. 

I was doing those alongside my design business and then [00:37:00] in the photography, and then it all just kind of continued to explode, I guess. The photography has taken a backseat unless it’s conference photography, which I totally enjoy and I’m fine with that because I don’t have as much time to do like family portraits and things. 


The shop, like I said, still kind of does its own thing and I just let it go. And then the design business has really grown. So that’s like, probably my main that and then writing are kind of alongside that.  

Rachel: I think sometimes when we’re doing services, it’s a little bit easier than when we were writing a novel, you know, to kind of have that mindset of like, this is a business. It’s a transaction. There’s contracts involved. There’s a deliverable. If we are, I know you’ve worked with traditional publishing houses, so you’ve had like a contract with that, but for this particular book that you did with a Kickstarter. 

Do you feel like you brought the same kind of business mindset to it?  

Emilie: It’s a really good question. And I think that it will prompt my answer will probably [00:38:00] change as I continue on, I think in my writing career, but being a ghost writer, it was a ghost writer for about eight years. It kind of shifted my perspective on writing in general. 

I think it was really good for my writing because I was just writing a ton and, you’re just getting the stories out and you have to stay on deadlines and things like that. So when I stepped then into, okay, I want to treat my personal writing as a career and a business. It kind of goes back to what I mentioned about that very first love inspired book that I didn’t want to make the changes that the editor was mentioning. 

And I kind of like. Kick myself like old Emily, like, what were you thinking? But it’s because I didn’t have the correct mindset. I wasn’t looking at my writing as a business. I was looking at it as a passion and honestly, I think it’s both. It needs to be both. My design business is the same way, but probably a little more in the business side, like you’re saying, because it is a little bit more of like, okay, I need to put myself into this, but I also need to [00:39:00] create a product that my client likes and wants and will sell the book basically. 

So in shifting that, as an example, I send a contract two contracts with a right for hire company that puts out cozy mysteries among a few, a few other types of books. And at first I, I mean, I’m, I like cozy mystery and they’re fun to write. But it’s maybe not my top passion but I knew I could do it, right? 

I knew I could write this book. So I said, yes, and it pays very well. And so that was one of those things where it was a decision that I made based on, I don’t want to say it was solely based on money, but I knew that if I said yes to these two contracts, it would set me up for a year, basically, in a sense. 

Obviously there’s still things that you need to make on top of that, but. Through the writing of it, I wasn’t maybe as excited as I was when I wrote my science fiction, [00:40:00] but I still enjoyed the process. I found the enjoyment out of it. Right. And also through the editing of it, I feel like it honed my skills as a writer as well. 

But I chose to say yes to that to fund my other writing. So with the Kickstarter, it was it, the, the side of it that deals with selling product was very like in my wheelhouse already. But the side of it that was like, this is my book and people are going to read it was very much the like non business Emily. 

Yeah. It’s still like, that’s the side of me that gets giddy that people enjoy reading it. And wants to like, just like forget all my responsibilities and write book two things like that, but the business brain says, no, what’s best. You have these other responsibilities, you have to say yes to. 

So I think through those other businesses, it’s helped me to kind of train myself to think is this going to be a smart financial choice or is this going to be totally a passion choice now I could [00:41:00] choose to just, forsake all responsibilities and write another young adult book just for fun. 

Right. And that’s, that’s fine. But if it doesn’t fit within like my business goals at the time, it may not be the best use of my time. So there’s a lot there that you have to really, you know, it just changes the way, honestly, in a helpful way, it changes the way that you view edits from editors too, because no longer is it, “oh, you know, my passion project is being ripped apart. Oh, we’re making this a more saleable item, right?” We’re making this something that that readers are going to want to consume. So it sounds a little cold. I definitely still put my heart into all of my writing. But it helps to kind of think of it like that because otherwise you could just wait and you could just be like, well, I’m going to wait until that one publisher, that one editor sees the brilliance in this thing that I wrote that I won’t let anybody look at. 


Probably not going to sell that book. Just because there’s [00:42:00] certain things that make a book saleable.  

Rachel: Yeah, so true. What you just shared with us is very solid advice and a lot of gold nuggets within what you just shared because, and I hope those who are listening really paid attention because the wisdom that you just shared about. 

Being able to take a step back away from the passion, the creative side, like we have to put the passionate part into it in order for it to have that spark. But to be able to take a step back and say, okay, this passionate thing has to happen within the context of this bigger goal. We have to do that in order for something to sell in order for our client to be happy with us, right? 

Our client is our reader. And in order for them to be satisfied with the product, we deliver them. We have to have that kind of mindset when we come at it. So I appreciate you sharing all of that. As we begin to wrap up this episode and this conversation, which I’ve enjoyed, and I can’t believe we’re already at the end of it, but as we begin to wrap it up, [00:43:00] what other words of advice would you have for somebody who is trying to navigate the whole business and writing world that we live in? 

Emilie: So this is going to be a little repetitious if someone’s listened to another podcast I’ve done, but I think it really fits this as well. And maybe I’m just hammering the same point, but write the next book. And that may seem kind of strange as like business advice, but I have seen so many people again, who just say, this is my, this is my passion. This is my project. It has to be published. And that may be the case, but that may not be the book that breaks you into the industry, or that may not be the book that this atmosphere of readers need, whether you’re independently publishing, whatever that looks like. 

So I think sometimes it’s as the wisdom is knowing when to move on to the next book and I don’t just mean like number two in the series, because I think some, some people have made it happen where they’ve written like the whole series and it gets picked up [00:44:00] and they make a ton of money. But a lot of the times a publisher is looking for, this is not the book that I want, but you have something else. And so if you’re able to have that, that is really helpful. Again, not necessarily business advice, but it’s that kind of knowing when to let go of something to move on to something else that may work better. I could say the same thing about pen names. 

In a sense, a lot of people will like, I’m thinking of, I think it’s Riley Sager or Sager, I’m not sure how to say it perfectly, but he if you kind of do some research, which I’ve not done very deep research, but he’s a thriller author in the general market, who’s gosh, he’s like, I think it’s book like six or something like that, that just came out or is coming out. 

And when you look back, he’s got like several pen names and they’re all like, there’s like a few books in each and maybe they didn’t like really hit it big or whatever. And then he landed on this pen name and it just exploded. So I’m not saying that I just keep going and burning those pen names until you make [00:45:00] success or whatnot, but it might be something where you shift your focus. 

Like for me. Part of it was passion. I went from Romantic Suspense to Young Adult because that’s where I was passionate. But what did I do? I went back to Romantic Suspense because I sold a book. So so that kind of like having that, the business sense of like, okay. If I can go maybe down this other lane and find some success there, I might be able to retrace my steps a little bit and get back to what I’m passionate about, but maybe now is not the right time to do that. 

So, and that’s hard. That’s not an easy thing.  

Rachel: No, it is not. Well, thank you so much for sharing that. I, I am sure that’s going to encourage somebody when they hear it. And so thank you for being so wise and so vulnerable with us. And we’re just being so open about your journey and the things that have worked, the things that have been challenges and just the advice that you’ve given us along the way. 

We appreciate it. So thank you once again for joining [00:46:00] us. I’m like, how can we find you? I know you have a couple of names. Where do you hang out the most? Like, where can we hang out with you?  

Emilie: The very most would probably be on my Instagram at Create Explore Read. That’s all together, @CreateExploreRead. That’s where I’m most active. 

And then through that, I also have the EAH Creative website, which has… That’s kind of where you can find me for photography and my young adult writing and my design. But on the flip side, you can also find me at emilyhaney. com and that’s for pretty much everything else. So.  

Rachel: Awesome. Well, make sure you go check her out. 

Make sure you check out her new book coming out, “Suspended in the Stars.” That’s the name of it. Check out the book that just recently released, which was, “Expired Promise.” Make sure you follow her and do all the things and give her your support. So thank you, Emily, for joining us. I appreciate it. 

Thanks for having me.  

And I hope you, the listener will join us here next week as we continue the conversation on The [00:47:00] Business of Christian Fiction. Bye. 


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Hey! I'm Rachel and I'm so glad you're here today!

I help Christian fiction writers figure out how they can make an impact and an income from their storytelling while keeping rest a priority. 

You can learn more about how I’m in your corner here.

And you can learn more about my personal journey here.

One last thing, if you’re looking for a bit more rest in your life, be sure to check out the Rest & Reflect guided journal.

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