Thursday, January 26, 2017

Interview With Julie A. Gerber

1- How did you start this journey?
I began this journey after being asked my friend and client if I wanted take on a project. I never seriously thought about writing my own book. I was happy to promote authors and beta read. When asked to co-write with Linda Cadose and M.M. Hudson, I decided to go for it. I learned a lot from that experience and it has helped me understand and connect with my clients even more. 

2- Name a turning point and explain why your life changed.
In March 2007, a tornado hit our house. Contractors destroyed what the tornado spared. We moved out, using our saving to make extensive repairs out of pocket and pay to live somewhere else until we could move back home, which ended up being a few years later. I had two small children (a newborn and a five-year-old at the time) and things were so tight, I couldn't afford clothes, Christmas or birthday gifts, and sometimes food. I decided to begin blogging and became somewhat successful rather quickly. In my time of need, blogging was a blessing and I am thankful for that wonderful start. If it hadn't been for blogging, I never would have started reviewing books for authors. That led me to create Away We Go Media and a new job, which was helping authors promote books and beta reading. I am a nurse by trade, but I have found a new career and joy beyond anything I ever expected. All that came from one of the darkest moments of my life. I learned a lot about myself and found enough strength to grow from those experiences.

3- What are the various projects you've published and how were they different?
I have published Tortured Souls: The House On Wellfleet Bluffs and Navigating Indieworld: A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing Your Book. Tortured Souls is a paranormal book with a little bit of history thrown in. I wrote the book with two others and found the process difficult. When you have three ideas about how something should go, it is hard to accept compromise. It was a wonderful opportunity and it gave me a lot of insight into publishing. Before that, I worked behind the scenes. After writing it, I could relate to my clients even more. Navigating Indieworld was very different. I wrote the book with Carole P. Roman and I think we wrote the book in a week! We had the best time. It was like meeting your best friend for a girl's night. We would write, laugh, and write some more. The book was easier to write because this is what we have done for years. It seemed to pour out of us!

4- Do you have a preference in the way you write?
Not really, unless you count having Carole P. Roman online reading along with me as I write!

5- You are active in all different phases of publishing from beta reading, to writing, to marketing and promotion. Describe some of the many hats you wear. What is your least favorite part? Most favorite?
I have recently started tutoring authors on how to use social media and creating lessons based on their needs. I may teach them how to design and create graphics or create ads for social media. I meet with them over a chat box on Facebook and the phone and talk them through things for one hour. I may send screenshots to show step-by-step how things are done. I am enjoying the one-on-one time with these new clients. I also work with authors on beta reading, publishing, creating audiobooks, marketing and book promotions. I may run their social media or blogs, or maybe I will set up book signings. I am a consultant when needed and give advice based on what I've learned. My least favorite part of my job is trying to get an author to understand that big changes don't happen overnight. Sometimes it takes trial and error and sometimes you get lucky. My favorite part of my job is beta reading. It is exciting to see how my input can impact a story. 

6- What are your biggest challenges in this business?
My biggest challenge is getting people to believe that spending a little on marketing is a wise investment. If you don't know how to market your book, ask for help. There are affordable options that can make a big difference. If you don't have the budget to hire someone long term, hire someone to teach you the ropes so you can invest time. Another thing that is a challenge is the false information that some authors put out there. They will tell you to write, and imply that the marketing isn't important. "Write a lot of books. You will eventually sell a few because you have multiple books out there." This couldn't be more wrong. While having more than one book out helps, investing time in promoting those books is the only thing to move those books and boost your rankings. The next time an author tells you not to worry about promoting your book, look their book up on Amazon. Then decide for yourself. Do their review numbers and sales ranks look good to you? Chances are they won't be as impressive as they'd like you to believe.

7- What has been your biggest disappointment? Biggest surprise?
My biggest disappointment has been not meeting more of my authors/clients in person. I grow attached, and some feel like family. Let me rephrase that. Some ARE family. My biggest surprise, besides meeting Carole P. Roman and Michael Phillip Cash in person, was receiving Captain No Beard and crew artwork to hang on my wall above my desk. When I received artwork from One to Ten: Squirrel's Bad Day, I was overwhelmed. These beautiful reminders of the books I help promote are priceless treasures and some of my biggest surprises.  

8- What is next for you?
I WILL finish my book- solo. And I will name it something other than The Book. It is loosely based on the life of my great aunt. She was one of the first women doctors in North Carolina and she faced many challenges in her journey to become a prominent physician in what was widely known as a man's field of expertise. I have always been fascinated with her life. I will also work to find new ways to help authors and expand to make myself available for more classes to authors or anyone else that wants to learn more about social media. If I can teach more people to use social media and promote their books, they will have more success. I want all indie authors to achieve success. This is not a cutthroat business and paying it forward (by reviewing a book, sharing what works, or what they know) should be everyone's theme.

9- What is the most interesting thing about you?
I never really thought of myself as interesting. I read books. I am shy and enjoy being home with my family. I hate shopping (unless I am shopping online) and I love Christmas and the beach. If you ever visit, you'll find a candle burning somewhere, a vase of flowers (if they are blooming outside) and my computer screen turned on. I've been told that I'm funny. I have a dog that adores me. I think my family likes me too. Part of me thinks the most interesting thing about me is my job. I get to work with brilliant authors. I am asked to be a part of those worlds they create just to see if I can make suggestions to make those worlds even better. I earn a living working with authors and books. I have a beautiful and blessed life.

10- What's your five year plan?
My five-year plan is to grow Away We Go Media into something bigger and better. I want to reach more authors and share what I know. I want to teach others how to expand their reach. I want to empower authors so they can no longer be afraid of marketing or promotions. Maybe in five years, I will have a few more books available on Amazon. More than anything, I want all indie authors to sell more books and have success stories! 

Julie A. Gerber is the founder of Away We Go Media, a social media management and consulting firm for authors. She is the Executive Vice President, Business Manager, and Director of Social Media at TopShelf Indie Authors & Books, Director of TopShelf Magazine, and co-author of Tortured Souls: The House On Wellfleet Bluffs. She can usually be found at home refereeing her sons or glued to her desktop as she works from home. She lives in Georgia with her husband, two kids, and her little sidekick, a doting Pekingese rescue named Abby. Visit her at


  1. Wow Julie, amazing story! I will def be needing some help with book signings (crossing fingers lol) and audibooks.
    I agree that the "just pump out a ton of books" logic seems flawed. I'd rather take my time and put out quality material than a bunch of mediocre material that stifles my career.

  2. Great interview! Your book based on your aunt sounds really interesting!

  3. What a great interview, thanks for the questions and the answers Carole and Julie.
    If I'm honest, I have advised people that they're better off writting more books than marketing, but I don't think marketing should be ignored, I just feel you need to find a balance between the two things and for some it will be 75% writing and 25% marketing.
    Plus, the more titles you have out, the more effective marketing is likely to be.
    I'm perfectly prepared to accept that I'm no expert, though, and people may consider me entirely wrong.