Jasinda Wilder and Jack Wilder are pen names for a Michigan couple who turned to self-publishing as a way out of dire economic straits. They have written many bestsellers in the romance genre under the name Jasinda Wilder, and husband and wife each also independently write other novels. Jasinda Wilder’s titles, which include Alpha, Stripped, Wounded, and the No. 1 Amazon.com and international bestseller Falling Into You, have hit the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal lists.
What made you decide to go the self-publishing route instead of the traditional model? When did you start?
Well, I actually started out as an indie, but now that I’ve partnered with Berkley to publish Madame X and the rest of that series, I’m a hybrid author. We took the chance on self-publishing and were fortunate enough to succeed. I say fortunate, because there’s always luck involved. But the real secret is that in order to succeed at anything, you have to put in the hours, sweat, blood, and tears. You have to earn your place by honing your skills, so that when luck strikes, you’re in a position to capitalize. Going self-pub was a risk, but for us, it paid off.
Was there one single thing that you did that made the difference in your career?
There is no such thing, in any industry, as an overnight success. When Falling Into You started blowing up, we began to be noticed by various media outlets. We were featured in a segment on CBS Evening News, telling the story of how close we were to losing our home and then, thanks to the success of our books, we were able to turn our fortunes around. That story was also picked up by various other news outlets even as far away as Australia.
What’s kind of funny to us, though, is that while most people would say Falling Into You was our moment in the spotlight and that the success of that book helped catapult us to the next level—both of which are true—the truth is Falling Into You wasn’t our first book. It wasn’t even our third or fourth! And when that moment hit, we started working harder than ever to capitalize on the success.
How do you market and promote your books? Do you find that to be a distraction?
I wish I could include some kind of magic marketing pill, but really, nothing like that exists in my experience. Write the best book you can. Write outside the box. Know the rules of your genre, and then break them intentionally, with a specific purpose. In Falling Into You, not only did what appeared to be the main love interest die in the fourth chapter, we put that chapter on our website as a teaser. That broke a lot of rules. Try everything.
If you were to give three pieces of advice for an author who is considering self-publishing, what would they be?
The next book should always be your No. 1 priority. Never spend money on marketing unless you’re absolutely sure you’ll make your money back and then some. Always hire the best you can afford when it comes to cover art and editing services, but keep your formatting clean and simple. Try new things; that’s important. We partnered with a huge group of other successful indie and hybrid authors to create our own booth at BEA. It was pretty cool, and it gained us a lot of helpful networking connections.
Poornima Apte is a Boston-area freelance writer and editor with a passion for books.