Local woman takes indie publishing world by storm
Apr 10, 2018 03:54PM
● By Keyra Kristoffersen
Nina Walker with book one of her debut series, “The Color Alchemist” (Nina Walker)
Local mom Nina Walker has run the gamut of creative endeavors, from first trying out acting in Los Angeles to running a lifestyle and wellness coaching business to help others on their own journeys to health and happiness.
“As much as I loved acting, it was difficult to not have creative control of a script,” said Walker, “It wasn't right, and I needed to fill the creative hole.”
From a young age, Walker dreamed of writing, and that dream became a reality when a concept came to her for a story that needed to be told. After spending time studying colors, auras and chakras, Walker considered what it would look like if a person could pull the color from an object and work with it as magic.
And thus, “The Color Alchemist” series was born.
The first book, “Prism,” took five years to complete because of the demands of other work and the demands of her family. Finally, she hired an editor that gave her deadlines she needed to work within, sending in a certain number of words at a time and editing it at the end.
“Having a deadline and accountability changed everything for me,” Walker said. “Once I had that, I wrote it pretty quickly.”
She also struggled with trying to find an agent to represent her to publishers. She had a dream of being published through a large traditional published, but many of the agents she sent her manuscript to told her that they liked the concept but couldn’t find any way to make it marketable, a necessity for publishers.
After three years of receiving similar answers, despite also hiring a developmental editor to bring the story into place, Walker began to consider self-publishing.
“It was a really hard decision; once you self-publish, that's it,” said Walker. “It's a very rare case when a self-published book gets picked up by a publisher.”
The problem with self-publishing her books was that Walker didn’t know anything about it. She knew it had to be quality work because readers won’t read a book with a bunch of typos, let alone pay for one, so she began to find trustworthy proofreaders to send her manuscript to after the development editors were finished with it.
“The [independent] market is very much dominated by eBooks, and the paperback market is dominated by traditional right now,” said Walker.
Walker spent hours listening to podcasts about writing and publishing, reading books and posts about how best to create your own seamless product that people would want to buy. She learned everything on her own before finally putting her first book, “Prism,” out into the world through Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.
“I love podcasts, and I'm just so grateful for people who do that with their time,” Walker said. “There's so many people helping other people for free, and I'm just so grateful.”
Within the first month of release, her book had 340,000 page reads on Kindle Unlimited, 850 eBooks and 50 made-to-order paperbacks. It hit No. 1,100 in the Kindle store and No. 15 in the Canadian Kindle store, as well as No. 1 in the children's category, No. 1 in young adult category, and No. 1 in sword and sorcery category during release week in Canada.
“In the Canadian store, my book was right next to all the ‘Harry Potters,’” said Walker. “I freaked when I saw that.”
Coming off that immediate success, Walker released the second book of the series, “Fracture” within 90 days and that hit in the 5,000s on Amazon for its release week, and book three, “Blackout,” is scheduled for release April 26.
With the success of the series, agents and publishers have been contacting Walker, and she recently signed a deal with Audible for the series to be produced as an audiobook.
“We just live in such a good time; you can do whatever you want, you can turn whatever you love into a business,” said Walker, who is grateful to her husband for helping her achieve this dream while still helping her be the mom she loves to be. “Ten years ago, publishing was a completely different landscape, and my story never would have been told because I couldn't get an agent.”
For more information on Walker, visit www.ninawalkerbooks.com.