On Book Cover Best Practices, Cowboy Dressage & Preorder Campaigns with Brittney Joy (Equestrian Author Spotlight Episode 8)
Episode 8: In each Equestrian Author Spotlight episode, you’ll hear inspirational stories from horse book authors including writing advice and marketing tips to help you write your own horse book. If you are an author, aspire to be an author, or simply love horse books then you are in the right place!
In this week's episode, you'll meet Red Rock Ranch & OverRuled series author Brittney Joy. You'll learn ...
Watch Brittney Joy's Interview on YouTube
Or Listen to the Audio Only Version
About Author Brittney Joy
Cowboy boots have always been Brittney's shoe of choice. An animal lover to the core, her parents didn't know what they were signing up for when they put her in a summer horse camp at the age of ten. She was hooked. The horse bug bit her. Hard.
Horses quickly became her true passion. At twelve Brittney started working at a local stable, cleaning stalls and leading trail rides. At thirteen her parents finally broke down and bought her a horse - a spunky bay grade mare named Austie. Brittney grew up on Austie's back and, when it came time to go to college, she packed her mare along, too.
Brittney and her family now live in their own piece of heaven in the Oregon countryside. They stay busy with their menagerie of silly animals. When Brittney isn't writing, she's riding or reading. And she wishes she could do all three at the same time.
Brittney Joy Interview Excerpt
Carly: I know that you've fallen in love with Cowboy Dressage. I would love to hear more about the discipline and and how you discovered it.
Brittney: I always have admired the principles of classic Dressage and have used them in my Western pleasure training. When I got Cheli, Western Dressage and Cowboy Dressage we're really starting to come out and become more popular. I dabbled in both Western dressage and Cowboy Dressage. It was a really good fit for Cheli and it was a really good fit for myself, too. I am a competitive person and I feel like I need goals in my equestrian side. Cowboy Dressage gave me that.
Carly: Tell us more about Cowboy Dressage.
Brittney: Everything is for the sake of the horse. It's really about what is best for the horse. You can do a test called a Dressage test which is a pattern in in an arena and if your horses is a little bit buddy sour or you have a green horse they allow a buddy horse to come in and stand on the edge because it makes you comfortable and your horse comfortable.
Western Dressage is a lot like classical Dressage just in Western tack and Western attire. Cowboy Dressage is more for stock horses. All the movements would be something that you would see in ranch work and they have a lot of different options. They have challenge tests and challenge courses where you perform a Dressage test and there's actually obstacles in the test. You're doing the test over poles, around cones, or opening a gate.
Carly: Tell us about your book series and what excites you about writing about horses.
Brittney: I have two series. All of my books are currently young adult books although I do have some ideas in the future for some sweet romance books
I have a series called Red Rock Ranch. There are three books in this series: Lucy's Chance, Showdown and Rodeo Daze. It's a series that's very close to my heart. The books are sweet equestrian fiction romance. They are about a girl Lucy who is spending her first summer away from home. She is working as a stablehand at the Red Rock Ranch which is a cow ranch and guest ranch. With this series, I wanted to make sure that all the horses are characters, too.
Brittney: In the first book, Lucy discovers a horse that doesn't want anything to do with humans. She finds him out in the in the wilderness and he's obviously got a backstory. She's also has a big-time crush on a certain cowboy that she is working with named Casey. Casey and Lucy end up working together to gentle this horse, but of course there's always a little villain. In the first book, the villain is a girl named Taylor. She is a rodeo queen, horse show extraordinaire, and has a very wonderful beautiful show horse named Star that she brings to the ranch.
I wrote the sequel, Showdown, in dual-perspective between Lucy's perspective and Taylor's perspective. in the second book, they end up having to work together. I found I really liked Taylor and I wanted to tell her story a little bit more - so in the second book I go more into Taylor's story. I explain why she is the way she is and kind of warm reader's hearts to her.
The third book, Rodeo Daze, goes more into Lucy and Casey's story as well as the relationship between Lucy and her horse Chance.
Watch the Red Rock Ranch Book Trailer
Carly: You have another series which is a young adult fantasy series. Tell us about that series.
Brittney: I love to read fantasy. I love getting lost in different types of worlds and learning about them.
The first look is OverRuled and I recently published the second book Overrun. Currently, I am working on a third book and I'm about halfway through it. The OverRuled series does have an equestrian aspect.
Brittney: The OverRuled books rotate between two female main characters. Nova who is the peasant, the popper that gets drawn back to this kingdom of Sterling. She has magical powers, but she doesn't realize it. She can telepathically communicate with animals.
Princess Jade is introduced to the kingdom on her 16th birthday and she has inherited powers from her mother and as her powers grow her mother's weaken. Her mom is a power-hungry evil queen and she sees Jade really as a her doll versus her daughter or her legacy and she's trying to get rid of her.
Nova's story and Jade's story get intertwined in the first book and they actually have a connection in a romantic interest which is Chael. He is one of the Queen's guards. He actually brings the stories together.
Carly: You recently updated the covers on the Red Rock Ranch series. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about how that went for you. I have heard that if you change your covers on Amazon you lose your reviews and you have to relaunch your book all over again. Can you talk about that and if there were any negatives or positives to changing the covers?
Brittney: I was worried about that as well. I probably would not have changed my covers had that been the case, if I had to basically relaunch the first two books and restart all the reviews. Getting reviews on books can be hard. Reviews are so important to authors. I was really concerned about that when I was changing the covers for the first two Red Rock Ranch books.
I was working with a new editor and she mentioned that these are the type of books she would read as an adult even though they are YA. She's also a horse person, but she's like I would never buy your books because my old covers look like they're middle grade books. I have found there's a mix of ages that read my books and a lot of adults read my books. I would say it's probably 75% adults to 25% teenagers, so I looked into updating the covers based on her recommendation.
I was concerned about switching them because I didn't want to lose my reviews. My editor said as long as you don't change the dimensions of your book, you can switch the cover and you won't lose your reviews or have to start from scratch. I just literally got into KDP and swapped out the cover files and hit publish. I didn't change anything else. I didn't lose any reviews!
Carly: I was so honored to be part of your prelaunch/preorder giveaway campaign that you did before you launched Rodeo Daze. It was a really unique promotion where you partnered with a bunch of other horse book authors in order to bring more awareness to the fact that the third book in the Red Rock Ranch series was coming after such a long break between the first two. Can you talk a little bit about how that promotion worked and if you would do it again?
Brittney: I would totally do it again. It was just awesome to be able to work with other equestrian authors who I've read their books, enjoyed their books, and I know they're amazing writers. It was amazing to ask of the community of equestrian authors if they wanted to band together and promote each other's books. I hope that it also helped other other authors get more social media attention for their books, too.
There was a total of nine equine authors including myself that were part of this promotion. What I did is set Rodeo Daze up for pre-sale on Amazon and if you bought an ebook or a paperback copy of Rodeo Daze on pre-sale, then you filled out a form on my website, sent me a screenshot of your purchase on Amazon, and then you would be entered to win all of these paperback books from each of the from each of the equestrian authors.
I made some social media images and then we all shared them on our on our social pages. I would say asking people to purchase a pre-sale in order to enter the contest limited the number of people that entered, but what it did was it gave me a lot of social media promotion for my new book and my previous - and it also helped me right out the gate with "also boughts" on Amazon.
Carly: You format the interior of your books yourself. Tell us about that.
Brittney: I initially paid somebody to format the interior of my books, but I do that myself now. I ultimately learned how to do that because every time I would need something updated I would have to go back to the designer and pay a charge to have it done. It was a couple hundred dollars the first time and then every time I had to make a change, like adding the first chapter sample to the second book, I had to contact her and have her add it in. I couldn't fix my own book if I saw a typo, so I was like I'm going to learn how to do this on my own. I found a I wrote a cool website. It's called bookdesigntemplates.com.
Carly: So through that website you can format your own books?
Brittney: Yes. You buy a template. The interior design templates are all in Word Microsoft Word which I'm really familiar with. You buy a template and they have everything set up for you in that template. You buy it for the specific dimensions of your paperback book and it's all formatted for you. I think it's like 50 or 60 dollars to buy one of the documents, and then you also get videos and a PDF form that shows you how to input your material.
Carly: Having the ability to update things yourself whether it's your website or the interior of your books and learning how to do that is really valuable because every time you use a designer to make a change to something you have to pay and that really can add up. I would recommend anyone to learn how to do a lot of these things themselves. Wouldn't you agree?
Brittney: I would totally agree. Bringing that back into publishing, that's one of the reasons that I enjoy independent publishing. I get to choose what type of books I'm writing. I'm not on anybody else's deadline. I get to choose who I'm working with from the cover designers to the editors and everything in between. You just have total control of your writing and your books. It is a pretty amazing thing. Another great podcast for writers is 88 Cups of Tea.
From the 88 Cups of Tea website: 88 Cups of Tea is an online platform and podcast for creative writers who look for guidance in their storytelling journey and connection to a community, fostering year-round conversations around the personal and professional life of a writer. We explore and unpack conversations that touch on topics like overcoming rejections and challenges, querying tips and crafting advice, lifestyle habits that support the heart and the soul, what it means to be Human while navigating a creative path, and more. We pride ourselves in nurturing a supportive environment that aims to encourage, inspire, and entertain.
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What a spur jingling author interview!
I learn so much from other equine authors and appreciate how unique each of our writing journeys are. I love that all the authors featured in this series are linked through our creativity, passion for writing, and love of horses. I think it is so important to support each other. I appreciate the support of a fellow author. Thank you for giving me the gift of your time, Brittney! #authorsunite
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I LOVE HORSE BOOKS! If you are an author who writes about horses and would like to be spotlighted let me know. I’d be happy to include you, too. Sharing about fellow horse book authors makes my spurs jingle! Visit my contact page at https://www.carlykadecreative.com/contact.html to fill out a request.
About Podcast Host Carly Kade
Carly Kade is an award-winning equestrian author and the host of the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle! She writes fiction about horses, horse shows, Western pleasure and a handsome cowboy or two. Her books are for people just like her — crazy about reading, horses and cute cowboys!
In the Reins, the first in Carly's series of novels inspired by the equestrian lifestyle, has been an Amazon best seller for more than 10 weeks, is an EQUUS Film Festival Literary Award Winner for Best Western Fiction and has earned two Feathered Quill Book Awards in the Romance and Adult Book featuring Animals categories. The In the Reins equestrian romance series is available now in Audiobook, Paperback and eBook on Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks and Kobo.
Books by Carly Kade
Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing about horses makes her spurs jingle!