The Reader's Perspective

Self-Published Author Scores Big

By David Broughton

Ever heard of Caroline Bonham, the author? No? You will. Ms. Bonham is a fast rising star on the Amazon book sales charts. One of her books may soon be a movie, with a possibility of many more to follow. Not bad for somebody that never intended to be a writer. Caroline Bonham was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Growing up as the youngest child, she began riding horses at the age of five. Her passion for horses has never ceased and has influenced all parts of her life.  Graduating from college in Virginia at the young age of seventeen, she went to work for her uncle, a horseman well known throughout the country.  After working with him for five years, the business moved to Orange County, California, where she resides today.

Ms. Bonham has been a hunter/jumper trainer since assuming her uncle’s business when he returned to the Midwest. Never leaving her training business, she returned to school and became a vet technician enabling her to work with the animals she has always cared so much about. Today, Caroline continues her training business. She introduces riders young, and not so young to the joys of riding.  She has taken riders from the beginning stages to the show ring.  Many of her students are now trainers in their own right.

Always an avid reader, Caroline has switched found the kind of books she likes in short supply, so she decided to write her own, originally the idea was only to make copies for her many friends in the horse world, also avid readers. After she completed the first one, Caroline’s many friends read unedited versions of her first book Essence of Love, the Legend of the Lady In the Mist suggested she get it published, but that’s very difficult to do these days, with major publishers unwilling to take a chance on unknown authors. Caroline turned to Createspace, a division of Amazon, and a star was born. Story ideas ran rampant, she has completed four novels where the characters return time and again to influence each other’s lives and delight the reader. Five more novels will soon be available, once editing and cover art are complete.

When I interviewed Ms. Bonham, I asked what she thought was the key to her success when so many self published authors fail, she replied, “In my case, the bulk of my sales have come through word of mouth, I do very little to advertise my books. Good friends like Laura, have helped immensely, and the couple that edit my work help a lot too. That’s one key, finding an editor that is simpatico. My editors seem to know my thoughts, if I make an error in timeline, or simply forget some details, they know what I had in mind and correct the manuscript accordingly, seldom do they have to ask what I meant to say. They make the words flow nicely, though sometimes they allow grammatical errors in order to leave the flavor I create. We work in perfect harmony, and with my friend Laura helping me with ideas and correcting some things as we go, the results are something a lot of people want to read, they can’t wait for the next book. If I didn’t have all my good friends spreading the word, and helping me along the way, I wouldn’t have sold the first book, then again, without so many friends clamoring for something good to read, I probably wouldn’t have written the first book let alone the nine now in the works.”

I asked Caroline how she’s achieving her sales on Amazon, and whether or not she plans on trying to get her books into the brick and mortar bookstores, she replied, “As I said, it’s primarily been word of mouth, my friends spreading the word. I do give out some sample books at horse shows and dog shows, but I don’t have the time to work at it all that much, I’m doing well to find the time to write. Sure, I’d like my books to be in Borders, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and other places, but that takes a lot of effort and time I don’t have. I do sell some of my works as Ebooks on Borders and Barnes and Noble’s Ebook portals, but I don’t see my books getting onto the store shelves nationally anytime soon. Some of the local stores, possibly, but not nationally. When times are hard, they won’t take chances on many unknown authors either. Of course, if things keep going like they are, I’ll be well known soon. That’ll be a hoot, little ole me, a famous author.” Ms Bonham is certainly on her way. I’ve read her books, including some advance copies of what’s coming down the pike, it’s not hard to see why they’re popular, and they have action, adventure, romance, travel, and a slice of the life of interesting families. The books appeal to women, men, young and old, so it’s no wonder she’s selling books and Ebooks in huge numbers.