Publishers Weekly called Jewels of Allah, Nina Ansary’s examination of the feminist movement in Iran, “incisive [and] intellectually robust…a riveting portrait of the Iranian woman: her strength, resilience, suffering and hope.”
The book actually began as Ansary’s doctoral dissertation, but encouragement from her professors as well as her own beliefs convinced her to turn “a very dry doctoral thesis into something that would be educational, entertaining, and accessible” to the general public.
This process has also been a personal journey for Ansary, who was born in Iran but has been living in the United States for most of her life. Like many other indie authors, Ansary was afraid of the stigma of self-publishing -- but she was even more afraid of not sharing her research and her book with other Iranian women.
Ansary says her biggest realization about self-publishing is that it doesn't mean ”publishing by yourself” – praising the many resources available to indie authors. Ansary also touts the power of social media for self-publishers: “Before you even think about the intricacies of the publishing process, you need to build an audience or even just ‘test’ to see if you have one. I spent at least five to six months building my platform on Facebook and Twitter.”
Ansary says she spends hours a day interacting with her readers: “If someone had told me I’d be doing that a year and a half ago I’d have said, ‘You must be joking!’” Currently, Ansary is embarking on the U.S. portion of her book tour and is in the preliminary stages of researching a second installment of the Jewels of Allah.
We asked Ansary for three tips for other indie authors:
Audience Is Key
"Build and use your audience early. My followers have very much influenced the book publishing process from day one."
Take Your Time
"It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. The final product needs to the best it can be, so take your time to do it right. Remember you’ll be competing with the big publishing houses. So take your time, trust your instincts, and surround yourself with people you can rely on to guide these instincts in the right direction."
Your Fate Is in Your Hands
"Don’t let anyone tell you who you should or shouldn't be and tune out those who say being self-published isn’t as honorable as being traditionally published. They’re missing the big picture: as a self-published author you control your material, you control the process, you control your fate."