Indie Author Spotlight – Marlene Ratledge Buchanan

One of the most inspiring posts I see on my many author forums is when someone takes the time to share their story. Each Friday, I’m going to feature a different indie author to help inspire all of you!

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What is your pen name?

Marlene Ratledge Buchanan

What genre do you write in? Why do you love it?

Southern Humor and cozy mystery. I love it because it makes people laugh.

How many books have you published?


What inspired you to become a writer?

I wrote and editorial to one of the Parch email and the editor asked me to write a weekly column. It grew until our local Patch changed its focus. Gwinnett Citizen( asked me to do a column and my Hey Y’all, southern humor based on life was born. From there, my first book Life is Hard. Soften It with Laughter book developed.

What is your indie success story?

I guess I gage my success on well people respond to my columns and my books. Life really is hard and anything we can do to soften the rough edges we should. That is what my writing is about. Even my cozy mystery, A Place with a Past is designed to lighten your day as you read it.

What are your marketing and advertising strategies? What works for you? What doesn’t?

I have a website ( and a face book authors page. I think what really helped me in getting my books out there was suing my extensive email lists. Old school teachers know a lot of people. I think some bought my books because they were afraid I would revoke their high school diplomas if they did get one! Mary Treadwell with Creative Indie Authors Services has been a huge help. I have not found book signings to be very helpful. The ones that were a success were near by and I invited through email everyone I knew.

What is the best piece of self-publishing advice that you’ve ever received?

Read, re-read and re-read your book. Then get a good beta reader. Lastly find a great editor. And even then little things will happen. I am not a big fan of Amazon. They do not use a high quality of paper for the covers so they loose some of the vibrancy and appeal. I printed my last book through Trinity press ( and people do Kindle and Amazon for orders, too. I was pleased with Trinity’s work and found them much more reasonable priced that others I had researched.

Anything else fun or notable that you would like to share about yourself?

I hope you will get a chance to read my Life is Hard. Soften It with Laughter. It really started my writing career. I think that book sums up my philosophy of life. I am a retired high school art teacher and counselor. My husband Snell and I have been married 45 years and have one child, a 38 year son. James was left mildly mentally handicapped due to oxygen deprivation during birth. In a four month period I had a cat to become brain injured, my mother became ill, I had breast cancer, my best friend suddenly died, Mama died and then so did the cat. And I did find humor in all that to get others through even more devastating times. You get out of life what you put in. I choose to put in positive energy.

***Interviewer response:  “You get out of life what you put in. I choose to put in positive energy” LOVE THIS!!***

What are you working on right now?

My Hey Y’all column ( is a monthly piece. I am working on a second book of humorous essays about the foibles of life. Look at my website ( soon there will be a contest to name it. My goal is to have it ready by April. I have a romance in the writing stages, and I hope to put together a light heart ghost-mystery short story collection. The name is Boo, Y’all. Now don’t steal it. I hope to have it ready by next Sept. Since Snell and I have been dealing with covid, everything has gotten pushed back. I plan a whole unit on covid . Right now I am still looking for some of the funny in that.

Where can we find your work? and are on line book shops that encourage Indy authors.

Amazon also has my two books.

Face book and authors page: Marlene Ratledge Buchanan.

web address: it out and you learn when the name came from)

As a thank you for following my blog, I wanted to send you some awesome (and helpful) self-publishing tools. Click the link below to receive the following FREE items:

Outline Template

Word Count Tracker

Self-Publishing Comparison Chart

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Inspired by this author’s post, and want to start your indie author career? Subscribe to my weekly podcast The Struggling Indie Author. New episodes are released every Friday.


Itching to get all of that good self-publishing info today? My book will give you all of the information you need to begin!

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