21.3.15

Corpus Delicti - Poetry Collection, Critique by Anthony Servante

Recently, this very insightful and intelligent critique of my poetry collection, 'Corpus Delicti', was posted online by Anthony Servante. Please have a read and visit Mr Servante's wonderful blog for more interesting and thoughtful article and reviews.

Poetry Today February 2015
Featuring William Cook
Critique by Anthony Servante



Just as Andrew D. Blacet represents the poetry of stream of consciousness, William Cook reflects the work of self-awareness, what the Romantic Poets called "sublime realization". Utilizing the form of a "journal" to capture his perspective, Cook escorts us through a prosaic journey "between birth and death", not so much "life" as the waiting period of consciousness as it develops only to die. Thus the title "Corpus Delicti", an allusion to a crime without the evidence of a body, or rather, a body of work without the evidence of existence. The book of selected poetry becomes that body, that proof of life, that self-awareness of being without beginning or end, or in Cook's words: "the realization of a truth about oneself...And this new knowledge of the soul — that there is no soul, no muse, no thinking heart . . . it is the worst truth I have ever had to bear". And so he shared his burden with his readers. It is our intent here to see how he does so in poetic deed.

If we read each of the poems as if they were each a breath the poet is taking and that each breath will lead to death, we can understand how William Cook has arranged his words for us to empathize with rather than understand. This is not a puzzle with one solution. It is more a prism with a sequence of colors leading to blackness or in this case the absence of color. It is more about the order of chaos rather than a "meaning" to life. We can call this empathetic reading a "subjective correlative", a personal reading unique unto each reader rather than a unified book of poems with a universal truth that we can all identify with. That is not the experience here. But allow me to delineate a bit to discuss the "objective correlative" from which I have altered my phrase to better appreciate its relevance and history given Cook's poetic rapport with the Age of Romanticism.

T.S. Eliot, poet and literary critic, developed the "objective correlative" in his criticism of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Simply, it is the evocation of emotion by its representation in the work (poem, play, painting, etc) or the corresponding "image" in the world to the word or symbol of the image. We write "my first puppy" and its corresponding emotion should be a nostalgically pleasant memory of one's own first puppy. And this definition worked fine for the Romantic critics, but today we must not trust to its universality. Not all people have pleasant memories of their first puppy. Some of us wept in terror when we were first introduced to this four-legged beast, while others suffered an allergic reaction. We understand what the writer intends when he writes of his first puppy, we understand the consensus, but we each have our own empathetic relationship to the term, namely, "I screamed" or "I sneezed" rather than I fell in love with the little critter. It is this personal correspondent with the image, rather than the intellectual understanding of it, that we call the subjective correlative. We want to find ourselves in the work, not the artist.

Corpus Delicti is a challenge to our emotions, not our intellect. To read it as an objective correlative is to detach oneself from the experience; to read it as a subjective correlative is to share Cook's experience with our own, for each individual consciousness is itself an object in the world just as much as a puppy or chair or poem. In Circle of Ouroboros, the poet points out this relation of the work to the readers,

And so the steps one makes towards the end
to quote a cliché
are aspects of the journey
the final destination relegated
to the ethereal realms of the unknown
the infinite possibilities that exist
outside of human consciousness (p 13).

To know the "unknown" is to know ourselves outside of human awareness, just as we understand Cook's realization of this "cliché" (that is, its universality). In New dawn prophecy, Cook expands on this alienating realization, 

What lies outside the heart and soul is restriction
that leads an arterial bypass past life’s true intentions (p 14).

How does one come to know one's self? Alone, one can only know alienation and solitude, but via others (friends, poetry, art, etc), we find our humanity, our individuality among the multitude. 

In Epiphanous vision, the poetry echoes the fallibility ("bullshit") of finding universal truths, whereas individual truths coalesce with others' truths,

nothing is as plain as it seems
when you put words to it
when you apply words to the world ...

perhaps of some consequence
to the greater scheme of things
(whatever that may be!)
‘truth’ that elusive quagmire
of common census
inferring evidence
that many, can make one reality
and that it is without variance
indisputable . . .
bullshit!!! (p 17).

"Without variance", there can be no universal truth. We vary as individuals and it is with variance that we find ourselves rather than a "greater scheme" (an objective correlative to reality or the world). 

Once William Cook has established this intent for the reader to experience, he delves into the workings of individual minds. In Terror is not my thing, Cook joins his experience with his readers, "It’s fear for all and all for fear" (p 22). In Dead Love, he is more specific in his emotive description, "My warm loving cadaver we are one, forever". The cadaver can be read as his lover or his own dead body, the vessel that his life occupies. This dualism (other and self) represents individuality as single being and collective beings, just as the reader and the poet become one through the "corpus delicti".

In Truth, Cook gives us a straightforward accounting of the universality of emotions: 

Truth is: hunger
pain/death
violence/dissolution
apathy/hope . . .
Anything
you want it to be.
I believe . . . (p 33).

The italicized "I believe" describes the poet's thoughts on "truth" after sharing with us those universal emotions that we all identify with in our own way (subjective correlative) while this belief also asserts Cook's own identity as its own subjective correlative. Very clever. Very forceful. Then in ironic reflection, Cook restates this truth in I who am no one:

I is nothing and
I speak for all of us when
I say that (p 34)

Ego is everything and nothing. All egos are also everything and nothing. But our collective empathy with this "truth" is the only truth we can realize. Much as the individual can be alone in a crowd, so too can he be the crowd. Cook teases us with this irony. Think of the illusion where the drawing can be seen as an old woman or a young woman. Which is it? Neither. And both.

The totality of the poetry of Corpus Delicti echoes that last sentiment, for the book is neither the work of William Cook nor our own reflections, but both. In this dark journal of self-realization, self-deprecation, and selfish irony, William Cook has given us the abyss that we stare into just as it stares into us. 


Get your copy here.

Anthony Servante, Review, Corpus Delicti, Poetry, Critical Analysis, Literary Criticism, critique,

19.3.15

Free E-Books For You - Amazon Kindle Giveaway Promotion

Hello everyone - hope you're all having a good week and if you're not I hope next week makes up for it. In the mean time why not grab a couple of freebies while they're available? I have two to offer you at the moment - Devil Inside and One Way Ticket. Both are short reads, perfect for when you've got a spare half-hour before lights outs! Although, be warned, these stories have been known to induce profound nightmares of the most unimaginable sort! Just kidding, but seriously, download a copy and tell your pals (please) and remember, if you like what you read, please drop a short review on Amazon when you're done.Without having to buy anything, this is the best way to say thanks to us indie authors who slave over our keyboards to bring you entertaining (hopefully) works of fiction that will keep you up at night.

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In the tradition of EC Comics, The Twilight Zone and Tales From The Darkside, Devil Inside is a spine-chilling short horror story that will leave you wanting more. Graphic and descriptive, this supernatural tale winds itself around a disturbed young boy who discovers that when you make a wish, you better make sure you really want it. After all, monsters are sometimes real.

From Devil Inside:
“Jacob had no doubt as to what it was. It was the night-Beast under his bed, that lurked in his closet – the Beast that now raged before him, out in the light of day. It had escaped. ”

Recommended for mature readers. Horror, Violence, Supernatural, M15+
Short Story + 4 x Poems + Excerpt from Blood Related (novel).

“This man is simply scary. There is both a clinical thoroughness and a heartfelt emotional thoroughness to his writing. He manages to shock as well as empathize, to scare as well as acclimatize, yet beneath it all is a well read intelligence that demands to be engaged. I loved Blood Related. Ordinarily I hate serial killer stories, but William Cook won me over. He is a unique and innovative talent.”
– Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Flesh Eaters and Dog Days

AMAZON U.S. - http://www.amazon.com/Devil-Inside-Horror-Short-Fiction-ebook/dp/B00B3OCVMC/ref=la_B003PA513I_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426801246&sr=1-11

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One Way Ticket. Fast Train To Hell . . .
 

From the belly of the swamp issues forth a visit in the middle of the night from a force as dark and unimaginable as hell itself. Poor pig-farmer Abel Laroux, must battle the demons of his past as well as the nightmarish reality of the present, as he confronts a devilish visitor who has come to collect on an outstanding debt, inherited by Abel from his forefathers.

Bonus Features: Includes an excerpt from the author's novel, 'Blood Related' + the long poem 'The Temper of The Tide', in its entirety.

AMAZON U.S. -  http://www.amazon.com/Ticket-Short-Horror-Fiction-Book-ebook/dp/B00RAMNUBM/ref=la_B003PA513I_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425506580&sr=1-6

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15.3.15

Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors #4 - Michaelbrent Collings



Today we have another special interview in the popular series - Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors. Today's guest is author Michaelbrent Collings, an internationally bestselling novelist, a #1 bestseller in the U.S., and has been one of Amazon's top selling horror writers for years. He is one of the most successful indie horror writers in the United States, as well as a produced screenwriter and member of the WGA, HWA, and several other writing groups with cool-sounding letters. He's also a martial artist, and cooks awesome waffles ('cause he's macho like that). He published his first "paying" work - a short story for a local paper - at the age of 15. He won numerous awards and scholarships for creative writing while at college, and subsequently became the person who had more screenplays advance to quarterfinals and semifinals in the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship screenwriting competition in a single year than anyone else in the history of the competition. His first produced script, Barricade, was made into a movie starring Eric McCormack of TV's Will & Grace and Perception, and was released in 2012. Michaelbrent also wrote the screenplay for Darkroom (2013), starring Kaylee DeFer (Gossip Girl, Red State) and Elisabeth Rohm (American Hustle, Law & Order, Heroes). As a novelist, Michaelbrent has written enough bestsellers that listing them seems weird, especially since they're already listed elsewhere on the website. In addition, he has also written dozens of non-fiction articles which have appeared in periodicals on several continents.

Here he is, Mr Michaelbrent Collings:



Who are you and where do you come from? Do you think that your life experience has gone someway towards making you a successful author in your chosen genre?

      I come from a background that is mildly schizophrenic: a sickly, small kid who devoured every martial art he could growing up; was a missionary for two years in an exceptionally poor part of South America; graduated from college majoring in TV production; went to a top 20 law school where I juggled work as a law clerk, work on the law review, and an unpaid church job that took up close to thirty hours a week; became a partner at a respected Los Angeles law firm; and having failed at my fallback job moved into work as a full-time writer. Sheesh.

       Yes, this totally helped with my writing and my success. I learned to talk to people as a missionary, I learned to work with graphics and layouts (talents that port over to book covers and book trailers!) in college for studio work, I learned lots about people in general through all of it. And my writing was a thread throughout, learned from the very beginning at my parents' knees: my father, a tremendously talented writer and English professor at a major university; and my mother, who is Made of Awesome.



You are a #1 best-selling author on Amazon  – if you could pinpoint one thing in particular that has grabbed readers of your work, what would you say it is?

       Most people who write me say it's my honesty and my outlook. By which I think they mean that I write a lot of scary stories, but those scary stories are, at their core, stories about hope – about the light beyond the darkness. Or at least about a sense that there is more to life than just loss. And a lot of my books are populated not by nubile teens whose prime motivation is "To bang or not to bang?" but by families with real world problems – paying the rent, taking care of wayward kids, loving each other.



You are also a successful script-writer and a public speaker – how important are the things that you do outside of writing novels and fiction, to your success as an author? I.e. how important is it to self-published authors to be other things (than just an author) and to spread their work across other genres and creative outlets?

      I think it's tremendously important that authors today be willing to do things that take them out of their "writing caves." I blog, I tweet, I Facebook, I speak at schools and comic cons and symposia. All this feeds into people who (hopefully) look at my books. The books have to be awesome to keep them as readers – and, more important, as people who will recommend the books to their friends – but it's all a great net for catching more audience.



I notice that you and other best-selling self-published authors also write non-fiction titles. How important is it for successful self-published authors to establish themselves as ‘experts in their field’ via non-fictional works?

     Non-fiction titles aren't tremendously important for me. I've written some law and some martial arts instruction books, but those are so outside my bivouac that most people looking for those aren't looking for my fiction titles, and vice-versa. Or maybe they are, because they're as crazed in their interests as I am. <grin>



What kind of marketing did you do to establish your author brand and what do you think is the most successful marketing for self-published authors? Is there any one thing that you have determined has helped you sell more books – i.e. could you outline your path to establishing your brand and your most successful sales method/s as?

      My most successful practices for marketing and brand promotion are simply this:

1)   Write great books.

2)   Tell others about the great books.

A lot of people don't care to learn how to write. Or if they do, then they don't write volume – one or two is enough for them. Mistake. Forbes recently did a study of the top selling authors of all time, and the ONLY things they had in common were a huge body of work cranked out over time. 
And then, once you've learned how to write awesome books (which will take an average of ten years of hard study), and you have actually written them… you gotta tell folks about them. No one will search in your underwear drawer for your manuscript, you have to take it into the world yourself.
       Well, I might poke around in your underwear drawer, but that's a whole other ball of wax.


Do you design your own covers? How important do you think cover design is to a potential reader and how big a part do you think it has played in your success to date? 

       Cover design is critical. I do design my own covers, but again – thank you crazy background – I had a bit more schooling on the subject than a lot of authors. Don't do something that looks amateur – people won't buy it. They just won't. If you haven't the skill to put together a professional cover or the commitment to shell out some bucks to have someone else do it, people will infer that you're work sucks. And they'll likely be correct. Stinky but true.



In your opinion, is traditional publishing on the way out? Do you think that traditional publishing can continue to keep up with the rise of self-publishing?

      I think they both have an important place in our reading landscape. Self-pub is here to stay, but trad-pub has great strengths, too. I'm not a "hater" of either. The more the merrier.



Would you ever consider signing all your books to a traditional publishing house or will you always mange some of your titles yourself through self-publishing?

      I am a HUGE whore. So if someone offered me the right deal, I'd take it and run. "What, you're the reincarnated combination of Hitler, Stalin, and the guy who invented those toilet paper dispensers in public toilets that only let me have one sheet at a time? And you're offering me WHAT? Sign ME UP!"

     Yeah, money is a huge consideration since I have a family that I haven't managed to break of their ridiculous eating habit. And, again, I don't hate trad-pub, just the self-pub world has worked for me thus far.



Have you ever used free book promotions? Do you think they are a worth-while marketing tool for self-published authors? If so/not – why?

    Again, this is something that's only really worthwhile if you have a body of work. Say 10,000 people download your free book and LOVE it. Maybe 100 will tell their friends to buy it, then realize they can loan it to them for free. The others will look for your next book. And if there isn't one they'll move on to their next favourite author. Write, write, WRITE!



Was it always your intention to self-publish, or would you have considered the traditional publishing route had the opportunity presented itself?

     See above re: HUGE WHORE.



What would you say is the single biggest advantage of deciding to self-publish?

    I get to do everything. I don't have to hold my breath hoping that I get assigned a good editor, or a good cover designer, or a good PR person. I decide that stuff. Win or lose, it's on me.



Would you recommend other aspiring self-publishing authors pay for particular services? Editing or cover design, for example?

   Again, it depends on your expertise. I do my own covers, but I'm a weirdo freak. I also have "in house" editing assistance in that my dad is senior editor at a respected horror publisher. So I usually toss my stuff at him, but at this point he usually finds half a dozen typos and we roll on. But most people will benefit a lot more from editing, from help with covers.



You use social media a lot and interact with your readership – how important do you think this is to becoming a success as a self-published author?

      Very.

      'Nuff said.





Are you in regular contact with other self-published authors and how important was any input you may have received early on in your career?  Do you have a mentor in terms of your self-publishing success – someone who may have inspired you to ‘give it a go’?

     No mentors, really – other than my dad, who didn't know about self-pub stuff. But wouldn't it have been nice!





Where to from here? Are you currently represented by an agent and are you working with any publishers on future projects?

    No agent. I've never had one, even on my film deals. But again: former lawyer. So once more I've got all this weirdness assisting me. As for future projects, I've got a book I'm wrapping up and another one on deck. A few script projects I'm hoping to put together.

    Busy busy busy. Which is a good thing.



Can you offer any advice to fellow writers if you could go back in time and “do it all over?” What’s your top tip for other indie authors?

   Write. Just write and write and write and talk and talk and talk about it to everyone you can. Practice and network.



Finally, thanks for sharing your thoughts on self-publishing. Where is the best place for readers to find your books?

    You're welcome! I'm easy to find: http://michaelbrentcollings.com is my website because I'm creative like that. And you can also touch bases with me on Facebook, Twitter, or sign up for my mailing list at http://eepurl.com/VHuvX.

GRAB A COPY NOW




More info:

Michaelbrent Collings is a frequent guest speaker at genre and literary conventions, high schools, church groups, and anywhere else that wants to talk about writing. If you're interested in having him speak to your group, please contact him via the contact form on the bottom of the page. Michaelbrent also has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MichaelbrentCollings and can be followed on Twitter @mbcollings. Follow him and you will be kept safe when the Glorious Revolution begins!

Lastly, if you want to be kept abreast of Michaelbrent's newest releases and special deals that no one else knows about, sign up for his mailing list... and keep on reading! 

10.3.15

Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors #3 - Matt Drabble


Today, I'm proud to bring you another interview in what is proving to be quite a popular series - Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors. In the hot seat is Best-selling U.K. author, Matt Drabble. His Amazon Author's page bio describes him as thus: 

"Born in Bath, England in 1974, a self-professed "funny onion", equal parts sport loving jock and comic book geek. I am a lover of horror and character driven stories. I am also an A.S sufferer who took to writing full time two years ago after being forced to give up the day job. I have a career high position of 5th on Amazon's Horror Author Rank of which I am immensely proud. "GATED" is a UK & US Horror Chart Top Ten Best Seller & winner of the Full Moon Awards 2014 Horror Book of the Year. "ASYLUM - 13 TALES OF TERROR" is a US Horror Chart #5 It was also voted #5 on The Horror Novel Review's Top 10 Books of 2013 & is a Readers Favorite 2014 Gold Medal Winner.
"ABRA-CADAVER" won an Indie Book of the Day award."


Without further ado, let's get in to it. Remember to make sure you check out Matt's excellent books and the other interviews in this series here on my website. 


Who are you and where do you come from? Do you think that your life experience has gone someway towards making you a successful author in your chosen genre?

My name is Matt Drabble and I am originally from a city called Bath in the South West of England. A few years ago I suffered a nasty back injury and as a result I was unable to keep on working a full time job. I have always liked writing and had many a notepad full of ideas and the beginnings of books. One day I stumbled across an article on Amazon’s self-publishing platform. With time on my hands I figured why not turn one of my half finished stories into a full book, mainly just to see if I could, so I did.


Where do you get your inspiration from for your writing and for the way you brand yourself as an author?

For me King is King and long live the King. I am increasingly working in the short story format and have produced three anthologies so for and am currently working on my fourth. Inspiration for a short story with a twist really comes from the world around me. It could be a news article that makes me think “what if?” What if the outcome was different, what if something else happened that changed the whole complexion? Normally I start at the end with a twist and work backwards from there.


If you could pinpoint one thing in particular that has grabbed readers of your work, what would you say it is? I.e. What do you think it is about your work that makes readers buy your books?

I always try and write stories with some depth to them. There is a market for the gross out horror fan, especially amongst younger readers, but my audience seem to be older readers. I’d like to think that I write with a decent pace, interesting and exciting situations, but all with three dimensional characters that you’ve come to care about.


You have enjoyed best-selling status – is there a particular moment in your career as an author that you realized that you had done something right to get where you are now? Can you pinpoint what it was that spiked your success to date?

When I first started self-publishing about two and a half years ago, the market was less saturated and you could do a free giveaway and I’d average maybe 3000 downloads a day without any marketing. Now without any advertising you’d be lucky to see 100 [downloads]. I set myself a deadline of three books to see some improvement in sales figures to give me any encouragement to keep going. Luckily, after the first two sank without trace, the third offering was a horror thriller called “Gated” which was a more deliberate attempt to produce something with more of a commercial appeal. The going was slow but with a lot of patience and determination sales started to pick up, reviews were good and I had a big free giveaway weekend which netted me around 31,000 downloads. My next book was a horror anthology called “Asylum – 13 Tales of Terror” which sold about 1600 books in the first month with no marketing. I am a firm believer that as long as your work is decent, once people see it they will buy it. The obvious problem with Amazon now is getting your book high enough up the charts for readers to see it.


Did you try to get publishing contracts for your books early on with traditional book publishers? If so, did you have any success there or if not what was it that made you decide to self-publish the majority of your work?

Yes. I sent out my stuff to every agent and publisher that accepted submissions. I did finally sign a deal with a publisher based in San Francisco who then unfortunately went out of business about four days before my launch.


Why self-publish?

The great thing about self-publishing is that anyone can do it; unfortunately, the bad thing is also that anyone can do it. I believe that a lot of readers have had their fingers burnt by poor work and can be more sceptical and less willing to give a new author a chance. Self-publishing also gives an author time to grow and breathe, time to develop and time to forge a very thick skin. The only way to get better is to write and write a lot.


How important do you think awards are, to an independent self-published author’s success?

This is a tough one as awards look great on your Amazon page when trying to entice a reader and I have entered a few and won a few. But there are also a lot of “vanity” awards out there that are tantamount to simply buying one. I would say always look for the larger and more prestigious award ceremonies.  


Once you have decided that self-publishing might be your route, what financial and artistic considerations should you keep in mind before you begin?

Writing a novel really costs you nothing but time. Financially, you will need a proof reader at the very least. There are sites that sell cover designs if you are not artistically equipped. If you are writing for yourself then just write. If you are hoping to build a career or make money then first realise that the odds of any of us hitting the big time are pretty slim. I have been writing for almost three years and at the moment I am making a wage (I would dread to try and calculate my hourly rate as it would be lower than minimum wage when you add up hours versus reward)

What do you see as your most innovative promotional strategy?

Social media is always an excellent source for growing an audience. Once you start to build a readership they are a fantastic tool to use.


What kind of marketing did you do to establish your author brand and what do you think is the most successful marketing for self-published authors? Is there any one thing that you have determined has helped you sell more books – i.e. could you outline your path to establishing your brand and your most successful sales method/s as?

Marketing myself is always an area where I really should be doing more. I think that it all comes down to download numbers and that can be a matter of luck. Facebook and Twitter are crucial to getting yourself out there. I do a few book tours before every launch mainly to garner quotable reviews that I can use on my Amazon page. Again, interacting with readers is great, as it can give you excellent feedback to be able to communicate with your audience to beta test books to make sure that your customers are going to like the next project. Websites and blogs are a great marketing tool but as always what you write only matters if people are reading it. I always put clickable adverts for my other books into every Kindle novel along with links to my social media and websites. I also use a mailing service and put a link to sign up for my newsletter in every book. I shudder to think of the tens of thousands of downloads that I had before I started adding links into my books. That’s a hell of a lot of potential return customers that I could have harnessed. If someone likes one of your books then chances are that they would like others, but without directing them to the rest of your catalogue once they’ve put yours down and picked up someone else’s they will forget your name.


What are some current best practices that you’re using to sell books? Any tips?

Without question, BookBub has been by far the most successful site that I’ve used to date. The drawback though is that it is incredibly difficult to get a novel accepted and seems to be getting more difficult by the day. I’ve managed to get four promotions with them and I’m about to do my fifth and their numbers are fantastic whether it’s a free giveaway or a $0.99 sale. The initial downloads are very high but it’s the knock on effect on sales for maybe three months after that you can make your money back several times over.

How important are ‘series’ books to your success as a self-published author?

I think that they are great when trying to establish a brand. I have published “Gated” and “Gated II” with plans for a third to end the trilogy. I have also published a horror anthology collection called “After Darkness Falls I and II” and I am currently writing a sequel to “Asylum – 13 Tales of Terror”


Do you design your own covers? How important do you think cover design is to a potential reader and how big a part do you think it has played in your success to date?

I design all of my covers. I have a background in design so fortunately I am able to design (hopefully) decent covers. The cover is the only part of the book that can draw a reader’s eye when they are staring at an Amazon page full of potential reads, it has to draw them in as readers have so many choices now.


In your opinion, is traditional publishing on the way out? Do you think that traditional publishing can continue to keep up with the rise of self-publishing?

I think that self-publishing is growing at a fast rate and the impact has been felt by publishers as many are now trying to poach the most successful. Amazon now have several publishing companies that will recruit successful self-publishers and promote them above us little guys.


Would you ever consider signing all your books to a traditional publishing house or will you always mange some of your titles yourself through self-publishing?

I still send stuff off to publishers from time to time and I would always try a traditional route if one was offered to compare the two processes if nothing else. There is still a part of me that can’t help but feel I haven’t made it until I was traditionally published.


Have you ever used free book promotions? Do you think they are a worth-while marketing tool for self-published authors? If so/not – why?

Yes I use free promotions all the time. As I’ve said before, the market is so saturated now that a lot of readers can exist solely on free books and never have to buy one. Giving one free book to one reader can turn them into a regular customer. Reviews are also a huge part of attracting new readers and the review to read rate is tiny, something like one review per 1000 downloads. So the more downloads you have the more reviews you will get.


What avenues of self-promotion did you find to be most effective and affordable? What’s the best ‘bang-for-your-buck’ advertising you have employed?

As said before BookBub was by far the most effective.

Do you feel there’s a good sense of community within the self-publishing industry?

There is good and bad everywhere. I’d like to think that the overwhelming majority of people in our field are good spirited souls always willing to hand out advice. There will always be those who resent any kind of success and I have been trolled a few times by obviously disgruntled authors.


Was it always your intention to self-publish, or would you have considered the traditional publishing route had the opportunity presented itself?

My intention at the beginning was always to just finish a book with no thought to sales or downloads. I would like to try the traditional route as publishers are still a mighty machine when it comes to marketing, proofing, editing etc.


What would you say is the single biggest advantage of deciding to self-publish?

You obviously have complete control. You will also have the time to grow, to fail, to improve and develop a thick skin. Hopefully if you stick with it then in time you will hit your stride and be ready for the next step.


Are there things you feel as though you missed out on by not going down the traditional publishing route (working alongside an editor, for example)?

Definitely. When I was briefly signed to my publisher before they went bust I worked with an editor who was reshaping my novel for the commercial market and it was very interesting to see what she thought worked and what didn’t.


Would you recommend other aspiring self-publishing authors pay for particular services? Editing or cover design, for example?

I would always use an outside proof reader that is essential as there is no latitude given to self-publishers when it comes to errors. Readers will demand that your book is as perfect as the new King or Koontz despite them having huge companies with multiple proofers, editors etc behind them. If you can’t design a decent cover then get someone else to do it for you, you might have written a best seller masterpiece but it won’t matter if no one picks it up. 


You use social media a lot and interact with your readership – how important do you think this is to becoming a success as a self-published author?

You have to work hard to develop your audience as you are a one voice screaming for attention amongst millions of others.


Are you in regular contact with other self-published authors and how important was any input you may have received early on in your career?  Do you have a mentor in terms of your self-publishing success – someone who may have inspired you to ‘give it a go’?

Not really, no. It was still relatively new when I started and much of what I learned was through trial and error, but there are lots of things that I wish I’d known then.


Where to from here? Are you currently represented by an agent and are you working with any publishers on future projects?

I am still plugging away on my own. I make a living from writing and am of the opinion that the more work I do the more I stand a chance of attracting attention. I have had a few approaches from publishers, agents and a film company, but as of yet nothing has panned out. I believe that the right deal is out there for me and I’ll find it when it’s meant to be.

Can you offer any advice to fellow writers if you could go back in time and “do it all over?” What’s your top tip for other indie authors?

Proof, proof and then proof again and when you’re finished proof again! A good tip when finishing a novel is to put it away for a couple of weeks and then come back to it with a fresh mind. Always get it proofed by other people, if you can’t find or afford a proof reader then look around your circle of friends and family. Find a professional, someone who works with facts and figures, someone with a meticulous eye like an accountant for instance. Always insert links to a website, blog or social media sites into your Kindle novels, help people to remember you and find other works of yours.

Finally, thanks for sharing your thoughts on self-publishing. Where is the best place for readers to find your books?


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 Matt Drabble, Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors, Self-Publishing, #selfpub, Writing, Amazon Best-sellers, Selfpublishing vs traditional publishing,  William Cook, Interview

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