Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors #10 – Jeremy Bates


Welcome to the tenth interview in the popular series, Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors. Today's guest is award-winning author Jeremy Bates. Jeremy is a Canadian/Australian author. His work typically explores the darker side of human nature and the novels in his "World's Scariest Places" series are all set in real locations, such as Aokigahara in Japan, The Catacombs in Paris, and Helltown in Ohio. He is also the author of the #1 Amazon bestseller White Lies, which was nominated for the 2012 Foreword Book of the Year Award. Without further ado, here he is, the talented Jeremy Bates:



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?

Hey, Will. I was born in Canada but now live in Australia. In between I’ve lived all over the place, including Japan, Korea, the Philippines etc. And, sure, I think my life experience has shaped me as an author. Most of my books are set all over the world: Japan, France, Africa, and so forth. I like different places, exotic places. Also, the characters are often from all over, whether they are Japanese, German, British, Australian, French. Part of this is because of where the stories are seat, but I also like using international characters because a lot of people I’ve met, a lot of friends, are from different countries. And you write what you know about, right? I should also mention that living in Japan got me into the horror genre, which is what I write now. My first novel was straight up suspense. My second was more an action thriller. I only started writing horror because I knew about Aokigahara in Japan and thought it would make a great setting for a story. And, given the subject matter, it sort of had to be horror. Anyway, it kicked off the World’s Scariest Places series.



Many of your stories feature elements and tropes from different genres. For example, thriller, horror and travel adventure styles and themes populate most of your work – would you call yourself a slip-stream author? What genre do you most identify your work with?

I would call myself a horror writer, but I focus more on the story than on the genre. Simply put, if I get a good idea for a story, I’ll probably try to write it, regardless of genre. For example, I’ve written several novellas which I would broadly classify as horror, but they could just as easily be dark suspense, or psychological suspense. One even borders on sci-fi.



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

This is an easy question. I get my inspiration from scary real life places. If you do a google search on “scary places” you get pages and pages of results. As far as branding goes, I guess I’ve just branded my books as horror set in real locations.



Your stories are many things –  adventurous, violent, terrifying –  if you could pinpoint one thing in particular that has grabbed readers of your work, what would you say it is?

The settings. People seem to like that they are set in real locations that they could visit, if they so pleased.



You have enjoyed best-selling status on Amazon – 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?

Deciding to self-publish. It’s been great to have complete control over everything. Also, I’m no longer writing for my publisher, or agent, or what I think they think will sell. I’m writing what I want to.



Your first novel was traditionally published. Did you try to get publishing contracts for your other 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?

My first two books were traditionally published. White Lies hit #1 overall in the Paid Kindle Store. But this didn’t translate into a huge windfall of cash for me because traditional publishers take a massive chunk—especially if you’re a first-time author and have a crappy contract. Having said this, I still tried to get Suicide Forest traditionally published. I had a great agent work on it, and he sent it out to the Big Five and others. That was back in late 2013. But I finally got fed up with was all the waiting. It’s a long process if your book doesn’t get picked up right away. So by the time we decided Suicide Forest wasn’t going to sell, it was late 2014, and I already had the next book, The Catacombs, finished. My agent for that one—a different one at Curtis Brown—sent it out to do the rounds. He mentioned if The Catacombs sold, the publisher would probably want to pick up Suicide Forest too. But by then I’d already begun to think about self-publishing Suicide Forest. The way I saw it, even if The Catacombs sold right away, it wouldn’t be published for over a year, so I was looking at a 2016 release date. And if Suicide Forest sold as well, it wouldn’t come out until 2017. That was sort of nuts. I’m a pretty fast writer, and I realized I was going to have this big backlog of titles if I didn’t start self-publishing. So I self-published Suicide Forest. And it did well, sold well, got good reviews. This was when I gave up on traditional publishers. I realized I didn’t need them. I got the rights back to The Catacombs, and released that. I finished up a third book, Helltown, and put that out too. I also wrote four novellas. So instead of having maybe two new books out by sometime in 2017, I now have 3 novels and 4 novellas out in mid-2015. Come 2017 I’ll have a couple more novels out on top of this, plus more novellas etc.



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

I don’t really have any financial/artistic considerations. I do the covers and interiors myself. I have an editor I pay, of course, but it’s not too much.



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?

One, I put links to my Amazon page in the back of all my Kindle books, making it easy for readers who have just finished one book to get the next. And two, I have one book permanently free. This is a big plus because it gets 1000 or so downloads a day, which is a great way to build a readership and far worth the money the book might be making if it weren’t free. Also, I offer a free novella on my website to people who subscribe to my newsletter. I’ve gotten about 5000 subscribers this way since January who I send emails to regarding new releases and so forth . . .


For more of this fascinating interview, please visit Self-Publishing Successfully for full transcript.






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Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors #9 – Armand Rosamilia


Hi again and welcome to the next fascinating interview in the popular series, Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors. This interview is with the very interesting Armand Rosamilia. Armand is a staunch indie author who has been at the coal-face of digital publishing for many years. Along the way he has written many great horror books and has supported and implemented many initiatives in the indie publishing world, especially in his favorite field of zombie horror fiction. Anyway, make sure you subscribe now to get on the mailing list for all updates and new-release information (there is a link with a special offer at the end of this interview if you'd rather get straight into it). Here he is, the talented Mr Armand Rosamilia.


Do you think that your life experience has gone some way towards making you a successful author in your chosen genre? Where do you get your inspiration from for your writing and for the way you brand yourself as an author?


I think life is definitely a great motivator for writing, and especially for my horror work. I use an old joke that I’ve killed my ex-wives over and over in stories, and it isn’t far from the truth. I can channel some of the negatives from my past and find closure in horrible thoughts and people. And kill them. In a story.



You write across a number of different genres, how important do you think diversification is for the survival and success of an indie author?


Build the Brand that is you. I am a horror author who’s had much success writing zombie books. I also write horror erotica, erotica, thrillers, contemporary fiction, ghostwritten a military romance… as long as you stay true to your voice you’re just writing a story with horror or thriller or erotica elements to it. The reader needs to love your writing style and voice first and foremost.



If you could pinpoint one thing in particular that has grabbed readers of your work, what would you say it is? I.e. what is it about your books that keeps your readers coming back for more?


I’d like to think the readers care about my characters and not just the main ones. They are invested in what happens to these people. They cheer for the ‘good guys’ and sneer at the ‘bad guys’ although sometimes it’s hard to tell who is really who. My favourite compliment was from a reader who read my “Dying Days” zombie book and said she dislikes zombie books and at a few points forgot it was a zombie book because the characters are so interesting.



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?


I believe in Karma and helping others. I learned through trial and error simply yelling ‘buy my book, buy my book’ might get you a few initial sales but it pisses off many, many potential readers. I sell more books by helping other authors now, like my two massive zombie blog tours each year, Winter of Zombie and Summer of Zombie. I also love guest posts on my blog, I belong to several re-tweet groups and I collect author-signed books for soldiers in remote areas called Authors Supporting Our Troops. I am a mentor to a couple of new authors and try to answer every question anyone asks. I also do two podcasts on Project iRadio interviewing other authors to promote them. 


You formed your own publishing company (Rymfire Books) to independently publish your books – would you advise other authors to set-up a publishing company to publish their own books, or do you think that the same results can be achieved by a self-published author without forming a publishing company?


Rymfire Books was formed by a man who had money and thought he’d get rich in the publishing business about 5 years ago. He put out my book and some anthologies, got bored and handed it to me. I put out a few anthologies and some of my work but it got to be too much work. I sold the anthologies to Charon Coin Press, who does an excellent job with the “State of Horror” series. I concentrate on my self-published work through it now. In today’s world no one cares if you are self-published and don’t hide behind a pseudo-publishing name. I kept Rymfire Books around because I like the name . . .




For more of this fascinating interview, please visit Self-Publishing Successfully for full transcript.


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