Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors #6 - Russell Blake

Today, I bring to you the last in the first run of the popular interview series:  Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors. This interview imparts a lot of valuable wisdom that serves as a nice summary to this series. Russell Blake is a best-selling self-published author who has steadily climbed the sales ranks since he embarked on his prolific career. From his bio:

"Featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Times, and The Chicago Tribune, Russell Blake is the USA Today bestselling author of twenty-eight books, including Fatal Exchange, The Geronimo Breach, Zero Sum, King of Swords, Night of the Assassin, Revenge of the Assassin, Return of the Assassin, Blood of the Assassin, The Delphi Chronicle trilogy, The Voynich Cypher, Silver Justice, JET, JET – Ops Files, JET II – Betrayal, JET III – Vengeance, JET IV – Reckoning, JET V – Legacy, JET VI – Justice, JET VII, Sanctuary, Upon A Pale Horse, BLACK, BLACK Is Back, BLACK Is The New Black, and BLACK To Reality.
Non-fiction includes the international bestseller An Angel With Fur (animal biography) and How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated), a parody of all things writing-related.
Blake co-authored an action/adventure novel, The Eye of Heaven, with legendary adventure author Clive Cussler, to be released by Penguin in September, 2014.
Blake lives in Mexico and enjoys his dogs, fishing, boating, tequila and writing, while battling world domination by clowns.
Russell is a proud member of RABMAD – Read A Book, Make A difference."

Let's get into it, here he is, Mr Russell Blake:

You are a New York Times Best-selling author who has published most of your own work – can you tell us how you managed to get on the NYT best-sellers list? I.e. Obviously you sold a lot of books but what is it that you did to get on that particular list and receive that distinction?
I’ve been on the NYT and the USA Today bestseller lists numerous times, both co-authoring with Clive Cussler as well as with a few of my self-published efforts. I honestly don’t remember the first time, but I think it was a bundle I did that featured JET, which is also my biggest selling series.
Where do you get your inspiration from for your writing and for the way you brand yourself as an author?
I like to say it’s a combination of fear and desperation that drives the ideas, although the truth is that real life offers so many ideas the shortage isn’t in potential plots, it’s in the time to write them. I was a big fan of all the usual conspiracy thriller authors when I was growing up – Ludlum, Le Carre, Higgins, Follet – and so when I decided to try my hand at writing I gravitated toward what I read. I mean, I also love Tom Harris and Stephen King and the usual marquee names, but I cut my teeth on conspiracy/espionage thrillers, so that’s what I started with, and it later evolved into more of an action thriller thing, a la James Bond-ish fare. As to my branding, I struggled initially, because I wanted to avoid being pigeonholed as any one thing, but I quickly figured out that you need to be able to quickly summarize who you are for readers, as in, at a glance, or for many it’s just too muddled and they move on to something that’s clearer. As an example, Clive Cussler, you know exactly what you’re getting. Robert Ludlum, same thing. So I wanted to brand myself the go to guy for action thrillers, which is what I ultimately focused on. Ironically, I’ve written noir mysteries with my BLACK series, which does very well, and have tried my hand at everything from NA romance under the R.E. Blake pseudonym, to conspiracy fare like Umberto Eco and Dan Brown write, but what I think most identify the Russell Blake brand with is action thrillers, which is how I prefer it.
How important do you think non-fiction titles are to self-published authors hoping to enjoy best-selling status? I.e. Do you think that your non-fiction titles have helped your fiction sell and/or vice-cersa? 
 My non-fiction have done zero for my fiction. If anything, that was one of the early lessons I learned: target a genre with laser focus and establish yourself in that genre. Don’t dick around trying to be all things, be really, really good at one thing and become known for it, then, if you want, try branching out – but only after you’ve made your mark and are well established in your target genre. Don’t genre hop, don’t get distracted, and most importantly, make it very easy for your reader to know what they’re getting when they buy one of your books. You bounce around, you’re a question mark, and life’s too short for most to guess what you’re going to deliver next.

You are a best-selling Amazon author – can you pinpoint what it was that spiked your success to date? Apart from the writing is there anything that you can isolate that helped your books climb the ranks?  
Sure. I remember when Amazon’s Select program first came out in December of 2011, I didn’t participate in it for the first month, and then regretted the hell out of not doing so when I saw some of my buds hitting massive sales numbers after free promotions. So I put a book into the program in January, 2012 – The Geronimo Breach – and I want to say it sold five or six thousand copies after a free run, and pulled sales of my other dozen titles with it. For about six months there, it was like you could do no wrong with Select and a free run because of how the algorithms treated the free downloads, and you’d shoot into the top 10 on the Amazon store as paid after it was done. That visibility brought thousands of sales of a title, and because I had so many titles I could run a Select promo on, I was able to do a new title every three weeks or so and restart the cycle. By the time the algorithms softened somewhat, I’d already had ten or twelve bites at that top 100 apple, and the sales became self-sustaining as readers began trusting the brand to deliver what they wanted. But I think it really turbocharged when I released the first four installments of my JET series in Oct-December of 2012. It really went massive from that point on, and I remember spring of 2013 I was pinching myself at the sales figures every month. Those were truly the good old days.
For more of this fascinating interview, please visit Self-Publishing Successfully for full transcript.



#selfpub, Amazon Best-sellers, Interview, Russell Blake, Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors, Self-Publishing, Selfpublishing vs traditional publishing, William Cook, writing

Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors #5 - April M Reign

Today we have a very special guest, best-selling author, April M. Reign.  This from her bio: April was born and raised in Southern California by her happily married parents. She is the oldest of three daughters and considers both of her sisters to be her best friends. Growing up, she was involved in many sports: softball, surfing, tennis, and Kenpo karate. Many weekends at the beach with her family included her father packing up the long boards and teaching all three daughters how to ride a wave. The activity that stands out the most for her is the thirteen years that she spent studying karate with her family. The family’s karate days remain as some of her fondest memories. Sports weren’t the only activities that she enjoyed. She played the accordion for twelve years and even played for Jerry Lewis kids fundraisers. During those years, she learned how to read and write music.
       Besides writing music, during her high school years, she also discovered her passion for writing words. At fifteen, she began writing poetry. By the time she reached the age of twenty, she was writing short stories, with no other intention than to get the stories from her mind to paper. At twenty-one years old, she married and shortly after, two handsome sons graced her life. When her marriage ended, she faced the long, difficult path of raising her two boys into strong, well-mannered young men. She took on the task with fervor. In order to support her children, she worked as a litigation analyst for ten years at a large company and began to pursue a career in law. After long hours in college and even more hours at the law library, while still raising her children alone, she realized that practicing law was not the dream that she wanted to live. She spent the next eleven years as a U.S. Customs Broker, working directly with the FDA and FWS, clearing international shipments into the country. While she worked full time and raised two adolescent boys, she also decided to follow her dream to write a book. A year later, Enticing the Moon was published. Since then, she has written more than 25 novels and several short stories, and has entered many writing contests, winning first place on several occasions. As an indie author, April M. Reign writes and publishes her own books. With the increase in her book sales, she was able to give up her job in the corporate world and pursue her dream of writing stories, which she hopes capture the attention and intrigue of her readers.
      And here she is, sharing much valuable information for those of you interested in the writers' life and Self-Publishing.

Where do you get your inspiration from for your writing?

Oh William, there are so many things that inspire me. A dream…a conversation or even a newspaper article can strike up my creativity. However, writing full time can be a lonely job. Therefore, I use my travel vlog, Uncovering California, as a major source of inspiration.

On my vlog, we’ve stepped into an abandoned insane asylum, ventured on a deserted [island] hike to a 1961 abandoned shipwreck, took on haunted cemeteries, and captured the abandoned, yet famous resort, The Salton Sea, where there were three inches of fish bones resting on top of the sand. One adventure to a 1700’s plantation in New Orleans gave us the opportunity to capture on film the same spiritual Orb in two different places on the plantation. It’s those adventures that thrust me into my deepest creative mode. 

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

This is such a great question because I think many people miss the opportunity of branding. I’ve come to realize that writing is the easiest part of this industry and being an indie author who wears many hats is the hardest.

So what is branding and how do I go about it?
Every successful business has a brand and it starts with that reliable logo that makes the consumer feel safe. Amazon, Apple, Mc Donald’s, and Best Buy among a plethora of others have that one logo that gives us, as the consumer, comfort while differentiating them from others that may sell the same service or product.

What does that mean for Indie authors?
It means that your branding should set you apart from the millions of other authors out there as well as give your readers a sense of trust and security when they pick up your books to read. And this is just a tiny part of branding.

When my readers pick up my books, I want them to trust in the quality and consistency of my work. When they see the AMR logo, I want them to get a sense of excitement knowing that my story will have action and intrigue.

Branding isn’t tangible. It’s a feeling, emotion and sometimes physical need provoked by your brand on to the consumer. I’m going to release some free pamphlets on branding and many other things when it comes to being a successful indie author. I encourage your readers to visit my website over the next two months to grab these important downloads that will take a writer from conceiving a story to writing the story to marketing and discovering success.  

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?

Originally, I did NOT try to get a publishing contract. What was a publishing contract? My once naïve mind thought writers like Stephen King and Nora Roberts only got things like that.

I’ve always been a writer but my first book, I wrote for my family. Having no idea how to go about obtaining a publishing contract, I used a vanity press to publish my book, so I could hand the paperback out to family and friends. After I wrote my second book, I discovered Amazon’s self-publishing platform. The first month that my book was live on Amazon, I made $90.00. That was an exciting time. The second month it had increased to $423.00 and by the third month, I’d reached an unconceivable amount of $1500.00.

Why would I go to a traditional publisher?
Because. Like every writer, in the early stages of our craft, we want validation by a company of people that may know more about the industry than we do. So, I submitted my third book to a mid-sized publisher. I got an email back stating they were interested, but they wanted me to re-work my first chapter. I cringed. That was the only chapter they had read so far.

I’d already had the taste of being my own boss, and being my own creative team. I thought long and hard and realized that whether they were right or wrong, I didn’t want to give up that side of my creativity. I wasn’t ready to turn over my work and have it torn apart (not in editing, I’m okay with that) in storyline, title or vision. I published my third book and watched my sales on the 6th month go from $2400.00 to $3600.00. This was a dream come true!

Why self-publish?

Self-publishing or traditional publishing is a personal journey. As stated above, you know which journey I chose and the reason why. I encourage new writers to consult themselves, their needs, their goals before making the decision. 

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

This is going to sound strange but I think it plays a big part in how successful you are as an indie author.

Are you a controlling person or are you able to let go of work and delegate?
Either one can be successful, but if you’re controlling and you go against your nature by letting go, you may spend most your time worrying if things are getting done right. With that said, if you’re able to let go, but you try and do it all, you may become overwhelmed with the various outlets you’ll need to know in this industry.

So, first, determine your personality. If you want to take on all the work yourself, you’ll save money but lose time. Let me say that again: YOU’LL SAVE MONEY BUT LOSE TIME! Keep in mind, in this business, time is valuable. When you lose time, you’ll have to set your writing aside to accomplish the other demands of indie publishing.

What needs to be done after the story is written?

·      Editor
·      Interior formatting for eBook
·      Book cover Design
·      Publish on various platforms
·      Promotional setup and planning
·      Interior formatting for paperback
·      Paperback book cover design

These are a few of the things that you can do yourself or outsource to a professional. Keep in mind, if you’ve never done graphic design before, your book cover will probably not look as professional as you want it to look. Also, editing is a must and formatting is important. As I stated earlier, remember branding.  You don’t want readers to see your author name and cringe because they know the interior will be completely off or the editing will be non-existent.

Your name. Your brand. Your decision.
Those free pamphlets I talked about will have a deeper list of duties as an indie author plus links to places where you can start to hire your team, or learn to do those things yourself. They will be on my website and launched over the next two months.

What do you see as your most innovative promotional strategy?

There are so many strategies that an indie author can use to promote their work. I don’t have a “most” innovative strategy because we’re in a very noisy world on Amazon and social media, so it’s been trial and error for me.

Some things have worked like a charm and others have left a lot to be desired. In the end, I’ve put together a list of those do’s and dont’s according to my years of experience. There is one amazing promotion that I did, which garnered 23,000 downloads in 4 days. It was a remarkable strategy that I will share with you on those free pamphlets I’ve talked about . . .
For more of this fascinating interview, please visit Self-Publishing Successfully for full transcript.



 #selfpub, Amazon Best-sellers, Interview, April M Reign, Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors, Self-Publishing, Selfpublishing vs traditional publishing, William Cook, writing

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
apathy/hope . . .
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,

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.”
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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.


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Hope you enjoy 'em.

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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 . . .

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



So you wanna be an indie horror writing superstar?

This article outlines the pros and cons of being an indie horror author on Hey, fellow writers! If you’ve got a penchant for wri...