I met Robert Brabham at a recent Charlotte Writers’ Club meeting and knew he’d make a good addition to the blog. Robert is a short story writer whose genre is uniquely his own, and he shares his thoughts on writing and networking here.
1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
I was determined to have a book “out there” this year and culled together a mixed sampling of my short stories in Does This Knife In My Back Make My Butt Look Big? Tales of Madness, Eisegesis, and Other Unpardonables. It is available on Amazon and Lulu.com. The stories fall under the appellation of speculative fiction, but run the gamut of literary, sci-fi, humorous, experimental, and a couple of out and out horror yarns. I like to call my work “intense fiction.” Faulkner said the job of the writer is to express the conflict in the human heart and I suppose that’s what I’m after. When people ask me where I get my ideas, my response is: I don’t get ideas; they get me.
2. How have your sales been?
Sales have been more than modest without a substantial advertising campaign.
3. How does self-publishing compare with traditional publishing?
I have had success with some short stories with Down in the Dirt magazine, which publishes on demand with Lulu.com and is now available on Amazon. The short stories also appear on their website. Down in the Dirt is more of an independent soul and not a traditional publisher. I self-published my collection of stories with Lulu.com and found their advertising offers prohibitive in cost and have been relying on social media thus far.
4. You’re relatively new to self-publishing. How have you liked it so far?
I appreciate the challenge of self-publishing and am continuing to learn other marketing resources online. It gives one a chance to look for trends as well as failures.
5. What sort of marketing techniques have you used to sell your books, and which ones have been most successful?
Thus far I have only used Facebook and Twitter in my marketing efforts with nominal success. I’m continuing to look for other opportunities when time allows.
6. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
What I’ve learned about self-publishing is that it requires consistent effort to find connections and improve networking. I think YouTube could yield some results with a clever video sprinkled with some pixie dust.
7. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your book, what would it be?
I don’t think I would have done anything differently with my first self-published book except to research other publishers and compare offers. With Lulu.com you can publish basically for free but the text is so light I had to go back and re-upload the manuscript in bold face so it wouldn’t cause eye strain reading it.
8. Independent authors face the obvious challenge of marketing their books without the resources of traditional publishers. What advice do you have for an indie author just starting out?
My advice for an indie author is to build as many networks and connections possible besides Facebook and Twitter. It would be a good idea to price advertising with some online sites that are of interest. It’s really about word of mouth, or rather, e-word of mouth. Believe in yourself. Don’t stop writing.
9. What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the second draft of my third novel and the occasional short story that demands some attention.
10. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
The best description of my writing is speculative fiction, but I enjoy promoting my work as “intense fiction.”
11. How can readers learn more about your books?
Check Amazon for my book and some short stories published with Down in the Dirt magazine as well as their website at scars.tv.