Andrew G. is a science buff who turned his love of astrophysics into a sci-fi novel. In this interview he talks about the task of doing research for one’s writing and explains why he made a book trailer to promote his novel.
1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
My novel, Entropy, is inspired by my love of science, particularly astrophysics. I read Michio Kaku’s (a co-founder of string theory) book “Hyperspace” when I was a teenager and it changed my life (as well as completely kicked open the door to my narrow perception of what reality is). After that I was hooked, I bought every other book Mr. Kaku has written and a lot more from other physicists such as Kip S. Thorne, who has done extensive research on wormholes and practical time travel. While the mathematics are far beyond me, having only taken three calculus courses and a beginner’s differential equations course in college, I am content with marveling at the concepts that are produced year after year in scientific journals and so forth. This novel is a culmination of my enthusiastic love of these related sciences as well as my fascination with the unknown. I’ve had the concept in mind since I was young, slowly building a story line in my head for years. However, it was just recently that I started writing it down into a novel.
2. How have your sales been?
Since I started (which has only been a week), it’s been about a book a day.
3. What has been your experience with traditional publishing?
Hated it. I tried really hard to have a children’s book published, but no one will even talk to you if you haven’t published before or aren’t represented. It’s a system that is biased and viciously subjective in my opinion. I queried 300+ agents and publishers and no one was interested in giving me the time of day…not one.
4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
Loved it. It’s easy and more profitable. I feel that I have so much freedom with my work and I think that even if I do get an offer from a publisher, I would still stick with this. It’s a little more work, what with editing and marketing myself, but so worth it.
5. You do a lot of research for your books. Do you think this is something more writers should be doing?
I could have written ten books with the amount of research I did. I could almost teach a course on theoretical physics with the amount of material just in this novel. I learned how to do Feynman diagrams, principals of quantum physics, types of astral bodies, etc. As well as a lot of biology and even a touch of theology as well. Wikipedia and the Stanford University website were my best contributors. I’d say that each chapter in my novel was worth about 15+ hours of research on average. Writers have to do the research. They are almost obligated by the reader to do so.
6. What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books, and which ones have been most successful?
I don’t know which are the most successful at this point, but I think the book trailer helps a lot. It’s easy to make and all you have to do is post it as a link somewhere. I also participate in the Kindle publishing community forums, another outlet and also a great place for advice. Not so much on Facebook though…still looking into that.
7. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
I don’t think that there are any “bad” marketing techniques. Good or bad, you get people’s attention.
8. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
Probably how to market. It’s something you don’t think about till after you publish and then you realize you have no clue how to do it or where to start. I just saw what others did and built off of that to make my work stand out.
9. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
Probably make it Kindle formatting friendly from the start. It looked horrible the first time it formatted and took a while to get it perfect.
10. 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?
Make some good book trailers for YouTube, that’s your greatest weapon to be heard. If you can do it right, you can get lots of hits in a short amount of time and it promotes it for you. One thing about YouTube that most don’t use is the analytic feature. You can see what countries have seen the trailer and from where people are linking in to see your video (clicks from Facebook, other YouTube pages, etc.)
11. What projects are you currently working on?
It’s another novel, a psychological thriller fantasy, that has to do with lucid dreaming. It’s another concept I have been cooking up for a long time and just now writing.
12. 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 first person narrative is much more immersible and mysterious because you are the main character (like role playing).
13. How can readers learn more about your books?