Jason King

Jason King is a fantasy epic writer looking to carve out a unique niche in the genre.  Here he talks about his book, which marketing tools have worked, and which ones haven’t.

1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?

My book is called Valcoria: Children of the Crystal Star, and is a fast-paced, high-action, epic fantasy.  Those familiar with the works of Robert Jordan, Jim Butcher, and Brandon Sanderson will recognize a similar flavor in my writing.  Valcoria has several main characters, and often changes narrative points of view, but the plot centers around a teenage street-thief named Yuiv, and a soldier-swordsman named Sitrell who are thrown together when their city is attacked by an invading army.  Through the efforts of an anonymous sympathizer, they escape execution and are given vital information that they need to deliver to the leaders of their kingdom.

As they undertake an urgent quest to save the kingdom of Amigus, Yuiv and Sitrell soon learn that they are part of something much larger in scope than simple political intrigue or war.  They are players in a conflict between two gods, one striving to protect Valcoria and mankind, and the other seeking to rule and destroy it.

2. How have your sales been?

I’ve sold more e-books than printed copies, which is what I expected and in line with the current industry trends.  It hasn’t taken off the way I had hoped, but the blame for that is on my lack of marketing, something that I am trying to remedy.

3. You have not sought a traditional publisher.  Why?

Originally, I was pitching my manuscript to agents and publishers, but wasn’t having much luck.  A friend suggested I try Amazon KDP, and so I published Valcoria myself as something of an experiment.

4. You’re relatively new to self-publishing.  How have you liked it so far?

I am very new at self-publishing.  I think with the way the publishing industry is changing, and the rise of popularity of e-books, this outlet has great potential.  I know in the past self-publishing was a bit taboo, and I am glad to see the collective sentiment changing – though it can make standing out amid so many new novels a bit daunting.

5. What sort of marketing techniques have you used to sell your books, and which ones have been most successful?

So far I’ve worked the social media angle – Twitter, Facebook – and have had some success.  I also tried a bit of email marketing, and Google Adwords, both with mediocre results.  I’ve also given away copies to both friends and strangers in order to garner some reviews.  I had my film student friend help me with a book trailer that was very well-received.

6. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?

The email marketing.  I don’t have a list and so tried a marketing service.  It is expensive, and the results were poor.  I would avoid doing email marketing unless you’ve personally built an email list (I can hear the collective “well, duh”).

7. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?

That the key is marketing.  You could have written the next fantasy best-seller, but if your marketing is weak, then you’re not going to get anywhere.

8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?

I should’ve done more market research before launching Valcoria.  Also, I think creating pre-release hype is an effective marketing tool that I failed to utilize.

9. 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?

Design a detailed marketing plan before you publish.

10. What projects are you currently working on?

The sequel to Valcoria, an untitled fantasy novel, and a YA fantasy-comedy that I am taking down the traditional publishing path.

11. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?

That’s a tough one.  I would say that I would market my brand this way: “Jason King: author of epic, fast-paced, and spiritually profound fantasy sagas.”

12. How can readers learn more about your books?

Of course my website, but I actually think my Goodreads page is a better resource.