Stuart Carruthers, author of As the Crow Dies, had two very good reasons for skipping the traditional publishing route: speed and creative freedom. He explains why reviews are important and why you should create a buzz around your book before it’s released.
1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book. Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.
A high speed, action packed novella set in China. Hong Kong resident and journalist Harry Patterson is sent to investigate a mundane story about a new CEO at a technology company. But when there’s a murder and the secret service are involved, Harry’s world gets turned upside down and it leads him to discover more about the underbelly of China than he ever knew.
2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?
Fear of rejection! But seriously I think it’s a sure fire way to get your book out to the public in the quickest time.
3. Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?
No. I opted not to spend my time touting the book to agents for a couple of reasons: (i) speed; it takes a long time to get an agent and then if you get lucky, sell it to a publisher who then takes a year to get it to market (ii) I have more creative freedom; if the book doesn’t sell, I can revise the description and the content to push things in a different direction.
4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
It’s early days, I only published the book at the end of January, so I haven’t really come to grips with marketing it or myself.
5. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been the most successful?
So far I use LinkedIn and Facebook but I need to be a lot more active in promoting myself. I’ve also created a paperback version using CreateSpace which will be out in March. I’m also using Kindle Select to exclusively give Kindle users the right to borrow my book. Combined with these I also harass friends to write reviews on the Amazon site because the more reviews you get the better the rankings.
The trick with joining all these groups is finding the right one. There are millions of authors out there, and where before the publishers and agents were the gatekeepers, now there is a lot of noise. I’m still testing the waters but I suspect that Kindle may be the best way in the short term to get my name into the public domain.
6. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
7. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
Get as many people as you can to read the book before you publish it. Mine was edited by three very good people but typos were still discovered and as authors it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
Create a buzz before the book comes out. This is hard to do if you’re not an established author and it’s also difficult to plan when your book will come out. But try some advanced marketing. Join the groups early.
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?
If at first it doesn’t succeed, try try again. There is a lot of noise out there.
10. What projects are you currently working on?
There is another Harry Patterson novel due out by the end of Q2 and there will be an unrelated sci-fi novel out later in the year as well.
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?
Soft-boiled fiction, slightly edgy but exciting and fast paced.
12. How can readers learn more about your books?
As the Crow Dies is available on Amazon.
My website is here.
Facebook site is here.