A.D. McLain writes across a variety of genres, most notably in paranormal romance, and has seen both the indie and traditional sides of publishing. She discusses her latest work, Suriax, and explains the variety of direct marketing tools she uses to reach new readers.
1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book. Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.
If it was legal to kill, would you? Welcome to Suriax, a city where killing is accepted as normal and laws mean everything. Kern must grapple with questions of morality, destiny and a queen who wants him dead. Throw in a pact with a god and you have an event that will change the people of Suriax forever.
2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?
I love the freedom to set my own prices, run my own contests and free promotions, design my own cover and have control over when the book is released. Whether you self-publish or go through a publisher you have to do almost all your own marketing. The only difference is how much you get paid for your work.
3. Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?
I went through publishers and agents for my first two books. That experience was disappointing. The marketing my publishers did for me was miniscule, and I was constantly sent emails on how if I just paid them x amount of dollars they would do some additional marketing. After six years of doing all my own networking and learning everything as I went along, I met other authors who went the self-publishing route. The free services provided by sites such as Smashwords and Createspace are a far cry from the vanity publishers of the past. There isn’t as much of a stigma now in self-publishing. I don’t think I will ever go back to the old way. I learned a lot from my other publishers, and I don’t regret the experiences, but I am glad I have another option.
4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
I love it. In many ways it makes me almost feel more legitimate as a writer. I can create my full body of work and make it available to the world. I don’t have to wait for someone else to approve my writing. Also, it makes me take more responsibility for my book and its contents. There is no one else to go through or edit my book first. I am the final stop and have the final say. When I think it is ready, I publish it. That sense of responsibility makes me feel more professional. I am the writer, the editor, the publisher and the marketing agent. Without me, the book goes nowhere. That was always true, but now I finally understand it.
5. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been the most successful?
I’ve networked with other authors, posted in forums and places such as Shelfari and Goodreads, done a free book giveaway drawing, used Twitter, Facebook and email newsletters. I have a blog and hand out business cards and brochures to people at the doctor’s office, bank or my waitresses at restaurants. With my first book I did book signings at bookstores. So far the only thing that ever resulted in a lot of sales was the book signings, but that only lasted as long as the signing. I never got any residual sales after the signing. I have had some success handing out business cards to people. I had a small increase in sales after I was featured on someone else’s blog. I’m still searching for a way to reach more readers.
6. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
Not that I am aware of. I try just about everything that doesn’t cost money.
7. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
I didn’t know how easy it is.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
I would have written my second book before I published my first so I could follow up on it more quickly. There was a four-year gap between publishing my first two books. Of course some of that was due to financial restraints and the distraction of having my first child.
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?
Just keep writing and networking. Meeting other authors may not help that much with sales, but you do learn a lot and it is good to have that support network to ask questions, share successes and vent frustrations.
10. What projects are you currently working on?
I am working on book three in my Spirit of the Wolf werewolf romance series. It is titled “Wolf of the Future.” For that series I write as A.D. McLain. I am also working on book two in my History of Ondar fantasy series. This is a joint project with my husband. I write as Amanda Young for my fantasy books.
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?
A.D. McLain/Amanda Young writes paranormal romances and fantasy novels where anything is possible, faith is everything and no one can escape their destiny.
12. How can readers learn more about your books?
Author’s website: wotpast.com
Facebook fan page: facebook.com/wotpast