Jake Prytherch uses the responsibilities of his daily life to motivate his writing ventures and to keep himself on his toes. He hopes to keep his readers on the edges of their seats too, and Jake talks about that, his marketing strategy, and why free giveaways are important.
1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.
Heal The Sick, Raise The Dead is a horror mystery about a journey from relative safety tinged with depression into a land of blood and violence. Although there are walking corpses in this book, it is not a “zombie” book. There is very little firepower, there is no army taking out waves and waves of corpses… it is a story about close quarters, grime, and the true terror that a return from the dead would elicit. The protagonist, Guy, is helped (and hindered) on this journey by a strange set of companions, including a huge man with an insatiable hunger for everything (including violence), a small vicious man with an odd ability, and a silent child who watches everything with cold grey eyes. It is a story about unraveling the truth before their sanity unravels instead.
2. Why did you become an indie writer?
I have always wanted to become a writer but have never had the confidence to pursue projects, and even though I actually finished my first novel The Binary Man in 2010 I simply left it to stew on my computer, not wanting any negative feedback. That feeling changed when I recently turned thirty and my wife gave birth to my second daughter. I’ve got a lot of responsibilities now, which feels very empowering! I think I’m doing alright as a father even though it’s a pretty hard job to do well, so I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and try and get a writing career off the ground, as it surely can’t be any harder! I’ve decided to pursue the indie route at the moment as it best suits my current circumstances. I can set my own hours around my job and family (generally very early mornings fueled by coffee), and I have no one to answer to if it all falls flat.
3. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
It has its own hardships, but as writing isn’t my full time job (as much as I want it to be!) I’m not feeling the pinch of having next to no sales, which would cause a lot of stress otherwise. I can publish as quickly or as slowly as I want, promote wherever I want, and so far I have spent nothing on the venture thanks to the wonders of modern distribution networks! Every royalty I get is pure profit. The downsides are of course that trying to get exposure is like shouting in a football stadium in the middle of the champions league final… it’s quite hard to be heard.
4. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
I’m self-publishing, taking criticism, and I’m not afraid of bad reviews, but that doesn’t mean that I think my writing is great, or even good. I know I have a long way to go, and that getting better will only come with practice. I don’t have the time to undertake any more qualifications to help my writing, and there would be no guarantee that I would even find that magic spark that would make me a great writer anyway, so at the moment I’m avoiding all marketing techniques that incur cost! I don’t want to put any money into this, as that will put more pressure on me to be a success. If I become successful eventually I’ll be very happy, but I intend to earn it. Thankfully, the feedback from preview readers of my second book is generally good, so I think that I have improved a little, which is all I’m really aiming for with each book anyway.
5. Which services or vendors do you recommend for the marketing methods you used?
Kindle Direct Publishing – this service is amazing, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to test the waters with their writing. I also recommend KDP Select, where people can borrow your e-book from the lending library, which has given me on average about 500% more royalties than I was receiving for selling a book! You can also promote a book for free for up to five days a quarter, great for getting some reviews under your belt!
6. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
The amount of time that you have to put into marketing, it’s never ending! There are so many sites out there offering various ways of getting the word out, and keeping track of it all is a task in itself, almost as in-depth as writing a novel.
7. Indie authors face the challenge of marketing their books without the resources of traditional publishers. What advice do you have for an indie just starting out?
Don’t be afraid of giving your work away, especially your first. Feedback is vital to get better, and you need reviews for that. Charge incrementally as your work deserves!
8. What are you currently working on?
I’ve recently finished my second novel Heal The Sick, Raise The Dead. I’ve also started on a series of Kindle-only horror novellas, linked in one overarching narrative, called Six Cuts of Flesh. I will hopefully be releasing the first, Shred, around the end of October or beginning of November. I’m supposed to be training for a half marathon at the same time as writing these, so it’s a struggle to juggle it all.
9. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
Life should always have some mystery.
10. How can readers learn more about your books?