David Carroll has found a way around the boundaries of traditional publishing, going it alone as a self-published indie author. Learn more about his writing and which marketing methods have worked best for him.
1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.
Princess Nenji is named as the next queen when a dragon hunts down the royal family. But before she can claim her throne, she must resolve the politics about her being a Mage’s apprentice, and embark on a quest to stop the Dragon King from finishing the job. She meets fascinating creatures, and learns a lot about herself along the way.
2. Why did you become an indie writer?
The publishing industry has been in chaos since 2009. Very few new authors are given the royal treatment anymore. No one can be “just an author” until they sell enough books to pay someone to do everything else. While distribution methods have been accessible to everyone, and marketing is required of authors whether indie or traditional, it seemed like a good time to go it alone.
3. Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?
I have not been traditionally published because the big publishers need me to prove myself first, and the small publishers might not survive long enough to get my books to print.
4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
I knew it would be a lot of work. I have had more success than I can give myself credit for. I haven’t to date done enough marketing to warrant the number of book sales I am seeing. There is plenty of freedom in self-publication.
5. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been the most successful?
I have scheduled book signings, provided blog interviews, and I even paid for advertising on a website. One of the book signings was moderately successful, while the other was marginally successful. The advertising I did yielded no results. The technique which has proved most successful is to let people know what I do. If they ask more questions, I have an avenue to sell my book.
6. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
The internet ads weren’t directed enough and did not generate any sales. I discontinued those right away. Blogging so far has not generated any comments, so it is difficult to keep that up. Using Facebook at least shows me people are reading what I post, but again, no comments. I am still looking for the golden marketing technique.
7. Which services or vendors do you recommend for the marketing methods you used?
When I printed business cards, I had them done at the UPS Store. They do a good job, and pay attention to customer service. I haven’t compared prices, so I can’t say if they are the cheapest, but their prices are reasonable. They also printed copies of the covers for my e-books, and a banner I used at a book signing at the county fair.
8. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
Marketing is a very difficult task. Be prepared to do a lot of marketing which yields no results until you find a technique that works. Marketing can and should take as much time as writing the book.
9. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
I would hire a professional editor before publishing. Find a budget and treat the craft as an investment, because if you don’t invest both time and money, no one will ever know who you are.
10. 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?
Keep trying. Expect to fail, and try again. Boldness and charisma go farther than a cool graphic or a catchy hook line.
11. What are you currently working on?
I am working on the second draft of the prequel to my first novel. The two books are very independent, but both are needed to understand what will come next.
I am also working on a different series using the future prophecies as the plot to the novel. Yes, it’s been done before, but not by a competent author and scriptorian.
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?
YA Fantasy and Apocalyptic Future, but not in the same series.
13. How can readers learn more about your books?
They can see all my works at grendelmen.com. E-books are also available through every major e-book distributor, and paperbacks are available through Createspace. Once they’ve read the books and still want to know more, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.