K.M. Riley prefers the support offered by traditional publishers. But she knows marketing and networking are still essential, and she shares some of her methods.
1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
Fever Rising is an action-packed dystopian where society has been divided into castes, and the genetically modified fighters are leading a revolution to overthrow the government that owns them.
I was motivated to write Fever Rising when I was working overseas. I had a lot of free time and the inspiration just hit me.
2. How have your sales been?
Sales are decent online. It takes a lot of work trying to promote oneself and make a name for the book. I’ve had more success at local Barnes & Nobles signings where I’ve sold out more than once. There I get a chance to talk to interested readers and answer any questions they might have.
3. You’ve had experience with both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Which do you prefer, and why?
I’ve had experience with both, but I still prefer a traditional publisher. As I’ve stated below, they’re there to help the author succeed, taking a lot of pressure involved in producing the book off the author’s shoulders.
4. What are some of the pros and cons of self-publishing and traditional publishing?
Self-publishing is far more work than a traditional publisher, but one pro is making every decision. You are your own boss. Still, traditional publishers have a team there to support the author, and they help with many phases of production that some authors just don’t have time for. Both, however, require ceaseless amounts of marketing after the book is released.
5. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?
I’ve networked with authors and book retailers alike, and both have had their perks. As expected, retailers like Barnes & Noble give authors a chance to sell and sign copies of their book. This helps the author build an audience and talk to interested fans. I’ve found getting to know authors is generally more of a 1 for 1 deal. You help them, and they help you. Still, every bit counts when trying to promote.
6. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been most successful?
I’ve done everything from ads, to signings, to giveaways. I’ve had the biggest success at signings/author events. There I get to promote at book stores, reaching out to potential readers and building a fan base for the book. I have a physical copy of the book in hand and I try to pique interest with readers who are already there looking for something they might enjoy.
7. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
To be perfectly honest, not really. I’ve tried to do them all since every little bit counts.
8. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
I didn’t realize just how much work is actually involved in promotion and marketing. When I was a first time author I mistakenly thought the hardest part was in writing and releasing the book. I quickly learned that that was the fun part, the challenge came in making a name and pushing sales at every opportunity.
9. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
I wish I took more time releasing my first self-published book, The Spirit. I was so excited to get it out there, I ended up with an editor that didn’t quite help me meet my goals. I ended up releasing quickly then re-releasing a year later with a newer edition.
10. New authors face the obvious challenge of marketing their books. What advice do you have for an author just starting out?
Just keep at it! It’s very easy to fall off or get discouraged. Build an audience, reach out to retailers, try every form of marketing, polish your website, etc. Never stop.
11. What other projects are you currently working on?
I’ve currently wrapped up a D&D module that will be released in the Uncaged Anthology in 2019. I’m working on another module, and I also have a new novel in the works. Plus, I’m writing the story for a video game at work, but I can’t talk much about it.
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?
“Never a dull moment.”
13. How can readers learn more about your books?