Roland Page draws on his career experience to craft compelling stories. In this interview, he explains his own careful approach to marketing.
1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
Eating the Forbidden Fruit is a gritty fiction novel loosely based on events in my past as a St. Louis police officer convicted of federal crimes because of my childhood affiliation. The nightmarish reality of a cop being booked in as a criminal. My passion for writing was fueled by managing depression from Lupus. A coping technique.
2. How have your sales been?
Well my book launched on March 30, 2020 therefore I have my fingers crossed. Yet I wrote my novel not for financial gain but to maintain my sanity. If it does well I would like to donate some proceeds to a Lupus foundation that helps indigent patients.
3. You’ve chosen self-publishing. How have you liked it so far? Talk about some of the positives and negatives you’ve encountered.
Positives is that the creative control is in your hands, plus the residuals. Negative is that unless you have an adequate budget to market your product, your exposure is limited. It could be the best keep secret. Traditional publishing resources aren’t abundant for new indie authors like myself.
4. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?
I was a music marketer for my son’s hip-hop career in the past. I used similar campaign strategies such as social media marketing, making effective alliances with season industry people, and establishing a viral presence. Grind hard, grassroots game plan. I am pleased with the results but it can always be better.
The literary world, however, is a bit different than the cut-throat music world. The music world is so envious and competitive. Artists will intentionally release a project the same date as yours to hurt your sales and A&Rs will encourage it.
5. Talk a little about the sort of marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books.
I read and research quite a bit. I will compare advice then execute. I search for beneficial social media marketers, not just posting or over exaggerating followers, but those who are interactive with the audience. I also reach out to experience gurus in the industry.
6. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
I try not to hire people who are currently campaigning their book because their focus is absorbed into their project. I read reviews because a lot of marketers’ blogs do not have traffic or influence but a lot of ego. Hard workers leave a productive path.
7. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
I have established a 30-year tattoo business in the St. Louis downtown area, Pearl Tattoo Gallery. My sons have ownership now. Additionally in my music management era my son, Yung Ro, charted the music Billboard charts four times independently. With that being said, I knew you have to spend money to make money. Or to be effective.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
It’s hard to prematurely say because I’m hoping I’m making some of the right decisions. I am never opposed to constructive criticism.
9. New authors face the challenge of getting their books into the hands of readers. What advice do you have for an author just starting out?
Well, my research has guided me to gaining subscribers, a mouth-watering newsletter, and most importantly, a great book. I put my heart and soul into this book. It’s a tale of karma, confession, and redemption. As real as it can get. I choose fiction to protect and respect the privacy of the characters in my story.
10. What other projects are you currently working on?
Eating the Forbidden Fruit is my rise and fall in law enforcement. My future novels are Skin Deep based on the temptations and experiences as a tattooist. Walking the Purple Road is based on my 90-day stay in the hospital battling Lupus with my family by my side. I can count on one hand the times my wife left my side. My sons’ crying encouraged me to fight while my organs were failing.
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?
All my literary projects will scream real-life experiences I have encountered during my life journey.
12. How can readers learn more about your books?
For all social media and updates, go to my website and subscribe.