1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
Though my latest and fourth book is The Metro-Maniac Chronicles, my favorite is Double One Zero (110) – Out of the Shadows, my third book and my first fully fiction work. It’s my ode to the action and spy genre. Double One Zero (110) – Out of the Shadows is a story about deception and one man’s quest to find his identity. The journey will take him across the other side of Earth and then back to the capital of India, Delhi. Along the way, he will try to pick up the pieces and solve the puzzle that his life is. One of the review of my book stated, “Bordering on the line of Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, if you love mystery, thriller and embrace adequate inquisitiveness about one’s earnest question for identity, then this the book for you.”
2. How have your sales been?
My book was released in January 2020 and it was well-received. Sales of the paperback version were steady until the lockdown. E-book sales has been good as well.
3. You’ve chosen self-publishing. How have you liked it so far? Talk about some of the positives and negatives you’ve encountered.
Self-publishing has been a gift for us indie writers. I have only seen positives so far. It is easy, is accessible to all, it can be customized as per your budget, and it is less time consuming. Traditional publishing is the opposite of all this.
Those who vouch for traditional publishing must understand that seldom would a reader pick up a book because of the publisher. Readers choose books based upon the cover page, the summary, and probably because of the author. So it doesn’t make any difference if you are a traditionally published author or a self-published one. Content is king and readers will choose your book irrespective of whether it is published through self-publishing or traditional publishing.
4. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?
I have mostly done networking through social media marketing. Most works by indie authors are only available online, and not at a bookstore, so social media marketing is key. My budget is divided 80:20 when it comes to money reserved for marketing versus publishing. The results have been good, not excellent, because I am still working on creating a brand for myself. It’s been only two years since I started writing and I have four published books. Networking is a continuous process.
5. Talk a little about the sort of marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been most successful?
I use paid marketing on Instagram and Facebook, along with networking on various Facebook groups. Apart from this I also use LinkedIn for marketing, but only the one which is available in a free profile. Haven’t tried paid marketing on LinkedIn yet. I also write on my website as well using Blogger.com. The response has been good, and over time my bandwidth has increased. I conduct a lot of webinars, and authors are generally looking for a shortcut. I always suggest that they be patient because book marketing takes a lot of time and effort.
6. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
My techniques are still in the experimental phase so I haven’t discontinued any. But I keep adding new things.
7. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
When I started writing I had no idea about publishing in general. But over time I haven’t learned a lot of new things. The first book was all about spending huge money for publishing alone and that left me virtually no money for marketing. The most important thing I have learned with my subsequent books is what I like to call the 80:20 rule of book publishing. I have learned that marketing is the key to book sales.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
With every book I have learned something new and I have tried to do that thing differently with my subsequent books. It’s a continuous process so very hard to pinpoint one thing.
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?
Most new authors feel disheartened when their books don’t sell. My message to them is to learn the basic quality required to be an author, and that is patience. Don’t compare book sales with any other product sale. Have patience and have a long-term plan for your book. Anybody working with only a short-term plan will end up feeling demotivated way too soon which is something you don’t want in publishing. Also, write a book to write and not just sell. Sales are important but they can’t be the ultimate goal of writing a book. Think big.
10. What other projects are you currently working on?
I am working on a biography of a cancer survivor and I am also working on my first anthology, a collection of short stories. Also, I am keen on a sequel for Double One Zero (110), hopefully that will come out in late 2020.
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?
I don’t know if this is good or not, but one sentence that describes my brand of writing would be, “I write from my heart so that I can find me so that I can live.”
12. How can readers learn more about your books?