1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
My latest book (June 2020) is Arthur Rex Brittonum (Arthur King of the Britons). It’s my story of the real King Arthur hidden behind the legend. In fact, it is the second and final part of my two-part Arthur series, following on from 2019’s Arthur Dux Bellorum, although it can be read as a standalone novel. I decided to use Arthur’s Latin (Roman) titles, for historical authenticity, in the book titles.
A major influence on my storytelling from my research, was the writings of a Christian monk, Nennius, in History of the Briton People, published around the year 820 – roughly three hundred years after the real Arthur lived. Nennius not only mentions Arthur by name, but attributes twelve winning battles to him, naming him as “Dux Bellorum” (duke or leader of battles). Intriguingly, Nennius names Arthur as the leader of the combined army of the kings of the Britons, but does not say if he is one of the kings, leaving his status open to speculation.
My motivation was to write a believable, although fictitious, account of a real historical six century figure whose name is associated with a fantastical legend, and by doing so add credence to the ongoing search for evidence of is existence.
2. How have your sales been?
E-book and paperback sales of my historical series, A Light in the Dark Ages, have been modest – in the hundreds rather than thousands – since the series began with Abandoned in 2015. Writing and publishing roughly one book a year, the new book, Arthur Rex Brittonum, is book five in the series.
Each book launch is an opportunity to promote and sell the new title and previous books in the series, often with time-limited discounts on e-books. Discounting paperbacks is not realistic, as my pricing policy is based on cost plus a very narrow margin.
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 suits me because I easily worked it out owing to my background of working in newspaper and magazine publishing. I find the Amazon KDP platform and fee guide book very easy to use, and now they have both paperback publishing under the same umbrella. I enjoy formatting my e-books and paperbacks, and the only services I pay for are proof-reading, copyediting, cover design, and advertising.
In addition to the Amazon KDP platform, I now also publish my e-books on Apple i-books, Kobo, Nook, and subscription services like Scribd and Montadori, using the draft2digital platform. However, Amazon insists that if authors use other non-Amazon e-book platforms in addition to KDP, they must not make their books available on Kindle Unlimited (KU).
4. What sort of networking do you have as an author, and what have been the results?
I have built a social media network consisting of Facebook pages, Twitter, Instagram and a website. I also do email marketing via MailChimp with a monthly newsletter. It is about building a following of, hopefully, receptive readers. I have joined relevant Facebook groups that allow promotion, and I have experimented with Facebook and Twitter advertising, with minimal benefit. I find the best way to promote a new title is to arrange a blog tour and appear on as many book blogs as possible – talking directly to active readers of fiction.
5. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
I knew a lot about publishing, but had to grow as a creative writer. I joined a local writers’ group and that helped me a lot with confidence, and having access to training and resources. It’s important to format your books weeks before your intended launch date, so that you can load them up to KDP or D2D and then preview them, making note of anything that needs changing. Similarly, with your paperback, you can order author copies and see how it looks when they’re in your hand.
6. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
When I started, I designed my own book covers. I changed the covers for books one and two in my historical series, once I’d decided it would become a series, and found a suitable designer to work with. I had learned that an experienced graphic designer’s eye is better than my own, and have built in cover design as a cost of publishing. Having said that, two of my books have my own cover designs – Thames Valley Tales (my photo and layout), and my book of verse, Perverse.
7. 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?
Once you’ve decided what type of book you want to write, read in and research your genre. You need to tailor your marketing and promotion to your target readership, so learn how to reach them. Learn how to use key words advertising, Facebook groups, and direct marketing via email lists.
8. What other projects are you currently working on?
In addition to a historical fiction series, I’m also writing a children’s book series, The Adventures of Charly Holmes, with my teenage daughter, Cathy. We made up a character, Charly (Charlotte) Holmes, a girl detective, then developed adventure stories based on my daughter’s interests. Charlie Holmes books were already being done by two other authors (be sure to put your intended book title into the search box on Amazon to see if there are other books already with that title. If it’s been done already, best pick something else!).
I occasionally push out collections of short stories, the latest book, Perverse, also has poems.
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?
Visit timwalkerwrites.co.uk for your one-stop destination for historical fiction, short stories, children’s books, and a dystopian novel. I now have a brand logo (after attending a marketing course!):
10. How can readers learn more about your books?
Readers can find me via my website and by following me on social media. Also, please sign up to my monthly newsletter for the latest news, guest authors, guest poets and reviews – and get a free short story download: