Robert VanDusen

Robert VanDusen enjoys writing and works hard to entertain his readers. Find out how he uses cross-promotional efforts as part of his networking strategy.

1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?

The latest book is called Get Out Alive: Run For Your Life. It’s a sequel to my previous book, Get Out Alive. The “elevator pitch” for Run For Your Life is “Black Hawk Down meets Night of the Living Dead.” I’ve been a fan of the zombie genre since I was about ten or so and saw the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead on I believe MonsterVision on TNT. The house I grew up in was across the road from a cemetery so I was just sort of like “Ya know…if this ever actually happens…I do believe I’d be about the first to find out about it.” That was before I happened to sneak a peek into an open grave and saw that they actually bury folks in a cement vault. So…good news there, I guess.

2. How have your sales been?

I have to admit the sales could be better. I’m reasonably convinced that I’ve somehow landed on Amazon’s naughty list. I’ve been working on building more of a social media presence so I can move into crowdfunding so I don’t have to rely on them for printing and distribution anymore.

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 is sort of a double-edged sword in my opinion. I can write what I want without an editor or publisher signing off on it. I’ll be honest, I really don’t think that any mainstream publisher would have let me write Get Out Alive: Run For Your Life today. Thirty years ago? Sure, probably. There’s nothing in there you wouldn’t read in a Stephen King or Clive Barker book.

On the other hand I also don’t have a big publishing house backing me up willing to drop thousands of dollars on advertising campaigns and organizing press events. My books probably won’t end up on store shelves. I don’t have connections in the mainstream press writing gushing reviews. But you know what? It’s worth it in my book.

4. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?

I have a network with a bunch of other writers on Minds and Parler. It’s pretty nice because we all try and cross-promote each other’s work since a lot of us are on the proverbial naughty list and need to fight the algorithm to reach our potential audience.

5. Talk a little about the sort of marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been most successful?

I have a few social media accounts where I promote my work. I also do art of characters and scenes from my books and post them in my DeviantArt gallery.

6. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?

I work really hard to establish a “Good Guy Greg” sort of persona online. All I talk about is what I’m working on and share funny animal memes. I don’t even really swear. I don’t talk about politics or current events because I get annoyed when somebody who wrote a book I liked or starred in a movie that I enjoyed seems to go out of their way to tell people how to vote or, worse yet, they actively seem to hate their fans personally just because they voted differently than them.

There’s enough of that sort of ugliness out there. I don’t need to contribute to it. I’m a hot dog vendor, not a politician.

7. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?

I wasn’t aware of a lot of the behind the scenes stuff, if you follow me. If you don’t toe the line your work will be shadow banned, your posts on social media will be hidden, and you risk getting your life ruined. It’s nuts.

8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?

I really can’t think of much right now. I knew going in that I’d be behind the eight ball self-publishing my work, but I chose to do it because I just want to entertain folks. It genuinely makes me happy to see people reading my books or upvoting my art.

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?

If you have fun writing, your readers are going to have fun reading your story.

10. What other projects are you currently working on?

I’ve got a few things on the fire right now. I’m working on a sequel to my fantasy novel, An Uncommon Burglar, as well as another story following the characters from Get Out Alive: Run For Your Life. I also like doing Choose Your Own Adventure stories through a website I found that I share to my Minds channel or on my SubscribeStar.

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 want you to have as much fun reading my books as I do writing them.

I actually think it’s sort of sad that you can’t really seem to find just plain fun escapist entertainment anymore. I want to fix that.

12. How can readers learn more about your books?

My Amazon bibliography is right here.

You can also get in contact with me on Minds.

I’m also on Parler. My handle there is @rvandusen.

You can check out my DeviantArt shop here.

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