1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
The Infinitus Saga is a cyberpunk adventure series following the Mallorey family’s struggle to survive in a world run by the Global Fellowship and their Global Reform Interface and Database (GRID) computer system which runs on the “wetware” of the human brain. They’ve managed to hide in the shadows of a world where the disabled disappear, but now they can’t anymore. The series is jam-packed with futuristic technology, tech-savvy rebels, and genetic animal-human hybrids known as chimeras. In the latest book, Infinitus, the community needs conformity. The squids are out to dismantle it. Now both want what’s in her head. Infinitus is the story of Gina Mallorey, a young freedom-loving tech dealer living in the Dregs on her own terms, hiding her disability from the Community. When an explosion forces her into the GRID, powerful forces make her a target. The Community operative sent after her hides a genetic secret of his own, but only time will tell if he’ll choose to be friend or foe.
2. How have your sales been?
The sales of all of my books were dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 situation. Numerous in-person sales events were cancelled, reducing expected sales estimates on all titles. Funding sources that supported the publication of many of the works means that royalties result in straight profit from the beginning, but sales have been poor this year across the board.
3. You’ve chosen self-publishing. How have you liked it so far? Talk about some of the positives and negatives you’ve encountered.
I like many of the aspects of self-publishing. I enjoy the control the process affords me over the final product. I enjoy being able to bring products to market faster than you would with a traditional publisher. I also enjoy just being involved in all the decisions that bring the book into the world.
Funding has been another major bonus of self-publishing. My first two books were funded entirely through KickStarter funds and grants that carried over to also support some of the costs of the next two books. Because of this, royalties result in profit much sooner, and the royalties I receive per book are much higher than they would be from a traditional publisher. However, not every self-publisher would have this experience. It takes quite a bit of leg work and a little luck to gather those kinds of funds.
On the negative side, the burden of marketing is entirely on you as the self-publisher. Wearing so many hats often means tasks have to be set aside in order to make progress in other areas. For example, when producing more content or a new product, I will not have the same time or energy to pour into marketing.
4. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?
I have done a lot of networking in my state as a new author. I started by attending my first conference with the Alaska Writers Guild, then got involved, and eventually worked my way up to serving now as President of the guild. I also was an active member of the local chapter of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators when I was producing my first two children’s picture books. The Alaska Writers Guild also networks with the local chapter of the Romance Writers of America.
Through this activity I have gotten to know many, many authors across the state and even a few national authors. I’ve had an incredible support network for questions and challenges when self-publishing, and have had increased opportunities for in-person sales events in the state over the years.
5. Talk a little about the sort of marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been most successful?
I’m still learning about online marketing and where to get the most bang for my buck. I’ve tried things like Bargain Booksy and Facebook ads, but haven’t seen great results. In person, however, I’ve always done well. Give me a chance to tell someone about my book and I get consistent sales. I’m working now on doing more online author interviews, podcasts, and other opportunities to see if I can carry some of that success over into the online sphere.
6. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
I haven’t done any intensive Facebook or Amazon ads because I have a very small budget, and I haven’t had the time to get educated enough to get good returns yet.
7. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
When I first started out, I didn’t understand the importance of having your books cataloged for libraries, or that I could even access that service. I have since learned that I can go to a vendor for these services, and even get the PCIP block that librarians want to see on your copyright page to incorporate before the book is published. I will do this in advance for all of my future books, and have gone back to update all my prior books.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
Other than the cataloging referenced above, I would have planned out my book launches more comprehensively. I have always been in a hurry to get my books available to readers on the market. With the sequels I have coming up, I will take the time to delay release in order to build a more effective launch.
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?
Build a presence on social media and do it early. Don’t wait until your book is ready to hit the market. Build your online presence. Start networking in online fan groups and following other relevant trend setters. Have content up to engage readers months in advance of your book release.
10. What other projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently writing the sequel to Infinitus. Spoiler alert! Below is the teaser for Chimera Rising (Book 2 of The Infinitus Saga):
For three months the world has held its breath with no word of the Red Queen after her bombshell broadcast exposed the horrific Community exploitation and maltreatment of chimeras — human-animal hybrids born of the reemergence of Old World genetic experimentation. Word of their unexpected champion’s message spread like wildfire through the GRID and galvanized chimeras worldwide to unite against Global Fellowship control. Loyal chimeras spurn the Red Queen’s message and fight, in the name of their fallen comrade-in-arms, to safeguard their Community from the anarchy unleashed by her mind. As the Global Fellowship deploys scorched-earth tactics to eliminate her, an uneasy alliance forms between the traditional freedom fighters and the very Community operatives and assassins they have fought for so long.
Hector ‘Hawk’ Warrenson, former covert chimera operative, waits at the bedside of the woman he failed to protect. The Global Fellowship wants her dead. The rebels want to control her. He wants her free and safe. But is he already too late? As Hawk fears his deterioration into Obsessive Attachment Syndrome, he’s determined to find a way to protect her—no matter the cost.
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?
As a fiction writer, I write relational, dialog-driven adventures that explore interesting characters, require endurance and determination, and reward love and hope.
12. How can readers learn more about your books?