Andi Young is a Christian supernatural fiction writer who is currently working on the third book in her trilogy, The Devil of Blackthorne. Find out more about her writing style and her approach to marketing her book.
1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
The book I’m currently working on is called Into the Light
, book three of a trilogy called The Devil of Blackthorne
. The first book is Called from the Darkness
, and the second is Through the Abyss
. The series is centered around Ray Weiss, a high school senior who would rather be anywhere but cooped up in a classroom. One day he followed his curiosity into an abandoned building with a haunted reputation, and its supernatural occupant followed him home, turning his already troubled life upside down.
I was motivated to write on the topic of spiritual warfare for two main reasons. One, society’s interest in the paranormal has been skyrocketing. Since I started the first book, we’ve gone from maybe two ghost hunting shows to dozens, and now there’s entire channels dedicated to the paranormal. People are hungry for answers. And that leads me to the second reason. For the most part, the church is not providing those answers. Well, the church isn’t providing answers to a lot of issues these days, but I won’t go into that. The average church in this day and age will almost never talk about demons. And they’re what we’re fighting against, right? We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, and the spiritual forces of evil in the unseen realm. Yes, we also wrestle against our sinful nature, but so many Christians are going about their lives, oblivious to the spiritual war that’s not only raging around them, unseen, but also raging against them without them being aware of it. How can we fight a war we don’t even know we’re in?
My books are fiction, and I’ve taken a lot of creative liberty and put some fun stuff in there, but I hope they get people thinking about the fact that there’s dark forces working against them. Working to sabotage their faith, to steal their hope, to entice their curiosity to lead them away from God. We have to be vigilant, know our enemy, and get familiar with their strategies.
2. How have your sales been?
I’ve sold about a hundred books, mostly of the first book.
3. You’ve chosen self-publishing. How have you liked it so far? Talk about some of the positives and negatives you’ve encountered.
The process of self-publishing has been great. I love the total freedom it gives me to write what I want to write, to create the cover that I envisioned, and to have total control over it. It’s been difficult to be my own promoter, but I think that even if I went the traditional route, I’d still have to promote. So, I’m not really sure if there were any negatives to self-publishing in my case.
4. What sort of networking have you done as an author, and what have been the results?
I’ve pretty much put networking on the back burner until I finish the last book in the trilogy. I prefer to focus on one thing at a time, otherwise I’ll pull myself in too many directions and end up never finishing the most important thing, the story! Maybe I’m just using that as an excuse, though, because being social isn’t my strong suit.
5. Talk a little about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been most successful?
After my first book came out, I did some ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. The results were decent. I got my follower count up for my series page, got hits on my website, and made some of my sales. I would post on a regular basis things such as snippets from my book, character art, and questions to my followers about their preferences or opinions about books or reading. I didn’t get a lot of engagement, though.
In 2020 I left Facebook and Instagram because I couldn’t stomach the censorship and propaganda, and moved to Gab. When I’m ready to get back into marketing again, I plan on trying the same strategy again on Gab (minus paid ad campaigns) to see if I get more engagement, considering Gab doesn’t use algorithms that boost certain posts over others.
6. Are there any marketing or networking techniques you’ve intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
I’ve been contacted a lot with offers to do my marketing for me, but I always ignore them. They always seem pretty fishy, but even if one of them was legitimate, I’m not made of money!
7. What are the most important things you’ve learned about publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
I didn’t know how easy it is to go back and fix something. You find a spelling error, you fix it, re-upload the file, and it’s as if the embarrassing mistake never even happened! Unless, of course, you caught the mistake after a bunch of copies already got printed.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your book(s), what would it be?
I don’t think there’s anything I wish I did differently. Sure, I’ve made mistakes, but self-publishing is so flexible, I was able to change the things I didn’t like. I did a lot of editing on the first book since it came out, such as changing wording I didn’t like, and fixing errors. I also rewrote the back cover of both books.
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?
Hey, I would like some advice about getting my books into the hands of readers, myself! All kidding aside, I’d say be authentic. Tell your story. Love your books and your characters. Don’t compare your sales numbers or how many stars or reviews you have with anyone else. Just do your best, put in the work, and you’ll eventually see results. Now, I really hope that I start seeing some results soon!
10. What other projects are you currently working on?
I have no plans for other writing projects. The Blackthorne series has been a big part of my life for the past maybe twenty years, and I’m in the final stretch with book three, Into the Light. When it’s done, my focus will be to promote it, and to pursue other interests. I may write again if inspiration strikes, but as of now, it’s exciting to see the series wrapping up and everything tying together.
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?
Finding the light, hope, and humor in a world full of darkness, despair, and tragedy.
12. How can readers learn more about your books?
Visit my website, blackthornebooks.com. If you would like to be informed when book three is released, please sign up for email updates on the front page! And I promise I won’t fill up your inbox!
I would also like to say, thank you for taking the time to read my interview, and thank you Kris for interviewing me in the first place!