Interview: Andi Young

oneAndi 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.

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Announcing my debut novel: A Penny Black

I’m pleased to announce that my debut novel, A Penny Black, is available for sale as an ebook and paperback on Amazon. It’s a Christian historical/mystery romance, written in the first person. Here is the plot synopsis:

Finding the love of your life may take longer than a lifetime

History professor Derek Foster is perfectly content with his career—and with being single. He’s willing to go to great lengths for his job, even if it means stealing a diary that’s been hidden in an old English cottage for centuries. Derek believes he’s found his ticket to tenure. But as he studies the diary, he instead finds himself inexplicably engrossed in the life of its author, a seventeenth-century woman named Abigail. The more Derek reads, the more he wishes a woman like Abigail were alive today.

Then Derek discovers a clue which suggests an incredible miracle: though she lived ages ago, Abigail never died. Is he delusional, simply reading his heart’s desires into the diary? Or can faith bring two people together who are continents, and even centuries, apart from each other?

Written through Derek’s perspective as a twenty-first century single Christian, A Penny Black explores the question: what if that special person lived not only in another place but in another time?

A Penny Black is available now on Amazon as an ebook and paperback:

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers!

Max B. Sternberg


Max B. Sternberg is a Christian author who learned firsthand the risks a new author must take to get his or her work out there. Read about how he used social media groups to network and market his debut novel.

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

My latest book is my first book! Haha! It is called ‘The Rhise of Light’ and is the first book in the Darkness Overcome series. It is about a fantasy world that is on the brink of destruction from a plague of undead hordes. The main character, Leon, is called by a mysterious being to be a ‘Judge’ (or in non biblical terms, a hero). He, however, is going through his own personal troubles as well at the time. Along his journey he meets different people who join him, and they all learn about the being ‘Adonai’ and how that forgotten God can help each of them grow. There is action, humor, mystery and intrigue. It also deals with scriptural truth, and Old and New Testament themes that aren’t sugarcoated. It’s definitely not a hyper-grace message, more like punching evil in the face.

Which is one of the reasons I wanted to write the book series. There were lots of reasons, and first and foremost is because the more I started to write it the more I was convinced that this was the purpose God had called me to have. I wanted to challenge the secular fantasy landscape with a Christian series that was more thought provoking. You see a lot of ‘skin and sin’ series now in mainstream media and streaming which to me does nothing to add to a story. You can have great fantasy without those things! So this was my answer to combat that.

2. How have your sales been?

Being the first book I have no way to compare any prior works. However, I think it has gone exceptionally well since release on June 1, 2021. The book has 11 reviews on Amazon and 9 reviews on Goodreads. They average is 4.5 and higher. I am overwhelmed and humbled by the positive response! Hopefully the book sales spike and interest is gained as people review and talk about the book.

3. You’ve chosen self-publishing. How have you liked it so far?

It’s definitely been interesting. Starting to write a book from scratch I had to do a lot of research both on how to write a book and the topics that I wanted to tackle. It’s nice that I have retained the control without an editor who doesn’t see my vision. Or a publisher that wants to censor things that I want to talk about that may be controversial hanging over my head. I kept having thoughts of the librarian in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. A big stamp of ‘rejected’!

It does however mean that I am responsible for everything getting done. The writing of course but also proofing, the editing (which my amazing wife helped with), the formatting, perusing the story looking for plot holes, making it look pretty, and a partridge in a pear tree! You work on a budget too. I can’t tell you how many times that I had to go online and search for something book related. Then catch myself and search again only with the words ‘for free’ at the end. Continue reading

Announcing my forthcoming novel

I’m pleased to announce my forthcoming novel, A Penny Black, which is tentatively scheduled to be published in Fall 2021. A Penny Black is most appropriately categorized as a clean romance, although the guy doesn’t get the girl until the end. “Clean” means no sex or profanity; in fact, most of the book is spent with the guy actually finding the girl, and in the most unexpected way. I will post more details about the plot as I get closer to the projected publication date of October 29, 2021. While every author says this, I believe the plot is truly unique and will most certainly entertain the readers.

The manuscript for A Penny Black was started around November 2016. The death of a close personal friend and love interest, Amy Morgan, in 2017 added a new dimension to the writing. The book is dedicated to Amy. In this way, A Penny Black is a truly personal and intimate project and was written almost as a form of therapy.

At present, I am applying developmental edits to the manuscript. I am thankful for the editing assistance of Alisha Grace at Graceful Content and recommend her services (contact me if you’d like details). I will keep you all updated as the editing progresses and I appreciate your interest in my work!

Tyler James Russell

Russell HeadshotTyler James Russell knows from experience the importance of patience and of honing one’s writing craft. Read the lessons he learned as he worked his way to publication.

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

To Drown a Man is my debut poetry collection. It came out of a transition point that resulted in me embracing vulnerability in a different way, in both my life and my writing. There’s not much formal inventiveness here, it’s a fairly plainspoken style. I’d come to a point where I was recognizing a lot of the barriers that I’d put up between myself and other people, and wrestling with how difficult and even painful it was to pull those down. Writing was, unfortunately, one of those barriers. I wanted people to see me as smart, clever, etc., and so I tried to write in a way that was smart, clever, etc. and not in a way that really touched on honest, vulnerable states of being human. So, I ended up setting writing aside for a while (and this is after writing regularly for more than 10 years) as I walked through that. Some of the poems in To Drown a Man are the first things that emerged when I started writing again.

2. How have your sales been?

I had a friend send me a postcard just before launch with a Don Marquis quote: “Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.” I laugh at that quite a bit. If that’s true at a normal time, it’s probably doubly true during a pandemic.

That being said, I’ve been really humbled by the amount of people who’ve not only bought the book but also taken the time to reach out to me about it. Both people in the literary world and people who I’m pretty sure don’t interact with poetry much at all. So much of that has come out of simply getting comfortable telling people about the work I’m doing, because I think anything that comes off as at all “salesy” doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s something I’ve had to grow into.

3. You’ve decided to use a traditional publisher for your book. Why did you choose this versus self-publishing?

This is my first book, and with the amount of factors I had to get my head around, I really wanted to leave it to the experts. Unsolicited Press is amazing, and I’ve been so happy to let them do their thing while I do mine. Continue reading

Sarah Patt

Sarah Patt has worked hard to market and promote her books, and understands the true meaning of “never give up.” Find out what she has learned throughout her publishing journey.

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

In my debut novel, Because of Savannah, Dakota Buchannan believes there can be nothing worse in life than losing her mother until her father suddenly dies, leaving her orphaned at sixteen. As she attempts to muddle her way through the funeral, Dakota is introduced to a man twice her age who looks remarkably like her father. Moments later, it is revealed that Luke is the son her father never knew he had and her brother. Luke invites her to join his family with the option of returning to Fort Worth to live with her bachelor uncle if she is not happy. Despite influence from Luke’s narcissistic wife, it does not take long before their adorable four-year-old daughter, Savannah, captivates Dakota.

As things begin looking up for Dakota, she meets a college graduate at a barbeque, setting off fireworks in her love life. But when her uncle falls victim to a near-fatal hit-and-run, Dakota is compelled to revisit her old home where the past collides with the present as she comes face to face with a killer and a shocking secret. In this gripping story, an orphaned teenager is led down an unexpected path through pain, fear, and danger to the eventual realization that everything in life happens for a reason.

2. How have your sales been?

I have sold over 500 e-books and paperbacks combined since its release and supposedly this is good considering I self-published. But naturally I wish it were way more!

3. You’ve used both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Which do you prefer, and what are the pros and cons of each?

I used Archway Publishers to transform my manuscript into a novel. The positives were their efficient step by step directions and assistance and most of their staff were genuinely friendly and helpful. The negatives were their added fees with every little thing! I also hadn’t realized their marketing is zilch. I knew most of it was all up to me but didn’t expect them to completely go ghost on me!

Thankfully my sequel, Dakota, got picked up by Histria Books and will be placed under their YA label, Addison & Highsmith. They are releasing it in the Fall of 2021. Histria isn’t necessarily a “traditional publisher” but they aren’t initially charging me to publish as Archway did. Continue reading

PD Alleva

PD Alleva has used self-publishing to craft his vision of what science fiction and horror should look like. Read about the trial-and-error approach to marketing he recommends for new authors.

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

My latest novel was released in October. It’s a dystopian science fiction thriller titled The Rose Vol. 1. It’s the first in a new series that features a sophisticated although ravaging species of alien vampires. The story begins after the end of World War 3 and follows an unsuspecting safety camp survivor, Sandy Cox, who’s been thrown in the middle of a human and alien war most human beings are unaware has existed. Sandy quickly discovers the vampires’ diabolical plot to turn human beings into easily controlled zombies in an effort to take control of the planet and achieve interstellar domination. The human elite are on the side of the aliens and have turned the military against their own people.

My motivation for writing The Rose was twofold: write a book that was intelligent,
mythological, mysterious, and action-packed; and, satisfy my creative itch while paying homage to the science fiction novels and movies that I’ve indulged in over a lifetime.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales have been really good.

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 enjoy self-publishing and the freedom that comes along with it. I don’t have to be concerned with whatever narrative or cookie cutter stories traditional publishing is attempting to push. I work at my own schedule and enjoy connecting with other indie authors. Continue reading

Christiane Joy Allison

Christiane Joy Allison has built her author platform by becoming active in the writing community. Here, she explains a few of the pros and cons of self-publishing.

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.

Continue reading

Deborah Bouziden

Deborah Bouziden has used traditional and self-publishing. Find out why she believes both types of authors have to use every marketing technique available.

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

My latest book, 100 Things to do in Fort Collins before You Die, is a travel guide. It lists 100 places and things people can do in and around Fort Collins, CO. I had written other
books similar to this one, but about Oklahoma and Oklahoma City. Reedy Press, which is my publisher, actually came to me and asked me to write it. They were familiar with my other books and thought I might be a good fit to write this one.

2. How have your sales been?

I am pleased to say sales for this book have been steady despite the challenges we have faced because of COVID-19 and then most recently having to evacuate because of wildfires in our area. We’ve had to move and reschedule book signings, but overall, sales are good.

3. You’ve used both self-publishing and traditional publishing.  Which do you prefer, and what are the pros and cons of each?

I have worked with several different traditional publishers over the years like Globe Pequot, Writer’s Digest Books, Reedy Press and others. They all offer different perspectives on projects that I do and I appreciate their editorial, art, and marketing expertise. With self-publishing you have to find someone to edit your projects and if you have artwork you want to include, an artist.

Of course, marketing is marketing. An author has to be able to invest time, energy, and money regardless, but a traditional house can point you in a myriad of directions you might not have thought about. Continue reading

Ben Baker

Ben Baker is a prolific writer who has learned a few tricks throughout his career. He explains how authors can find and exploit their niche.

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

My latest published book is A Dog Named Nekkid. The title comes from one of the columns in the book. Imagine naming a dog Nekkid. Think of the fun. Put the dog outside. Company comes over. You get tired of them. “I gotta go outside and get Nekkid. Y’all wanna come?” So many variations on a theme.

That also marked my debut as a freehand cartoonist. I did editorial toons in college for the university newspaper, but drew those on a Macintosh. My daughter also drew some of the toons.

I have several others in the works: a science fiction/fantasy novel, memoirs, and a how-to book on dealing with an estate when you are the executor.

2. How have your sales been?

Poor. This is my fault. While I am good at sales and marketing, I do not enjoy it. Good? Yes. I have set new positive sales records for the places I worked in sales. I just do not like it. If I invested into the marketing, my sales would be excellent. I am somewhat like Nikola Tesla in that regard: lemme work and let someone else handle the business end.

This is why I love writing for brokerage sites. They handle the maths (maths is evil; the plural is correct), the marketing and the business. I write. I did have one client steal my stuff and leave a horrible review. I reported it with evidence of the theft and got paid. The client got banned. Dunno if the review is still up, nor do I care.

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 great for me. I am also a graphic artist. Each week I produce a newspaper and a few times a year I produce a slick magazine. Layout and design for books is something I can do in my sleep. I’ve done books for several other people who did not have the know-how to design and format. I’ve done so many, including ghost writing, that I wrote a contract to spell out what I will do and the prices.

Because I can do layout and design, I control every step of the process. I pick the font, size, page size, count and quality. I keep all the rights. I set the price. I keep all the profits. My only out-of-pocket expense is printing the books I buy to resell.

Self-publishing is not for everyone because so many people think they have a great book (they do not) and it will just fly off the print-on-demand press to be a bestseller (it won’t). The last report of the POD industry I read said the average POD book sells fewer than two copies.

Marketing is what sells books. If you can’t get your butt up, moving and selling books everywhere and every chance you get, including forcing some chances, you will not make money. Continue reading