James Bruen

Indie author James Bruen has written in both the mystery and humor genres.  He recently shared his thoughts on marketing and discussed his books.

1. Tell me briefly about your books – what are they about and what motivated you to write them?

I began writing as a link to reality – a means to maintain sanity in the midst of the insanity that often infects society.  The Academic Exercise is four cozy short mystery stories, one of which won the 1991 Stiller Writing Competition Award.  While my older son recuperated from a broken leg, he challenged me to write a mystery story.  The result is the first of these collected stories, in which a priest is confronted by a tale of a murder that occurs during a class at Catholic University of America’s law school.  I then found other mysteries for that priest, Fr. Paul Petersen, to solve from the rectory at St. Patrick’s in downtown Washington, DC, leading to this collection.  Even today, Fr. Petersen still solves mysteries occasionally in the pages of the American Chesterton Society’s Gilbert Magazine.

Impossible Possibilities is five brief interlocking stories of people who accomplish the proverbially impossible, originally published serially in Gilbert Magazine.  The characters and stories deserved renewed life, so I combined these flash fiction stories into the e-book.  Each story stands alone; together they also constitute a single narrative.  Humor and paradox, yet serious.  I am a great fan of G. K. Chesterton, whose Tales of the Long Bow inspired Impossible Possibilities.  The structure of Chesterton’s book and of this collection defies genre.

2. How have your sales been?

Better than poor but less than spectacular.  The Academic Exercise spent a while in Amazon’s Top 100 mystery anthologies.

3. What sort of marketing techniques have you used to sell your e-book, and which ones have been most successful?

Marketing seems to be the daunting challenge for self-published e-books.  Because each of the stories in my books was published previously in a magazine, I have had most success from e-mails, Facebook, and blogs informing groups already familiar with my writing.

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