British author Vincent Formosa combines his background in history with his love for aviation. Read about how he navigates a crowded self-publishing field and why Twitter is not the platform best suited for him.
1. Tell me briefly about your latest book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?
My latest book out is a novel titled Run The Gauntlet. It follows the life of an RAF light bomber squadron from the outbreak of World War 2 to the end of May 1940 and the fall of France.
I was inspired to write it after reading an article in an aviation magazine about the air war in France during the German Blitzkrieg. It related a few details about a Blenheim bomber squadron (the Blenheim was a twin engine light bomber in the RAF at the time, 3 men per crew) that lost 18 out of 21 crews in 10 days and that figure did not include the replacements who had also been shot down.
I was staggered by this. The thought of a squadron that had fought and trained for years before the war to be almost casually wiped out really brought home to me the cost of war. So I started the novel, doing a lot of research along the way, trying to encompass that press on attitude while conveying the harshness of combat.
2. How have your sales been?
Sales so far have been slow. My first novel came out in 2011. My second novel came out at the end of 2016.
I’m playing the long game on this one. I’m writing for a bit of a niche genre (aviation military fiction) and while there are lot of aviation magazines, they don’t review fiction, so it’s proving difficult to get myself out there and known. I realize that when someone buys your book and then looks to see there are no more by you, you miss an opportunity for a secondary buy. So as time goes on, I’ll have more books out there and it will naturally blossom. A reader will read one, say “I enjoyed that,” and then see there are others they can buy. So one sale can turn into four or five.
3. You’ve chosen to use indie publishing for your books. Can you elaborate as to why you made this choice?
About 8 years ago I came across Joe Konrath’s blog where he discussed what had led him to self-publish and I found his argument very reasoned. 99.9% of new authors will not get much in the way of promotion from a publisher, so for the virtue of getting my book physically on a bookshop shelf, I’m giving away quite a percentage of royalty.
So if I’m not getting any promotion help, why not do it myself and get more royalty for me?