Hello, lovely readers. How have you been? Did you enjoy yesterday’s post on The Wonderful Adventures of Sir Dyrk of Ashton?
Today, the SPFBO 2016 Finalist Mr. Dyrk Knucklehead Ashton (hey, he calls himself that, not me!] is back again with some more fun and wisdom to flaunt the writerly muscles (or abs, or books, whatever you will) and talk some more about your book.
Welcome back. Let’s get back to your wonderful book right away.
Can you give us a general idea of the entire series of Paternus? What’s new and the timeline.
Since I’m writing books 2 and 3 at the same time, the plan is to have 2 out by Christmas of 2017, 3 in June or July of 2018.
Hmm, what can I say about the series…
We’re going to learn a lot more about the current characters, and meet some new pretty strange and (I think) wonderful and frightening ones. We’ll learn more about the wars of the past and the history of the Firstborn.
You’ll see me play a lot more with the history of the world and world mythologies. But it will also be even crazier in terms of some of the action.
[Oh boy, oh boy!]
Fi and Zeke will become less unwilling tagalongs caught up in a world and war they don’t understand and become more important, proactive and crucial figures as the story progresses. We’ll also find out that the stakes are maybe even a little bit higher than just ancient Gods trying to take over the world – if that’s possible 😉
Choose a character from your book you would want to be or wish to hang out with. Why?
I don’t think I’d want to be any of them (except maybe Peter, right?), but I’d love to hang out with Edgar or Kabir. I’d like to hear their stories, from their perspectives – which is a large part of why I wanted to include them in the book.
[I liked Kabir and want more on him :). Uncle Edgar is a mysterious cake of many layers. So much fun!]
The scope of diversity in fiction: Your take as a writer and a reader.
I’m all for diversity in books. I love diverse characters. Great characters are great characters. I don’t think to myself, “cool, there are diverse characters in this book” though. I’ll notice, but it won’t make or break the book for me. I want good writing and story and interesting characters, whatever or whoever they are.
I do see two things happening sometimes that bother me a bit, though. The first is people who practically demand that all films and novels must include diversity, and there’s almost an “or else” ultimatum. And of course, it has to be done in a certain way they deem proper. Demanding anything from authors of fiction sounds a lot like, well, I won’t say – because it ties directly into implied shaming and boycotting of those who don’t do as they say – and we all know what that sounds like.
The second is writers jamming diverse characters in for the sake of doing so and it feels extremely forced and not genuine at all. That doesn’t help anyone, I don’t think. Ultimately the market will tell, right? If books with more diversity sell better than books that don’t, it will happen. If they don’t, then it might still happen, and that would be great. But to try to force authors or publishers to put some things in books and not put other things, that’s just a little creepy to me, even if hearts are in the right place.
What are your views on social media for marketing?
I truly believe that no one would have heard of Paternus, let alone bought it, if it weren’t for my becoming involved on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit Fantasy. It’s good to have some presence on Goodreads as well. An author page, review some books, “like” the reviews of others, that kind of thing. And if not for Reddit Fantasy, I would never have heard about Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO, which got me a lot of attention. Until about 6 months before Paternus was released, I had no Twitter account and rarely signed in to Facebook. It wasn’t until 4 months before that I got on Reddit. Enough authors told me I had to do it, I finally believed them. Sure glad they told me.
Which social network worked best for you?
I couldn’t say, actually. I may have gotten the most readers from Facebook, but have a wider reach on Twitter. Reddit Fantasy is fantastic for networking and trading information.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
Be yourself. Have fun. Post stuff about you and your interests beyond writing and your book. Support other authors. Don’t be a dickhead. Don’t spam people about your book on DM. Ever. Promote your book, but don’t make it about just promoting your book. Don’t stalk. Also, go to conferences, meet the people you only “see” on SM. It really strengthens contacts and relationships, and even great friendships.
What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
It’s kept a secret for the most part, and I don’t think it is that widespread (yet), but buying rights to books they know they won’t put much time or money into just to keep control of the rights, sometimes because they might have something similar in the works.
What are your thoughts on traditional publishing?
It is what it is. They’re in business to make money. There are some people who really care about books, but their bosses bosses bosses are looking at bottom lines. But that’s okay. It’s life. It’s business. And some authors get exactly what they want, and make a great living, which is awesome. The truth is, even many “bestselling” trad published authors still have day jobs even after multiple books. It’s not lucrative as everybody thinks.
What should an author keep in mind before jumping into self-publishing? What are the do’s and don’ts?
It’s a lot of work to have it succeed at all. Be prepared for that, or don’t do it. Some folks really just want to say they have a book published, though, which is fine too.
What’s the best way to market your books?
I have no idea. Other than writing a good book. Have it proofed carefully. And get a kick-ass cover.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Huge, yes. And yet, there are authors who do incredibly well in self-publishing, because their books are damn good and they develop a huge following, even though their covers are really terrible. That is the extremely rare circumstance, though. I think covers are becoming even more important than they ever were.
Would you or do you use a PR agency?
I do not. I’d consider it if anyone could convince me it was worth the money, with, like, real numbers.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Not other than what I’ve already said in earlier posts.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
Much more than I should. Probably 20 to 25 hours a week, if you include interviews, messing with ads and Amazon stuff, and social networking.
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
I did a Goodreads giveaway before the release of Paternus, but that’s about it. I’ve played around with boosting posts on Facebook and AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) ads. Some folks I know have great success, but it’s like voodoo to me.
Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
I sent out some press releases and got one small mention but that was it.
Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?
I applied for and was lucky enough to get on the fantasy list of BookBub deal of the week one time. My ranking on Amazon went through the roof, which helped sales tremendously for awhile. Plus I can now say Paternus was a #1 bestseller in the US, UK, and Australia (for what that’s worth).
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
I don’t risk enough money to say anything was a mistake. And some of the things, like AMS, I’ll try again.
Why do you think that other well-written books just don’t sell?
Any number of reasons. Nobody hears about them so they don’t get word of mouth, they don’t catch on with Amazon’s algorithms. I think those are the biggest reasons.
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
I don’t think they sell books, but if they are well done I think they add a layer of legitimacy and seriousness, like having a professional looking website. Plenty of books do incredibly well without them, though.
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?
(* please provide a link to trailer if you have one)
I do have a trailer, and it was great fun to do. It got quite a few views on YouTube, and especially Facebook, but it didn’t affect sales much. I don’t think I’ll do one for Book 2, though, unless sales really take off. It was a lot of work and did cost some money. I have no regrets for doing it though. You know, the first book, you only live once, and all. Here’s mine: YouTube Paternus trailer link https://youtu.be/nEMPowWMLTI
[It’s so cool!]
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
I think it must, people do it all the time. The reason for it is to get reviews, though, and get people talking. I think it has helped me with reviews on Goodreads, definitely, but not so much on Amazon or the audiobook version.
Did you format your own book?
I did, using a Friedlander template. There are some tricks to it, but it didn’t take all that long and it was fun. I’m not averse to spending money for quality, but I like to save where I can.
In what formats is your book available?
Paperback, eBook, and audiobook. I do plan to do hardback versions at some point.
Thanks, Dyrk. I believe a lot of this information will be useful to an aspiring author who chooses the self-publishing route.
Now, the most important question people want me to ask you.
Dyrk, erm, where are your pants?
That’s what I was going to ask you, young lady. WHERE ARE MY PANTS?! I can never find my pants….
[Hee hee. A little birdie told me some bloke named Corin Hayes stole it for another bloke named GR Matthews.]
Oh, before you vanish, Dyrk, how can readers discover more about you and you work?
The most about me and my writing are on my Paternus Books Media website. It also includes links to bloggers reviews of Paternus, as well as, I think, all the other interviews, including podcasts, I’ve done to date.