Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 73--An Interview with Author, D.M. Andrews

D.M. Andrews
When did you publish your first book and who published it?

The Serpent in the Glass, my debut novel, was published at the beginning of November last year. I used lulu.com to create the paperback and then created the digital version. I found out, afterwards, that it's usually done the other way around ;)

If you've written more than one book--which one sells the best? Tell us about it and why you think it sells better than your other books?

I only have one book thus far, though lots of other "bits" of books floating around unfinished! I like to read books that are fairly accessible to everyone, whether a confident reader of as young as 9, a teen, middle-aged or a pensioner. So I try to write such books. I think that appeal makes my debut novel popular across a large age group.

If you are self-published, who does your book covers? Who does your copy editing and proofreading?

My book covers are done by a young and skilled graphic artist from Germany named Alex Hausch. He did the cover for The Serpent in the Glass and is currently working on a cover for another book I will publish later this year. I do my own editing, though I did employ R.J. Locksley to help me cut down a bloated first chapter that I'd become too attached to work on myself! She did a great job. I proof my own books, but it's hard to spot everything so I had some friends give valuable feedback and I swiftly upgraded to a second edition. Next time I will make a "beta release" to a select group before going public!


Please tell us your top three, most successful book marketing tips.

1. Write a good book that people want to read, one that has your heart and soul in it;
2. Present it (and everything about it) as professionally as you can;
3. Don't be afraid of giving free copies away or heavy discounts - the market is huge and visibility is key.

Do you have an author blog? If so, how do you attract readers? What is your blog's address?

My blog at http://www.writers-and-publishers.com is more of a journal than a marketing tool. Recently it has got some attention because of my posts about the KDP Select free promotion days.

If you are on Twitter, how do you get followers and what are your favorite hash tags?

I've had a Twitter account for a while, but have only started using it in earnest over the last few weeks. I'm a bit of a novice with Twitter and still don't fully understand it. I try to make a few posts a day. I usually use hash tags such as #fantasybooks or #kindle, etc. which, admittedly, are copied from other tweets or just random guesses ;) I'm going to have to read your post on the matter! You can follow me @AuthorDMAndrews.

Where do you go to request reputable, free reviews?

Ideally people will review your books without being contacted, but I have approached a few. I don't believe I have any major reviews up as of yet, but there are two or three in the pipeline. The sites I have bookmarked are flamingnet.com (teens), thiskidreviewsbooks.com (children's/teens), litpick.com (teens), The Children's Book Review, Digital Book Today, The Books Debut, and Kid Lit Reviews.

What have you done that has successfully increased your online sales?

Done some good preparation to maximize the last 2-day free promotion I ran on KDP Select in early March, with a view to giving away as many copies as possible. I'm going to do a write-up of this later in March/April 2012. All I will say at present is that I'm averaging well over 100 sales per day, and am in the top ten in several categories. Whether KDP Select will ultimately prove a success remains to be seen, but Amazon seems to dominate the market at present so I'm sticking with select, at least for first books in a series. 

(Interviewer note--for detailed figures and updates regarding D.M. Andrews KDP Select promotion, please visit his website HERE.)

What online sites do you prefer to network with authors, publishers, editors or readers?

Other than the KDP forums, which I use out of necessity, I prefer Facebook and Goodreads.com

Have you attended a writer's conference? If so, was your visit successful?  Explain.

No. Perhaps I'll do that one day, but I find these things can get in the way of writing - as can promotion! I spent a lot of time over the years reading various books about how to write. I got to a point where I said "no more!". Now I try to focus on writing. Not on promotion. Not on learning how to write. Not even on endless research. Yes, these things have value, but they are not of much ultimate worth if they stop you writing.

What advice would you give aspiring authors about publishing or self-publishing?

Write a book you love! Make it engaging and well written. Get a good cover. Present it well. Focus on writing before marketing.

What do you think authors should know about book marketing?

I've heard a number of very successful authors say that the quality of the book was the most important thing. In fact, I've even heard some claim they never used much in the way of social media, etc. and still have moved many copies of their books. Something to think about.

What do you like in a book?

Something I struggle with in a lot of fiction is the lack of engagement I feel when characters (main ones at least) are too shallow, when the imaginative element of the world is too poorly described, when fantasy is too far removed from real-world anchors. Whatever the genre, I like at least the first two to exist. I try to write that way. I also think there is no reason why a nine-year-old and a ninety-nine-year-old can't enjoy the same book. I write for confident readers, and won't adapt my vocabulary or ideas to that of a young child. I like to think of my writing as fitting for all ages.

What projects are you working on now? Please describe.

I like variety. Currently I'm working on a parody. I have a teen and a young adult novel both partially written, and a religious/historical short story I'm slowly working on. I have plans for a sequel to The Serpent in the Glass, and would also like to try my hand at a historical fiction and possibly a thriller one day.

D.M. Andrews has been drawing maps, writing stories, and coming up with weird ideas since the age of twelve. Although fantasy features in most of the author's writing, he also has a keen passion for history (especially for his native land of England), genealogy, mythology and even political philosophy. Find out more at http://www.writers-and-publishers.com

Click Image to Purchase The Serpent in the Glass