I am extremely pleased to reveal my interview with Eric J.Krause, published author of speculative fiction.
1. How would you describe yourself and your writing?
I always describe myself as a speculative fiction writer. I love writing horror, fantasy, and science fiction. I usually write short stories for adults and novels for young adults, though I do plan on writing novels for adults, as well.
2. How many books do you have published and tell us a bit about them?
I’ve published three books so far, two as only ebooks, and the third as both an ebook and paperback. The first is The Breath of Life and Other Stories. It’s a collection of twenty short stories that have been published in various print and online magazines. The second is The Friday Flash Stories of Eric J. Krause: Volume One. This is a free book available only at Smashwords.com, and it contains fifty flash fiction stories that were originally published on my blog. For anyone not familiar with Friday Flash (or #fridayflash as it’s known on Twitter), it’s an event every Friday where writers publish a flash fiction story (1000 words or less) on their blog and publicize it on Facebook and/or Twitter. It’s a nice community, and I’m thrilled that I’m a part of it, though I don’t post stories as often anymore. My third book is a science fiction/baseball novel called Way Over the Line. It’s written for the upper middle grade audience (10 to 13 years of age). It stars a young boy, Jessie, who loves baseball but is afraid of the ball. He and his best friend, who is a natural at the game, are abducted by a group of aliens who need them to play for their team in the huge Intergalactic Over the Line tournament. Not only must Jessie learn to not fear the ball, but he must also dodge space pirates, who seem to think he’s the key to a prophecy.
3. The Breath of Life and Other Stories sounds fascinating. Can you tell me a bit about how this book came about?
I published The Breath of Life and Other Stories simply because I wanted to see what the process of creating an ebook would be like. I had the stories sitting around, so I decided why not give it a shot? I played around with the order of the stories, and when I was satisfied, I began the process of creating an ebook.
4. How long did this collection of stories take from start to finish and do you feel you would change anything if given the chance?
It took me probably a month to create the book, though I took my time to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes. The stories were already written, so other than some final edits, all I had to worry about was getting the formatting right. I could have probably had it done in less time, but this was a new experience for me, so I didn’t rush.
5. What made you self publish your novels and what has the experience been like to date?
With my two short story collections, I knew there was no chance of a traditional publisher picking them up, so I decided to publish them myself. As I already said with The Breath of Life and Other Stories, that one was basically a test to see if I could self-publish an ebook. It worked, so I continued. I self-published Way Over the Line mostly for the same reason – I wanted to see what self-publishing a novel would be like. I sent query letters to maybe ten agents, but had no luck. Instead of pressing on (I’ve heard stories of some novels being rejected dozens of times), I decided to simply do it myself. Part of me wishes I would have stuck with the traditional route of agents and publishers, but another part of me is glad the story is out there for people to see. I’m proud of the story, and I’m thrilled when people tell me they enjoyed it, but I wish I would have given myself more of a chance to have it traditionally published so more eyes could see it.
6. Who have you published with?
For The Breath of Life and Other Stories and the ebook copies of Way Over the Line, I’ve published with Amazon for the Kindle and Smashwords.com. Smashwords also has sent them to Barnes and Noble for the Nook, the Apple iBook store, and a few other online retailers. The paperback versions of Way Over the Line are available at CreateSpace and Amazon. The Friday Flash Stories of Eric J. Krause: Volume One is available only at Smashwords, but it is a free download.
7. Did you prepare your e-books yourself? Any pointers?
I did prepare my ebooks myself. Smashwords has a style guide that was very helpful. There are also plenty of free guides to help with preparing a manuscript for Amazon for the Kindle. I followed these to the letter and didn’t have many problems. I don’t have any nice photo/graphic programs, so I constructed my cover images using Microsoft Paint. I would advise against this. If you don’t have a program to construct a nice cover image, I would pay someone to make one for you. I know I will next time I create an ebook.
8. Do you do a lot of self promotion? What do you feel are the most effective methods of self promotion?
My biggest problem is self-promotion. I’m not very good at it. I tweet links to my books every once in a while. I post the links on Facebook occasionally. And, of course, I have links clearly visible on my blog. I know I should do more, and my sales have backed that up. I plan on giving away a couple of paperback copies of Way Over the Line soon, so I hope that will help. I am on Goodreads in the author program, but I haven’t yet taken the time to learn the ins and outs. Basically what I’m saying is that I need to get much better at the self-promotion game for any future self publishing releases.
9. Do you find sales peak and then drop off after your initial self promotion?
I have found that to be the case. I think continuing creativity in self-promotion can fix that to a degree. And, as I said, it’s something I need to get better at.
10. What advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?
The biggest piece of advice I would give a newbie in the self-publishing biz is to have a clear plan of self-promotion in place before publishing. It’s advice I wish I would have taken when I started. Also, make sure the cover to your book is attractive. People really do judge books by their covers, even if it’s all in e-format. These are not mistakes I will repeat next time I self-publish a book.
11. What lies in store for Eric J. Krause?
I have an urban fantasy YA book currently being queried to agents. I’m currently plotting the second book of that series. And after that, I have plenty of other ideas, both for the YA crowd and for adults. I still hold onto the dream of being traditionally published, but I obviously have no problem with self-publishing, so you’ll see my books in print one way or another.
For links to all formats of Eric’s books/links to some of his short stories/how to find him on Twitter and Facebook/link to his blog visit his website: http://ericjkrause.com
I hope you found this interview interesting and useful. I certainly did. Please rate/tweet/like this post so other authors can benefit from Eric’s wise words.