Author Interview – Patti Roberts (author of the Paradox series)

I would like to introduce Patti Roberts – self published author of the Paradox series. She has kindly agreed to answer some questions and offered to throw in a free copy of Paradox – Progeny Of Innocence to one lucky reader. See below for more details.

Patti Roberts1. How would you describe yourself and your writing?

Dedicated. I like to research particular aspects of the story line to make events as realistic as possible. And although a work of fiction, I like to feel that the reader has learnt a little something that they didn’t know before they read on of my books. Usually, an event from history.

2. Can you tell me a bit about how the Paradox series came about?

I need to do something creative and positive with myself. Writing Paradox – The Angels Are Here, was a kind of therapy for me. It helped me put a positive spin on the negativity of a failed relationship. It most certainly worked!

3. What made you self publish your novels and what has the experience been like to date?

I can’t compare it with traditional publishing, as I have never walked down that path. I never even considered it – I’m way too impatient and independent to wait around for someone else to tell me yes or no. So I went ahead with the idea of letting the reader tell me yes or no. Most have said YES, so I’m more than happy with that!

4. Who have you published with?

Self published with Smashwords, Amazon and Createspace.

5. Did you prepare your e-books yourself? Any pointers?

Yes I did. I have done everything. Formatting, cover design – I bought the artwork however, I’m not that talented. Promotion and marketing. Lots of very long hours but very rewarding. I highly recommend everyone thinking about writing to join Goodreads. They are such a supportive bunch of people over there!

Progeny cover6. Who does you cover art?

I bought the cover art from Some really talented artist can be found there. I love your cover by the way! Then I work on the text. Oh, and people do judge a book by the cover… So make sure you pick a winner. If people don’t stop to admire the cover, chances are they won’t bother to read what the book is about. Result – Sale missed!

7. Do you do a lot of self promotion? How do you market and promote your work & what do you find are effective methods of self promotion?

Anyone can self promote and market if they are prepared to put in the hours. HOURS. I use twitter and Facebook. I provide lots of free copies of my book to bloggers that do reviews and host giveaways. Recently I held a comp and asked people to help me chose a cover for book 2. I had 3 different covers designed for voters to choose from. Then after the comp I gave two winners a copy of Paradox – Progeny Of Innocence. I thought it was a way to get people involved. And it certainly did.

8. Do you find sales peak and then drop off after your initial self promotion?

Sure, that is the way it goes. The more promotion and marketing you do the more feedback and interest you receive.

9. What advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?

Use you first book as a marketing research. Get it out there as much as you can. Find out what people loved and hated about it. And listen to what the readers are telling you. Learn from what they are telling you… Listen to the good and the bad. You can learn more about the bad than the good… That is if you want to keep getting better!

10. What lies in store for Patti Roberts?

Lots more books in the Paradox Series. I start writing for book 3 in the New Year for a 2012 release. I would actually like to bring out 2 books in 2012, but we will just have to wait and see.

Thank you so much for the interview Andrew. I have enjoyed answering your questions. Patti

More information

The Paradox Series Book Trailers

e-book from Smashwords – all formats
US – e-book from Amazon
UK – e-book from Amazon
Nook – Barnes & Noble
Paperback – Createspace
Thesaurus Bookstore – Melbourne

Paradox – Progeny Of Innocence Giveaway – Free e-book alert!
Patti often gives a free e-book to a reader along with an interview or a review. Therefore, all you need to do is Tweet/Like this post and then add a comment. I will pick a winner at random on 21st December and post here who the lucky winner is. What a great prize for you to enjoy over the Christmas break. Good luck.


Author Interview – Nicholas A. Rose

I would like to start by thanking Nicholas for taking the time to answer my questions and to say how much I enjoyed reading his contributions. If you find his answers useful please follow him on Twitter, add your comments/questions below and Like/Tweet this post.


Nicholas A RoseNicholas A. Rose is the author of the Ilvenworld novels and novellas.  He has read fantasy fiction for longer than he can remember and writing it for only a little less time.  Love of the sea and ships; mountains and the outdoors; and the rather more sedentary pastimes of chess, real ale and reading have all influenced his writing.

Nicholas lives in and is inspired by North Wales and believes all his best ideas come when out in the hills.

For those who must know, the “A” stands for Andrew.


1. How would you describe yourself and your writing?

I tend to be a prolific writer.  It’s always been fantasy for me.  The boundaries between the sub-genres have become a little muddled over the years, but I would call my books epic and heroic fantasy.

2. How many books do you have published and tell us a bit about them?

So far three:

Markan Throne is the first book of a trilogy.  Rival claimants battle for the right to be Marka’s first emperor for three centuries.  The winner, Marcus, is implicated in a murder, so his claim is suspended.  Marcus must prove his innocence, which means breaking a man free from jail and risking losing his right to the throne forever.

Markan Empire is book two, following on from Markan Throne.  A new enemy threatens the stability of the new empire, while an old enemy lurks to one side.  Marka cannot fight two wars at once, so spies are sent to Re Taura to learn what the new enemy is up to.  But spies have a habit of being caught and killed on Re Taura.

And though Marcus has proven his innocence, Marka’s Senate is still not quite ready to grant his life’s dream and refuses to let him ascend the throne he covets.

Gifted Apprentice is a novella, separate from the trilogy, but using a central character who appears in those books.  It marks the beginning of Sallis ti Ath’s journey from farmboy to feared bounty hunter.

3. Gifted Apprentice. Can you tell me a bit about how this book came about?

Gifted Apprentice CoverA minor character in Markan Throne sparked my interest.  This is the bounty hunter Sallis ti Ath.  When I first published online, I knew one book looked very lonely all by itself, so GA was born.  It was one of those ideas that was so bright it almost burned, so the book had to be written.  I feel this novella is an excellent introduction to the ilvenworld series and, while not strictly a prequel, will help make the world of the trilogy more familiar to readers.

If I’m allowed to make a selfish plug, this novella is free on Amazon.

4. What made you self publish your novels and what has the experience been like to date?

It is now almost impossible for a new writer to break into traditional publishing, so self publishing, or “indie” was really the only way open.  Once I learned of the explosion in popularity of ebooks, then I was away.

I published MT in March 2011 and the experience since has been fantastic.  (Sorry about the pun!)  There is a wonderful and growing community of indie writers online and most of us are happy to share information.  It’s been a steep learning curve and I wouldn’t kid anybody by claiming it’s easy, but I’m glad I came this way with my books.

5. Who have you published with?

ePublished, rather than published.  My books are with Amazon and Smashwords.  Amazon is the big beast of course, but Smashwords have connections with most of the other ereaders, such as B&N’s nook, Sony and quite a few others.

6. Did you prepare your ebooks yourself?  Any pointers?

I did prepare them myself. This is the part many aspiring authors don’t like.  The proofreading, copyediting and so on is entirely up to the author.  In essence, the author is also the publisher and has to deal with the less glamorous aspects of that.

As for pointers, read the publishing guidelines that Amazon issue (and the Smashwords Formatting Guide for those going to Smashwords as the requirements are different) and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

I would recommend getting a copyeditor or, if that’s too expensive (most of us start off on a really tight budget), then get some beta readers.  If anybody reads your published work and points out an error, correct it immediately and reupload the book.  Amazon provides a useful guide how to do this in their help section.

But, if the choice is between spending on a copyeditor or really good cover artwork, go for the artwork.

7. Who does your cover art?

Joleene Naylor.  Worth her weight in gold.

8. Do you do a lot of self promotion? How do you market and promote your work & what do you find are effective methods of self promotion?

Yes.  I’m particularly active on Twitter.  The most effective method of self promotion is to be accessible, friendly, polite and helpful.  That’s to other authors as well as your readers.  As for marketing your work, books are very hard to sell directly.  People prefer to “discover” authors for themselves, or for those known to them to make recommendations.  Being active on the social networks is probably the best way of promoting yourself, but it’s a fine line to walk.  Kindleboards, for example, do not like overpushy authors plugging their work all the time.  By all means jump into discussions, but be mindful not to cross the line.

The most effective method of self promotion is to ensure your name is familiar to people, rather than selling your book all the time.

9. You seem quite proactive in IAN circles.  What are your experiences here?

IAN – the Independent Author Network – is probably where I’m most active right now.  My experiences are good and I’ve made a lot of friends there.  It’s a good place for a new author to go (the only requirement is that you have at least 100 followers on Twitter), and the guys you’ll meet on IAN are a really friendly and helpful bunch.

Another good place for a new author to cut teeth is Twitters #sampleSunday.  That’s where I started out!

10. Do you find sales peak and then drop off after your initial self promotion?

Sales peak and trough all the time.  I’ve found it impossible to directly link rises and falls to promotion.  I would say that you need to promote all the time.  There is a large element of luck when it comes to sales.  But keep on promoting.  All you need is the right person to notice, download, read and… hey presto!  You’re selling.  But that right person might be weeks or months in coming.  If you stop promoting, that reader has passed by…

11. What advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?

Get your book as professionally finished as possible.  That means polished, edited, proofread.  Get the best possible artwork for the cover, and ensure that artwork is unique.  Get involved in social media, such as Twitter, Kindleboards, Goodreads and the like.  Keep writing and get as many books up as you can.  The more books, the greater the chance you’ll be discovered.  Be accessible, friendly, helpful and polite.  If unsure about something, ask questions.  Read the publishing guides and follow what they say.  Avoid shortcuts.

And DO NOT give up!!

12. What lies in store for Nicholas A. Rose?

2012 is promising to be as productive as 2011.  The third and final book of the trilogy, Markan Sword, should be out in the middle of the year and the sequel to Gifted Apprentice should be out at the end of January.  Beyond that, two more trilogies are planned.  Exciting times indeed!

Thank you for interviewing me.

Useful Links:


Blog: http//

Markan Throne:

Markan Empire:

Gifted Apprentice:

Author Interview – Robert David MacNeil

I want to open by saying how glad I am Robert agreed to answer some of my questions. I’m loving Iona Portal so far and thought I’d find out a bit more about him and his work.

First of all let me introduce Robert David MacNeil, author of Science Fiction Thriller IONA PORTAL.

Robert bio pic 2011Robert is a teacher, author, wine-lover, and world-traveler. Over the past twenty years, his travels have taken him from the steppes of Mongolia to the jungles of Thailand, and from the Eskimo villages of Northwest Alaska to le fin del mundo, the “end of the world,” at the tip of South America.  He presently lives in a suburb of Dallas, Texas.

Robert has authored five non-fiction books under a different pen-name. His first novel, IONA PORTAL, is currently the top-rated Science Fiction book on Amazon, and #2 in mysteries and thrillers.

Robert is presently working on the sequel, IONA STRONGHOLD.

1. How would you describe yourself and your writing?

Thanks for inviting me to do the interview, Andy. I really appreciate the opportunity.

In my “day job” I’m a writer, speaker, and dean of a graduate school.  I also travel frequently. Several times a year I teach in schools in other countries. As my bio indicates, I’ve traveled to some remote places, including the steppes of Mongolia, the jungles of Thailand, and the remote isles of the Scottish Hebrides-which includes the Island of Iona.  (A lot of these locations turn up in Iona Portal, and the other books of the Synaxis Chronicles trilogy.)

Concerning my writing, I’ve been an avid reader all my life, and to me, that’s the first step in becoming a writer. In high school I got frustrated when I realized I’d read every science fiction book in our hometown library! I read many genres, but continue to love science fiction and suspense thrillers.

2. How many books do you have published and tell us a bit about them?

I’ve written five non-fiction books under a different pen-name, but my first novel is Iona Portal.  Iona Portal is a SF thriller that views the ancient battle between good and evil through the lens of Science Fiction.  I like to think of it as Lord of the Rings meets The Matrix. 

3. Can you tell me a bit about how Iona Portal came about?

I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural, and in the course of my travels have talked with a lot of people about their experiences. Other cultures are often more open to the supernatural than ours, and I’ve met people with some incredible stories. In the process, I’ve had a few unusual experiences myself. There’s a lot more “out there” than most of us suspect.

Two years ago a friend encouraged me to write a science fiction book about some of these encounters. The result is Iona Portal.

4. What made you self publish your novel and what has the experience been like to date?

I’ve published non-fiction books through traditional publishing houses and assumed I’d do that with fiction, but as I began to research agents and publishers, I found that the ebook revolution has shaken the publishing industry to the core. Sales of traditionally published books are plummeting.  Bookstores are going out of business. Agents and publishers are fearing for their existence. In the light of these new realities I decided to go the indie route and e-publish Iona Portal. It’s harder in some ways. You have to wear a lot of hats. But I’m convinced it’s the wave of the future.

5. Who have you published with?

Iona Portal is now published on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, Apple’s iBookstore, and at Barnes & Noble for the Nook. A paperback version is coming out this month through Amazon’s CreateSpace.

6. Did you prepare your e-books yourself? Any pointers?

Yes. It’s not an easy process, but there are some excellent tutorials available online. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing also has some great step-by-step instructions. I’d advise reading several of these tutorials before you begun, then take your time and go step by step until the process is finished.

front cover of Iona portal7. Who does you cover art?

I do all my own graphics. I’m fortunate to have some skills in that area. For those who don’t have those skills, I would definitely recommend getting professional help for a cover design. People really do judge books by their covers.

8. Do you do a lot of self promotion? How do you market and promote your work & what do you find are effective methods of self promotion?

I’ve done most of my promotion thru Twitter.

Twitter is a great tool for marketing, but you need to understand what you’re doing. Some authors think marketing means posting a “BUY MY BOOK!” tweet several times a day. That’s not an effective way to market.

The primary goal of twitter is to engage people and build relationships. I also believe there’s a principle in the universe that says, if you want to receive, you must first be willing to give. It’s the whole “do unto others…” thing, and I’ve found it to be true.

So in addition to promoting my own book, I actively read books of other authors. When I find books I like, I try to promote their books as much as I promote my own. This has brought me into some mutually supportive relationships with other authors I respect, and it has definitely helped in marketing.

9. Do you find sales peak and then drop off after your initial self promotion?

Sales peaked after the first week or two when my close friends had all bought their copies. But I’ve tried to be pretty consistent in promotion. Sales picked up by the end of the first month, and have been increasing ever since. This last month, sales more than tripled.

10. What advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?

Go into self-publishing with the expectation that being a writer is hard work. That’s true no matter whether you publish traditionally, or self publish. If you just write a book and post it on Amazon, it won’t sell, no matter how good it is. No one will even know it’s there. You have to learn to market your book. That’s part of being a writer.

Your ultimate success, of course, will depend on the quality of your book. If your book is dull, boring, or poorly written, it won’t sell no matter how hard you promote it. But if you write a good book, and do a reasonable amount of promotion, your book WILL find its market.

11. What lies in store for Robert David MacNeil?

In one interview, Clive Cussler said he viewed himself more as an entertainer than a writer. That’s my desire also. I want to entertain my readers, whether they’re reading my tweets or my novels. I want to write books that entertain and enthrall, and that open the reader’s minds to new dimensions. If I can do that, I’ll be a happy writer.

Beyond that… I’d LOVE to see Iona Portal made into a movie!  (In 3-D of course!)

My website is, and my blog is

Readers can also follow me on Twitter at @RDavidMacNeil

You can find Iona Portal on Amazon here…

Author Interview – Eric J. Krause

I am extremely pleased to reveal my interview with Eric J.Krause, published author of speculative fiction.

Eric J Krause image1. 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, 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.

Book cover3. 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 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:

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.

Bryce Beattie Interview – Author of Zombie Novel ‘Oasis’

Bryce BeattieI am extremely pleased to welcome Bryce Beattie – author of zombie novel ‘Oasis’ amongst others – as my latest author interview.

1. A quick intro to Bryce Beattie

Born 70 Years too late. Likes big band jazz, audio theater, pulp novels. Wrote a zombie novel. Is working on a sequel.

2. How would you describe yourself and your writing?

Myself – I’m a nerdy father of three that likes writing, jazz, beekeeping, and firearms.

My writing – well I suppose you might say it’s an homage to the pulp greats of years past, guys like Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs. There’s lots of action and improbable circumstances and general crazy fun.

3. How many books do you have published and tell us a bit about them?

I have two books and several short stories published.

The first book is a real estate investment book, and it’s not terribly exciting, but it is very practical. In the real world, I work as a programmer with a family company whose real business is real estate investment. I absolutely hate all the get-rich-quick gurus out there that preach risky and unsound investment methods. I wrote this book with my father kind of as a reaction to those guys.

The second book is my pulp/action/adventure/zombie novel. It’s called Oasis.

The sequel to Oasis is called “The Journey of St. Laurent” and it should be out by the end of the year, assuming I get my butt in gear.

I also have a couple of fantasy short stories that can be picked up for free at or the nook store. I guess I should get those up on Amazon, too.

4. I am particularly drawn towards Oasis out of your back catalogue. Can you tell me a bit about how this book came about?

At the time I was often playing a browser game called “The Urban Dead,” so I had Zombies on my mind. I had long wanted to write a novel, so I started posting chapters on my old blog and picked up a small following. Once you have a couple of people egging you on, you just have to keep going, right?

5. How long did Oasis take from start to finish and do you feel you would change anything if given the chance?

It took over two years to write and edit and such. One thing I would change is that I would carve out some time every day to be writing. It takes me way too long to finish anything.

And then I’m always reading and trying to improve my craft so there’s lots of little things in the book I’d like to change, but at some point you just have to move on and write something new.

6. What made you self publish some of your novels?

Honestly, impatience. I didn’t want the hassle of taking down the first draft from online and writing queries and such. I just wanted to write, get it done, and get it out there.

I did submit it to one publisher, though, and now I wish I had been a teensy bit more patient. The day after Oasis went live on Amazon, the publisher contacted me saying they were interested. *Sigh*

The short stories I self-published so that I could make them free and hopefully get my work in front of more eyeballs.

7. Who have you published with?

I have a couple of short stories published with now defunct magazines, including “Astonishing Adventures Magazine” which was really fantastic for lovers of old pulps.

The self-publishing companies I’ve worked with are CreateSpace, Lulu, and UniBook for physical books, then Barnes & Noble’s PubIt, Amazon’s KDP program, and for eBooks. I highly recommend CreateSpace for paperbacks (& access to distribution) and UniBook for hardcovers.

8. Did you prepare your e-books yourself? Any pointers?

I do all that work for myself, and have done file prep for a little extra change on the side as well.

However, it’s easy for novel writers to get their work ready for distribution (from a technical standpoint, anyway.) At risk of tooting my own horn, I have a tutorial website where I show how to do all that. (

I’ve even written a piece of free software that takes a text file and chews it up and spits out all the formats you need to self publish on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and CreateSpace. It’s pretty slick. You may want to tweak that CreateSpace (paperback) output, but it’ll still work as is. You only need to learn how to so some simple formatting to a text file and that’s it. It’s called SPAB! (Self Publish A Book)

9. Do you do a lot of self promotion? What do you feel are the most effective methods of self promotion?

I don’t do anywhere near as much as I should. During the periods when I hit the promotion thing hard, my sales definitely jump. I blog and interview authors and such.

There are two things which have worked best, though: Twitter and giveaways.

There’s a glut of ideas out there to help you use Twitter in your promotion without seeming like a slug. The two that I have enjoyed the most and were the most helpful to me were John Locke’s book “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months”, and Michael R. Hicks’s articles (the first one:

The thing that worked much better for me was giveaways. I went on several forums and offered to give away a physical copy or two of my book. No strings attached, no hokey “like me on Facebook for a chance to win” crap or anything like that. Response was fantastic and I earned a couple of rabid fans that went out and mentioned me everywhere. I think this worked because I was never one of those lame guys who signs up for an account and then started four threads that all basically say “Buy my book”. Plus, everybody likes free stuff.

From a financial standpoint I made about 300% almost immediately over the cost of the books by giving those few copies away to the right crowds. And sales kept up higher for longer than anything else I’ve done.

Oh, oh, oh. I almost forgot. After I finish writing Oasis, I also built a site to help set up virtual book tours. I built it specifically so I could set up a tour when I finished the sequel and I wanted an easy way to do so. It’s free to use and located at I’ve never really structured a full on tour before, but I’m trying it out when I finish the book I’m working on now.

10. Do you find sales peak and then drop off after your initial self promotion?

Yeah, I ran out of Zombie-themed forums on which to do giveaways. And became distracted by other pursuits.

Zombie Novel Cover11. Who does you cover art? I love the Oasis cover.

I did the original cover for Oasis and I just didn’t think it really fit the genre I was shooting for. So I set out to find an artist who could do it better. I found him by going on to and browsing around until I found a bunch of artists whose styles I liked and though would fit my book. Then I just messaged all of them (50 or so) and asked if they would consider doing a book cover and if so how much would they charge.

Over then next week or two I heard back from most of them. Several that got back to me had absurdly high rates. A few came back way out of the range of what I could afford. Adam Masterman was the one of the fairly priced group and is who I ended up hiring. He was fast and easy to work with and I was very pleased with the quality of the covers. I say covers because he’s already painted the cover to the sequel as well.

12. What advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?

Try not to be freaked out by the myriad options out there. Concentrate on your writing and then make it easy for yourself to distribute your work. Publishing for the Kindle should be a first priority and then the Nook, Smashwords and CreateSpace. The Kindle has the biggest market share but the Nook is giving it a good run for its money. Smashwords distributes to so many places that it’s impossible to ignore.

Warning! Shameless Self Promotion Ahead!

Remember, I’ve got that free software that’ll pretty much do all the text layout work for you, anyway.

So, yeah. Write, write, write.

13. What lies in store for Bryce Beattie?

Next up is a couple of Fairy Tale – type books for my kids and then I’ll concentrate on some novella-length political thrillers that I’ve been dying to write. I’m hoping the shorter formats will make it easier for me to finish in a decent amount of time. If I don’t get something done quick, I get bored and its hard to keep working on it.

14. I can’t leave the interview without asking – ‘Beekeeping?’ How did you get into that and do you find it helps you relax and think through your novel ideas?

My brother-in-law is a commercial beekeeper, and I traded him some site design work for a couple of hives. I did it primarily because I’ve always been paralyzed by my fear of bees and I wanted to prove to myself I could overcome it. After I got to be okay around them, there was no reason to lose the hive. As far as insects with stingers go, honeybees are really quite gentle.

Unfortunately, It doesn’t help my writing in the least, but I do get the best tasting honey in the world. I can’t even stand the store-bought stuff anymore. I’ve become a local, raw honey snob.

Thank you Bryce for your time and your great advice and insights. Everyone please follow Bryce on Twitter @BryceBeattie, check out his site here or view more information about his hit novel Oasis here

Author Interview – Mike Wells (@MikeWellsAuthor)

I am extremely pleased to have had the opportunity to ask Mike Wells some questions about his writing and publishing experiences.

A bit about Mike

mike wells authorI’m an American bestselling thriller & suspense author and teach in the Creative Writing program at Oxford. Known for my fast-paced, ‘unputdownable’ novels.

1/ How many books do you have published and tell us a bit about them?

I’ve published over a dozen books. I write mostly thrillers & suspense, but I also write in several other genres – young adult/coming of age, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, and even horror.

2/ What made you self publish?

I can’t work as an employee , am completely incapable of it, and except for a few years in my life have always been self-employed. Trying to work with literary agents and publishers is too much like having a job with a company, as due to the intense competition for your spot, you are expected to do what they tell you to do and you have little control over the design elements and marketing of the product you are producing. I simply can’t deal with that–I have to maintain creative & marketing control over my work. I think I know best regarding how it should be done, and usually I’m right (just look at the publication story of Wild Child) Also, having dealt with four different agents and a few publishers over the years, I’m not at all confident they understand what Average Reader wants. Too often they are mistaken about which books have a market, and the size of those markets. By self-publishing, I get to PROVE, beyond any doubt, that my books have a market. And, by taking that risk, I get the bulk of the money made from them. I think it’s very fair.

3/ Did you prepare your e-book yourself?

Yes I did.

4/ Who did you self publish with?

I used Smashwords and also Amazon KDP.

5/ Do you do a lot of self promotion?

I do tons of self-promotion, mostly using Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

6/ Do you find sales peak and then drop off after your initial self promotion?

Absolutely. The challenge is to keep the sales up after a given book is no longer “new” and while the market is steadily flooded with more books.

7/ Who does you cover art?

Unfortunately I have to do it myself. As I’m on a super-low budget and have had some graphic design experience, I’m designing all my covers using GIMP (a free package similar to Photoshop). In the future I may opt to pay someone to do my covers (they don’t look as good as yours, Andy, not by a long shot). For anyone who doesn’t have some real graphic design experience, I would recommend using a professional like Andy if the writer can afford it.

8/ What advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?

Be prepared to take on what will probably be the biggest challenge of your life. Don’t give up when the going gets tough, and it will get tough. The people who persist are the ones who make through those tough spots.

9/ What lies in store for Mike Wells?

Many more books, I have far more story ideas than I could write in a lifetime. I would also like to see some of my books made into films. I wouldn’t mind trying my hand at directing one.

Please offer your support to Mike on Twitter @mikewellsauthor and check out his site:

You can also purchase some of his books here:

Self published author interview – Simon Fox

I am pleased to have had the opportunity to interview author of The Firstlord Chronicles, Simon Fox. Please rate, comment and Like toward the end of the post.

1/ How would you describe the Firstlord Chronicles?

I would describe it as ‘science fiction’ rather than ‘fantasy’. There aren’t any elves or dwarves in the story!

2/ Do you think your religious views and scifi addiction strongly influences your work?

Yes, my Christian beliefs are an important factor in the FLC equation. Jaddra Vallmar, the main character in Parts 1–4, is a Follower of the Anthall, the God of the Varrdans.

3/ I see you have published with Lulu. How have you found the experience?

Lulu is great to use if you want to produce high-quality, low-cost paperbacks. I have also published my novels as Lulu Epubs, available in the iBookstore.

4/ Have you published anywhere else and, if not, do you plan to?

All of my books are now also available in the Kindle store. The Kindle market is expanding exponentially on a daily basis!

5/ What is your writing process?

Fairly simple, really: (1) thrash out the basic concept/plot structure; (2) rapid first draft; (3) drastic revision; (4) revise again; (5) revise yet again! (6) final tweaking.

6/ Who does your cover art?

I do it myself. The results are OK (at least, I think so!), and it costs me nothing, thus maximizing profits.

7/ Your bio says you’re an editor. Do you focus on similar work to your own?

About 30% of my work is editing Christian non-fiction books, the rest is proof-reading general fiction and non-fiction.

8/ What is your #1 tip for self promotion?

Today the best means of promoting your work is social networking, especially Twitter. Give people substantial samples to read; don’t bore them with mere ads.

9/ What is your #1 tip for authors wanting to self publish?

DON’T GIVE UP!! It’s a steep learning curve and you will probably get little encouragement from other people. But if you believe in what you’re doing, persevere until you get results.

10/ What does the future hold? Any new books in the pipeline?

I have a whole new series of ebooks in mind, featuring my characters KnowsMuch and ThinksFast (see XUNNSPHERE and UNSPACE).

11/ Do you want to name drop any fellow authors or people that have helped along the way?

To be honest, I’ve not received much help from people. It’s been a long, lonely road! I think that’s true of most writers. To get through to some form of success, you need fire in your belly that compels you to write. Your writing should give you a deep, unique joy. If you don’t really have that fire and joy, go and do something easier!

A little bit about Simon Fox

First and foremost, I’m a Christian. Also I’m a husband, dad, writer, editor, politico, sci-fi geek, beer lover, thinker of weird & wonderful thoughts .

Follow Simon on Twitter @SimonFoxWriter and purchase his e-books at Simon’s Bookshop here.

Thank’s very much to Simon for his time and his useful insights.

Author Interview – Bill Glover

I am very excited to say Bill Glover, author of Empire Time amongst many others, has been kind enough to answer some questions for me. I think you will find his responses on writing and publishing extremely interesting – not to mention humorous.

1/ What can you tell us about Empire Time?

I wrote Empire Time as part of the Orion’s Arm project. Orion’s Arm is a shared, hard science fiction world set ten thousand years in our future and filled with artificial intelligences, post-humans and wild ideas. My story is set a bit earlier in the same universe. I wanted to explore some of the consequences of faster than light travel using wormholes, technical consequences like Stephen Hawking’s Chronology Protection Conjecture (CPC) and the idea of time domains and empire time, and some more human and emotional consequences. It was originally published in RevolutionSF and also on the Orion’s Arm website. It was the first thing I brought to the Kindle, sort of like bringing an old friend along to introduce to new readers.

2/ You are obviously a very technical person. Does your day-to-day work inspire you or influence the direction you take with your writing?

I’m a geek, but I’ve had all sorts of jobs. Everything I do affects my writing. I think the kind of work I do right now, embedded systems programming, makes me want to write about competent people who solve problems using their wits, but still make mistakes. I see that every day in my own work, it’s why we have bug tracking databases. It’s also why I’ll never write a hero who ends up in trouble just for doing something stupid. It’s much more fun when a hero ends up in trouble for trying something brilliant that just doesn’t quite work.

3/ You have books published through the traditional route (i.e. not e-books). How did you find that experience?

I’ve been very fortunate to work with a great publisher, O’Reilly Media.  It can tough sometimes jumping through the hoops necessary to fit into a publishers process, and it can be exhausting working with editors, illustrators and proofreaders changing things over and over, but the result is a surprising transformation. A good editor works this magical sort of transmogrification over a draft. Each change seemed obvious in retrospect, but I wouldn’t have spotted them, and I couldn’t have predicted how, together, they made a very big, positive difference in the final book. As for how it worked out financially, I still get regular royalty checks years later. I don’t think I could have made more with that particular book or done it better alone. For non-fiction, I would still tend toward traditional publishing, and I would work with O’Reilly any day.

4/ What made you want to experiment with self publishing?

I have always been a do-it-yourself sort. I fold my own CD cases and wallets out of recycled paper, that sort of thing. Self publishing appeals to me in the same way. Also, I live online. I don’t see traditional fiction publishers really getting what that’s like and approaching it constructively yet. I think they will, and I will still pursue traditional publishing somewhere down the road, but for right now I want to write for an audience without too much formality or overhead. I want to develop my skills while entertaining people and hearing what they have to say about it. I don’t need a traditional publisher to do that. I also like the idea of retaining the rights to my work. I use a Creative Commons license for most things, and I like the idea of being able to do that without having to clear it with someone’s corporate legal, and being able to take my own work to a new format five years down the road without having to buy my own rights back from anyone.

5/ How have you found he experience to date?

It’s great. I was really impressed to see Kindle allowed straight HTML for formatting, and the interface for uploading and pricing and metadata is simple and works the way it should. The reaction from readers has been great too. I haven’t explored Smashwords or B&N yet, but I will as time allows.

6/ How are sales figure of print vs. e-book or is it too early to say?

I’m really not even going to bother with paper printing right now. It’s a cumbersome, expensive process. I love physical books, don’t get me wrong. I have a house full of bookshelves. but I don’t see POD books as very useful. The reading experience on an e-paper screen is great, and the digital version is more durable than paper because I can back it up. I can carry any number of e-books up three flights of stairs without painkillers and a week to recover. A well bound book is a treasure. A POD book or even a mass market paperback is just a poor substitute for an e-book. All of which is a clever way to avoid saying, “It’s too early to tell anyway.” See what I did there?

7/ How do you market and promote your work?

I really haven’t started. My plan is to wait to promote until I have at least four pieces up on Amazon. I know as a reader I will snap up everything by an author if I like the first piece I read, but it may take me some time to come back around and see if they have anything new later. I want to support that same sort of wonderful gluttony in my readers by laying out a few courses and appetizers.

Would you like a mint? It’s wafer thin.

8/ What are your plans for the future? Do you have any books in the pipeline you plan on self publishing?

I’m working on two novellas and two short novels. I’m not sure in what order they will be finished. One is a follow-on fantasy in the same world as A Dangerous Occupation. The other three are very different and will start, if not a series, a set of related books.

9/ What nugget of advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?

If you haven’t already written and published as many books as Lawrence Block, pay a professional editor. The one great weakness I’m seeing in self published work is a lack of professional editing. It really does show, and it’s very hard to do yourself. Also as a bonus nugget, if you buy into a package deal which includes marketing, be very sure you understand what you are paying for and be skeptical of anyone who claims they can make you famous for a fee. No one can guarantee that, and marketing, traditional or indy these days is mostly up to you.

A little about Bill Glover

Bill Glover has, at various times, been paid to: Write software to control dams on the lower Colorado river, wash dishes, write software to manage offshore trust funds, dig ditches, wire together giant machines the size of buildings and program them to do his bidding, usher people into a movie theater, architect one of the largest travel websites in the world, wait tables, track shaving razors, tires, beer and kitchen appliances with radio frequency identification tags, play the saxophone, work for Sun Microsystems as their consultant to other companies on Java Architecture, measure cattle with ultrasound, scales, hydraulics and high speed cameras, be the Chief Architect for the largest airline software company in the world, count pencils, play with Linux code and write device drivers for high end video broadcast and editing equipment, and write technical non-fiction, fantasy, science fiction and the occasional horror story.

Bill lives in the mountains of Northern California where he attends many wine tastings, music festivals, fairs and farmer’s markets and generally has an unreasonably good time reading a book instead.

You can follow Bill on Twitter @I_Write_Fiction and find more information about him at

You can also buy his books here:

Self published author interview – John Davis

As I am venturing into the world of self publishing myself I thought it would be useful to gain the insights of already published authors. In doing so I intend to provide some interesting interviews over the coming months where I ask, basically, the questions I want answers to in the hope I will uncover some good tips from seasoned pros.

My first interview is with John Davis, author of ‘Gunship’ available in the Kindle store.

1/ How many books do you have published?

I currently have one (Gunship) available in the Kindle store, a second book due to release on 12/1/2011 and three more in the works to be available before September of 2012.

2/ What made you self publish?

I chose to self publish after reading that e-book sales had passed paperback sales.  The royalties on a paperback sale are far less, on average, than an e-book because of printing cost. The truth is traditional publishing houses aren’t looking for many new authors, just more work from established names. So rather than waste time sending copies of my book all over the country to make less money, I chose to self-publish in e-book form and spend more time writing.

3/ Did you prepare your e-book yourself?

I did self-prepare it for the most part. I wrote it, did 2 corrective rewrites, gave it to a good friend with a masters in English to proof, loaded it to my Kindle and proofed it again…and still missed a couple of errors. I also had the cover professionally done. Otherwise, it took a lot of time but required very little money.

4/ Who did you self publish with?

Currently just Amazon, although I have gotten several emails from Nook owners and am considering going there as well. Amazon was the quickest to set up and paid a slightly higher royalty rate.

5/ Do you do a lot of self promotion?

Most of it is self promotion.  You have to as a self-published author. A few avid fans of the book also help by promoting it themselves, they are in love with the series just as much as I am.

6/ Do you find sales peak and then drop off after your initial self promotion?

I equate a book launch to a new movie hitting theaters as far as sales are concerned. The first few weeks, a new book usually sells the bulk of its copies. After a few weeks have passed, sales taper and just like a movie hitting DVD, the sales continue but are only a fraction of its launch sales.

7/ Who does you cover art?

A good friend/model of mine appears on the cover of Gunship,, and again, I had it done professionally which will usually cost around 75 to 100 bucks(but is well worth it).

8/ What advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?

Advice, how much time do you have? Kidding. I would stress writing on a subject that you can’t shut up about, because there will be times you have to write when you don’t feel up to it and this helps a lot. DON’T go the vanity publishing route (Authorhouse, I-Universe). Simply, they are the creation of traditional publishing houses and charge you to do things that you can do on your own for free. Open a blog and Twitter account, best promotional tools ever.

Anyone who says it can’t be done is daring you to prove them wrong. Finally, know what you are getting into. It’s a lot of work, which is why most people never finish their first book. If you are sure it’s for you, dive in and enjoy every minute of it.

Thank you John or your time and your great insights. You can follow John on Twitter @johndavisbooks

You can purchase John’s book ‘Gunship’ here