In yesterday’s post I interviewed David Gaughran about how and why he wrote his book, ‘Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should.’ Today, I’m posting the second part of his interview. The book is great, full of useful information and with an entertaining and engaging style. If you don’t know how to bookmark on your reader, learn how to do so before you read; I’ve never book-marked so much before. It also includes success stories from 32 indie writers, including, (I’m counting every half dozen in the list here to be impartial) Cheryl Shireman, Bob Mayer, Mel Comley, N Gemini Sasson, Kenneth Rosenberg, J Carson Black. You’ll be encouraged by all of them.
Here’s the second part of the interview.
Martin Lake: Is this in any way different to your approach to your fiction titles?
David Gaughran: So far. I charge for my two short story e-books, and I plan to charge for my next, a novel. I will have free stories in the future, but I’m not sure if I would adopt this approach for a novel. I can see the logic in some people doing that when they have written a series, hoping to hook the reader into the rest, but I’m less confident that would be effective for standalone novels (which is what I write).
Martin: I’ve mentioned steep learning curves. Could you tell us which people have been most useful to you in getting published?
David: Guido Henkel’s free formatting guide is superb, and I point everyone to that. But there is so much great, free information out there. Moses Siregar does wonderful podcasts. And, as well as the blogs mentioned above, Mike Shatzkin, Scott Nicholson, Bob Mayer, and Robin Sullivan all have great blogs. I find new ones every week.
Martin: What has been the most frustrating thing about self-publishing for you?
David: Formatting is my least favourite aspect. I think I can do it quite well, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a pain in the ass – especially with something a little trickier like non-fiction.
Martin: If you were to suggest 3 must-know tips for self-publishers, what would they be?
David: #1 Make sure your work is ready before you self-publish – use beta readers, learn how to self-edit, get a second a opinion. #2 Remember that you are not just competing against other self-publishers, you are up against every book that comes out of New York and London too, and that’s the standard you will be measured against. #3 The one thing that is guaranteed not to increase your sales is checking your sales. The one thing that is guaranteed to increase your sales is new work. Writing new stuff must come first. Always.
Martin: What do you think the future holds for indie writers and how can we best position ourselves to take advantage of it?
David: So much is unknowable, but right now, the conditions are favourable for indie writers, and the signs for the immediate future are very good. Amazon will probably open Kindle Stores in Spain and France next. A whole load of new e-readers will come on the market in the next few months. Lots of people will buy them and switch to e-books. Things are only going one way in that regard. But there are challenges too. Publishers are racing to get those backlists online. There will be a surge of people self-publishing for the first time. Publishers will drop their prices. Competition will increase. The best thing a writer can do is to keep producing top quality work. Readers never get enough of that.
Martin: I write historical novels so I’m looking forward to your forthcoming novel. Could you tell us something about it?
David: When I was travelling across South Americain 2005, I came across the story of José de San Martín – the Argentine general who freed half the continent in a bloody twelve-year war. He took on the might of the Spanish Empire with an army created from scratch out of vagabonds, rogues, ex-cons, runaways, and mercenaries. But the fascinating part, to me, was that at the peak of his powers, just before the final battle, he resigned and handed his armies over to a rival. Nobody knows why he did it. He went into exile and never spoke of it. So I tried to find out why. Before I knew it, I was writing a novel.
Martin: Finally, your book is called ‘Let’s Get Digital.’ How big an influence has Olivia Newton-John been in your life?
David: I watched Xanadu at a very young age. It had a profound effect on me.
Thank you, David. I wish you continued good luck with all of your books.
Tomorrow. I am giving away copies of my books. Because half of the world is asleep at the moment, I thought it only fair to leave the details until tomorrow so come back to the blog to see how to get a free copy.