One thing that independently published authors and authors with the coveted contract have in common is marketing. Both writers have to work their tails off shilling their books. And in many cases, both kind of writers have no idea where to start.
Enter: M. R. Mathias and his magical book “The First Ten Steps to Take AFTER you Publish Your New Book.”
This book is an easy to follow guide that will jump start your marketing with its simple directions. Mathias didn’t have to tell us how he achieved his status as an international bestselling fantasy author (over 50,000 books sold in 2011,) but I’m sure glad he did. And I’m thrilled that he took some time to talk to me about his work.
Traci: Hi! I know you as M R Mathias on the forums and Dhag Mhan on twitter…what do you like to be called in real life?
Michael: Michael works.
Traci: Tell me about your books.
Michael: They are fantasy and they are pretty good. I write from the heart and I offer huge free samples of my novels at smashwords.com so that you can decide if you like them way before you have to pay.
Traci: When did you start writing full time?
Michael: I was taking care of my Grandmother, who recently died of complications brought on by her Alzheimer’s. I was stuck in the house so I started transcribing the stuff I wrote in jail into MSWord and editing it. After she died I uploaded and was sort of looking for new work (I had relocated for Grandmother so I was in an unfamiliar town.) My book started selling so I started putting more stuff on Kindle and then wham! I found twitter and it all exploded so that I am making nice money writing full time now.
Traci: I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like some serious life changes led to the place where you could become a writer. You say your books started selling on kindle…I wonder, when did you feel like a success?
Michael: I respect the fact that I am holding onto something that isn’t permanent so I won’t comment on success.
Traci: Do you know the story of Jonah? After the the thing with the whale? He rests under a vine for a while and when the vine shrivels up and dies he gets mad at God. God makes a point that Jonah didn’t plant or tend the vine and has no right to complain about it dying. We tend to our books, but I still try to think of Kindle as Jonah’s vine. It’s here now for us to enjoy, but we need to have a plan that goes beyond that for the future. When I am muttering to myself at the computer, I’m usually saying, “It’s not my vine, It’s not my vine.”
Michael: I like that. I like the story of David and Goliath. Us Indie authors being David!
Traci: And your book is a stone, right? With the marketing plan in your book “The First Ten Steps,” how long did it take you to figure out what worked and what didn’t?
Michael: I’m still figuring. But what started the ten steps was people always asking how I got people to buy my book. I said the big preview. But I was getting people to read the preview because of free content and that is the essence of the plan. Content is King. That’s the new slogan. If it is true then Free Content is even better.
Traci: Do you think the steps will work for everyone?
Michael: I think the steps will work for anyone who offers quality samples and a good story to back it up.
Traci: What really great tip did you leave out of your book simply because it would have made the book 11 steps?
Michael: There wasn’t one. Considering that steps one and two are redundant it’s really only 8 steps. lol! Here is something I learned after the book came out, two things in fact About.me pages are awesome and free and a great way to link your books from the various stores they sell in. example: http://about.me/MichaelRobbMathias AND Shelfari book info, such as character names and locations in the book that people comment on go on your Amazon sales page.
Traci: Yet again, you’re not keeping the good ideas all to yourself! Thanks. That’s one thing though, about you. Every time we talk I have more work to do! But talking about your work, what’s your next novel about and when do you expect to release it?
Michael: My next novel is titled: Cold Hearted Son of a Witch and is part two of the Dragoneers Saga novels. I’m hoping for a late August early September release.
Traci: Where do you fall on the great 99 cent ebook debate? Useful tool or devaluing your work?
Michael: I fall like this. You’d pay .99 for a 3 minute song and over $8 to watch a 3 hour movie. My books will entertain you easily twice that long, and they are in “Mind’s Eye 3D” I think .99 devalues the whole brick and mortar industry, which is why it is useful, but only my short stories are .99 My epic fantsy novels are not cheap, but at 600 and 700 pages you get your money’s worth.
Traci: What would you do differently if the big ebook sellers closed their doors to self-publishing?
Michael: Since I am more or less a publisher with my own 14 titles out, I don’t see it affecting me. The ereader companies make enough off of my books that they will keep me around. J
Traci: Speaking of yourself as a publisher, would you ever consider taking on other authors?
Michael: Maybe in the future. Editing is an all consuming thing for me right now, since my formal education is limited. Once my writing is more self sufficient I may do that.
Traci: Thanks for your time, I know you are very busy. Best of luck with your work (works) in progress!
Michael: Thank you for being interested. This is a busy summer for me. Thanks for understanding!
Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of the independently published Mitzy Neuahus Mystery series. In addition to writing mysteries, Traci is a die hard childrens ministry worker. Story telling is her favorite job in the ministry but she also rocks balloon animals and wild games. Traci has written grant proposals, blogs , essays onetymology , Bible studies, Sunday School curriculum, novels, short stories, history essays, and plays. She hopes to do many more of the above, God willing and the creek don’t rise. The Mitzy Neuhaus series is available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com in paperback and ebook. More of Traci’s work can be found at http://www.tracihilton.com
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