The author Charles O’Keefe is giving away 10 ebooks of his new fantasy novel ’The Newfoundland Vampire’ . The giveaway is international so anyone can enter. I managed to ask Charles a few questions about his debut novel.
What inspired you to write your books?
First off I wanted to thank you for reading and reviewing my book (whenever you get a chance) and for having me for this interview, it’s much appreciated J A friend of mine put a book out in 2006 and that got me thinking if he could do it why not me? Ultimately, though it was a combination of things, interviews I heard from other writers, encouragement from friends and many ideas in my head that I wanted to write down. For me I love to imagine how my life could be different if I had made different choices and this book is the ultimate fulfilment of that. The main character Joseph (who is 90% me) gave me a chance to see how my life could have turned out differently at 23 if I made other choices and if vampires were real.
How many eBooks have you published?
Just 1 so far (“The Newfoundland Vampire”) and technically I didn’t publish it, I’m with a small publishing company called Penumbra Publishing who are in Tennessee.
How did you choose your genre?
Well I’ve always loved vampires and it was something I had thought of doing for a long time (I started my book way back in 2002). So at least for the foreseeable future it was just the only genre I could see myself writing in (I do love horror movies/books as well).
Have you outsourced editing, cover design, formatting?
Yes I paid a local editor to help with an early draft. Then my book fell into the very capable hands of Pat, my editor at Penumbra. Penumbra also did the cover and were kind enough to let me have a great deal of input (I even got to take some pictures for the back cover J). The fine folks at Penumbra also did the formatting for print and Ebook versions of it.
Do you sell copies of your novel directly from your website?
No I have links to all the places where it is available online and in person. I could try to sell it directly (paper copies) but I live in an isolated place and I think the shipping costs would turn most people off.
How long did it take you to build your current number of followers? What system have you found to works for you?
I have almost 9000 followers on Twitter and I do have a few tricks. (It has taken me since April of 2010 to get there). The obvious one is just to follow who Twitter recommends for me but I also then went to other people’s followers and lists and followed them as well. When I reached my limit, I used a website (www.manageflitter.com) to see who wasn’t following me back and un-followed them so I could add more. Those are the boring details. The fun stuff is I try to retweet other authors and nice people at least three times a week, I thank every new follower I get, I thank people who RT me and I do not bombard people with promotional tweets to my book. I keep it to 7-8 of those kinds of tweets a week (unless I have something to announce like this interview J) For Facebook I just added all my friends and authors I knew, then I just add people FB recommends and once again keep the advertising to a minimum.
Do you use any specific software to promote your books online?
Nope I do it all myself, whew!
Do you have a “must” when you’re writing (i.e. music, red bull, peace, etc.)?
Peace and quiet are two “musts”. I also generally like to write in the morning so I can look out the window at some scenery. I can’t write in the same room as a TV. I also always have an outline, I find it best to have ideas for at least 2 chapters ahead of where I am in the story.
You obviously have a loyal base of readers. Anything you want to say to them?
Thank you! I wanted to thank everyone who has bought my book and/or supported me in any way. I’ve made some nice friends over the past few months (you know who you are J). I also wanted to say that I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and that they are safe, happy and well.
What kind of books do you like to read?
I enjoy reading vampire books (and other horror), fantasy, sci-fi and some non-fiction. I also read a few comic books and short stories. I enjoy history books about Newfoundland (where I live) and World War II.
Do you have any other works in progress?
I started book 2 of my vampire series last year and I am going to get back to it this month. The continuing adventures of Joseph and Cassandra and a whole bunch of other boring people (just kidding only a few are boring .
What tips or advice would you offer to writers who are about to join the self-published community?
Well I’m not self-published but I can, however, offer a few general tips on being an indie writer (which I think is fairly close). First off, stick with it and be patient. Writing a book takes time and publishing takes time. There were times I was frustrated and thought my book would never be finished but it was and all worth it in the end J. Second, don’t expect to make a fortune overnight. I thought that a good book with plenty of promotional effort on my part would equal huge success, it didn’t. Like a lottery ticket it is so very rare to be an overnight success, be prepared to keep your day job (unless you’re lucky enough to get paid to write anyway) and enjoy every accomplishment no matter how small. Third, promote and sell but don’t overdo it. For a while, it seemed like all my free time was either on Twitter, Facebook, my website or my blog. You have to find a balance somewhere and while promotion is important, you need a social life as well. I do a lot of stuff in person and one of the biggest things I’ve learned selling to the general public is hard! If you can find conventions/festivals/book signings to sell your book at that will have geeky people around, do that rather than a flea market or mall setup. I also would highly recommend a book launch at a reasonably cheap venue (mine was free J), you may not make money but you’ll have a great time. Of course, don’t be shy! I bring my book up to friends, family, the vet, anyone. The worst they can say is no and you’ll be surprised who will buy a copy (the woman at the front desk of the vet clinic bought mine J). Also while Twitter has a lot of great people on it, in my experience it’s not the best place to focus all your promotional efforts, I’ve sold many more books in person (almost 10 times as much) that I have online. Finally if you can find a way to get your book in as many local stores as possible do it, you may have to wait a while for payment if it’s consignment but there’s nothing like getting paid for 92 books at the one time =)
Thank you very much for taking part in this interview.
You’re welcome! Thanks so much for having me, it was a lot of fun (and what writer doesn’t love to talk about themself? . Great questions and I really look forward to seeing what you think of my book.
Enter this fantastic giveaway here!