Friday, 27 July 2012

Interview With A Successful Indie Author

Introducing Rosen Trevithick.

Since 2012 began, readers have downloaded over 130,000 copies of Rosen's books. So far two titles have broken into Amazon's Top 100 Kindle Books chart and Lipstick and Knickers led the fictional comedy chart for almost three weeks. Rosen is one of the most popular authors 2012.

Rosen was born in Cornwall, during the Chinese year of the sheep. She studied at Oxford before moving back to the West Country.

She now lives on the south coast of Devon with two imaginary cats, fantasising about getting a real one. (Rosen, you can borrow mine if you like!)

Pretty impressive stuff! I think all self published authors will agree that the biggest challenge they and new and aspiring writers face is making themselves visible amongst the ever swelling crowd of hopeful authors. Perhaps this helps put in perspective just what Rosen has achieved. Obviously she is a very talented lady as confirmed by the very positive reviews her books receive. here are a few:

"A very short story which made a very big impact, I actually found myself at one point holding my breath."
- A. Coburn (Amazon top 500 reviewer)
"Rosen has a flair for snappy dialogue, detailed description and fast plot movement. I'll definitely be reading more of her work."
- David Wailing (author)
"It's everything new writing should be. I hope to see more from her."
- Oxford Uncovered
"I absolutely loved Straight Out of University. It was laugh out loud funny through a lot of it. It drew me in rapidly and even had me on tenterhooks to see if characters Sophie and John would work out together.
- S. Hitchens
I asked Rosen if she would share some insights with us and she readily agreed so here goes:

Rosen, since 2012 began there have been over 140,000 downloads of your books. That’s quite staggering. How did you achieve this success?
 Most of the downloads were free books donated using Amazon’s Select programme. I use free promotions to attract people to my work and often readers go on to buy my other titles, or leave reviews that make my work more enticing to others. I also made a few small but important changes to my life, such as working in public spaces so that people ask me about my work, replacing some of the time I spent on Facebook with active participation in indie book forums, and jotting notes for people on specially printed bookmarks, postcards and business cards instead of scrap paper. Although some of those things feel pointless at first, if you put in a little effort every day, you can suddenly find yourself looking back over six months and thinking – wow, I’m actually getting somewhere.

Did you approach traditional publishers first or did you decide from the outset to self-publish? If so, why did you choose the self-publish route?
I have approached publishers in the past. Before Amazon launched the Kindle Direct Publishing platform, self-publishing was much harder than it is now. I did approach publishers earlier this year after I experienced some success with Kindle books and was keen to see my work in print. However, I then joined FeedARead and realised how smoothly print-on-demand services can work and now my work is in print anyway. A traditional publishing deal would have to be very special to tear me away from self-publishing now.
Would you agree that self-published or Indie authors have to take responsibility for promoting their books?
Yes, absolutely. However, the more I hear about traditional publishers, the more I suspect that promotion is the author’s responsibility no matter how they are published. However, unlike some traditionally published books, we don’t have stacks of promotional copies to give away, so we do have to get creative when it comes to marketing.
Did you identify a potential readership and write specifically for them or do you write to please yourself and hope others will also appreciate your work?
At first, I wrote exactly what I wanted to write. However, now that I’m trying to make a living from writing, I have become more aware of the need to consider the market. When planning my latest novel, I asked readers to vote for which of two stories they wanted me to develop. I then worked on the one that was most popular among my target audience.

What personal qualities do you think every successful author needs?
Being an author is about so much more than being a writer. People want to know about you, not just your books. You have to be prepared to be ‘on duty’ 24/7 and show 100% faith in your work even though, in reality, authors’ confidence goes up and down like everybody else’s. You need to be prepared to network and promote regularly. Often these extrovert qualities do not come naturally to writers, as writing is a very solitary activity. You need to be able to take knock backs on the chin and carry on. I recently read about a writer who took one of her books off Amazon because she got a bad review. Obviously, learning from negative feedback is a good thing, but you can’t afford to let it take you down. However, learning to keep calm and carry on takes great time and will power.

From the reviews you have received it is obvious your work is of a very high quality. How important do you think it is for a writer to work at his/her craft?
 Thank you! I like to think I write well but I’m always looking for ways to improve. Even if I were naturally an exceptional writer who could bash out outstanding first drafts time after time (if only…), if writers don’t invest time in perfecting their work they will be competing with ten thousand exceptional writers who will work at perfection. It is important to look out for ways to improve continually, or you will get left behind.
Where do you draw the inspiration for your stories from?
Almost all of my stories are inspired by events and people. Occasionally a place will have a big impact on me – I find Fowey particularly inspiring. However, generally, my work is character or situation based. I walk through life applying “what ifs” to everything that amuses me.
Which of your books is your personal favourite and why?
I have a variety of personal favourites for different reasons. I particularly enjoy writing humorous stories such as Pompomberry House. However, Seesaw will always have a special place in my heart because it was my first paperback. Touching your very own paperback for the first time is an incredibly satisfying moment and creates a special bond between author and book.
Are there any recurring themes in your books?
A few of my books raise awareness about issues that are close to my heart whereas others are there purely for entertainment purposes. The theme of the stories in Seesaw, for example, oscillates between comedy about romance gone wrong and serious drama about mental health issues.
How does your work reflect your personality?
My life tends to swing from one extreme to the other, which is reflected in Seesaw. Often my protagonists are distorted versions of me, such as Sophie Sweet in Straight Out of University – an eternal student who suddenly finds herself abruptly thrown back into the real world. Also, the struggling, flawed, indie writer Dee Whittaker from Pompomberry House, is based on another facet of me.
If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?
Nobody ever became a successful author without giving it a go.

One thing I forgot to ask Rosen was, "Are your related to Richard Trevithick?" The man who invented the steam engine before Stevenson!
Here are a few of Rosens books: 
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You can visit Rosen's webpage. HERE

Once again thank you Rosen and we wish you continuing success.

This Weeks Featured Authors were not randomly selected. We bumped into each other in two of those internet equivalents of watering holes we know and love as groups or forums. more about groups and forums in a future post. They are probably worthy of a novel in their own right though exactly what genre they would inhabit is anyone's guess.

My first encounter was with Patricia Reed. Having joined an authors group on Facebook I had the temerity to upload a promotional video for one of my books. The response from some of the members was equivalent to my being given a bell to announce my future presence and a hooded cloak to cover my unsightly appearance. They didn't actually ask me to type the word 'unclean' before each posting but I got the distinct impression that the members concerned would welcome such an introduction to any future contribution.

Patricia rode to my rescue (I've always been a bit of a wimp) although she didn't actually carry me off to her castle somewhere but  I suppose you can't have everything in life. 
Patricia had just written her first book and the reviews she has already received fall firmly into the 'rave' category.

Come along on a magnificent journey to True Self discovery. "The Space Between" is a true story of transformation, inspiration and hope - an odyssey that is certain to touch your heart and heal your soul.

Faced with difficult challenges, Patricia Reed tells the story of her own adventures as her intuition began flowering, soon after divine visitors came in the night to speak with her. Join her along her spiritual journey through the metaphysical, where what was once black and white transmutes to infinite shades of gray, and meet some extraordinary characters along the way!
   By James
"The Space Between" by Patricia Reed is truly a masterpiece -
As Ms. Reed's story unfolds you can feel it reach inside you and touch all of your senses. It is exceptional in its simplicity, easy to read, relate to and understand. Once I started I simply couldn't put it down.

J. Harricharan
This special book, "The Space Between," by Patricia Reed, permits us to join her in a wonderful journey into the depths of the human spirit. The author shares some of her personal triumphs and tragedies with her readers, which illustrate the techniques and methods she utilizes to overcome challenges. Patricia also introduces us to her spirit guides and teachers and we get the feeling that all of us have such guidance. Not only do we have access to other-worldly help, but such help is right at hand, just waiting to be called upon. Read and enjoy this book. Remember the lessons that are contained in its pages and let your life be a glorious adventure.

 You can visit Patricia's web page HERE

I think I shall definitely be reading Patricia's book as I need all the help I can get. Thanks once again Patricia for being a Good Samaritan to a floundering newbie groupie.
Now meet someone else I met paddling in the murky waters of a LinkedIn group for aspiring authors. Though I have the feeling that the waters weren't that murky until we started paddling in them.
A very warm welcome to Kit Johnson.I think in Kit I have found a kindred spirit. Not that I suffer from bipolar, in fact quite the opposite. I think I am probably chronically optimistic. If General  Custer had asked me for my opinion as the obviously not very friendly Sioux nation appeared ominously over the horizon I would most likely have said, "At least it's not raining." Military genius I am not. I do however have some first hand experience of what it is like to live with someone who suffers from acute depression which in some ways mirrors bipolar.

My father's experiences' during the Second World War left him a legacy of bouts of severe depression. This condition he disguised brilliantly when in company but at home he was usually morose and withdrawn for long periods. Strangely though my memories of him are mostly very happy ones. I learnt from a very early age that the hardest battles one has to face is with yourself. Kit has bravely and with great humour confronted his inner demons, if that is an appropriate analogy for bipolar.

I have read the first chapter of his book and I admit to laughing out loud. This is another must-read book for me. Please Kit, don't stop writing or being yourself.
Kit Johnson has had Bipolar for over 45 years, beginning in his teenage years, but it took at least 20 years before being correctly diagnosed. He has managed ( just !) to have a successful International business career, participate in TV Quiz shows, become an accomplished ‘After Dinner Speaker’ and survive in the corporate jungle. Bipolar gives you wings, but like Icarus, when you’re high, you get too close to the sun, and down you go. Share that journey with him.

I recommend a visit to Kit's website - it's a good read in itself. Download the first chapter of his book - you won't regret it unless you are easily offended. VISIT KIT'S WEBSITE

Kit, it's been great meeting you. please keep in touch!

Next Week I'll be asking and seeking answers to, what happens When We Fall In Love - With Our Characters?

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