In this episode I talk to Australian author Colin Taber who is the author of the alternative history series the United States of Vinland. We talk about a lot in this one with a particular focus on the value of networking and attending real world events.
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Sara Douglas – Fantasy Author
Shaun Tan – Academy Award winner who designed his cover.
Colin researched the broad history that spans over 1000 years, but generally takes the research piece by piece. Colin is careful not to step back too far because the scope of the book (and research could be daunting).
Had quite a bit of interest, but ended up never quite getting there. When he started writing didn’t have the option of self-publishing in the way it is known today. He says his self-publishing option was a ‘pile of books in the garage.’
Colin used his network to get cover quotes from international bestseller Sarah Douglas, and cover art from Academy Award winner Shaun Tan. Colin got both of these through his network. His book cover came from some art made for a previous project by Tan.
For the cover quote Colin had done the design for the maps that were used in some of Douglas’ books and she offered him advice on his writing and a cover quote for The Fall of Ossard.
Colin says these should come from a ‘name’ or someone with a following. Don’t use random reviewers – instead use this space for blurb or just show off your cover. =
Don’t chase them or you’ll end up chasing deals forever instead of writing! Do not go to the outlet, go to an independent distributor who will do this for you.
Colin saw a big success after getting a bunch of books into Borders Australia. It sold so many copies their ordering system started automatically buying many more! This was back in 2009 though, today Colin sells the vast majority of his books in the digital format.
Back in 2009 Colin did Facebook advertising and got 2000 readers, but believes this isn’t as effecitve today. These Facebook ads sent people to book store sites where it would print on demand to a reader.
During the initial launch Colin did many promotions, including lowering the price for a while. He waited for 5 days after the launch for the ranking to stabilize before starting any promotion. This got the book a good amount of initial visibility – from there it continue to sell due to its visibility. The value of this sort of traction has been mentioned several times previously.
Going to events is a great way to get exposure as well as network with other authors and readers. Colin often gets himself invited as a guest which also means costs are minimal as he wont have to buy a table. It also means he gets to talk about his book in front of a large group of people. Book shop distribution was one of the reasons Colin got on the radar for these events.
Started going as an unofficial guest (not a speaker), but eventually got invited to be a main guest after he was selling more books than the main panel guests! Go to these events, you have nothing to lose.
In Australia ebooks work well price wise as print books are very expensive.
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