I sit down in person, in Prague, with AG Riddle. AG started in 2013 and has sold well over 500,000 books. Top ten author in 6 Amazon categories, well over 10,000 reviews across his three books. Rather appropriately, we talk about ambition. Not just in terms of sales, but also in terms of story. AG started off writing with a 500 page epic spanning multiple worlds and many centuries.
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On Writing – Stephen Kings book on the craft.
David Gatewood – Gerry’s editor.
KindleWorlds – Write in Gerry’s world!
EReader News Today – The only site that accepted Gerry’s book for promotion.
Gerry has a background in entrepreneurship and investing before he started, having successful ran several internet companies. He has a strong work ethic and that is important to success. He also strongly believes that because he was so successful before he has the confidence that things he tries will work, which can be very important. On the flip side, he has launched several companies that have failed, and just knows that that is part of the process. He says that if he had failed at this he would have just moved on.
When he retired young he had a real point of reflection where he had to decide what he wanted to do. He realised that the creative stuff was what he wanted to do, focus less on the business stuff.
The books cross a lot of genres, sci-fi, suspense, thriller, romance… They also cross the line between fact and fiction. This is something that fascinated him and thought that it would be the same for authors. For a while when he was writing he was wondering if anyone would feel the same way about the books as he did, and had to put them out.
Before releasing that book in 2013 he had been planning the release for two years. He learned writing, planned his books, it was a long process before publication.
After the first release there was some things that needed to be fixed. These came to light from feedback and reviews. It was only at this point, months later, that Gerry went back and started fixing it.
Talking to Gerry it became clear that he had huge expectations for his book from the start. When his first few months only netted a few thousand copies a month, which he considered not a takeoff, he was disappointed. Things didn’t really start taking off until a few months after than, starting sell tens of thousands a month. He reduced the price to 99cents, and got a promo with eReader News Today. This was the only one that accepted him. After that the book got picked up by Amazon and things started going really well. The release of the second book really exploded the books and they started selling in enormous numbers.
The books are heavy on the research, and Gerry admits that he started with a tough novel to write. He had a lot of stuff that he wanted to get in the novel and wasn’t sure what he should keep in and cut out. Getting out of the research mode and into writing was difficult, but it was just something that needed to be done!
Journals, Google, and popular science articles were very useful. The popular stuff is not just useful for information, but it also gives you an idea of what people are interested in. He also used his wife as a filter to find out what people are interested in, if she found it boring, chances are the reader did as well.
The books where heavily plotted, as he knew he wanted to get to the end. He had started writing a few times without a serious plan and he kept getting off track. The first book was so heavily outlined that he felt like he was just grinding away to enter the details. With the second book he laid off the intense planning a little, and that made the second book a lot more fun to write. Gerry says that it is a good idea to find a good blend between plotting and having some creative license to move away from it.
Gerry goes through all of this reviews and looks for things to fix. If they are little errors that can be fixed he gets a new book up on KDP that same day. He does all of these fixes himself, admitting that it is a huge waste of his time. He wants it done instantly, not having to wait for someone to format and fix.
“It was only making 6 or 7 thousand sales … that’s what I considered a non takeoff”
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