The self-publishing revolution has caused many people to become new authors, and this is often true for people who have professions where they are writing anyway. In this interview I talk to screenwriter Chuck Rose, who used some of his down time to write a thriller called “Head Games.” There is a lot of talk in the self-pub world, about how you need to have several books out before you start really moving the needle, but Chuck had a successful launch that took him from 30,000 in the Kindle store, right up to the top 25. In this interview we talk about how he did that. Show notes and action steps at rspcast.com/chuck.
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Chuck started writing knowing that he had to write a series, he saw that as one of the major reasons some authors were being successful. He wasn’t sure whether the book would be successful, but he knew that he had to go for a series if he wanted to be successful long term as a fiction author.
Stop and Start
Chuck has a busy life and found that he really had to get used to the idea of starting and stopping with his writing. There was no time when he could just sit down for three months and write the whole thing, he had to steal moment here and there to get it done. Doing this, and building up habits is powerful, if you write every day you will get used to it.
Use Your Network
Chuck had a network of people that he knew from his other work as a screenwriter and playwright. He sent the book out to them and asked if they would take a look at it. Don’t be shy about doing this, if you have written a book, reach out to the people you know and tell them! He quietly put the book out on Amazon and reached out to these people for reviews, this was a month before he did any promotion, so that the book had good reviews when he started seeking promotions.
Chuck had a series of promotions planned for his book which he had organized through Ebook Booster. As he had good reviews he hoped that they would mostly decide to feature his book, and he decided not to pay for anything (because the book was free and he wasn’t making any money). We talk in depth about this in the interview, but essentially his book went from 30k in the overall free Kindle store to around 20, and stayed in the number 2 spot in a major sub category for 3 days.
- Can you create a tag line for you books? “A Neurotic Thriller” “Thrillers with Heart” “Thrillers on the Edge” – will this help you write and build a brand? These can give you consistency across all your books, even if they are not in a series.
- Are there writers you know already? Or people you can meet online? They can probably help you with both the craft and marketing side of things.
- Are there times in your day where you are waiting, or otherwise unoccupied? Identify these, even if they are just 5 minutes, and see if you can somehow write in them. Waiting to pick the kids up from school, take out the phone and tap out a few hundred words! Identify these moments, make use of them, and the words will start to add up.
- Start building a list of people who you would be comfortable sending your book to when it is ready. Don’t limit this to your close friends and family. Be bold and think about others, perhaps people who you haven’t been in touch with for a while.
- From this list, whittle it down to three or four people who you really trust. Ask them to be your beta readers, ask them for feedback on the cover.
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