1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
The story centers on a 13-year-old boy, Percival Dunbar, who lives in modern Scotland and has a unique interest in the supernatural. When a spate of supernatural phenomena in his town lead him face-to-face with the murderous Tercentennial Baron—the most terrifying figure of paranormal legend—Percival thinks he’s met his end. But the Baron reveals he’s come to Percival’s town not to attack people, but to protect them. And if Percival is to discover why, he must unlock the secrets of the Baron’s past. Only by working together can he and the Baron protect his town from a looming supernatural war.
Stick with it. I am very upfront with people that this is a self-published novel, and I say that with pride. I was rejected by 75 different agents, managers, and editors before I decided to bring this story to the world on my own. You have so many options for how to publish your work these days; don’t count anything out. Find the avenue that feels truest to you, and pursue it. After all, learning to be a successful businessperson is just as important as being a creative person in the arts today.
Based on my experience as a sought-after audiobook narrator, a writer who couldn’t get published with major houses, and someone who reads the trades daily, I believe the way people want to consume written stories (and the stories they want to consume) is changing faster than most big publishers can keep up with. In the audiobook world we’re in a unique place: audio sales have been increasing remarkably over the last several years, and indeed that’s the only format I’m aware of in publishing that is seeing significant year-to-year positive sales growth. I think the main reason for that is it’s just so darn convenient. Listen to a whole book on your commute to and from work, in a couple days? Duh! I don’t see the best or most successful books being published only by major publishers, nor do I see that only happening with indie publishers. I think the future of this business belongs to those who are quick enough on their feet to adapt to changes as they come, and innovative enough to consistently offer new ways to absorb stories. That could be big publishers not weighed down by bureaucracy or uninspired leadership, and/or small publishers who hit upon some great stories with unique ways to bring them to people. But I feel like adaptability is going to be key. And especially in the age of Game of Thrones, Pottermore, and binge-watching, anything that helps readers feel more immersed in the world of the author will be incredibly valuable.
7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
What does it really take to land on a best-seller list?