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Q: How much time do you devote to marketing your books and what kind of marketing do you recommend?
A: Iím still learning about this one (and think I probably will be for the rest of my life). Most writers I know (including myself) are not natural marketers, and generally have little interest in it. Weíd rather be writing. But book publishers no longer "carry the load" for marketing as they once did, and so the task has fallen to authors to often carry the bulk of the responsibility for promoting their own books in the marketplace.
Because there is so much to learn, and what I need to learn is constantly changing, I could easily end up spending 80 percent of my time focused on marketing. But that, obviously, is not a good option. What I do instead is try to focus my efforts on those marketing avenues that will bring the greatest return on my time. One great resource Iíd recommend is John Kremerís book, 1001 Ways To Market Your Books. As the title suggests, the book contains far more ideas than I have time to pursue. So I skimmed through the book and selected a handful (perhaps 10 or so) ideas that I thought would bring the greatest return for my effort. For example, getting your book reviewed in the neighborhood newsletter is fine. But with the same time invested, you could possibly get your book reviewed by a national newspaper like USA Today, or a magazine with nationwide readership. Using that sort of "maximum return" filter, Iíve been able to limit my "marketing time" to about 30 minutes each day-which leaves the rest of my time free to focus on the writing itself.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: Gideonís Dawn is the first installment of a trilogy called "The Pearlsong Refounding." Iím currently working on Waymaker, the second book in the series, which I hope to complete by Fall of 2003. On the side, Iím also laying the foundation for a different kind of adventure thriller set in modern times, one that explores the fuzzy boundaries between E.S.P. and the spiritual realm. Iím just in the research phase for that one, however.
Q: Who are your favorite authors, and why do they inspire you?
A: I have many favorite authors, but probably the two that have influenced me most are J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis. What strikes me about them as authors is not just their obvious excellence as writers and passion for myth, but also their love of language. I think they understood something of the power inherent in words. Their example has been invaluable to me.
Q: What has the Internet meant for you as an author?
A: The Internet has become a vital tool for me as a writer, in more ways than I can name. It is my research assistant, my training manual (especially when it comes to marketing or website creation), and my direct link to readers, agents, editors, and fellow authors. Of course, the one great gift the Internet brings to writers is empowerment, because it has broken down all sorts of obstacles that have historically prevented writers from taking control of their own success.
The flip side of that, of course, is that when success doesnít come, there arenít nearly as many people to blame besides yourself.