Monday, June 21, 2010

Interview with David Dalglish

Available for sale at Amazon

Welcome David,

Briefly describe your journey in writing your first book.
The first book of significant length I wrote was in my senior year of high school. My Creative Writing teacher reserved the computer lab every day for an hour, so our assignment for the class was just to write something. It didn’t matter what, or how lengthy, just as long as you were writing. Complete freedom to write what I wanted? I was beyond excited.

I started out with a single short story of about 10,000 words about a shadow monster guarding a mine filled with gold. I wrote a sequel, then another, adding paladins, demons, elves, giant battles, until I ended up with a 120,000-word collection titled The Fall of the Citadel. It’s still in a shoebox in my bedroom in all its novice glory.

Did you query agents or traditional publishers before publishing on Amazon?
Only once, and in hindsight, the book was nowhere near good enough for me to send it out. For the most part, I had this giant story I wanted to tell, and until it was done, I didn’t want to try shipping it out and spend the copious amount of hours required to edit and rewrite them into a semblance of acceptable form. It boiled down to me preferring to spend my time writing new material instead of dwelling on the old. Obviously, this caused me to neglect one of the major aspects of the writing craft. Looking back, I can see just how badly it stunted my growth.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish?
I bought my wife a Kindle for Christmas. Between the two of us, we were reading so much more than we had in months. I’d devour a book a week, while my wife sometimes two or three. For the longest of time I was a skeptic of ebooks and ereaders, but after a single month, I was a complete convert.

When I researched into the market, I saw how undeveloped it still was. I was convinced (and still am) that a huge explosion would soon take place. By this point, I had four books finished out of the five total for my series. While not completely done, I was close enough to know that I couldn’t hold on to any “I need to finish it first” excuses anymore. The Kindle market would soon explode, and I would kick myself for the rest of my life if I didn’t at least try to take advantage of it.

I found a guy named Peter Ortiz to draw me a cover for the first book and then, without telling any of my friends or family, fanatically edited The Weight of Blood and published it on the Kindle. That final moment was horrifying, an all or nothing feeling. I am so thankful now that I didn’t lose my nerve.

Will you try to garner a traditional publishing contract for any future books?
If it happens, it happens. I want to try and get all five books of the series out for sale first. If I somehow never finished the entire series, I’d feel horrible for abandoning the readers I’ve collected.

Did you design your cover art?  If not, would you care to share your graphic designer’s information?
For my cover art, I scoured Deviantart for artists whose work was of a high quality and who would also be willing to do a commission. I don’t think I could have found anyone better than Peter Ortiz. You can check out some of his other work here:

If you used a graphic designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I sent Peter a detailed description of what I wanted the scene to be. At the same time, I purposefully left many things vague, trusting Peter to fill in the blanks in a way that looked best. In other words, I told him the two brothers were about to assault a camp of soldiers. I didn’t tell him I wanted the half-orcs with their backs to trees, which way their heads should be tilted, or any nitpicky stuff like that. I let him make me a good picture, and he rewarded that trust back tenfold.

How did you feel when you got your first sale?  Are you pleased with sales so far?
Surreal. My wife was standing beside me when I checked and saw the very first one.

“You realize someone you don’t know is reading your story, right?” she asked me.

It hadn’t hit me until then, and that feeling was both exciting and horrifying. Since then I’ve had over 700 free downloads of my first book on Smashwords, an unknown amount on the iBookstore, plus 800 more sales on Kindle. I know there’s other indie authors pulling that in a week, but I’m more than excited by the numbers, especially for having only had my two books out for four months and two months, respectively.

What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
I’m active on the Kindleboards…and that’s pretty much it. Still in the process for setting up a website, and I’ll probably make a facebook page devoted to the books at some point.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
My books are also for sale at Smashwords and the iBookstore.

What’s next for you?
I have recently released the third book in my series, The Death of Promises. Now I’ve got a stand-alone novel about halfway written called A Dance of Cloaks. It takes place in the same world as my Half-Orc Series, detailing the early history of Haern and the Eschaton mercenaries.

Thanks for the interview. Hopefully I didn't bore people too badly.