Thursday, September 15, 2011

Interview with Bryan R. Dennis

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
My debut novel, An Epitaph for Coyote, is about an anal-retentive clerk who has conned himself into believing his materialistic, work-centered, life is perfect. But when he meets a mysterious and comically eccentric woman from the desert, the blinders fall away, and he begins to see himself and his life for what it truly is.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
No. It seemed like too much of a hassle. I like the speed of self-publishing and the control over my work. And I’m against the idea of a small circle of gatekeepers determining what books the public should read.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
Yes. For my short stories, I often use Critique Circle. Critiquing and getting critiqued has strengthened my writing. There is, however, a danger that your work will become oppressed and uninventive if you rely on these groups too much. They’re a good starting point. Knowing what the rules are has always helped inform my decision to break them. 

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
Amazon has a large customer base, and Kindle is still the e-reader to beat. Most of my sales are through Amazon, which I expected based on reports from other self-published authors.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
No. I used beta readers this time for financial reasons. But an editor will be part of the process for future works. With an editor I’ll be a more prolific writer and will be able to afford the extra cost. 

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
There’s a lot of advice being thrown around by people who aren’t experts. Best thing to do is read as much as you can from several sources and a picture will start to emerge.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
My books are also on Smashwords and at Barnes & Noble.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Kindleboards, LibraryThing, Authonomy, and blogs are the main tools for my promotion. I’m using all of them.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Yes, but I don’t expect to market this heavily indefinitely. I think it’s unwise, if nigh impossible, to combine creative writing and marketing -- at least for me it is. I plan to market for a while and then disappear to work on my next book.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

What’s next for you?
My next novel, Saw a Rainbow, comes out in September. This is a metaphysical thriller with a Twilight Zone feel, which is the direction my writing is going. And I’m also about to embark on a five-part fantasy series (sort of a cross between the Wizard of Oz and the Seven Samurai). While I’m writing that, I’ll periodically publish short stories.