Friday, September 14, 2012

Interview with Joshua Johnson


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
The Cerberus Rebellion is a fantasy novel set in my Griffins & Gunpowder Universe. It is the first novel of a planned six in its series. The Griffins & Gunpowder Universe differs from traditional fantasy in that it's Gunpowder Fantasy. It blends traditional elements of Epic Fantasy with rifles and railroads without going into steampunk.

The Cerberus Rebellion tells the story of a rebellion that rips apart the nation of Ansgar. It follows four main characters who have different perspectives on the war and why it is being fought.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Not with The Cerberus Rebellion. This novel was planned and built from the ground-up with Self-Publishing in mind. I had previously submitted other works to agents but aside from one personalized note, all I got out of that was a stack of form rejections.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I'm a new member of Scribophile which has already helped me in the short time that I've been there by pointing out some of the larger scale aspects of my writing that I need to improve on.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
Previous experience with the traditional publishing model was definitely one aspect. About 5 years ago I looked into self-publishing but that was back when you had to buy massive runs of your work and weren't sure that anyone would buy it anyways. With Amazon's KDP, after cover and editing there's no inventory to manage.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Absolutely. Nick over at Everything-Indie.com went over Cerberus several times, providing valuable feedback that I used to improve the novel.

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
Not everything goes according to plan; I expected to publish my novel in early September but thanks to a new laptop, I was able to get it on the market by the beginning of July.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Right now, The Cerberus Rebellion is only available via Amazon because I'm enrolled in the KDP Select program. I intend to let it go for one more cycle in Select because I plan on having Book 2, The Hydra Offensive, available by the end of the year and want to use Cerberus as a springboard. I do have three short stories, The Gathering Storm, The Sithean Betrayal and The Red Dragon's Gold that are available on Kobo and Barnes & Noble.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I have a blog at www.gunpowderfantasy.com and I'm a member of Guild of Dreams (fantasycollective.wordpress.com). I've very active on Twitter (@authorjkjohnson) and participate in about half a dozen forums to promote my work.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I have a pretty set schedule where I write; I do a lot of on-the-go marketing via my smartphone and tablet

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Keep writing. Like most everything else, you get better with practice and the more titles that you have on the shelf the more visibility you have.

What’s next for you?
I've got a novella set in the Griffins & Gunpowder universe sitting on the shelf, waiting for me to go back over it after a hold period. I'm currently working on the sequel to The Cerberus Rebellion: The Hydra Offensive.