Thursday, April 9, 2015

Chat with 2015 Conference Keynote Speaker Michaelbrent Collings

Sweat Hard, Feel the Burn, Win the Race Indie Writing and Publishing Conference brings to you the first in a series of interviews with our expert presenters who will help you cross that finish line. Today we're chatting with our keynote speaker international bestseller Michaelbrent Collings.

 

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Q: What is your profession and how are you connected to the writing world.
A: I am a writer. That’s it. I used to be a moose wrangler, but the owners started complaining, saying things like “I don’t need my mooses wrangled!” and “Leave my meese* alone” and “You know the restraining order applies to both me AND my moose!” So I gave it up and focused on writing. Also, writing has the huge bonus of being pants-optional, which is almost as cool a job perk as having a spacesuit. If I am ever offered a job as a writing astronaut whose spacesuit has no pants . . . WOW!

But for now, I’m just a writer. I’m one of the top selling indie horror writers in the U.S., I sell pretty well in a number of other countries as well, and I also work in Hollyweird as a screenwriter from time to time.

But the moose... the moose will always have my heart.

* Little-known plural of “moose.” I know, because I just made it up.

Q: How did you get started?
A: I got started as a writer because of genetics and environment: my father was an English professor, as well as the head of the university Creative Writing Program, and both my parents love the written word. I was writing before I was playing with Transformers, and preferred telling stories to playing baseball. Granted, part of that was the simple fact that tree stumps play baseball better than I do, but still.

Eventually I realized I wanted not just to “be a writer” but to “get paid.” So I got a job as a lawyer. Because I didn’t want to be a 40-year-old guy inviting ladies over to my parents’ basement/my “man cave” and telling them “Any day, baby, I’m gonna make it big!” I wanted a family, and I wanted to pay the bills. So I didn’t bother failing at my dream job, I skipped right to my fallback job. And for ten years I worked during the day, played with my family during the evening and night... and then wrote from 10 or 11 at night until 2 in the morning. Finally I sold a screenplay, my books started selling, and I failed at my fallback job. Because I do everything bass-ackwards.

But I started writing full-time. And have been doing so ever since.


Q: What subject will you be teaching at the Indie Author Hub Writing and Publishing Conference?

A: I’ll be teaching about self-publishing, marketing, some writing techniques. Because I’m a well-rounded guy that way. Also, time allowing, I will share the secret to Ultimate Bliss.*

*There is an extra charge for this. Part of Ultimate Bliss is being able to give up your money. Trust me.



Q: What is your expertise for this subject?

A: When I started out, I tried to get into trad-pub. If you had rolled me in gold dust and walked me into their offices you STILL couldn’t have gotten them to pay attention to me. So I went it on my own. And it turned out fairly well. I’ve had books listed as #1 bestsellers on nearly every major genre list (sci-fi, horror, fantasy, thriller) on Amazon, as well as in the iBookstore, Kobo, and for Nook. I’ve outsold Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and John Green on some days. Mostly because I spread vicious rumors about them, but still....

Q: Why is this important for indie authors to know?
A: A lot of indie authors have “success” as a goal. Problem is, “success” doesn’t mean anything. It’s the end of the rainbow: it moves away as you move forward. Better to have concrete goals, and move toward achieving those specific things. The things I teach are nuts-and-bolts techniques for achieving RESULTS, not success.


Q: What is your top writing-related goal for 2015?

A: My top writing-related goal is probably to write better and sell more than 2014. That’s it.



Q: How will attending the conference help you to reach that goal? And/or why do you feel it’s beneficial for indie writers to attend conferences.
A: It’s INCREDIBLY important for authors to attend cons. A lot of us want to just live in our caves, type, and only come out for major holidays or to change out our catheters. But so much of what we want to do is facilitated by networking. We meet someone who knows a major reviewer who’s looking to read a book JUST LIKE OURS. Or we meet an editor who helps us improve our work. A cover artist. Or just a support group of people who understand what it’s like to live in this world. Getting out is more than just stepping into the sun once in a while to prove to the locals that you’re not a witch/vampire/fungus. It’s making friends, making contacts, and growing a network of people that will help you move forward and move up even as you do the same for them.

Q: What is something many people don’t know about you?
A: Hmmm.... A lot of people don’t know that I was recruited to be a spy right before starting college. And no, that’s not a joke. I thought it was really cool, and actively considered it. Until I realized that spies are people who lie for a living until they’re caught and slowly tortured to death. I politely declined the offer.

Q: What best advice do you have for beginning indie authors?
A: WRITE.

We hope to see you all at the IAH Writing and Publishing Conference in June!

 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Chat with 2015 Conference Presenter Berin Stephens

Sweat Hard, Feel the Burn, Win the Race Indie Writing and Publishing Conference brings to you the first in a series of interviews with our expert presenters who will help you cross that finish line. Today we're chatting with audio expert Berin Stephins.

 

Sign up here to attend the conference.



Q: What is your profession and how are you connected to the writing.
A: I am a professional saxophonist but I also have four published novels. I write middle grade and YA sci-fi/fantasy/comedy. Additionally, I write serial stories for Big World Network, where I also create audio versions of each chapter.

Q: How did you get started?
A: I wanted to be a writer when I was young, but after college, life took over for a while. It was when my oldest daughter wanted to do NaNoWriMo ten years ago that I decided to do it along with her for a daddy/daughter bonding experience. That was how my first book, The Dragon War Relic, got started. Then, when I started writing Delroy Versus the Yshtari for Big World Network, they asked if I wanted to make the audio version, too. I thought, “How hard can that be?” Well, it was quite a learning experience, but that's what kicked me into the narration side of things.

Q: What subject will you be teaching at the Indie Author Hub Writing and Publishing Conference?
A: I'll be teaching a class with Cheri Schmidt about how to create audiobooks. I'll be taking the do-it-yourself side of things and talking about what equipment and techniques are needed to create a good product.
 
Q: What is your expertise for this subject?
A: As a professional musician, I've spent plenty of time in recording studios as well as making recordings in my home studio. Once I started recording my own audiobooks, I discovered that it was another kind of performance art requiring a lot of practice. Over time, I learned various techniques to improve my performance and to speed up the process.

Q: Why is this important for indie authors to know?
A: The market is constantly changing, but one thing that has emerged is the popularity of audiobooks. Many people like to listen to books while commuting in their cars because they don't have time to sit down and read very much. By having an audio version of our books, there is a much wider potential audience we can reach.

Q: What is your top writing-related goal for 2015?
A: I shoot for three books a year as a larger goal, but my daily goal is to write about 2000 words a day. I used to do more but had to cap myself at 2000 so that I have time to work on my music as well as my narration. I do have a narration goal as well, which is to go back and record one of my earlier novels that I haven't had time to get to yet.
 
Q: How will attending the conference help you to reach that goal? And/or why do you feel it’s beneficial for indie writers to attend conferences.
A: My routine is pretty well established, but I'm always looking for more ways to improve my writing. No matter what field anyone goes into, if they want to excel they must be constantly learning and improving their knowledge.
 
Q: What is something many people don’t know about you?
A: I was a member of the Oregon State University track team as a 400m runner my freshman year of college. Unfortunately, sports and music don't cooperate at the collegiate level. When I realized that I couldn't do both, I then tore my hamstring severely, thus ending my track career and sending me off into music.
 
Q: What best advice do you have for beginning indie authors?
A: Go to conferences. Keep learning. Get a good writing group who is willing to tell you the hard things but in a nice way.
 

We hope to see you all at the IAH Writing and Publishing Conference in June!

 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Chat with 2015 Conference Presenter Abel Keogh

Sweat Hard, Feel the Burn, Win the Race Indie Writing and Publishing Conference brings to you the first in a series of interviews with our expert presenters who will help you cross that finish line. Today we're chatting with bestselling marketing guru Abel Keogh.

 

Sign up here to attend the conference.




Q: What is your profession and how are you connected to the writing.
A: I’m a recovering technical writer who abandoned that profession for the fun-filled world of corporate marketing. During that time I’ve found the time to write and publish 7 books—2 novels, 4 relationship guides, and 1 memoir. More books are on their way.
 
Q: How did you get started?
A: I started writing in the days when even though email was widely available most literary agents took submissions via the US Postal Service. After publishing my first two books traditionally, I realized I could reach my target audience better than publishers so I turned down a publishing contract for my third book and never looked back. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Q: What subject will you be teaching at the Indie Author Hub Writing and Publishing Conference?

A: The 5 Best Ways to Market Your Books.

 

Q: What is your expertise for this subject?
A: I’ve spent the last 15 years in various corporate marketing departments doing everything from copywriting, campaign creation, email marketing, and project management. Currently I work in Marketing Operations where I segment prospects and clients based on their behavior in order to market to them better.

Q: Why is this important for indie authors to know?
A: Most authors don’t understand marketing. As a result there’s a herd mentality out there when it comes to marketing. One author has success in something and everyone does it. However, what works for one author may not work for another. Marketing strategies should be based on the book’s genre and the audience you’re trying to reach. My class is designed to help them think about who their marketing their books to and the best way to reach their target audience.

Q: What is your top writing-related goal for 2015?
A: I’ve published one novel already this year and my goal is to have two more about before 2016. If that doesn’t kill me, my goal is to write three more books the year after that.

Q: How will attending the conference help you to reach that goal? And/or why do you feel it’s beneficial for indie writers to attend conferences.
A: Conferences are a good way to motivate yourself to finish that book. Most importantly it’s a great way to get some face-to-face time with published authors who write in your genre and pick their brains.
 
Q: What best advice do you have for beginning indie authors?
A: Finish your book. No one is going to read it or care about it until it’s available for the public to read. 

We hope to see you all at the IAH Writing and Publishing Conference in

 

June! Oh, and don't forget the indie author cover contest Win up to $75 PLUS receive feedback from four professional cover designers on all submitted entries. Enter the IndieReveAwards book cover contest!!!