(Image courtesy of Brian McKinley)
To give my readers and fellow writers an insight into the processes and successes of other like-minded creatives, I'll be featuring some hardworking authors in my journal each week.
Today's author is Brian McKinley and he's independently published.
BIO (snippet from author website):
'Brian McKinley doesn’t really exist. He’s a constructed mortal identity used by a relatively young Vampyr in order to publish the truth about The Order. Due to the world-wide influence of The Order and its minions, these accounts must all be published as fiction. Sometimes the names and sequence of events have been changed to protect the innocent, the guilty, and to keep from getting sued.'
You are living in the world from your latest novel. Where are you? What is it like?
It’s our world, but vampyrs are everywhere! I try to become a vampire!
You are your most recent protagonist. Who are you? What is the first thing you do?
I am Faolan O’Connor, vampyr gangster. First thing I do is start enjoying my sweet residence and money in Manhattan!
Who is your favourite author, Brian?
I have a lot of authors that I like, but my favorite is probably Stephen King right now. His books are always entertaining, his style is engaging, and his characters all have the lived-in feel of real people that you recognize.
Why do you write?
I write because there’s really nothing else that I do very well. I have characters and stories inside me that are pressing to get out.
How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?
I try to learn from bad reviews and criticism. If I think they make a good point, then I keep it in mind in my future writing. Rejection is just something you have to tolerate and move on from. It’s guaranteed to happen, so I try not to let it bother me for too long.
What do you find difficult about writing?
Putting the words on paper. It all seems so clear in my mind until I sit down to put it on the page, then I realize how much I haven’t thought of yet and start getting nervous.
What do you love the most about writing, Brian?
Finishing! I love the satisfied feeling of knowing I got something done today.
Do you ever outsource your work?
Absolutely. It’s difficult and near-impossible to be objective about your own work, so I think you have to get another set of eyes who know what they’re doing. Since I have no artistic ability, I always employ a cover artist to work with me.
What is your opinion on the indie vs traditional publishing argument?
I think that traditional publishing is going to start drawing more and more from the indie pool. They aren’t good at taking chances, so I think most new authors should go independent and learn as much as they can on their own.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Get out while you can!! Seriously, though, I always tell people not to expect success. There are so many people who think that writing a book is a gateway to money and fame. If you don’t have an urgent need to write a book, and lots of free time, you might want to consider doing something else. Writing for years and getting little to no return for it is very common.
Would you agree a good book must withstand more than one read?
That’s interesting, but I’m not sure I agree. I almost never read a book more than once, but if I enjoyed it then it was good. I think there are three novels that I’ve ever read more than once, so I consider that the mark of an amazing book.
What do you look for when shopping on Amazon for a Kindle book? Are any of them more important to you than others?
Well, it’s hard nowadays because of the enormous competition. The cover is important, despite the popular saying about covers. If it looks like amateur crap, then I’m probably not going to look further.
Next is the description. Does it sound interesting? Is the description well-written? If not, I move on.
Having sample chapters is great, because I will often look there next, just to confirm that the writing style looks promising.
Do you have a favourite genre, Brian?
These days, urban fantasy and thriller are what I tend to read most.
Watch Brian's appearance (Jan 2017) on my podcast, The White Room!
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What would it take for you to leave a book review?
I try to leave reviews when I can, but especially for new or less-known authors whose books don’t already have 200 reviews. I know how much it means for me to get a review, so I always try to pay it forward.
After downloading book one of a series for free or discounted on Amazon, do you ever go back and pay more for book two? If not, why?
If I liked it, sure. Ironically, there are so many authors out there giving away their books in return for reviews that I haven’t had to actually buy a book in a while.
Do you ever visit an author's website? If so, what do you look at?
It sounds terrible, but I rarely go to author websites unless I’m supporting a friend. I’m interested in the story, not really the person behind the story. That probably sounds terrible, but I don’t even visit Stephen King’s website or Jim Butcher’s (who I really like).
If an author offered you a free book, would you sign up to their mailing list?
Sure, that’s a good way to build a mailing list.
Do you ever enter giveaways and/ or order signed copies?
Not really, but I never have money for that.
Are you more likely to buy a book if there are various formats available?
What are the biggest giveaways that a book is self-published?
A home-made photoshop cover is the biggest. If a self-published author is going to spend their money anywhere, I suggest spending it on a good cover. Other than that, poor formatting and editing.
Thank you so much to author Brian McKinley for sharing his insights on writing and publishing books. If you would like to support Brian and his work, please consider purchasing a copy of the book, Drawing Dead, available on Amazon now. Check out the handy link below: