A little over a year ago, Marc Johnson published his debut novel Catalyst: The Passage of Hellsfire. Today Marc is here to share some of his experiences with the marketing side of self-publishing.
What were the top five things you did to market you first novel?
1. Contacted over 500 book bloggers
2. Been on podcasts
3. Paid for advertising
5. Guest blogging
How will your marketing strategy be different for your second novel?
Marc: I believe the problem I had with marketing my first book was that I targeted fantasy fans. It took me a while before I figured out I should target YA fans instead. I’ll start with them first and talk to the people who enjoyed Catalyst.
I’m not really going to do much different. I’m more interested to see if that by releasing a second book in my The Passage of Hellsfire series, if sells for the first book will increase. I want to know if that’s true.
What do you wish you’d known before you published your first novel?
Marc: That no matter how big a lead I gave myself by writing four of the six books in my series, that that wasn’t enough.
And no matter how much it will improve my work and my writing ability, I really hate editing. It was always a pain before, but it seems much worse. Writing a book is easy, but editing it into something saleable and readable—bloody hard.
Do you have any other advice for newbie self-publishing authors?
Marc: Have a business plan. You need to know where your money and, more importantly, time is going to go. This isn’t like whether or not you should outline. This is a business and successful businesses have plans.
Business also require capital of some sort. Normally, it’s the publishers that fit this bill. It doesn’t have to be yours. It can be family members and friends or a bank’s, but it will most likely be yours. Self-publishing a book is a very cheap business as you can do it for four figures or less, but there will be costs.
So if you’re thinking about doing it, cut out the vacations and eating out now. You’re going to have to pay your editor and graphic designer. People like to quote, “All money flows toward the writer,” but that doesn’t apply here.
Publishing your book is your dream. You shouldn’t let a grand or two get in your way while you put out the best possible book you can. It’s all or nothing. There is no in between.
What is the first line of your novel?
Marc: The darkness spilled into the world, waiting to engulf, waiting to consume, waiting to fulfill its purpose.
About Catalyst: The Passage of Hellsfire
For centuries, the kingdom of Alexandria has protected Northern Shala from the monstrous creatures lurking in the Wastelands. Now, a dark force threatens that fragile peace.
Far from home, Alexandria’s princess is abducted. When a young villager named Hellsfire stumbles upon her and her captors, he rushes in to rescue her, alone and unarmed. His fear and fury unleash an uncontrollable magical force that grants him the power to save the princess—and change the world.
Hellsfire has never craved nor dreamed of power. But such magic as he now possesses has not been seen in Northern Shala for a thousand years, since the devastation of the War of the Wizards and the creation of the Wastelands.
Now Hellsfire must leave all he’s ever known, and make a dangerous journey to learn to master this wild, ferocious power—power he knows he is not ready to wield. More difficult still, he needs to master his emotions. If he can’t, the power will consume him, Alexandria will fall, and darkness will eclipse the land, destroying everyone he loves.
In the dead of cold, the spark shall burn...
Marc Johnson lives and writes in the Bay Area. He has been reading his entire life and writing for almost as long. Until magazines went away, he used to freelance on the side, mainly covering all sorts of gaming. However, his first love has always been writing fiction. He loves stories in all its forms—movies, television, video games, comics, etc. He will always write fiction because it’s the only way to get all of the crazy ideas out of his head, and the cheapest too.
Interested in finding out more about Marc Johnson and his novels? You can find him here:
Buy Catalyst (Catalyst is available as an ebook everywhere)