This is a great Author Watch. Today will you learn about great marketing tips as well as a great book. I found Luke’s interview to be inspirational. One of his points was to encourage indie’s not to give up. He gives a step by step approach to his marketing and if you look at his website he’s been pretty busy with his book. There is a lot you can learn from Luke. Read it, RT or and pass it on.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and family.
Ask me again in 10-12 years when my girls are teenagers. LOL.
I live in Shawville, Quebec with my wife, three daughters and pug.
I played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, I’ve held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning my Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude). I’m a full time elementary teacher and part time tutor.
2. What inspired you to become a writer?
I never thought much about writing when I was growing up.
But I was always an avid reader, which I owe to my mother. She was a librarian, and although I lost her when I was young, I will always remember a stack on Danielle Steele books on her bedside table, and a lot of books lying around the house at my disposal.
My first chapter books were the Hardy Boys titles, so they are the reason I love mysteries. As an adult, some of my favorite authors are Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly and Greg Iles, so naturally I write what I love to read – mystery/suspense novels. DEAD MAN`S HAND has been compared to James Patterson books, which to me is an honour. Maybe in style (short chapters, a quick read), as I have read many of his books.
Plot: I get my ideas from stories I hear about, whether through reading (newspapers, magazines, etc.), what I hear (radio) or what I see (TV, movies, internet, etc.). The plot is completely fictional. I wouldn`t say that one thing or person influences my writing, but a variety of my life experiences all have led to my passion in the written word. There is not a single moment in time when this idea came to be, but circumstances over the years that led to this story: my hockey injuries, frequent visits to Las Vegas, my love of football, crime books and movies. Dead Man’s Hand became real from mixing these events, taking advantage of experts in their field, and adding my wild imagination. The internet also provides a wealth of information, available at our fingertips with a click of the mouse.
Setting: I usually set my stories in cities I`ve visited and fell in love with. Las Vegas was the perfect backdrop for this story, glitz and glamour as well as an untapped underground.
Characters: I have never been involved in a homicide investigation, LOL. Although I am not a 6’5”, 220 pound African-American, I’ve used much of my athletic background when creating my protagonist Calvin Watters. Watters past as an athlete, and his emotional rollercoaster brought on by injuries were drawn from my experiences. His mother died of cancer when he was young, as mine was. There are certainly elements of myself in Calvin, but overall, this is a work of fiction. I did not base the characters or plot on any real people or events. Any familiarities are strictly coincidence.
I’ve always been a self-motivated person, and my harshest critic. Whether it was in school, hockey or writing, I’ve been the one to put the most pressure on myself to succeed, to be the best in everything I try.
3. Tell us about your latest book and why did you write it?
Dead Man’s Hand takes readers inside the head of Calvin Watters, a sadistically violent African-American Las Vegas debt-collector, who was once a rising football star, now a murder suspect on the run.
Back cover text for DEAD MAN’S HAND:
What happens when the deck is stacked against you…
From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.
…and the cards don’t fall your way?
When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.
4. How have you been able to effectively market your book?
My marketing started with the writing of my book. I always had a plan, an idea of the plot, but now I had to think about the characters and setting, and I had to think about my target audience in this stage.
I wanted characters who readers could relate to. Characters that were real, not fictional to the point of unbelievable. My protagonist, Calvin Watters, is as real as they come, with faults and weaknesses like us all. Because of my sports background, I wanted Calvin to also have an athletic background. I was a pro hockey player, but I decided that hockey would be fine for a Canadian fan base, but I wanted to cater worldwide, so I chose football. I believe that more people follow football than hockey.
For the setting, I needed a major market in the United States that people would want to read about, so I chose Sin City, Las Vegas. Everyone is interested in this fast-paced, party-all-night lifestyle and city that is party-central.
In today’s society, most people don’t realize that writing a book is more than just putting a good story down on paper. I learned this quickly. Agents and publishers want someone with a “platform”, someone who already has a fan base and is guaranteed to sell books. It’s risky for a publisher to take a chance on a new writer, because there is no telling how many books they will sell, no matter how good that book may be.
In 1999 I graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Marketing, so I felt I had a running start at promoting my work.
Once my publishing contract was signed, then the real work began, building my “platform”. I knew that when I signed on with a smaller publisher that the bulk of the promotion load would fall on my shoulders, and I accepted that.
I did four things quickly: created my own website, started a blog, and opened a Facebook page and Twitter account.
Now, I have been fortunate to have had many jobs in my life, jobs that have created interest in not only myself, but what I do.
Here are some things I did next:
– I scribed a letter to all of my email contacts (2500) and all of my FB friends (2500).
– I scribed a letter for all of the media outlets (radio, TV, print) in the cities where I played hockey, or have contacts. One of the benefits of playing professional hockey was that I went through a lot of interviews with personalities in all forms of media.
– I picked out the site for my launch party and spoke with the owner about it.
– I played hockey for teams and leagues all over North America, creating a fan base in a variety of cities, and also worked in hockey camps, so I already had some followers that I contacted.
– I was a reporter on the radio for a couple of years after retiring from hockey, and my radio reporting was a presence on the web as well as in radio.
– My sports column (2006-2009), Overtime, which was a main feature in The Pontiac Equity, not only had a following but helped in writing concise and exciting prose.
– I composed a list of local stores for potential book signings
– I compiled a list of local stores to sell my book
Next I picked out my target audience and searched the web for them:
– Thriller readers looking for an atypical thriller hero—an African-American who is no saint.
– Sports fans will be fascinated by Watters’ struggle to recover his decency and win, a kind of Blind Side story with little sentimentality and few illusions.
– A Las Vegas setting—the world of The Hangover movies and many youth films like Bridesmaids—will appeal to 20s-30s readers.
– Watters’ romance with a former prostitute will appeal to younger female readers. The marital tension between Detective Dayton and his wife will interest adults. Both men and women will enjoy the twist on the femme fatale figure of the murderer’s lover, who has her own schemes.
– Lovers of history, as the term, “Dead Man’s Hand”, is a legend dating back to the Wild West of the 1800’s.
I started creating relationships on the internet through Facebook and Twitter. I met not only authors, but fans of the genres I write.
When my book was released in October, 2012, I felt I had a solid foundation to stand on.
I contacted media for interviews, held book signings, joined shows and blog toured. I contacted anyone who wrote a blog and asked about being a guest. I joined Pinterest, Linkedin, and Google +, as well as sites created to support Indie authors. I did anything I could to get my name out there, get my book in front of readers.
My publisher set up special promotions where my book was FREE on Amazon for certain periods of time. All of this was done to increase my following, and expand the awareness of my book on a worldwide scale. This will hopefully lead to future sales with not only my debut novel, but subsequent books if I’ve fortunate enough to write more.
Since my book was released at the end of October, I didn’t have a full 3 months for my first quarterly royalty statement. But in just over two months, I sold: 511 kindle copies and 32 paperbacks.
I had no idea what to expect going in because this was my first book. I’ve been happy with the result thus far, but I don’t have anything to compare it to. I feel that the more books I write, the more success I will have. The more I get out there, the more excitement and interest is garnered.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
5. What things have you enjoyed doing in the marketing process?
The most pleasure I’ve received from my marketing endeavours, are the relationships I’ve built along the way.
6. What advice would you give new authors?
Get a part-time job to pay the bills (haha). Just kidding. Honestly, for anyone who wants to be a writer, you need to have three things: patience, determination and thick skin. You can`t let anyone or anything get in the way of your ultimate goal. You will hear a lot of “no`s”, but it only takes one “yes”. The writing industry is a slow-moving machine, and you need to wait it out. Never quit or give up on your dreams.
7. How would you like to be contacted and where can people find your book?
For more information on me and my books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com, check out my blog www.authorlukemurphy.com/blog, ‘like’ my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/AuthorLukeMurphy and follow me on Twitter www.twitter.com/AuthorLMurphy