Marketing with Mandy Author Spotlight: Russell James
Q: Tell us a little about your experience with Samhain.
A: Publishing Dark Inspiration with Samhain has been great. My editor, Don D’Auria, is supportive and insightful. Angela Waters created my cover art and when I saw it, I was blown away. I hope she does my second book, Sacrifice.
As far as marketing the book, it is everywhere. My brother bought a copy in Japan. A seller in New Zealand contacted me for biography information. It is amazing.
Q: What tips/tricks do you use for marketing or promoting your own titles?
A: I have a slew of short stories that backlogged while I was writing Dark Inspiration and Sacrifice. They are out doing the rounds. I see a real jump in hits on my website every time one is published and often see a jump in sales as well.
I am also taking advantage of as many guest blogs and interviews as I can. As a new author I’m trying any avenue I can find to get the word out.
Q: What is one thing you’d want to tell a newer author, just coming into the game?
A: Patience rules. It may take a long time to hone your skills to the point where you are published. It may also take time to find that lucky combination of your great work and an editor on the prowl for the type of story you have written. Never let this long process get you down. Success is about perseverance.
I recommend taking a writing class, in person or online. You will learn a lot, whether you think you will or not.
I also recommend a writing critique group. I started our Minnows Literary group with some sharp people from the online class we all took. Not only have I had novels published since we formed, but other members of the group have been published, won several poetry contests and started an internationally recognized blog on writing.
Q: Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
A: My current novel is called Sacrifice and released in July 2012. In it, five friends return to Long Island thirty years after high school graduation. They find out that an evil spirit called the Woodsman might be stalking the town again. They thought they had killed it just before graduation. The backstory of that horrible night in 1980 unfolds in parallel with their efforts to kill the thing for good in the present.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your current WIP’s?
A: My next novel is called Black Magic. A sorcerer arrives in a dying town near the Everglades and opens up a magic shop. Four boys buy innocuous table magic tricks, but they unleash more power than anyone imagined. It is up to a few townspeople to save all of south Florida from complete destruction.
Q: How did you get into writing?
A: On long car trips, I would tell my wife stories that I had been mulling over in my head. For Christmas one year she got me Stephen King’s On Writing and told me other people would want to hear the stories I created. I devoured the book and thought that maybe I could put pen to paper and be a writer.
I am a technical writer in my day job, so I thought it wouldn’t be that hard. Two writing classes, one writing coach, six rejected novel length manuscripts and ten years later, here I am.
Q: How do balance family and writing?
A: First off, my wife is a supportive saint about my writing. If there is a deadline to hit and I am behind, she demands we carve out some time so I can get it done. After all, she bought me On Writing so the whole thing is here fault.
Second, my real world job has a lot of travel involved. That puts me in hotel rooms with a lot of time on my hands each night. Writing keeps me out of trouble.