October 23rd, 2012 | Add a Comment
Author Interview – Jonathan Pilley : From Comic Editor to Self-Published Writer
When he’s not shoveling the snow in front of his house in Newton, MA, Jonathan Pilley likes to write. He’s currently Editor-in-Chief of Omnicomic and a Syndicated Writer for Bleacher Report.
The former role puts him front and center with some of the comic book industry’s leading talent (and let’s him to go to way cool conventions). The latter gives him the chance to scratch his sports itch, breaking out regressions and statistics in support of sports columns.
His first book (A Firestorm on Alcatraz) was just published digitally. There will be other books for sure, but it’s good to start with just one before you get into too many more.
For other authors out there, Scrivener is Jonathan’s weapon of choice when it comes to writing books and comics.
Your last book A Firestorm on Alcatraz was made available to the public in 01/2012. It has yet to gain much traction, with the bulk of the copies moved over a free weekend in July.
What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
To get book reviews, I essentially emailed upwards of 50 websites that tout themselves as book reviews. I emailed them all a brief synopsis of the book and offered a free pdf for review if they wanted it.
My quest has been less than successful, but it seems that’s mostly because of the flood of self-published books and sites don’t seem to have the time or resources to do a review. It’s a little disheartening, honestly, but I’m still working to get the book out there and front of people for review.
I do have two reviews on Amazon, the result of the free weekend I did for the book on Amazon.
What do you think is the main factor, other than writing a quality and professionally edited books that differentiate a successful self-published writer from one who remains forever out of the limelight?
To me, the main factor that differentiates a successful, self-published writer from one who remains forever out of the limelight is marketing and spreading the word. I’ve worked pretty relentlessly on Twitter, LinkedIn, Kindleboards, Blogger and other avenues of social media.
Authors who can get their book on the top sellers boards on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, etc., seem to be the ones that are the most successful. It’s sort of a sad reality, but is the sharp side of the double-edged sword. The barriers to entry for creating a self-published novel are virtually non-existent, so anyone can do it. The problem is, anyone (and everyone) can do it, which makes it really tough.
What do you think of “trailers” for books? Do you have one/ intend to create one for your own books?
Trailers for books seem like a waste of time honestly.
I understand the premise behind them. They are a means of drawing attention to your book on a site such as YouTube. They’re easy to digest (typically two to five minutes) and easy to watch, requiring little effort on the part of the viewer.
The problem is that there’s a fine line in what you’re advertising. A trailer for a book doesn’t seem to sell a book as much as a movie adaptation of the book. Not only that, but often times, the trailer is hastily (or unprofessionally) put together, which hurts the overall brand the book is attempting to create for itself.
You hesitated between a self-made book cover and a professionally made one. What made you choose to hire a professional/self-create your book cover?
The primary reason I went with a self-created cover was cost and general inexperience in seeking someone for a cover. I’m fairly competent in InDesign, meaning I felt confident in my ability to create the cover.
I personally don’t know of anyone I could’ve asked to do the cover for me. I suppose I could’ve used a website looking for someone to create it, but I figured that since it was my first book I’d take my chances on my own cover.
Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
I edited my book and I’m always looking to improve it. The reason I chose myself was–again–because of cost.
I’m the Editor-in-Chief in Omnicomic and have five years of experience in editing other writers. I know that doesn’t make me an expert in it, but I consider myself a proficient writer and capable editor.
It was something I wanted to try to see how it would go. It was quite a learning experience and my first negative review on Amazon actually chided me for the editing. The positive to the review was that really seemed to be the primary knock against me.
The entire time I was writing the book, my goal was to craft a story that was interesting, made sense and didn’t have gaping plot holes. My mindset was that the editing was something that could be improved and fixed, whereas a bad story is a lost cause
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