Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Ian Walkley. He is a #Thriller writer, property marketer and author of the action thriller No Remorse.
Mystery & Thrillers
Ian Walkley - Writer, Author of No Remorse
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Ian Walkley switched to thriller writing after a career as a social and consumer researcher and marketing consultant. He is a published travel writer and has previously authored and edited two books on small business. Ian's debut conspiracy thriller, NO REMORSE, is the first in a series, and he is currently working on a crime thriller titled BAIT and the sequel to NO REMORSE. He has also written a screenplay for NO REMORSE.
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
First things first. Let’s start with what’s next. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called Bait. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
While NO REMORSE is an exotic, James Bond type thriller, Bait is a local crime thriller set in Australia. I wanted to write something that had both a complex mystery but was also high action, with more character interaction and a female protagonist. At the moment I have Bait with an editor and also an agent. So we should know soon if I'll have a publisher or whether I'll publish myself.
Here is an elevator synopsis:
"Public prosecutor Kasey Bowman doesn’t believe in second chances. Frustrated by the perceived failures of the justice system, she leads a group that entraps violent criminals and exposes their evil to the world in YouTube style videos. But when they entrap a suspect in the murders of several backpackers using Kasey as bait, things go terribly wrong. Soon they realize that the suspect has an accomplice who knows their identities, and they must find him before he kills again - and before he finds them."
You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that?
I believe social media is very important for a writer but it is like anything else - it is about creating awareness first, then a connection second. If you manage to achieve a connection, then you may have a good chance of selling your book. Some people I've got to know through social media I consider to be friends, even though I've never met them. So it's not just about treating people as potential sales. I also tried having my protagonist have his own identity on Twitter which worked well for John Locke. I'm not sure it has worked for me so maybe that idea has had its day.
When I first released NO REMORSE I spent considerable time building up a following using various tools including automated tweets with Tweet Adder. It is software that enables you to load hundreds of different tweets and schedule them randomly over time, and allows you to automatically follow back and so on. Twitter is a great tool for finding new readers although I don't honestly know how many people sit at their computer and read tweets all day. I guess the hope is that some celebrity will read my book and tweet about it to their followers.
I do like to have a life, though, and I think that some writers spend too much time on Facebook etc instead of writing something substantive. I am spending much less time on blogging than I possibly would if I had more books and more fans out there.
Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
I love doing book signings in and around Brisbane where I live, even though it is hard work for a new author. It's selling one book at a time. Most people are really polite and some will stop and chat. I do library talks, and sometimes speak at writers' conferences although I'm not really established enough yet for much of that. I publish my appearances on my website,
At this stage I don't have any specific plans for 2014 conferences. I still work my day job selling real estate and that is a significant commitment of my time.
You have a great book trailer. (See link below.) It looks very professional. Do you know how much impact it has had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailer?
Thank you. I think a trailer is really important these days and the link can be tweeted or used in campaigns. I purchased some photos and some music online and I had some video taken from a helicopter in Hawaii. I used iMovie to put it all together and it came out okay I think. The voice from Texas, Paul Christy, who read my Audible audiobook did the narration for the trailer.
You have written several short stories. Can you tell us if they had an impact on the sales of your novel? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work?
Several established authors and writing teachers suggested that I should try writing short stories as a way of practising creative techniques. I tried it but I'm not a huge fan of short stories, so I don't think I've really had the motivation. There is an increasing trend for writers to pen short stories as a way to keep a series protagonist in front of their fans. This is a great idea in theory, but I know at least one famous author who bombed doing this. I tend to think about plot in terms of big, complex stories, whereas short stories are simple or character-based. But certainly if I come up with a good idea for a short story, I'll write it.
How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?
After the book has been edited and is ready to go, the first step for self-publishing is to format the ebook. I use software called Jutoh which is very good, but there are others, including websites you can upload to for a fee. Once the book is formatted and the cover is designed (use a professional!), I would upload to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) which is Amazon's ebook distributor.
If you want to promote using Amazon, which sells the most ebooks, then the Kindle Select which offers good promotional opportunities and a 70% royalty. But Kindle Select requires exclusivity. If you want your book available in Apple Store, Barnes and Noble etc, then you need to use a distributor for those channels. There are a number of options, but I use Smashwords, which is easy and convenient. Other ebook distributors include Lightning Source and IPG. I also used CreateSpace (Amazon) to produce print-on-demand books, and Lightning Source for Australia print-on-demand. Eventually, I printed 2,000 copies of NO REMORSE in China and they are available to traditional bookstores through a distributor.
I launched NO REMORSE with a bookstore signing, plus virtual tours, online author interviews, giveaways on Goodreads, visits to libraries, bookstore signings, newspaper interviews, and advertising on selected websites. I spent a considerable amount of money on public relations, most of which was wasted I believe. New authors have to focus their efforts and keep plugging away.
Occasionally a book will strike it lucky, but most authors have to work hard to build a following. Two of the best promotional things I did were KindleNationDaily and EreaderNewsToday. They achieved lots of awareness and sales.
You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?
I operate two websites - my author site and my publisher site (Marq Books), plus Facebook and Twitter pages. I also have a Paper.Li daily newspaper called The Thriller Reader, which takes content from across the internet on thriller writing. I think the key here is focusing on your area of interest, and your followers.
Time is the enemy of thought and the motivator of action. You can sit around thinking about things or just do it. I'm lucky now that I have grown up kids and can spend some time on my fiction children. I spend less than four hours a week on social media, but probably twenty hours a week on writing and forty hours a week on real estate. I have a nicely balanced life.
What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?
I paid for a Kirkus Review first up, which was really great (they won't guarantee a good review). I sent copies of my book to reviewers with mixed success - most just kept the book and didn't do a review. Mostly, I've found that enthusiastic readers post reviews on Amazon, which are great and I regularly read them to remind myself what readers enjoyed about NO REMORSE. The best thing I did, though, was entering an Awards competition - my novel won the 2013 Best Mystery/Suspense Novel in the Indie Reader Discovery Awards. It was the only competition I entered! Next time, I'll be looking to enter lots more. Winning an award is huge credibility for self-published authors.
One of the things authors struggle with in today’s publishing world is marketing. Do you feel that your background in research and marketing helps to avoid this hurdle and market your writings?
I'd hope my marketing background helps. But all marketing is trial and error, hit and miss. So if you don't achieve success in one method, try another. Perhaps one thing I did learn was that it is good to plan a marketing campaign ahead of time, so that you can coordinate your promotions and advertising over a time period. This amplifies the awareness which means much greater potential for sales growth.
Author's Book List
Lee McCloud (Mac) has a reputation as a loose cannon. So when a secret agency operating outside the law recruits him for his special operations skills his team leader Tally, a tough, attractive computer genius, is ordered to keep him on a tight leash. But a tight leash is the last thing Mac wants. His intent is to use the agency's massive resources to track down Sophia, a close friend's daughter, who has been kidnapped in Mexico.
From the beginning, sparks fly between Mac and Tally. Mac sees Tally as an office worker, not qualified for field operations. For her part, Tally views Mac as little more than a cold-blooded killer. The conflict escalates as the two are forced to play at husband and wife in order to get close to their next target.
Ignoring orders to stay out of trouble, Mac enlists the help of Scotty, a British soldier, and Jog, a Lebanese fixer. They follow the kidnappers' trail to Paris, where events lead them to suspect Sophia is a captive of Sheik Khalid, a billionaire Saudi exile who is suspected of supporting terrorist groups by shipping weapons, drugs and slaves on his luxury vessel, Princess Aliya.
Mac and Tally discover they have feelings for each other, but events lead Mac to question whether Tally is working to another agenda. With time running out, the group dodges assassins, corrupt generals, evil medicos, Mossad agents, corrupt bureaucrats and sharks. But they cannot anticipate what is waiting for them on Khalid's fortress island of Andaran, or that there's much more at stake than Sophia…
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