Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bob Moats - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Bob Moats. He is a murder novel writer, featuring a P.I. named Jim Richards and Doyle, P.I.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Humor, Literature & Fiction

Website: Bob Moats
Author's Blog: Bob Moats
Twitter: @MurderNovels
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
Detroit area resident, Bob Moats, has been writing short stories and plays for as long as he can remember. He has lost most of his original stories, typed or handwritten, in the numerous moves he has made from his hometown of Fraser, Michigan to Northern Michigan, to Las Vegas and back to Fraser, where he now lives. Moats became one of the causalities of unemployment in 2009, and had time on his hands to finally pursue a life long dream of writing a full blown crime novel. Thus was born the first book, "Classmate Murders".

What followed was a series of books starting with "The Classmate Murders" which introduces the main character, Jim Richards, who has to admit he has become a senior citizen, reluctantly. Richards, one day, receives an email from a childhood sweetheart asking for his help, but by the time he reaches her, she has been murdered. His life turns around and he is pulled into numerous murders of women from his high school who he hasn't seen in forty years. Along with a friend of his, Buck, a big, mustached biker, they go off to track down the killer before he can get to one former classmate, Penny Wickens, a TV talk show host who Jim has just fallen for while protecting her. The killer is also murdering the women right out from under police protection, driving homicide detective Will Trapper crazy, and he slowly depends on Jim to help. There's humor, suspense, wild chases across suburban Detroit with cops, classic cars and motorcycle clubs; murder, mayhem, a good amount of romance and a twist ending.

Jim and his crime fighters, continue in the other books, traveling to Las Vegas twice, back to Detroit and out to New York to solve murders involving dominatrix; mistresses; Bridezillas; magic and strip clubs

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Doyle's Quest. Do you have another book on the horizon? Rumor has it that you are writing another Doyle, P.I. book. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

I finished Doyle’s Quest and have started another book in the Jim Richards series. I did three books about Art Doyle, a former Detroit cop and now a P.I., just to get away from the Jim books. After writing 32 books in that series I was getting a little burned out. I did do five books in my ‘Fatal’ series in the last couple years as a change, but I always go back to the Jim Richards series. The one I’m working on now is book 33 and it’s entitled “Toxic Murders.” It seems someone it poisoning sunblock with lead and people are getting sick and dying. I hope to have it finished by August this year. After that I’ll do another Doyle book called “Doyle’s Paradise.”

You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that? How much has it changed your book launch process?

In 2009, I started on Twitter and then got on Facebook. Both social media helped to find a lot of nice people who became readers of my books. I got to meet a good number of other writers and we shared ideas for promoting the books, but they didn’t become readers of my books. I just kept at promoting but I also became friends with a good number of people. They were kind enough to tell others about my books and it helped build a following. I put a list of reader’s names on my website of the people who are faithful readers and volunteered to be added. I also put the list in my books now.

Do you do any 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?

Since I self-publish, my books aren’t in book stores, so I don’t do book signings. I did one podcast through Casey Ryan’s talk show, and another last year on Eric Sharps’ podcast, it was fun. I did one talk at the local library, but I haven’t done any since. My website and Facebook are the best place to keep up with me for information about my books.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

I create all my own covers having a background in graphic and design. I start with a concept of the book’s plot, then search for just the right photo, add a few little things and put the text on it all. I have a great design program called PagePlus that I use to put it all together. On every cover I put the international symbol for ‘No’ or ‘Don’t’, it’s the circle with a slash. It started out as a kill sign of the victims, now it’s somewhere on all my Jim books. I did ask my Facebook readers a couple times which cover they liked for a book, I make a couple versions sometimes. It got a good response and I included the name of the people in that book who helped chose the cover.

You have several great book trailers. (See his website.) They look very professional. Do you know how much impact they have had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailers?

I have no idea if they help the books or not. I have the one trailer for my book ‘Trick or Treat Murders’ and after I posted it on my website, Facebook and a few other places, there were many sales of that book. There still are, so I hope it helped. I used a program called ProShow to create the video. I’ve used it many times for other projects and figured I’d do a couple book trailers. It’s just a matter of plugging in video clips, photos and text, then adding eerie music and then process it together. I was happy with the Halloween one.

I like the idea of bundling a series of novels. You have put together a set of your novels called Jim Richards Murder Novels Box Set. What was the impact on your other sales? What was your main objective in bundling your novels?

I started to put my first couple books in a box set at a good price to stimulate sales of the later books. I haven’t had lot of people telling me they got the set, so I can’t say if it’s helping. I now have three different box sets of 3 books, five books and six books available. Again with all the books I have it doesn’t hurt to put them together. I’m thinking of putting out the first books of all three of my series next, if I can think of what to call it. Three years ago I also started giving away my first novel, “Classmate Murders” for free (I still do) as a way of getting readers involved with understanding the characters of the series. I could give that book away because I had a number of other books in the series, so it wasn’t hurting my sales. I get a lot of email from people who have read that book and went on to get the rest, so it has helped. I don’t recommend to other authors giving away your book if you only have the one or two books written. I have 32 in my series so it’s does hurt to give away the ‘introductory’ book.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

As I said above, I do give my first book, “Classmate Murders” away for free, as an introduction to my characters. My sales have done well because of that book, so it will always be free. I’ve tried all types of promotions, web blogs, newsletters, etc, that cost money to run or free listings and only a couple have done any good for my book sales. I use other types of promotions, but I find word of mouth is the best. Facebook and Twitter help a great deal.

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?

When I complete a book and have it gone over again by my editor and my beta readers, then I send it to a free company called and they submit the book to retailers like Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Kobo, Scribd, and Inktera. I submit the book to Amazon myself through my own account. Once I do that, I announce on Facebook, Twitter, my newsletter and my Website that it’s out there, as soon as the retailers release it. I don’t have a release party, I just announce it’s ready. Most people who follow my books can get information about a book release from where they buy the books from.

What is the objective for your newsletter? Do you try to build a list of readers? Do you see a carryover to the sales of your novels?

I send out my newsletter when I have a book released. I also send one out when I have a new book coming so people know. I have a good size mailing list of people who have signed up on my website so it covers a lot of ground. I don’t beg for people to sign up. The link is on my website so if people want to hear about my books they can put in their email address and get the newsletter, when I remember to send it out.

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 have used a company called Story Cartel that offers the book for free in return for a review on Amazon. It helped to get a few, but never brought in a lot of reviews. I’ve heard of authors paying for reviews, but I don’t agree with that. If someone likes (or hates) your book, they’ll take the time to tell others. I have asked my readers on Facebook if they would post a review and they have been great about it. As long as I have at least ten good reviews on each book, I’m happy. “Classmate Murders” has presently 239 reviews spread across five star to one star. I am always amazed by the nasty things a few people write about an author’s books. I’ve gotten over the hurt, but it’s like having someone tell you your child is ugly. I do realize there are people who just enjoy writing bad things and I even put one of those people in the book I’m working on now. I turned her into a murderer. It’s fun that I can legally kill off people who bug me.

Author's Book List
Doyle's Quest - Doyle, P.I series #3
In this third of the Doyle, P.I. books, Doyle is hired by the curator of a Detroit Art Gallery. It seems nine valuable Egyptian statues were stolen from the gallery. They were replaced with fakes and the gallery doesn't want the Egyptians to know their artifacts are missing. So Doyle and his partner Oscar Drew go on a hunt for the missing objects. Were they taken by a group of terrorist bent on using the money from the sale of the statues to buy a bomb? Who are they going to use the bomb on? Will Doyle and his partner die in the underground of an abandoned train station? Meanwhile, Doyle's love life is slow until he ends up juggling two women, one helpless and the other dangerous.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Trick or Treat Murders - Jim Richards Murder Novels #30
Halloween is approaching fast and Jim Richards is asked by his police friend Deacon to help figure out who is murdering one woman every year for the last fourteen Halloweens. They have given the suspect the name, “Trick-or-Treat Killer” but they have no idea who he is. Jim and Earl Daws go on a mission to track down the facts from the first murder that set up the rest of the kills. Could it possibly be a dead boy who came back from the grave to murder his mother and the others? The investigation leads them to the miles of storm flood control tunnels under Las Vegas and the discovery of the homeless people who live there. One homeless man recovers Willy from a man who dog-snatched him from Penny and helps Jim navigate through the tunnels as they search for the killer. Will they find the killer in time to keep one last woman alive this Halloween? This is the 30th book in the series about the senior sleuth, Jim Richards and his crew of crime fighters.

Book Trailer: Trick or Treat Murders

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords - KOBO
Kennel Murders - Jim Richards Murder Novels #29
Late night raids on two dog kennels results in stolen, expensive show dogs and a murder. Jim Richards is asked by one kennel owner to help find the dogs, but Jim is out of commission by a broken leg. He puts Buck on the case and then Penny gets involved with a big dog show at a hotel arena. Two more dogs are stolen at the dog show and Lynn gets involved on the case. Lynn and Penny end up tracking down more dog thefts, could this be a crime wave? Deacon is assigned the murder of the kennel employee and another murder of one of the dog snatchers. Everyone but poor Jim is running around Las Vegas hunting missing dogs now being ransomed. Plenty of fur raising fun in this 29th Jim Richards book.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords - KOBO
Big Apple Murders - Jim Richards Murder Novels #28
An invitation to speak at a big book convention in New York City entices Jim to cross the country and appear. He and Penny, along with Buck, travel to the Big Apple and they fall into a murder of one of the authors promoting his books. It’s not the only murder, Jim’s curse seems to be working over-time and there is a second author murdered. Jim is pulled into the crimes along with an old acquaintance from his last trip to the city, Captain Lou Brege, and finds more than what he expected. Are the murders being committed by a serial killer called the Hangman? Or are the murders being set-up by Jim’s own publisher? Jim, along with Buck and a mob wise-guy hunt down killer as Penny backs them up with her handy .38 Smith & Wesson. The police and the mob join forces to bring justice to the convention before Jim gives his speech, but will the killer get to Jim before he can perform?

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Reunion Murders - Jim Richards Murder Novels #27
Some things are better left in the past. A letter arrives for Jim and Penny inviting them to a class reunion at their old high school back in Michigan. Do they want to leave Las Vegas to see people they knew forty-five years back. Do they know that when they get back, there will be a few murders of those past classmates. Will Jim be pulled into solving the murders. Jim’s friends Buck and Will Trapper tag along with Jim and Penny to Michigan and they get into the action. While they are gone, Lynn Carter, former Las Vegas homicide lieutenant who joined Jim’s firm is now being asked by the Las Vegas police to help solve the murder of an important Vegas hotel manager. She is asked to team up with her husband, Deacon to track the killer. Will everyone catch their killers in Vegas and in Michigan?

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Fatal Abductions - The Fatal Series
People are vanishing around Brinnon, Washington in a blue light shining down from above and it seems to be caused by a flying Saucer. That’s what a few people believe is happening. Sheriff Dave Chandler is trying to keep the stories of an invasion by aliens to a minimum and he’s not succeeding. His wife, Sarah, loves that aliens are attacking the town, it’s been getting a little boring. Plus they have taken in a young boy who’s brother was taken by the mysterious light. Things get more complicated when FBI Special Agent Warren Stevens returns to town to ferret out the kidnappers. Along with his partner Walt, they investigate the disappearances of people. This leads to a mysterious mining ghost town where they find more than they counted on. Secret societies and a huge airship that is bent on taking the one person who can keep the aliens from conquering the world, the president of the United States. Will they succeed in kidnapping the president and will Dave and Warren stop them from releasing a deadly weapon at the United States. Time is running out for destruction. Will Dave and Warren save the world. All this in the fifth book of the Fatal Series.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Network Murders - Jim Richards Murder Novels
Percy Isham sat alone late night in his office in Vegas, poring over the new season's television schedule, trying to balance the shows. Isham was the west coast head of programming for the television network that was bringing Penny Wicken’s talk show back to national viewing. He finished the schedule and put everything safely away then went to the door of his office. He opened the door and was confronted by a dark figure in the outer room. "What are you doing in here? I told you that I was not going to have any further dealings with you. I'm calling the police if you don't leave right now,” he said. Those were the last words Percy Isham would ever speak as the figure brought up a gun and fired at the man.

Jim Richards is hired to find the killer before his wife’s show starts. Along with his friend Buck and police Detective Lorelei Paris, they learn Isham was involved with more than programing shows. Was his murder the result of his late night orgies and the horrible secret Isham had? This is the 26th book of the Jim Richards murder novels.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Campground Murders - Jim Richards Murder Novels #25
This book is a crossover between the Jim Richards Murder Novels and the Fatal Series of books, both by Bob Moats.

While on vacation, Jim manages to miss the turn to Seattle and they end up in the small town of Brinnon, Washington. While camping in their van they meet Sheriff Dave Chandler and his wife Sarah. Jim’s curse strikes again, and there is a murder in the campground. But there is more when another man is kidnapped by the killer. Why was this man taken and what does it have to do with drugs? Are the murdered man and the kidnapped man part of a plot to manufacture a new drug to sell on the streets? The story takes a fatal turn when Penny and Sarah are also kidnapped and taken back to Las Vegas for a big demonstration of the drug's potential to the mob. Will Penny will be the victim for the test. This is the 25th book of the Jim Richard series combined as the 5th book of the Fatal series.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Classmate Murders - Jim Richards Murder Novels
Someone is murdering women from the class of '67 and it's up to Jim Richards, who has reluctantly just turned sixty, to stop him. Jim's life is in the dumps and then late one might he receives an email from a childhood sweetheart he hasn't seen in over 40 years, pleading for help but he doesn't get to her in time, she's been murdered. A killer is now stalking and killing his former female classmates for unknown reasons and Jim, along with his only friend Buck, a big, mustachioed biker, go off to track down the killer before he can get to one former classmate, Penny Wickens, a TV talk show host who Jim has just fallen for while protecting her. The killer is also murdering the women right out from under police protection, driving homicide detective Will Trapper crazy, and he slowly depends on Jim to help. There's humor, suspense, wild chases across suburban Detroit with cops, classic cars and motorcycle clubs; murder, mayhem, and a good amount of romance.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner and
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

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