Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Jeremy Bates. He is the #1 Amazon bestseller author of White Lies.
Mystery & Thrillers
Jeremy Bates - Suspense Author
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Jeremy Bates is the author of the #1 Amazon bestseller White Lies, which is nominated for the 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Award. He has spent the last ten years traveling the world, visiting more than thirty countries. He has lived in Canada, the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. Bates is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a degree in English literature and philosophy. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Inc., and Crime Writers of Canada.
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Congratulations on your book: Suicide Forest. Do you have another book on the horizon? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
I have two books on the horizon. Both are complete. The titles are Helltown and The Catacombs. Helltown is about a bunch of young university grads who go to Helltown, Ohio (a real place) to check out the legends of satanists, ghosts, etc., which are associated with it. Once they arrive, however, things naturally get out of hand and their night of cheap thrills turns to chills. The release date is sometime in 2015, though it has not been confirmed yet.
The second novel, The Catacombs, is about the eponymous place in the bowels of France. After a video camera containing disturbing footage is found in their depths, three friends enter the tunnel system to find some answers…and of course what they find is a lot more horrifying than they ever imagined going in! This one is still with my agent, so it doesn’t have a publisher and so does not have a release date.
You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?
You know, at first the social media relationship was really important. It still is, but I seriously slacked off over the last year because it takes up so much time. But I’m getting back into it now, and I’m going to try to keep with it. The people I meet online are great, and social media is a good way to get news out there about a new release, or book giveaway, and such. Also, I find it fun meeting so many different people and writers…I just wish I had more time for it!
Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?
I don’t have a reader list. I know readers I have met through social media—Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads—which I keep in touch with. I once had a mailing list that people could sign up to, but to be honest I didn’t find it very effective. Unless you’re pretty well known, you don’t get many people signing up.
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?
With my first book cover I had a phone call with the marketing guy, the editors, etc., and we sort of discussed what the cover should look like. They asked for my input, which was nice. Then they sent a draft copy to me and some other people and elicited input. There were two drafts before they chose the final version.
You have a great book trailer (Suicide Forest). (See link below.) It looks very professional. Do you know how much impact it has had on your book’s success? Do you use the trailer in your character development? Are the pictures and background the way you see your characters and scenes?
I’ve done a book trailer for each of my books. I’m glad you think the one for Suicide Forest is professional, because I did it myself! Again, to be honest, I don’t think book trailers have any real impact on sales. I make them because I like making them. Also, it can’t hurt to have a trailer on YouTube or somewhere. You know, if it gets 1,000 hits, or 5,000, I’m sure some of those people must gravitate to your website, or Amazon, and some of those might buy the book.
What writer support groups do you belong to? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?
I’ve heard some people swear by writer support groups, but I don’t belong to any. When I had a chance to pose Harlan Coben a question during an International Thriller Writers thingy, I asked him a similar question: Is he in any kind of feedback group? He said no. I then asked him as he became more popular, did he end up having more and more editors read his work before it was published, because the stakes when you’re printing off a 500,000 copy first run are pretty high. He said no again. He told me he had two editors. I asked him if he often used their suggestions. He said their suggestions were usually accurate, but their solutions about how to proceed were almost always wrong. Anyway, I guess the point is some people do write in a vacuum, and it works for them!
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?
I have given away ARCS, of course, for review consideration. I have also done giveaways on Goodreads. I usually do the latter a few weeks before a book’s release date, with the hopes that the book will have a few reviews on launch day. After it has been launched, however, and is getting enough reviews from readers who have bought it, I don’t think giveaways are as important.
You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed and marketing your books. 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?
Ha. Well, this goes back to one of my earlier answers. I don’t have enough time. I definitely prioritize. Writing always comes first. It’s something I do daily. Social media comes second. I’ll tweet something I find neat on the internet, or I’ll pop over to Facebook or Goodreads to check my messages. And blogging comes third. I simply find it takes too much time to try to write a new, interesting post every few days. I know a writer who started a blog a couple years ago, which took off astronomically. Each post gets something like 100-500 comments. You’d think that would be great—and it is…if you are purely a blogger. But he’s a writer too, and I think he finds it more and more difficult to squeeze in time to write. Yet he feels obligated to his followers to keep up his posts, his reviews etc. So he has sort of backed himself into a corner.
With all your travels, do you plan to publish your books in other languages? How is your audience abroad?
I would love to if there was the interest. I’ve had queries from publishers in Korea, China, and Hungary, though nothing has come from any of them. Right now I think my only audience is an English-speaking one.
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 definitely seek professional ones. I know writers are always saying how hard it is to get reviews from industry reviewers, and it is. However, you have to remember that reviewers want to review. That’s their business. And if you write a book that interests them, they will more likely than not stick it in their review pile. I had a bit of luck when promoting my first novel to meet some great reviewers. Usually they remember me when I approach them with the next book, so it sort of becomes a relationship; you’re not just a number submitting anymore.
Author's Book List
Just outside of Tokyo lies Aokigahara, a vast forest and one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in Japan...and also the most infamous spot to commit suicide in the world. Legend has it that the spirits of those many suicides are still roaming, haunting deep in the ancient woods.
When bad weather prevents a group of friends from climbing neighboring Mt. Fuji, they decide to spend the night camping in Aokigahara. But they get more than they bargained for when one of them is found hanged in the morning—and they realize there might be some truth to the legends after all.
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The Taste of Fear
American movie star Scarlett Cox and her husband, hotel tycoon Salvador Brazza, head to Africa to get away and resuscitate their ailing marriage. When robbed of their money and passports, they seek help from the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam on the very day Al Qaeda chooses to bomb it. In an eyeblink they are taken hostage and whisked across the border deep into the Congo, one of the last truly wild places left on earth. Battling terrorists, deadly wildlife, and cannibalistic rebels, Scarlett and Sal must find a way to survive in a violent, primeval world. And the only person who may be able to save them is the assassin sent to kill them.
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While driving to a charming village tucked away deep in the Cascade Mountains of eastern Washington, where she is to begin a new job teaching high school English, Katrina Burton picks up a young hitchhiker who turns out to be drunk and predatory. Fearful for her safety, she lies about her destination in order to get him out of the car. But when she later discovers that he is a teacher at the same school, she finds herself feeding that initial lie with more lies. Then Katrina meets a mysterious man . Handsome, charismatic and strong, he is exactly what she needs to extricate her from the expanding network of lies, now spinning out of control. She falls fast and hard for him. But her perfect solution soon becomes a nightmare that lands her in the middle of a grisly murder. And Katrina's problems don't stop there.
She must decide whether to betray her new love or to cover up the murder and hope for the best.
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