Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Douglas Dorow. He is a mystery and thrillers author.
Mystery & Thrillers
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Douglas Dorow is a thriller writer from Minneapolis Minnesota, the home of many thriller/suspense writers. Is it something in the water or the long, cold winters?
His first thriller is The Ninth District.
He is working on the second in the series featuring FBI Agent, Jack Miller and a spin-off FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) novella series.
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Let’s start with what’s next. Rumor has it that writing a FBI Agent, Jack Miller mystery novella called SuperCell. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
SuperCell is a spin-off novella from my FBI thriller, The Ninth District. It features the secondary hero character from TND, Special Agent Ross Fruen, joining the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team.
New to the HRT, Ross and his team are deployed to the plains of Nebraska after a maximum security prison is hit by a massive SuperCell tornado and Ross and another member of his HRT team are tasked with tracking down a couple of prison escapees across the plains of Nebraska while the rest of the team quells the riot at the prison. It is set to be released in February and is the first in a series of FBI HRT – Critical Incident novellas.
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?
Twitter has been a great place for me to form relationships with other independent authors as well as readers. I have reading and writing friends from around the world now. I consider many of these people friends, and that is amazing since many of these relationships are based on short conversations of 140 characters.
I built this following by following others in the areas I’m interested in. I try to interact and support other authors in the Thriller genre paying attention to new releases, similar themes and having conversations, not just selling. I also try to be where my readers are; Twitter, my Facebook page and my email list.
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?
Yes, I do maintain a reader list, in fact a couple. I started an email/newsletter (too late) and try to offer unique content to those fans/readers. This includes giveaways of books by other authors that have a meaning to me, sharing more personal information and a status on my writing projects. I also have some readers who are not on the email list, but we trade emails and facebook messages to keep in touch. I try to interact with my readers in the way they want to interact steering them to my email list by making special offers to people on the list.
To further build the list I have an invitation to join it in the backs of my books and I promote it once in a while on social media. Currently, people who sign up to the list get a copy of a short story – ALL SALES FINAL - I wrote for an anthology of stories by the Twin Cities Sisters In Crime group.
You are writing a novella called Supercell. Are shorty’s going to be one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work? Do you feel short reads are a product of our email and smart phone age?
I'm committed to writing at least a series of 3 novellas in the FBI HRT Critical Incident series. If it finds a following, I'll keep it up. The novella series to me is more like a television series, each alone is entertaining, while the compilation tells the bigger story and character development. I believe some readers are looking for the shorter book, one that can be read in one sitting, maybe on their smartphone.
I’m thinking I’ll also write a prequel to my FBI series with Special Agent Jack Miller, after I finish the second book in the series. The prequel may be a short novella or a lone novella/short novel. I’ll probably make that a permanent free book to introduce readers to the series.
I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a sampler collection called Mysteries Thrills & Spills with a group of outstanding authors. What has been the impact on your sales? What was the main objective of bundling your works with other mystery authors? How did you put something like that together?
That bundle came about a while back, the idea of one of the other authors in the bundle, Shawn Hopkins. It is meant to be a sampler that was free or inexpensive that gave the reader a taste of a number of different authors in the same genre, not complete books, but sample chapters that readers could read and decide if they wanted to buy one of the books they liked. Anyway an author can find new readers is good and I think author bundling is one of those ways that is a win / win - the author may find new fans and the reader gets a taste of different authors they may want to read more.
Author bundles have moved to complete books bundled together and I haven’t participated in one of those. I’m planning to bundle my own books in the future so readers who really like a series can get multiple books in the series at a slight discount.
Has the advent of ebooks changed anything in your writing, getting the book to your readers and the relationship with your readers and fans?
I’d been working on writing a novel for a number of years and was just starting to think about trying to find an agent to look for a publisher for my novel. I remember, June 2010 reading a story about Amazon allowing authors to self-publish their books for ereaders. On the spot, I scrapped my agent letter drafts and decided to figure out what I needed to do to epublish. I wasn’t looking forward to the long journey of soliciting an agent and then the next journey of looking for a publisher for my story.
I started learning what I could from other authors who were going to self-pub, found an artist for my covers, worked with an editor and learned how to format my novel for the ebook platforms.
My book is available as an ebook, in paper and as an audiobook, but the majority of my readers are ereaders.
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?
A few years ago, I was exclusive with Amazon and participated in the program where I could give my ebook away for free for 5 days every 90. It was part of the game to improve the visibility of my book on Amazon and it worked great for a year or so. The game continues to change. I believe different readers are looking for books at different price points. Some want Free, some use sites to continue to try and find discounted books and some think price is an indication of quality and will only buy books at a higher price.
I continue to try and play the game in regards to price and finding new readers for my books. That’s the goal, to find new readers. I’m writing one book with a plan to make it permanently free to introduce new readers to my series and I continue to use discounts and sites that advertise discounted books to give my sales a bump, once in a while.
I’ve recently started a Facebook group –
The MTS Readers Clubhouse
focused on readers of Mystery Thrillers and Suspense. We held an online event January 2nd where I brought 25 other authors together and we each offered a book for 99 cents for the day as well as offering other giveaways throughout the day. We plan to hold a similar event once a quarter, giving readers what they want, in a genre they love to read and introducing them to some new authors they may not have read.
You have a two blog: one for readers and one for writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to write, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?
Managing time is the magic bullet. I have a full-time job in addition to my writing, so I have to prioritize what I work on if I want to get any writing done. Blogging is something I do less frequently. I don’t know if I should do it at all since I do it infrequently, but I like to share things with readers and writers once in a while, so I post something out there once in a while.
You have published The Ninth District in Spanish. Now was the Spanish version received? Does marketing online help reach this marketplace?
The Spanish translation is something I did early on as an experiment. Finding a good translator, someone who can retell your story in a different language, is difficult. And finding a good translator is expensive.
I sell a few ebooks and paper books in Spanish, but if it was simply a business decision, I probably wouldn’t do it today. At least not yet. I don’t think the Spanish reading audience is large enough on the ebook platform and not being in one of their country’s, marketing strategy for me is more shotgun, less focused than for my English reading audience.
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?
On launch, I ask my fans for reviews as well as some bloggers in the genre. After that, I ask for reviews at the end of the book and let them come in as they come in. A small percentage of readers take the time to write reviews.
Author's Book List
The Ninth District
- An FBI Thriller Book 1
The Federal Reserve has never been robbed.
FBI Special Agent Jack Miller, pulled into a high-profile case to mentor a new agent, finds himself in a clash with the toughest opponent of his career. The chase culminates in the bowels of the city, in the storm sewers and tunnels beneath The Ninth District Federal Reserve of Minneapolis.
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