Thursday, April 6, 2017

Dan Taylor - An Author Interview at the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Dan Taylor. He is the author of the Jake Hancock P.I. series. Dan writes Comedy thriller novels.

Author: Dan Taylor

Author Genre: Comedy thriller

Twitter: @DanTaylorAuthor
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
Dan Taylor is the comedy thriller author of the Jake Hancock P.I. series. He has lived in Oslo, Norway, awhile and speaks the language fluently, though it's hit-and-miss whether he can understand what you're saying. Oh, and he still hasn't learned to ski yet.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

First things first. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

I have three works I’ll be releasing hopefully before autumn. The sixth book in my Jake Hancock comedic mystery series is with my editor, I’m currently working on the seventh book, and I’ve written a novel about a hitman who exists in the same universe as Hancock, which I’ve finished editing. As for on the drawing board, I fancy writing a western series about a character that will be called Jeremiah Hancock, Jake’s ancestor. I think that would be a hoot, to put a Jake Hancock-like character in a western setting.

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?

I used Twitter a lot in the beginning, and definitely gained some readers. But I’ve been lazy with it as of late. I guess I expected faster results, which led to me being less engaged with it and spamming. I’m going to get back on it, not because I think it’s worth my time, but because I quite enjoyed writing jokes on there, just for the fun of it. That’s how I cut my teeth, before I started spamming and became disillusioned with it.

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? You recently changed your covers. What was the impact on your sales?

They’re not the best, but I think they’re functional. I design them myself, having watched YouTube videos. I’m working on rebranding my books, changing the titles slightly, and using more classy-looking vector-based cover art. As for branding, my books aren’t serious works of fiction. They’re light, silly, and fun, and it’s important to brand them as such, so that I don’t attract readers who are expecting something else. It’s just as important to attract the right readers as it is to keep readers away who won’t enjoy your books.

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’ve given a metric shit-ton of books away—ebooks, that is. For a while, the first book in my Jake Hancock series was perma-free. Outside of that, I’ve run free promotions on all but two of my books. But I don’t think it’s as effective as discounting books for a short period of time. I read somewhere that around only ten percent of Kindle books that are downloaded for free are read. From my experience, I think that’s about right. When it comes to giving books away, you’ve got to go big or go home. There’s little point in giving away a few hundred. You’ve got to be thinking in the thousands for it to have an impact, and that means advertising, lots of it.

How do you manage your plots, characters and timelines to keep your stories going? Do you use any software to keep track of your books

I used to plan my books, but I found I didn’t stick to them. I’d always think of a more interesting or entertaining direction to take the plot when I was away from my laptop, as I was brushing my teeth, on a bike ride, or snoozing away a hangover. As for managing plots, characters, and timelines, I write notes on Post-Its, lose them, and then lose my shit over it. I never learn. One day I’ll get organized, like Travis Bickle.

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?

Writing an author blog is tricky. You have two demographics to write for: fellow indie authors, which are far more easily targeted via social media, and fans of your books. To satisfy both demographics, I write advice for fellow indie authors with a lot of humor, to make the peeks behind the curtain at the writing process, from a reader’s perspective, less dry and, hopefully, laugh-out-loud funny. My primary goal in writing my blog is to sell my personality, which isn’t for everyone. Readers buy books from authors they like. My secondary goal is to keep my writing tools sharp between books.

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 have a mailing list, and it’s slowly growing. The only method I’ve been using is to ask readers to sign up for it at the end of my books, so that they can receive a discount on new releases. I plan on writing exclusive content for mailing list subscribers, to grow it faster. I think an incentive is important for motivating readers to hand over their email addresses

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

In the beginning, I asked for reviews from Twitter followers, and it worked. And let me tell you, those guys were brutally honest! None of them gave my books one-star reviews, but they pointed out things they didn’t like. Looking back on it, I’d rather have those than reviews that are heaped with false praise. The best reviews are ones that are seemingly written by a reader who’s intelligent, honest, and discerning, and ones that give readers a good understanding of the type of book they’ll get if they purchase it. Good reviews attract the right readers, and should, in theory, keep the wrong readers away. Even though my first novel has a number of lengthy, informative, and honest reviews, the wrong reader still makes the odd purchase, and then gets angry with me for their having not identified what type of book I write from the mass of information available to them on the product page.

Author's Book List
The Mystery of the Abandoned Observation Station - Jake Hancock Private Investigator Mystery series Book 3
Blaming his former employer for the kidnapping of his sister and nephew, smooth-talking private investigator Jake Hancock has quit working for the Agency.

But a mysterious chest complaint and a ghetto health insurance plan provided by his new employer force him to pick up where he left off—just when he thought he was out, they lure him back in with the promise of dental.

Fellow Agency private detective Cole Baxter is missing in action again, but this time for good. His bones have been found in an observation station’s septic tank, in Antarctica.

Hancock’s chosen as the man to unravel the mystery of what happened to him, and in Oslo, Norway, where he fits in like Santa Clause at a summer barbecue.

In order to clear up the mystery of his death, Hancock must seduce a Norwegian recruitment agent suspected of being behind it. That part’s child’s play.

But when Hancock learns the lethal details behind the mystery of Cole’s disappearance, he wishes he hadn't…

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The Mystery of the Phone Calls - Jake Hancock Private Investigator Mystery series Book 2
Smooth-talking Jake Hancock returns in this thrill-a-minute sequel to Kiss Hidden Lies.

Hancock has just learned his sister and nephew have been kidnapped. The culprit? An enigmatic criminal who communicates through a voice-modulation device low on batteries. He knows by whom, but not why.

Hancock needs to save them, and fast. Over the course of one evening and night, Hollywood’s smoothest private detective pits his wits against the best criminal mind if not in the state, then definitely the city. Well, at least the neighborhood.

To get his sister and nephew back, Jake will stop at nothing.

Justice just got a makeover, Hancock style.

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The Mystery of the Secret Parents - Jake Hancock Private Investigator Mystery series Book 1
Private Investigator Jake Hancock gets a seemingly straightforward gig: finding out who an actress’s biological father is. But there’s a catch. His client’s parents are unaware she knows the guy who’s been posing as her father is an imposter. And she insists Hancock poses as her older boyfriend to discover the truth from within her family home.

Her parents are onto him the moment he steps through the front door, and the roller coaster of an investigation begins.

To escape the heat of scrutiny, Hancock rushes his client to an age-regression hypnotherapy session to learn about a time period her parents seem hazy about. What he discovers throws him a curveball: His client had two different parents up to the age of three…something she’s unaware of now. The strange part? They lived together in the same family home.

There’s a bizarre secret at the heart of his client’s childhood. And Hancock must face an ethical dilemma for which he isn’t prepared.

As a detective, he’s bound to reveal the truth…but at what cost to his client’s happiness?

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Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS Author's Spotlight
eBook Author’s Corner
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Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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