Friday, February 15, 2013

Richard L. Sanders - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on young Author Richard L. Sanders. He is a bestselling Science Fiction & Fantasy author.

Author Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy

Website: Richard L. Sanders
Author's Blog: Richard L. Sanders
Twitter: @RichLSanders
E-Mail: richard.sanders[at]richardlsanders[dot]com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
I'm a 28 year old recent law graduate with a B.S. in Economics from the University of Utah. I've been writing stories since I was able to hold a pencil and have always loved escaping into books. In the real world I enjoy the beautiful outdoors (but usually only for day outings, otherwise my allergies get the best of me). I particularly love skiing and swimming.

As for indoors, when I'm not lost in a book somewhere, I enjoy a good game of chess or pinochle. Or now and again a good computer game.

In June of 2014, I got married and we honeymooned across mainland Europe. It was stressful but fun. Even though it meant six flights (I genuinely do not like flying, although I've never let that stop me from doing so).

I have two brothers, one sister, three sisters-in-law, one brother-in-law, and no children, and so far no nieces or nephews.

I cite Orson Scott Card and J.K. Rowling as my primary influences, however others whose influence has been noteworthy include: Carl Sagan, Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Isaac Asimov and--last but not least--the two fantasy greats: George R.R. Martin and J.R.R. Tolkien (I suppose it's a rule somewhere that to be a legendary writer of fantasy one must have two R's in one's name).

Currently, Allyson and I live in Sugarhouse, Utah.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

First things first. What’s next in your world of fantasy? Do you have another book on the horizon? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

My top priority is to finish The Phoenix Series. The new book, The Phoenix War, which will be the fourth in the series, should come out this summer--if all goes well. Following that the fifth (yet untitled book) should hopefully be out by Christmas and that one will wrap up the series. I have a few other projects that I am making slow headway on but eventually in the not too distant future (I hope) I would like a series with a Medieval setting. Possibly even a fantasy story. I've done the space thing, and I love it, and I'll absolutely come back to it, but I'd also like to tell stories about wooden ships, horses, and cold steel.

You have a very small footprint in social media which is not the trend among young writer. How where you able to become a bestselling author without the social media push?

I would like to have a bigger social media footprint, and I do have a website, a forum, a facebook page and a twitter account, outside of that I'm not sure what to do to expand my social media presence. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please e-mail me. As far as my success goes, I'm grateful that I've been able to offer some of my writing for free which has allowed me to reach more people.

Do you do book signing, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you?

I would like to someday but honestly if I tried to organize one I have a vision of myself sitting at a booth at some library somewhere twiddling my thumbs as people walk by and raise their eyebrows wondering who I am. But I'd nevertheless like to do a book signing one day, probably in England, because most of my fans are there and because it'd be a good excuse to finally visit England which is near the top of my list of places I've never been but always wanted to visit.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand. 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 am happy to credit Sam Keiser for the beautiful cover art that my books enjoy. He's easy to work with, works swiftly, and is willing to take my ideas and run with them and flesh them out into these wonderful creative visions that far surpass what I originally imagine. You can find his portfolio and website online with a quick Google search and I high recommend him to anyone out there who is looking for a talented independent artist to work with.

What kinds of writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I'm not really a part of any outside my own private circle of beta readers. The process of having other people vet your work and challenge it and criticize it is difficult but absolutely indispensable. I have heard good things about various online writers' communities and support groups but I haven't actually taken the time to join any as of now.

Between your book writing, school work, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

I have had to work hard and during school I spent a lot of time writing -- to pay for school -- and that somewhat affected my grades. But since then I have learned to knuckle down, work hard, manage my time carefully, and to prioritize. I have since prioritized law, and learning law, which enabled me to pass the Bar exam on my first try, without any outside help or study courses. The truth is, you can do a lot with your time, if you really allow yourself to work hard, study hard, and prioritize. Time management is something that can be really liberating if we allow ourselves to plan ahead and work hard. That is what I learned to do, and certainly that is what I do now with law, as a licensed attorney.

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?

If I have any success it is 100% because I've been able to give the first book in my series away for free. This serves as a kind of demo that allows readers to give my stories a chance at no financial risk to them and it tells them that I believe in my product so much that I'm happy to give the first book away for free. More often than not readers who download the free book and read it are pretty willing to buy the sequels. Many of them send me e-mails and are eager to know when the next book will be out, which always feels like a pat on the back and brings a smile to my face. As far as obstacles go, it is very difficult (and getting more so all the time) to keep books free on Amazon (especially Amazon UK) for any meaningful length of time. And the difference between a free book and one that costs a meager $0.99 (which is the minimum) can be the difference between 100 downloads a day and 1. If say a fifth of the people who download the first book download the second, and a fifth of those download the third, and so on, then you can see how those numbers make a tremendous difference. To authors who write ongoing series, who don't have the marketing power of a major publisher behind us, we depend on offering that first book for free, otherwise we don't get enough exposure to afford to continue a given series.

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 haven't tried any software yet. Even though I'm a young author, I still find that pens, papers, charts, and notebooks are the most effective way for me to manage the many complex plots that are threaded together in the Phoenix Series. However I've always wanted to try one of the software suites and maybe someday I'll make the switch and enter the 21st century.

Have you created a book trailer for any of your books to promote them online? Along with that, how has the audio version of your book, The Phoenix Conspiracy worked out? Have you seen an uptick in the sales of your other books after releasing the audio?

I don't have a trailer but if I had the money and the film-making expertise I think it'd be a lot of fun to be involved in something like that. As for the audiobook, it has yet to make any kind of real meaningful traction as far as getting sales, or increasing sales, and certainly I put more money into than I've gotten back. But I've always wanted to have an audiobook of at least one of my books and Matthew Ebel did such a masterful job of telling the story (far beyond what I'd imagined) that I consider it some of the best money I've ever spent, regardless of lack of sales, and I hope to be able to afford to hire him to finish the rest of the series. He does such a superb job of bringing the characters and the world to life, and captures the flavor of the universe so wonderfully... I can't give him enough praise. And I would hope that all of my readers would give the audiobook a chance and treat themselves to Matthew's excellent performance. I only wish that Audible would let me lower the price so it'd be more accessible to people. If I could make it free, I would.

In my research I noticed you have a reader’s forum linked to your website. Explain how you set that up and how it works? Is it a part of a bigger public forum? How can other author set this up for their site?

The forum was setup by a friend of mine who manages the website. I'd like to eventually hire out and have an actual professional website made (once I can afford it) but until then the site was made and continues to be managed by friends of mine who are kind enough to do it for free in their spare time. I'm grateful for their help, especially Dave's ongoing efforts, but I wish I knew the code/website/etc. technology better so I could post updates to my blog, for example, directly without it being a cumbersome process that ultimately results in me having to have one of them do it. If only Shen were a real person, he'd help me.

Author's Book List
The Phoenix Darkness - The Phoenix Conspiracy Series Book 5
The hour is grim for the Empire, which has split into opposing sides. Civil War rages between Queen Kalila Akira and Steward Caerwyn Martel. As all Imperial forces are dragged into the conflict, threatening to destroy the once mighty Imperial fleet, enemies abroad have their sights set on the juicy, and ever more defenseless, human worlds. Rotham invasion seems imminent and unstoppable.

Summers and the Nighthawk race against Blackmoth and Tristan, each hoping to reach Zander first, and get to his stockpile of isotome weapons. Meanwhile Raidan has underhanded plans of his own.

Calvin and his team venture into Rotham space to spy on the enemy. It is vital that they collect intelligence on the Rotham fleet and get it back to the queen so she can stop any Rotham invasion. But, unbeknownst to them, one member of the team is a traitor, and has put them all in grave danger.

In vast, distant regions of Forbidden Space, rumors and whispers abound that the Dread Fleet has awoken. And they've been charged with the purpose of purging the galaxy and bringing to pass the Final Darkness.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Phoenix War - The Phoenix Conspiracy Series Book 4
A fearful Empire anticipates King Akira's next move: will he abandon them to the corrupt hands of Caerwyn Martel or doom them to bloody civil war, leaving them defenseless against an imminent alien invasion?

Just beyond human space, the crows are circling. Across the DMZ, the Rotham Republic prepares its war fleets with hungry eyes fixed on the weakened Empire. Spurred on to war by the pervasive Rahajiim, a shadowy organization that has struck a dark deal with the nightmarish Enclave.

Meanwhile Summers races to destroy the rest of the isotome weapons before they are used, Nimoux struggles to escape an unlikely prison planet, Shen copes with his strange new life, and Calvin hunts for the true puppetmaster. Desperate to discover the deepest layer of the conspiracy before it's too late. And in the shadows behind it all, Blackmoth brews a storm of chaos, hell-bent on subjecting the galaxy to the dark design of his One-True-God.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Phoenix Crisis - The Phoenix Conspiracy Series
A storm is brewing. Eager war fleets patrol the edges of human space, waiting.

The leaders of the Phoenix Conspiracy are poised to usher in The Hour of Ascension. And it is up to Calvin to expose the conspiracy before the Empire collapses in a firestorm of civil war.

Deadly isotome weapons remain at large, forces across every border are arming for war, and now even the monarchy itself is threatened by the chaos. From the blood-soaked soil of Renora, where the very strength of the Empire is tested, to the political maneuverings of the Imperial Assembly, the stability that once safeguarded human-kind is now merely a memory.

Meanwhile the deadliest assassin in the galaxy lurks in the shadows, ready to change the course of history—if his god wills it. And Shen's life hangs by a thread.

The Organization, the Akiras, CERKO, the Advent, the Phoenix Ring... it all comes down to this moment. And the question on everyone's mind is, can the Empire survive? Or will it be lost to the tempest.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Secrets of Silverwind
The world might have ended five years ago. For the second time. Had Caythis not raced to Andar City to stop the one man who could destroy everything. Antares. The man with the power of a god. The man whose fiery inferno reduced Andar to ashes. The man who’d already annihilated a fourth of the human race. Caythis fought him on the cliffs of Andar. Fought to save the world. They both vanished. Their bodies were never found.

The remnants of Antares’ revolution live on, like embers refusing to die. Tormenting an already broken world. One savaged by starvation, terrorism, vigilantism, and most of all fear. Fear of Antares’ return.

An unknown soldier finds himself pulled into the nexus of the turmoil. Factions vie for his allegiance, mixing truths with lies. His memories are clouded. His past a mystery. But the world remembers him as Caythis. And he must uncover the truth of his own disappearance if he is to restore order to the world. It is a twisted path of deception and betrayal. One that forces him to realize…

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Phoenix Rising - The Phoenix Conspiracy Series
As the most serious threat ever facing the galaxy now looms over them—weapons able to destroy stars—Calvin and his enterprising crew continue their mission to expose and eliminate the dark conspiracy that has taken root inside the Empire. Now a fugitive on the run, Calvin has no choice but to work alongside Raidan’s mysterious Organization. And accept help from the unlikeliest band of fair-weather friends, including a mysterious squad of Polarian soldiers, an ex-intelligence-operative from the Rotham Republic, and the ever elusive Tristan—whose truest motives are a closely guarded secret. To make matters worse, Calvin is hunted mercilessly across the stars by Intel Wing’s top operative, Lafayette Nimoux, who is aided by a double-agent on Calvin’s own ship. Meanwhile the sands of fortune are shifting within the Empire, upsetting the delicate political climate. Warships and civilian transports are vanishing without a trace and murders in the dark are going unnoticed. All eyes are fixed on Renora—a human colony that has been savagely attacked and thrown into civil war. The prime suspect behind the attack is none other than Princess Kalila Akira. All the dark signs are pointing to what could be the death of the Empire, and the end of human dominance in the galaxy.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Betraying Nexus
Jason works for Nexus, a secret vigilante organization. He’s a Mind Bender and can implant thoughts into the minds of others. He's both a prodigy and a rising star.

But when he’s forced to take down an old friend and learns Nexus's darkest secret, he must ask himself what he believes in. And if it’s worth turning against the woman he loves.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Phoenix Conspiracy - The Phoenix Conspiracy Series
Calvin, an intelligence operative, is sent to eliminate a dangerous traitor. But, as he chases his prey across the stars, he realizes they are both pawns in a shadowy chess game. One that threatens humankind everywhere.

If he is to uncover the conspiracy he must confront--and embrace--the darkest elements of the galaxy. And throw himself, his career, and everyone he loves into the line of fire.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

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

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