Tuesday, May 10, 2016

R.A. Barnes - An Author Interview at the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Ruby Barnes. He is the author of Mystery & Thrillers novels including the Zombies v. Ninjas series.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Literature & Fiction

Website: Ruby Barnes
Twitter: @Ruby_Barnes
E-Mail: ruby dot barnes at marblecitypublishing dot com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
I've pedalled the pushbike of life until the chain fell off. Now living in rural Ireland where the natives are friendly and the weather atrocious, I write crime fiction and thrillers.

My writing is dedicated to the memory of my late Scottish grandfather Robert 'Ruby' Aloysius Barnes.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your series: Zombies v. Ninjas 3. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Things aren’t over for the Ninjas and they’ll be back, but in the meantime I’m going to pen a couple of contemporary murder mysteries set in the medieval Irish city of Kilkenny. The first in series will be released in 2016 and involves a victim who isn’t quite dead, a key witness who is unable to communicate and a suspect who isn’t who he appears to be and has fled the country.

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? How much has it changed your book launch process?

I’m a firm believer in building a social media platform and regular sharing of interesting content. My first book, Peril, came out before I had engaged with social media but I made the conscious decision to blog on various topics and built up quite a large amount of traffic on my site https://rubybarnes.blogspot.com.

Tweeting the blog posts created further traffic and I started to gain Twitter followers. One small but important thing I learned was that a good blog post is “evergreen content”, which means it’s timeless and can be periodically pushed out on social media regardless of its age. With billions of people on the planet I can reach new potential readers by recycling my tweets every month or two, using eye-catching wording. I’ve also built up a mailing list of fans who I keep informed about new releases and special offers. Social media is also a great way to network with other writers and I’ve learned a lot of my marketing skills in private facebook groups.

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?

I do a few online interviews but I don’t make a lot of personal appearances. I live in rural Ireland and it never ceases to amaze me how far the world of digital books has spread around the globe. 23rd June 2016 I will be having a launch party for the Zombies v. Ninjas series in Stonehouse Books, Kieran Street, Kilkenny, Ireland. All proceeds on the night will go to fundraising for Evolution Martial Arts Academy, upon whose members the ninja characters are based. I have a facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Ruby-Barnes-189227941118754/ but am also open to email on ruby.barnes@marblecitypublishing.com

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 work with Jane Dixon-Smith of http://www.jdsmith-design.com/ and usually my wife and I have a concept in mind at the outset. Jane gathers a couple of dozen stock images that suit the concept and we choose the ones we like. Jane then produces some mock-ups and at that point I sometimes go to a broader audience, typically via my blog or else within an author group or two on facebook or in real life here in Ireland. The final choice then gets the full treatment from Jane and hey presto!

I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a couple of anthology (Edge of Passion and By the Light of the Moon). What was the impact on your other sales? What was the main objective of bundling your works with other romance authors? How did you put something like that together?

I also have a story in the Knife Edge anthology. These collections were an idea by my publisher Marble City Publishing to give authors a chance to have work published without jumping in deep with a novel. Sales of my novels don’t benefit particularly well from these collections as I’m not a short story writer and I have a tendency to treat the narrative like a novel chapter, leaving things unsaid and loose threads dangling.

In the case of Edge of Passion and Knife Edge, the contributors were chosen from competition entries on http://multi-story.co.uk/ , with a guest judge to choose the winners and several stories from Marble City Publishing authors such as myself, Jim Williams and John Goldsmith. The burden of editing and formatting fell, as always, on the shoulders of myself and my wife.

I like the idea of bundling a series of novels. You have put together a set of your novels called Zombies v. Ninjas. What was the impact on your other sales? What was your main objective in bundling your novels?

I wrote the Zombies v. Ninjas series in 2015 to test myself, to see if I could write a series within a tight schedule. It’s too early to tell if there is any impact on sales of my other titles. Zombies v. Ninjas isn’t the same genre as my crime fiction and psychological thrillers but it does share some key characters and is part of a world building approach that has evolved in my writing. I was interested in the idea of marketing a bundle of novels in a series, hoping to apply effective reader entertainment at the same time as a sales pipeline.

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

I’m a member of a writing group here in Kilkenny, Ireland, that meets once a month. We did three years of writing college together and have great trust and respect for each other. It’s wonderful to have a dozen people who are comfortable with critiquing each other’s work, face-to-face. They’re also very supportive when it comes to local book launches. By the Light of the Moon is an anthology that originated from that group and is a publishing first for many of our members.

I’m also active in two writer support groups on facebook. They both provide great shared expertise on all aspects of writing, marketing and publishing. There is always somebody who has done it, tried it, made mistakes and had successes.

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 done a lot of free giveaways. At the moment the first in series Zombies v. Ninjas: Origin is free on Amazon.com and this gives readers a chance to see if they want to read more. I’ve given away review copies, both e-books and paperbacks, via Goodreads and LibraryThing, resulting in a good spread of reviews. Purchasing adverts to promote a free book is another very good way to rack up honest reviews and the credibility helps sell the book when it reverts to paid. However, it only really makes sense to give a book away if the author has further titles ready on the shelf for those readers who have enjoyed the free book.

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 do have a reader list. I invite readers to join my list in a number of ways. Every one of my books has a link inside so readers can subscribe if they wish to. Sometimes I offer an incentive of a free book to new subscribers and my publisher runs periodic giveaways of a Kindle e-reader or a gift card to subscribers. I’ve tried using facebook advertising to build a mail list but found that to be less effective than I had hoped. The reader list I have also gives me great support in the shape of beta readers and early reviewers.

Living in Ireland creates a unique selling and marketing situation. Where is your biggest audience? Does marketing online help in this situation?

My biggest audience is in the US, although I have readers across the planet. It really doesn’t matter where an author is based in this online world. Although I’m actually English, my novels are all set in Ireland and this can be a double-edged sword. If readers prefer a novel set closer to home then they might not want to make the journey across the ocean to this temperate green isle. However, Ireland has a very special charm and I make every effort to distil that essence into the settings, characters and language of my writing.

Author's Book List
Zombies v. Ninjas 3: Exodus
The ninjas have escaped from the undead army, but at a heavy cost. Mount Leinster has become a killing ground; thousands lie shattered in the foothills.

John Baptist and de Nazarene will march again to eradicate the humans. It is time to leave. All that the ninjas knew and loved is destroyed.

Is there a safe haven on this Earth?

Is this the end for the human race?

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Zombies v. Ninjas 2: Domination
Death is sweeping the land, sinking its poison teeth into the flesh of the living.

Female undead are bearing young, a new clone species that will threaten humanity.

A mystical leader is breeding a hybrid army of mutant clones and undead.

The ninjas must cleanse the land of abomination, but they are too few.

Will good triumph over evil?

Will the human race survive?

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Zombies v. Ninjas: Origin
The dead are coming alive on an island in the North Atlantic Ocean. A bullet isn’t going to stop them. They feel no pain.

Flesh-eating walkers have been taking sheep and cattle from the fields. A minor inconvenience until someone, or something, starts to organize them.

A force of pure evil, building an army of undead offspring, planning the end of mankind.

Only the ninjas are suitably skilled to identify the undead, understand them and cut off their heads. So few against so many.

Will the human race survive?

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Dodge - The Ger Mayes Crime Novels Book 2
His choices. Their lives.

Released from maximum security prison, Gerard Mayes sits on a Dublin park bench, a blonde woman's fragrant head in a bag at his feet. He should have got the hell out of Dodge when D.I. Andy McAuliffe told him to. How has it come to this? And whose head is in the bag?

Order the Book From:

Peril - A Ger Mayes Crime Novel
A moment of madness. His choices. Their lives.

Ger Mayes doesn't stand out from the crowd and life is passing him by. He thinks the world owes him a living but is held back by his own minor daily misdemeanors. That is until he kills a mugger and is blackmailed by a vicious Romanian crime gang. Ger keeps the secret from his wife, Jo, but bares all to her best friend, his mistress Renée. He also trusts his pal, high-wheeling drug dealer Tom, but gets dragged out of his depth into a world of darker deception. In a deadly struggle to cast off the gang's net, Ger becomes more entangled. Can he find a way out and save those he loves?

Contemporary crime fiction set in Ireland, PERIL is the picaresque story of an anti-hero. Men want to be him, women want to redeem him. Ger's story is fiction, but his origins are real - everyday folk living and working in a Dublin city center wracked with organized begging, drugs and violent crime. It's not all leprechauns and shillelaghs in Ireland.

PERIL is the first of the Ger Mayes crime fiction series.

Order the Book From:

Koobi Fora - The Crucible Part 1
Thomas Blackwood is a shadow, working for a covert organization that dispenses justice on a grand scale. Twisted by personal tragedy, he has no hesitation wiping out his nominated targets.

A collusion of terrifying proportions, with echoes of Clancy and le Carré, Koobi Fora will change forever your view of First World intervention in Africa, the cradle of human life.

Order the Book From:

The Baptist - A Psychological Thriller
The teenage John Baptist murdered his brother in a bathtub. Condemned to a secure mental institution, he met Mary and they bonded. But young and crazy love rarely endures. Electrotherapy wiped John's memory and he was cured.

Twenty years later, John has become a respectable, slightly overweight and balding pillar of society, complete with a wife and young family. Then he starts to remember....

Told from a serial killer's viewpoint and combining elements of Criminal Minds and Dexter, Barnes' The Baptist is a deceptive view of normality through the lens of a man obsessed by religious mania and a woman driven insane by lust.

Order the Book From:

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
Top Shelf Author Advice
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

No comments:

Post a Comment