Friday, January 26, 2018

Michael P. King - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Michael P. King. He is the critically acclaimed author of The Travelers series. Michael is a Crime fiction writer.

Author: Michael P. King

Author Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Crime

Website: Michael P. King
Twitter: @mpking3312
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
How many times have you heard or read a news report that made you think, "You just can't make this stuff up. What could they possibly have been thinking?" People often involve themselves in a chain of events that leads to unforeseen consequences simply because they want to take what they think is the easy way out or what they think is a short cut to wealth or fame. I'm fascinated by this tendency, and it's the jumping off place for my fiction.

I’m a Kirkus Reviews critically acclaimed crime fiction author. I’m currently working on a series of noir crime thrillers featuring a husband and wife team of con artists, the Travelers, who specialize in stealing from other criminals. The Traveling Man, The Computer Heist, and The Blackmail Photos are the first three novels of the series.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your novella: The Double Cross. What do you have on the drawing board next? Will it be another Travelers series book? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

James, thanks for the interview. I really appreciate it. The next book, The Kidnap Victim. The Travelers: Book Five, will be released this spring. I hope before May.

Following the events of The Freeport Robbery, the Travelers are each working on their own. The Traveling Man and a new partner have their eyes on a safe deposit box full of drug money when the new partner’s husband unexpectantly shows up. Meanwhile, the Traveling Man’s wife, who’s busy charming the daughter of her new boyfriend, is spotted by an old mark they previously swindled. What could possibly go wrong?

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?

Social media—Twitter, Facebook, whatever—does not sell books unless you advertise. That being said, social media does build your brand and make you more discoverable. I started on Twitter right after I joined Rave Reviews Book Club, so I had an instant group of twitter users to connect with. That helped a lot starting out. The longer I’ve been on Twitter, the more selective I’ve become about who I’ll follow or follow back. Now I only follow back folks who have an interest in mystery/suspense/thriller books because my Twitter brand is about sharing info about those kinds of books, sharing info about Rave Reviews Book Club, and sharing info about art, movies, or the environment.

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?

Since my books are in a series, I made decisions about the overall format early on—police tapes across the middle, large central image related to the book title, background image related to the genre. I usually spend some time thinking through what the key image and some background images could be, but Paramita Bhattacharjee at then creates specific versions of my ideas and we move forward from there. She’s the cover designer, so she’s the color and design element expert. I think you’ve just got to find a cover designer you trust, communicate your specific ideas, and let them work their magic. Then you can tweak the result. Check out to see some excellent cover designs.

You have written a novella called The Double Cross. Can you tell us if it has had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s 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?

It’s too early to tell how The Double Cross will impact the sale of my novels. My original idea was to write a prequel of how the Travelers met because readers were curious and I thought it would make a good free book in exchange for joining my New Releases email list. Because The Double Cross is focused more specifically on the relationship of the two characters who will become the Travelers, it seemed naturally to end up at novella length. But it’s not short story length—it’s 116 pages in paperback, so it’s a satisfying, if quicker, read, that involves a complex heist.

I like the idea of bundling a series of novels. You have put together a set of a couple of your Travelers books. What was the impact on your other sales? What was your main objective in bundling your novels?

The Travelers Series Books 2 & 3: The Computer Heist and The Blackmail Photos have only been available for a short time, so I’m not sure how it will impact my other sales. Readers want choices. If a reader knows, while they are reading The Traveling Man (The Travelers Book 1) that they want to read more of the series, the bundle is an opportunity to save 30%. Or they can buy the books one at a time, and judge book by book if they caret to continue. I want readers to have the best experience possible and providing choices—eBook bundles and paperbacks—is just part of that.

What is your primary genre? What has been your best marketing approach to this group?

Right now, I only write dark crime thrillers and I’m continuing to work on the Travelers Series. At the macro level, I’m in KDP Select, so I only sell eBooks on Amazon, except for The Double Cross, which, because I give it away for a New Releases email list sign up, can’t be in KDP Select. I’m trying to find out if marketing to Kindle Unlimited subscribers is the best way to currently increase my reader numbers and overall visibility while I work on building up my email list. At the micro level, I’ve had the most success running limited time discount or free book promotions. I’ve also dabbled with Amazon Marketing Ads and Facebook Ads. So I’m working on various approaches, and I keep my eye open for any approaches that seem to be working for others. My overall goal is to maximize the number of new readers I reach, increase the number of reviews of my books, and grow my email list. Marketing best practices are a moving target, so the process takes more time than I’d like it to.

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 added members to my New Releases email list, gotten new book reviews, generated interest in my series, and gained readers. My main goal in running free book promotions is to give readers the opportunity to find out if they like my books, and to thus increase my visibility overall. Running free book promotions and making, instead of losing, money is complicated. Lots of folks blog about how to do it. David Gaughran, on, offers a lot of specific insight into the process.

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 write a simple outline that I can adjust as I go along, and I have a setting page where I keep track of places, climate, etc., and a character page where I keep track of characters’ names and their descriptions. That way, when I’m drafting, I can concentrate on the action, and I can refer back to the outlines, settings, or characters of previous books if I need to.

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?

My method for getting reviews has changed over time. When I first started out, I spent a lot of time trying to get the first ten reviews. I emailed review sites and top reviewers, begged on my blog—you get the picture. I also got a professional review from Kirkus Reviews to use as ad copy and as proof of quality. Now I just get the Kirkus review, launch the book, and email my New Releases list (It’s a small list, but some folks drop a review every time, which is a big help). After that, whenever I run a promotion I get some new reviews. I also belong to Rave Reviews Book Club, where I read and write reviews of other writer’s books and other writers write reviews of my books. This isn’t tit for tat or exchanging reviews with individuals, so it’s an honest process, but it does produce results. Bottom line, getting reviews is still a slow process for me, but it goes quicker than it did originally.

Author's Book List
The Double Cross - The Travelers Book 0
A con artist betrayed by his partners. A plot for revenge. Can he and his new partner outwit his old crew… and escape with the cash and their lives? In 1989, where it all begins…

Paul Kendal, 26 years old, is a con artist in a robbery crew. When he has all the information necessary to disarm their targets’ alarm systems and empty their safes, his partners go to work.

Originally, it seemed like a sweet plan, but as he begins to have doubts, his partners double-cross him. Now he wants payback. For that he needs a new partner.

Carol, 17 years old, uses her movie-star good looks to entice victims for her boyfriend to mug. But when her boyfriend lands in jail, Paul makes her an offer she can’t refuse…

The Double Cross is a novella-length dark crime thriller that tells the story of how the Travelers met. If you like fast moving action, unpredictable plot twists, and criminal chicanery, you’ll love this prequel to Michael P. King’s Travelers series.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Freeport Robbery - The Travelers Book 4
Treachery. Conspiracy. Murder. The Travelers, using the names Ron and Nicole Carter, break into a freeport vault to recover a stolen jewelry casket for return to a museum. Easy money. But after they’re ambushed during the break-in, they must recover the casket if they’re going to stay out of prison. And now a vicious gang is hot on their trail . . .

The Freeport Robbery is a dark crime thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you like nonstop action, exciting plot twists, and criminal machinations, you’ll love the fourth installment of Michael P. King’s Travelers series.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Blackmail Photos - The Travelers Book 3
Blackmail. Deceit. Revenge. The Travelers, going by the names George and Roslyn Harrison, entrap a congressional candidate with photos of his extramarital affair. But just as George is hatching a ploy to increase their ill-gotten gains, the candidate’s wife uncovers the plot. With their scheme careening sideways and the sheriff closing in, has this golden opportunity turned into a horrible misstep?

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Computer Heist - The Travelers Book 2
Theft. Deception. Murder. The Travelers, husband and wife con artists using the aliases Joe and Tess Campbell, agree to steal a newly developed data-mining program. This should be a simple, lucrative job. Instead, they discover that they’ve been thrown into a poorly-planned scam that turns into a maze of duplicity and betrayal. Nothing is as it seems, and the Travelers must scramble if they are to stay ahead of both the criminals and the police.

The Computer Heist is a dark crime thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end. If you like fast-paced action, intricate plot twists, and criminal mischief, then you’ll love the second installment of Michael P. King’s Travelers series.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Traveling Man - The Travelers Book 1
A con artist couple. A botched scheme. Their latest double-cross could cost them their marriage… and their lives…

Even in the company of backstabbing crooks, Tom and Patty Brown can always count on each other. The husband and wife duo have built a life for themselves conning criminals and getting away scot-free. When their latest scheme to sell contaminated land to a gangster goes south, Patty worries that Tom might be losing his nerve…

After Tom senses a double-cross, he suppresses the urge to run. After all, he’d rather stand with his wife than leave himself open to the impressive list of enemies they’ve collected over the years…

As Tom and Patty fight to keep one step ahead of the jilted gangster, they narrow down their lists of suspects. By hook or by crook, they’ll make sure whoever ratted them out never crosses them again…

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

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.

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