I am very proud to welcome, J.R. Rain, the bestselling author of the Samantha Moon and Vampire for Hire series and many more great books.
Q. I have to admit, your life as a full-time writer in the Pacific Northwest sounds pretty sweet. Does writing full-time have any unexpected draw backs, or is it as awesome as it sounds?
A. Unexpected drawbacks to living the life you’ve always dreamed about? Say it ain’t so! Honestly, I have very few, if any complaints. I’ve worked the 40-hour-a-week grind in the past, and I know what life is like out there in the real world. It’s tough as hell to get up at the crack of dawn, day after day, dealing with traffic, dealing with bosses of all types, customers of all types, and then coming home exhausted, then having to do it all over again. That’s a tough life to live. I did that for 12 years. No, I have no complaints about writing full time…and certainly none that others would want to hear about! And as far as living in the Pacific Northwest…pure heaven. What’s not to love?
Q. You’ve had a tremendous amount of success with self-publishing. What advice do you have for other writers who wish to self-publish?
A. Produce lots of content–and then be open to marketing suggestions. That’s the best of both worlds; meaning, you have lots of content to sell, and you are open to great marketing suggestions. This is an evolving marketplace–a whole new world of books. What worked three months ago, might not work now. Learn to ask questions, watch others, and come up with your own innovative techniques. Always looks for a new, fun angle to sell your books. Play with prices. Play with covers. Make sure your books read and look as professional as possible.
Q. How do you accomplish such good sales? What is your marketing philosophy?
A. Ha! That’s the million dollar question (literally). Well, just today [Aug. 18th] I released Vampire Games on all ebook platforms. Now, before I say any more, let’s look at my last sentence again. Notice that I waited until today to complete this interview. Which means that I really put my nose to the grindstone to finish Vampire Games. Which means I didn’t allow for too many distractions. Life itself is distracting enough. Control the distractions that you can, and adjust to the ones you can’t. But most important: finish your book. Also, note that I published on all platforms. That means get your book out there. Learn what platforms are available for you to publish on. Develop multiple lines of income. Have five, ten, twenty different checks coming in each month from multiple sources, so that way you never have to go back to your dreaded job again. For instance, did you know that Audible.com allows you to produce your own book on audio, to be sold in their store? No, well now you do. So go produce your book and get that extra audio income coming in! Did you know that publishing your own paperback books on Lulu not only nets you a few extra bucks each month, but those paperbacks make wonderful gifts and great prizes–especially if you sign them.
A. Sure! The paperback version of my Samantha Moon series is now traditionally published by BenBella Books. Yes, I still publish the ebooks independently, but I struck a nice deal with BenBella for them to publish the paperback only. So, yes, I like the idea of receiving additional income from bigger paperback publishers, especially a publisher who distributes to all bookstores. Remember that part I mentioned about creating multiple streams of income? So, why not have a series of books that’s also available in paperback and hardback–and in all the brick and mortar stores? For a writer in today’s world, there’s room for both: indie publishing and traditional publishers. I think, though, your question might be hinting at this: Would I give up indie book publishing to be published exclusively by traditional publishers? The answer is no. That would kill my diversity stream, my multiple lines of income. Why put all your eggs in one basket? But, yes, for the right price I would be open to publishing, say, a new series with a major publisher, although I would need a few fail safes in place. For instance, I would not work on a tight deadline. Maybe a book a year. Also, no word count minimum. I write short books, sorry. Also no non-compete clauses (those silly competing works clauses). Finally, I would want a much bigger cut of the ebooks rights. If a publisher wants to work with me on these terms, we can talk business. And, to answer your unasked question, no, I would not sell my existing series. I’m very satisfied producing Samantha Moon and Jim Knighthorse independently.
Q. Where do you see yourself a year from now? What about five years?
A. A year from now, I see myself having figured out how to finally have more down time, more relaxation. I tend to work too much. Five years from now, I hope to be doing exactly what I’m doing now: writing about 4 books a year, but finding ways to relax and enjoy life.
Q. Obviously, you’ve had a lot of success with vampires. What do you enjoy most about writing vampires?
A. That’s a good question–and one you would think I’d have a ready answer for. The truth is, I don’t see my characters as vampires or ghosts or detectives or even Elvis. I see them as people with problems, people like me and you, and people who are trying to get through their days. So, I enjoy writing about the human condition. And what better way to write about what affects us all, than through characters in extreme situations?
Q. Assuming vampires were real, would you consider dating one? Why or why not?
A. Ha! Now THAT is a question! I would have a problem dating a killer. So, I guess it would depend on where she gets her blood! Then again, I have always enjoyed dating older women…
Q. I hear you have some exciting things coming up–new additions to your Spinoza and Vampire for Hire series, and an all-new Vampire for Hire spin-off series called Brotherhood of the Blade. What can you tell us about your latest additions and WHEN can we get our hands on them? Also, what can Vampire for Hire fans expect from the new Brotherhood of the Blade series?
A. Well, as you might know with me, I tend to have a lot of books and series going on. I’m sort of the James Patterson of the ebook world! Yes, as mentioned above, a brand-new Vampire for Hire novel just came out, called Vampire Games. Samantha Moon is hired to look into the death of a boxer…and uncovers something that surprised even me. Spinoza has a new novella coming out next month, called The Vampire in the Iron Mask. I’m only about one quarter into this book, but I expect to have it done in a few weeks. The Spinoza novellas are my down-time books. Meaning, I write these after writing a bigger book in one of my major series. Spinozas are short and fun, although often hard-hitting. Yes, the Brotherhood of the Blade should be a lot of fun. The first book is called Burning, and it features Rand the vampire hunter from Moon Dance, and we’ll follow him from the moment Samantha drops him off on the Carnival Cruise ship (a scene from Moon Dance), as he continues tracking down his family’s killers. The series promises a lot of action and romance.
Thank you for the wonderful info Mr. Rain! Learn more about him and his books here: www.jrrain.com
(all available on Kindle and Nook)