Kelley Harrell Tells All!

I have a very special interview to share with you all. Ms Kelley Harrell asked me to interview her for Novel Ideas. How could I refuse such a great request from a writer who has so much to say? I tried to get the real Ms Harrell down on paper, or blog paper anyway, for you to read about. Her book “Gift of the Dreamtime” is a really great read and I think after this interview, you will want to check it out!

Q) Welcome to Novel Ideas, Kelly! Let me start by asking you to tell me what drives you as a writer?

A) The burning cells in my head drive me to write. I can never write enough to soothe them, though the only solution seems to be to keep writing. They quiet every now and then, and it’s a nice reprieve, albeit a little boring. Then they sneak back up, taunting scenes and characters so flawed I have to plot them out of my head.

Q) Do you feel that a good story is more important than a good writing style?

A) No. I confess, I will read a topic I’m not interested in if it’s well-written over a sloppy guilty pleasure, any day. I cringe over a lot of what sells well, just because it’s cornered a market or hits on particular buzz topics. I really have such limited time to read that I can’t shove myself through something that’s not a joy to read. Those rare times that a book both conveys a great story and is well-written–they are Nirvana.

Q) How do you approach your writing? Late nights slaving over a laptop? Long days with the iPad? How do you like to work?

A) I  used to write every spare minute, often to the detriment of other things that needed to be done–little things like eating, laundry, sleep, interpersonal communication. Now that I have small children, I’ve learned thatancient maternal skill of compressing and expanding time. I can squeeze hours of productivity from a few minutes and still wonder where the day went. I set aside time daily to write, and even though it’s hard to stop on time, I honor my boundaries. As a result, I write cleaner and more efficiently, yet with even less rest…

Q) How would you personally describe your book “Gift of the Dreamtime?”

A) My memoir is about a period of my life during which I’d exhausted all the conventional healing approaches for PTSD and depression. I’d felt for well over a decade, at that point, that soul healing was needed, though such a novelty was hard to come by in rural North Carolina. I did everything I could on my own, along that line. When finally I did engage such a healer, my life changed dramatically. Not only did I feel relief for the first time in my life, I felt a responsibility to carry that healing forward to others.

Q) Do you think your book is unique? What makes you think so?

A) “Gift of the Dreamtime” is unique in that it takes place entirely on the other side of the veil–the spirit world destinations shamans travel to in order to bring back healing. No other book has accomplished that, and I’m extremely proud of that fact. That odd travel gives the book a fantasy-like quality, though the reality of what’s happening in it is quite tangible, deeply accessible by readers.

Q) I have learnt that different things excite different writers. What excites you as an author?

A) What doesn’t? I guess it’s exactly that. I am so inspired by the teasing plots in my head that I have to cull out which ones really want to play. Which ones stand the test of time (and synapses), and actually evolve as they work their way into words. Some don’t. They’re just indulgences, like personal TV shows–brief dalliances, pretty, saucy, but ultimately distracting fluff. The plots that bare themselves and refuse to leave until I can formulate them into peace–that excites me. That’s a kind of math I can actually do.

Q) Let me ask you something many interviewers wouldn’t care to ask. So, are sales or fanmail more important to you?

A) I’ll take both any given day, though what I remember most are the letters from readers. “Gift of the Dreamtime” is wide-open intimate, personal exposure, yet it demands the same of the reader. I feel very honored that people trust me enough to take the time to write, tell me their stories, and to share how the book moved them to a new place in their own healing.

Q) How was “Gift of the Dreamtime” received by readers?

A) It’s been wonderfully received, and that thrills me beyond words<—–rare. As a writer with an ego, I’m just over the moon that the book has reached the audience I intended it to, and as a modern shaman, I’m pleased that it is recognized as a contemporary healing story, inspiring others to tell their own.

Get your copy of “Gift of the Dreamtime” today!

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My PR Gets Interviewed! Nick Wale? “How Did You Make Me A Bestseller?”

 

 

Roberts HIT

Nick Wale turned “Reprisal: The Eagle Rises” into a hit overnight.

Nick Wale is my own PR. My name is on that list to the left. He got me into the top twenty and I would like to congratulate him on that! Thanks Nick.

Interview undertaken by interviewer  Alex Laybourne and reblogged on several sites including http://www.nickwale.org

Ever hear the song “Hungry Like The Wolf”? Well, this guy is hungry for the hits. It becomes a struggle when you have written a book—a good book, no less! What do you do? You can hire some PR guy or girl who takes thousands off you and does nothing. You can pretend you wrote the book for your family. You can say that “there’s no money to be made in writing.” You can be the art writer with a chip on your shoulder.

You should meet the “Hitmaker.” He has just sailed into the top twenty on Amazon, again, with “Reprisal! The Eagle Rises.” The writer is Cliff Roberts, and the PR is Nick Wale. I caught him for an interview! What sells? Let’s get some free advice from a guy near the top of the pile.

Q) Hi, Nick, how are you taking to being the “Hitmaker”?

A) Hola! Who the hell came up with that? I thought that was an album by Burt Bacharach. I like it though. The “Hitmaker” is doing just fine… Just getting by, I guess.

Q) Modest? You are currently in the top twenty again? Is that just getting by?

A) No, Cliff Roberts is in the top twenty. Nick Wale, Hitmaker, or whatever you call him is still the dude who promotes books.

Q) Let me ask you—how do you take to all the stuff you’ve been called? You were “King of the Author Interviews,” then you were “Winner Wale,” and now you get called the “Hitmaker.”

A) I don’t really take it. It just is. I don’t let that stuff get out of proportion. If people believed half the hype in the world, we would all be driving Gremlins.

Q) So, what is a hit book?

A) A hit book sells. It sells because it has something about it. It doesn’t have to be perfectly edited, it doesn’t have to be THAT commercial. It just has to have that IT factor. It catches on. The trick for a PR is to identify WHAT will make it sell, and then exploit that. For Roberts, it’s the fact that he writes excellent stories. For Chris Keys, it was an eye for detail. Terry Irving has a unique way of writing. It’s different for everybody. All books aren’t born equal. A good PR realises that each book will have weaknesses, and people will pick on that. You just have to work hard to make sure the good stuff gets to the majority of people.

Q) What do you do that other PR services don’t do?

A) Nothing. I just do it with class, and I don’t make people take out mortgages to hire me. I don’t tell them that they will sell a million copies, either. I do what I can, and when the magic elves help me—it clicks! Don’t believe the hype when a PR agency tells you that if you spend ten thousand dollars you will have a hit. You probably won’t. A hit shouldn’t cost any more than time, patience, hard work and working with a professional who will charge you professional prices. The problem with the majority of PR services is simple—they don’t get hired that much—so the person who DOES hire them has to pay them a lot of money to make up for it.

Q) How often are you hired?

A) All the time! Results, a good eye for clients, a good list of authors, strong candidates for hit novels keep me in that magic thing called work. A good reputation helps. I think the biggest factor is that I just bring in the results—be it sales, strong interviews, opportunities, chart placings—whatever. I just bring them in.

Q) What should people look for in a PR?

A) Someone new, someone who doesn’t give you a spiel about how rich and successful they are. I was told by a great friend of mine, Jacob Singer, who is a top stock market analyst, “If you are told by someone that they have the tips to make you a million dollars—ask yourself—why aren’t they using them themselves?” That has always stuck with me. If someone is telling you how successful they are, question it. Look for evidence. I always try to tell my clients that anyone promising a number one tomorrow is lying through their teeth. Number ones take time.

Q) You are a conservative guy by nature, aren’t you?

A) Totally. I never rush into anything because that’s a good way to end up broke. I don’t rush, I don’t take people’s word for anything. I look at what they have done. I look at what they have achieved and where they are headed. I try to follow the example of a writer and businessman named Tom Blubaugh. Tom is a genius, but he never rushes into anything. He makes good decisions, and he makes them after giving them a lot of thought. I try to do the same. I ask myself, “Is this good for my business?” “Is this good for me?” and most importantly “Do I need this stress?”

Q) Did you get coached in the art of business?

A) No, not really. I just copied off successful people I know. I tried to see what worked for them. I worked for a writer called Mike Trahan, he was another guy who never rushed into anything. You had to explain things through and through. No funny business. Guess what? I took that to heart, and now I ask more questions than my clients. You can’t leave anything to chance.

Q) So, I guess you made mistakes, too?

A) Sure! I have passed up some great manuscripts. I have lost business through making mistakes. I have screwed up interviews. The important thing is that I got back up and tried again and again. I learnt from my mistakes, and that is what’s important. If something doesn’t work with your promotion—give it another shot! Try something else! Do anything, but don’t sit on your fanny wondering where it all went!

Q) How should people begin their promotional efforts?

A) Look at a budget. Look at what you can afford, and then look at what will sell your book best. Will it be a Facebook ad that will get you a new audience? Will you spend advertising money on your Facebook page? Will you buy an auto-tweeting client? Will you hire a PR? What will your budget allow you to do? Then look at where the market is… Are thrillers selling? Are memoirs? What is number one on Amazon? What does your book has that makes it stand out? Who are you? Do you havepersonality? What are your past experiences? Were you in the Service? You need to look at every angle. I will explain why.

The reason you need to look at every angle is simple. You need to know what groups you can join, military writers groups—for example. If you join one of these groups to promote your book—you will be more likely to be accepted if you have a military-themed book or background. You need to look at who you are and what you have to offer.

Q) What would you do with Joe Bloggs aged twenty-six with no job, a loan to pay for your services and a book about skateboarding?

A) I would get Joe on the youth groups, skateboarding groups. I would have him on webinars talking about skateboarding. He would be promoting his book the old fashioned way—with personality to an audience that wants to hear about his work. Not just spammed links all over the Internet. Joe would also be running a sample book; he would have professional interviews and double interviews with relevant people. Joe would be busy—too busy to remember that he has no job.

Q) Do you really think “spamming” is a bad idea?

A) Yes. It’s a bad idea all around because it ruins your reputation. You only get one reputation—bestselling writer or spammer? Your choice.

Q) How can you account for the success of “Reprisal! The Eagle Rises”?

A) I can’t. The readers can. Cliff Roberts and I have no idea why it took—we just did the right things. We promoted it the old fashioned wayand now it’s roaming around the top echelon of Amazon. Why did it hit? Where to flies go in winter? What happened to perms? Nobody knows, and frankly, nobody cares. You just have to do the right things to make the hits happen. Seriously, analyse yourself, your book and look where it will sell. Get yourself professional interviews, professional representation and exploit your books strengths. That’s how the magic happens. It worked for Lloyd Tackitt. I helped move 2900 of his books in one month. It happened for J.W. Northrup when his short stories went wild with sales. It happened for Cliff Roberts when he broke the top twenty on Amazon. It happened for Carol Bond. It can happen for you.

Q) Last question—where can people contact you?

A) Get to me via email at Nicholas.Wale (@) hotmail.co.uk or you can write to me at Nick (@) nickwale.org. You can also find me at my website www.nickwale.org . It will be a lot of fun meeting you!

With No Regrets: Lloyd Tackitt Speaks

Lloyd Tackitt has a way about him. Everytime you talk to him, he has sold more and more books. You have to keep careful track of where his sales are. Multi-bestseller? Multi-MULTI-bestseller? I caught Lloyd for a few moments to reflect on the self-publishing business. It’s a brand new world– a creative hot spot where anything can happen. Guys like myself believe that there are no rules with this brand new landscape we call self-publishing. Lloyd agrees, and look what happened to him! The “Distant Eden” series has made him one of the best known self-published authors around with sales that would make a traditionally published company jealous. Let’s go pump him for information.

Q) I am told by many writers that you have to be talented to write worth a damn. Do you believe you have to have “talent” to be a writer? 

A)  Some talent I think might be required.  But there is a lot of craft to writing that can be learned.  The talent part is probably mostly in believing that you can create a good story, one that will keep the pages turning.  If you believe that, then I think you may have enough talent.  The craft part is like learning any skill–study and practice, study more and practice more.  Read a lot, a whole lot.  You learn from every book you read.  I believe a lot more people can write than are writing.  Hopefully they’ll give it a try. We all need more books to read.

Q) If you could have either high sales or be highly respected—which would you pick? 

A) That’s a hard question, hits me right in the ego.  Sales are a sign of respect, maybe?  The biggest thrill is when I get emails from readers that tell me they have recommended my book to someone else.  That’s as good as it can get right there.  If they liked it enough to encourage someone else to read it, all I can say is Wow!  That’s ultra cool, and it increases sales, too.  I love getting emails from readers and respond to all of them as soon as I can.

Q) You are a keen fisherman, you have an active life. Why writing? Is that just another addiction you have to feed? 

A) It must be, I keep doing itand it feels great when I’m on a roll.  Funny thing about writing…you know how when you’re reading you are transported into the story?  The same thing happens when I write; I get transported right into the story in the same way.  All of a sudden I’m not sitting in front of a computer tapping on a keyboard– I’m walking through the forest, hearing the sounds of birds and squirrels and smelling the pine scent. I hear the crunching of leaves with every step I take, feel a twig snap under my foot.  I’m there in a way that is as real as it can be.  I’m not aware that I’m typing. I’m setting a trap or stalking a deer, or sitting at a scarred old kitchen table deep in conversation with a cup of steaming coffee in front of me.  I can smell that coffee, raise the cup and take a sip, feel the heat and savor the taste.  I see my companion’s face, a face I’ve known for years.  His eyes are real and alert, there isamusement in those eyes.  I know his expressions, can tell exactly what he’s thinking as I’m talking to him.   Writing is great fun because it is a transcendental experience.  Later, when I’m rewriting and editing, it’s different. Fun in its own way though.

Q) I am told everyday that the writing world is overcrowded. Do you believe that?

A) Crowded?  Not a chance, there’s more than enough room for everyone willing to take a chance on failing in a very public way.  We need more writers, far more writers – who knows how many great books are bottled up in people’s minds right now – books I want to read.  There are literally billions of readers around the world so even if one in every ten people wrote a book there’s not just room but a welcome for them.

Q) You have built a successful career from self-publishing. What are your true feelings about the self pubbing trend? Do you believe, as I do, that is it is a new era,new idea and a whole new landscape for people to be creative with?

A) I do. There are so many people that have been liberated by self-publishing it’s incredible.  This is an awesome era to be in where you can write and get published without having to kow-tow at the gates of the traditional publishing houses.  My books would probably never have been published by the traditional method–they cross genres and the bookstores would have a hard time pigeon-holing them into one category–so the traditionals likely wouldn’t have been interested.  They are driven by a very tight and immutable marketing plan, and they don’t take chances.

 Q) Do those, big, hard-to-publish-with, giant publishing houses really know what will hit?

A) In some ways, yes.  They have a time-tested method of selecting and marketing books.  But they are limited by that system, they miss great books every day because the books don’t fit their formula.  Imagine if other artists were constrained that way, how many masterpieces would have been lost to us? Imagine if every painting had to be approved by a committee before the public could see it?  How many great works of art were out of sync with the  current culturally accepted modes?  If those works had been quashed would Dali’s works have ever seen the light of day?  The traditional publishers are going the way the slide rule manufacturers went when the first pocket calculators came out.  They are dying, struggling to survive, but dying.  And good riddance – they have already quashed millions of great books, books we’ll never get to read, and it’s our loss.

Q) It’s a trend right now to ignore the editor. Do you believe in a good editor for a good book? 

A) Absolutely, yes.  I work my manuscripts over and over and over before I send them to an editor.  And they still come back with so much red ink they look like someone was murdered on top of them.  Most of the edit suggestions I get back are very good, very sound.  Even then, with professional editing, mistakes still slip through.  Even the traditionally published books have errors in them.  I recommend to every writer to definitely get a good editor and pay them to do a professional edit.  They don’t have the blinders on that I get when I’ve written something. They see it objectively and call it like it is.

Q) How do you feel about your upcoming worldwide live interview?

A) Nervous! Seriously, I can’t wait to see what the world makes of Lloyd Tackitt.

You can find out more about Lloyd here and here!

Find Lloyd’s author page here!

Don’t forget a copy of Lloyd’s latest bestselling novel “Eden’s Warriors” today!