Benjamin Andrews, author of the Rift of Askrah series, talks about how he started writing and his plans for the future.
Why do you write? Is it something you’ve always done, or always wanted to do? Or is it something that you started fairly recently?
I’ve been writing since a young age. I’ve always felt a pull toward entertainment, especially fiction. The things I’ve experienced through books have helped shape me into who I am today. The adventures I’ve taken, though fictional, have still allowed me to experience so many things. So in part, I write to pay homage to the cultivation of imagination. I write to add my own ideas into that cultivation. Just as I have been inspired by others, I hope to keep that tradition of inspiration going.
Tell me a little about your book.
Rift of Askrah is a fantasy series set in an imaginary world. This world has a vast history, long enough to be forgotten many times over. In the age the book is set in, the world has been at peace for a long time. Of note is the island of Askrah, namesake of a fearsome empire that has ruled the known world throughout the past. This island is no longer a singular land known as Askrah though. It has been divided into two very different kingdoms.
One of those kingdoms is Draven. A prosperous nation that is well respected around the world, it is the homeland of the story’s hero, Nihlen Draven. Nihlen is about to enter adulthood, and gain recognition as heir to the throne. In neighboring Rinh, a land of poor living in squalor, next to the nation of Draven, trouble is brewing. There’s a dark plan being formed, and forgotten parts of Askrah’s past are about to resurface. A young thief named Marina, who has lived a life on the streets, is enlisted in a plan to capture Nihlen, unaware of what she’s really getting involved in.
The Rift of Askrah series is a series about understanding a world that’s rapidly changing, and dealing with those changes. Nihlen wants to reclaim his kingdom, which was stolen after his kidnapping. Marina feels guilt for her role in his capture after it all goes wrong. To top it off, a world that no longer remembers magic of any sort now must deal with strange abilities, which are unique to each individual. Nihlen, Marina, and their comrades are no exception, and must unravel the hidden past of Askrah to save the world from a growing list of threats.
Are there any authors who inspire you?
Many authors have inspired me, from a variety of types of literature. To name a few: Robert Jordan, Stephen King, and Katsure Hoshino.
How do you write? Do you make yourself write a certain number of words per day?
I have a personality type where I get consumed by something for hours. I don’t write every day, and I don’t really set word count goals. When I do write, it’s usually an all day affair, so I do a lot of my work in large blocks of time. Sometimes I do it for several days, sometimes it’s only once a week. Just kind of depends on what’s going on from day to day.
Did you try to get a conventional publisher or agent interested before you opted for self-publishing?
I didn’t. It’s not that I was concerned about not being good enough or anything, but it just didn’t seem worth it to go that route. Literature is an art form, and art is subjective. Rather than spend my time sending query letters and hoping to be one of the few projects a publishing house can accept, I’d rather craft my stories. Changes in the industry have allowed authors to get out there without depending on publishing houses to back them up. I can do it myself, so I’ll take my dream in my own hands.
What goals have you set yourself? Do you want to sell a certain number of books in 2012? Is there some way you measure success, on your own terms?
My goal for 2012 is what it’s been since publishing. I just want to sell one more book. Each time I get a sale is a joyous time, and I want to feel that joy as much as possible. Each one of those sales means as much as the last to me, and I’m grateful for each and every one.
How have you marketed your book(s)? Have you used social media (Twitter, Facebook etc)? Have you paid for any advertising (Facebook Ads, Google Ads etc)? And how did it go?
I’ve tried some social marketing. It’s hard to gauge what kind of impact it has had. At my current point, most of my money goes to covers and other services for my work, so I haven’t tried any paid marketing.
Have you signed up for KDP Select? If you have, how has it gone for you? Do you think free promotions are helping with your paid sales? If you haven’t signed up, why not? Are you worried about the exclusivity clause?
My book is currently enrolled in the KDP Select program. I do have to say it’s helped me garner some sales. I have two days left of my promotion, and I learned a lot from my first attempt. I’ve done a lot more preparation this time, so I don’t feel I can comment on how effective it is until that second promotion is over.
Do you worry about Amazon gaining a monopoly in the ebook market?
No. There’s so much choice available today, I don’t see it happening. If Amazon does gain power though, other businesses only have themselves to blame. When your competition starts getting ahead, it’s up to other businesses to find a way to compete.
What’s next? Are you working on anything at the moment? Do you have anything new coming out in 2012?
I have a lot in the works. I’m currently editing book 2 in the Rift of Askrah series. I also have the first book in a futuristic/sci-fi series ready for editing. I’m developing some other projects in addition to these, though I’m not ready to release any other details.
Benjamin Andrews’ Rift of Askrah Book 1: Fracture is available now from Amazon. You can also visit his Magic Jar Publishing blog and follow him on Twitter.