David Adams, author of books such as Lacuna: Demons of the Void, talks about his approach to 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 always been writing… in my mind. I have way, way, way too many stories to tell and far too little time to tell them. I’ve been involved in Star Trek roleplay-by-emails for a few years, where basically I learned my craft, but it’s only last year that I actually started putting these thoughts to paper.
Tell me a little about your books.
I’ve always been a life-long Star Trek fan, but a lot of things about the rosey, perfect utopia of the future that it presented irked me (most notably, where are all the Chinese people?). The idea that humanity would eventually discard their nationalities and ethnicities and come together in one global unity is something that I feel is a long way away for humans. After all, we still compete about basically everything; what sports teams we like, what city we were born in, or even what suburb or district within states.
Accordingly, the Lacunaverse is different. It’s not as far in the future, for one, and it’s not a great place. The crew of the Beijing are predominantly Chinese, although there are some Iranians, one Israeli and one Australian aboard; and although they all speak English as a task-force requirement they haven’t forgotten their nationalities. There’s a scene to illustrate this during one of the briefings, where the Iranian doctor and the Israeli pilot argue about the nature of Palestine and Israel’s presence in the area. The book doesn’t take sides — they both make their arguements before Liao comes down on them and no resolution is reached on-screen — but the point is to show that the people of this time are still fractured and nationalistic, rather than being united under one banner.
Are there any authors who inspire you?
R.A. Salvatore. He’s one of the few authors where I basically read anything he’ll put out, even though he writes mostly fantasy. These days, I am David Dalglish’s minion though.
How do you write? Do you make yourself write a certain number of words per day?
I set myself a minimum of 2,000 words a day, but I don’t force myself. If I can’t write because of whatever reason, I don’t, and I refuse to feel guilty about it until a couple of days pass then I just force myself. It usually flows from there-on out.
Did you try to get a conventional publisher or agent interested before you opted for self-publishing?
No. I’ve heard the horror stories and that’s not for me. I like the fact I can tell my stories how I wish, and see the sales of my work in real time. It’s much more satisfying.
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 is to have my writing form a significant part of my income by 2013, and to make writing my living by 2014. How realistic these goals will ultimately be remains to be seen, but I believe in being cautiously optimistic. If you don’t try, you’ve already failed.
How have you marketed your work?
I’ve paid for some advertising, but most of my marketing is done through KDP Select, which is an awesome tool for new writers and new works to find an audience. It’s losing a bit of its edge now, but I still find it very useful and I highly recommend it if you’re selling exclusively on Amazon.
Have you signed up for KDP Select?
Yes, and it’s been fantastic… especially with the new KDP Dashboard, which now splits up free vs paid sales into their own columns. Tiny squeaks of joy were made when I saw ‘em.
The free promotions help vastly with my sales, if I can break the top 100 during my free day, which I sometimes can. Not always though.
The exclusivity doesn’t bother me. Amazon is the biggest market around by a wide margin… although if someone like Apple made a huge grab for the Indie market and did their equivalent of Select, pushing independant authors heavily on all their various iDevices, I would strongly consider switching once my exclusive period was up.
Away from Amazon, have you had much luck with other outlets? Do you use Smashwords, Barnes & Noble etc?
No. I did a fair bit of research before I enrolled in KDP Select and from what I could see it was the major player in the market. But… horses for courses. If I had a piece of work that didn’t need Select, for example a work where I couldn’t break the top 100 in sales because it was an obscure or niece genre, I would definitely consider Smashwords/etc.
The recent dispute between Smashwords and PayPal regarding erotica, however, has me feeling quite angry on principle. I know Smashwords don’t want the censorship and are fighting it, but I’m not sure if I can support a business that funnels so much money into PayPal while they censor perfectly legal erotica. I would have to give that decision a great deal of thought and I would be hesitant at this point to accept.
Do you worry about Amazon gaining a monopoly in the ebook market?
It’s a slight concern, but at this stage Select is working well for me and it’s good to have a central go-to point for quality literature. I do wish they would do more to promote unknown authors and unknown works though.
What’s next? Are you working on anything at the moment? Do you have anything new coming out in 2012?
I always have my eyes on the horizon. Lacuna’s success, modest though it is, has driven me to work on the sequel which is nearly complete. I also have a fantasy novel in the works, along with some silly shorter books (a humour and comedy piece), a YA paranormal romance, and a few other things. I’m loving self publishing and it’s driving me to write more.