Blaize Nolynne, author of the District One books, talks about her approach to writing and her 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 write to entertain myself and 9 out of 10 times to escape the world around me. I began writing when I was a young child. Back then it was a sentence a page, which then grew when I was 15 when I wrote my first Saga (over 100,000 words). I did it again for my entertainment and to escape this world. From High School I saw a brochure on ‘The Children’s Institute of Literature’ to become a children’s author. Eventually I began writing more adult genre.
Tell me a little about your books.
Firefighter Down is about Catisha Spadoni, who witnessed her father’s death when her house caught on fire when it was set by an arson. Saved by the hands that died in front of her, she had never forgotten this. She wanted answers and no one was giving them up. Here is the synopsis
Life isn’t promised. When the tones go off you never know who needs you the most or even worst, who will you set your own life down for. My father was a captain who set his life down for me in a fire. Now it is my duty to find out how that fire started and who started it. The guy that killed my father didn’t just kill him in a normal way, he him with his worst nightmare. My father wasn’t killed by a gang shooting or an accident, he was killed in the most painful way this person knew how to kill my father. He unleashed the animal on him and myself. I am not talking about an animal like a wild or domestic animal, I am talking about the elemental animal, the one known as fire. Fire is a living breathing thing that destroys and hates. By day and trade my father was a mechanic, but by blood he was a firefighter. He may not have been the president, but he was my hero. I was proud to say my hero wore bunker pants. I always wanted to catch the guy that killed my father…
Are there any authors who inspire you?
There are a LOT of authors who inspired me. Ray Bradbury was one of the ones that impacted my life the most. I had to read his book while I was going to literature college and do a report on him. I realized how all these editors wanted to change his work if they were going to publish him. He refused. He is also a pioneer and why Science-Fiction is a mainstream genre today.
How do you write? Do you make yourself write a certain number of words per day?
I have tried that. I will set a goal, but more likely I will succeed it and several times triple it. It depends on the mood I am in.
Did you try to get a conventional publisher or agent interested before you opted for self-publishing?
At first I became a self published. In the beginning I was a children’s book author under a different penname. No one grabbed any of the books I had written. I began to self-publish. I still submitted my work to publishing companies and several gave me a contract and I rejected. This past spring (2012) I finally signed a contract.
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?
I do have goals. I am very goal oriented in my books. I will set small goals and also a larger goals. My small goals would be making it on to both Amazon.com best selling list, not necessarily the top 100 and Barnes and Noble. I have achieved that and I am working to get closer to the top. My bigger goals would be a number one place and also awards for my books. My smaller goal would be reviews. I like to hear what people think about my book.
How have you marketed your books? Have you used social media (Twitter, Facebook etc)?
Yes, I have used Facebook. I am not too good with Twitter, though I try still. I end up becoming quite frustrated with a character count restriction on that. I also have Google Plus, which is where I have my blog. Those work for me!
As for other marketing I have done radio, blog interviews, and other media sources like an upcoming magazine.
Have you paid for any advertising (Facebook Ads, Google Ads etc)? And how did it go?
I tried Google Ads and I didn’t see any jump in sales. I dropped it. It may be just the fact I didn’t know what I was doing.
Have you signed up for KDP Select?
When I was self published I did this! This was an amazing source of my income!!! Yes, free promotions do help with the paid sales, but also getting the book out there and getting people talking about you and your book is also equally important. I am going to have my book turned into all ebooks through my publisher. I am quite amazed by that and I will be able to reach more people then where I am with hard copies at the moment.
Away from Amazon, have you had much luck with other outlets? Do you use Smashwords, Barnes & Noble etc?
I have Ingram, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Book Depository and it is also available through bookstores to order it.
Do you worry about Amazon gaining a monopoly in the ebook market?
I am not sure, because the Nook seems to be a good seller too. I think Amazon is bigger then Barnes and Noble at the moment, but tables could change and one of these smaller companies with ebooks could surely take that away. I would love to see a major company carry ALL the ebook compatibility on their site.
What’s next? Are you working on anything at the moment? Do you have anything new coming out in 2012?
My sequel to Firefighter Down, District One will be out in three months time. This is exciting (this will be District One Stand By: On the Bleeding Edge of Change which is part of the firefighter series). I am also currently writing book III in the series.
I love how this series is turning out. From there next year 2013 I am also writing a non-fiction about a childhood friend who was bullied and committed suicide. I am hoping that people will realize that bullying hurts people and the emotional damage.