I asked Lee to do this interview for us all, as he is a prolific successful writer, and thankfully he agreed and the information he has given us is excellent, as you will see.
In particular I found the answer to the last question, regarding any HInts and Tips Lee could give us, was superb.
Anyway, here it is, and I hope you enjoy it.
Q. What made you decide to start writing ebooks?
I was an imaginative child, as most of us were, and I figured out at early that I enjoyed putting my creations onto paper. Unfortunately, my abilities as an artist are horrible. So I started writing.
The summer I was 11, my uncle handed me a worn paperback copy of Stephen King’s The Shining. I devoured the book, as well as many other Stephen King books over the next few years. I remember coming home early from school one day and reading the last 350 pages of The Stand in one sitting. I was 12 at the time. I can’t imagine my 13 year old daughter reading those books now!
Around that time the style of stories I wrote started changing as well. I wrote some straight up gore, ala Clive Barker, as well as a more suspenseful stuff. Most of what I wrote was short fiction, but I did attempt some longer works that never really went anywhere.
I stopped writing around the age of 22. The internet was new and I saw the potential to grow a business online. So I spent that time on things like selling on eBay and learning how to build websites.
It turned out I did pretty well with the internet, but the great Google did not think my sites were fit to be a part of their holy front page. I was assaulted by algorithm update after update. I fought back, adjusting my strategy each time. This was my business and I needed to keep it afloat. Finally, Penguin was released at the end of April and it decimated me.
I had Kindle written on my whiteboard for some time, but had never pursued it. But that changed after Penguin. Like many marketer’s, I enrolled in Geoff Shaw’s Kindling training with the intention that I would write and outsource non-fiction. His training put the thought in my head that I should do otherwise.
I began researching the industry and confirmed what he had been saying.
Now, I did, and do, outsource non-fiction and certain fiction genres.
But I also rediscovered my love of writing fiction.
Q. What research do you do to check out the niche you are interested in writing about, and how do you do it?
For outsourced non-fiction I provide an outline for the writer to follow. If it is a niche that I know they are intimately familiar with, I’ll let them do the outline as long as they run it by me before they start writing.
For outsourced fiction I work closely with my writers and give them a storyline to follow. Sometimes I’ll have them create a storyline and then I’ll work with them to refine it.
For my own fiction writing I research as I go. I’ll look at maps, pictures of places, Wikipedia entries for various types of guns, historical information, etc.
Q. Do you use any writer’s software to assist you in writing these books? If so, which one do you like to use? If not, how do you write the book? I.E. do you do a synopsis first and a plan for each scene, or just go with the flow?
I use Scrivener and highly recommend it. Sometimes I just write with no idea where I’m going. Other times I create a chapter list with a bare minimum scene list. There are also times where I’ll write out notes for every single scene and export it into a word doc in synopsis format. I’ve found when I go to this much trouble, my synopsis ends up roughly 10% as long as my story.
The benefit of having an outline is that when I sit down to write, I can just write. I don’t have to be thinking about where the story is going because I’ve already determined that. Is it possible that the direction might change? Yes, but I can quickly adapt my outline and get going again.
Q. Do you do your own proofreading, formatting, covers etc. or do you contract them out?
I do a read through and a revision, and then send it off to an editor. Her name is Karen Rought and she is, quite frankly, the bomb. She not only line edits, but she provides great feedback to help me refine parts of my stories. I highly recommend her. Anyone interested in using Karen can contact here here: email@example.com
I outsourced the Noble Intentions covers to a gentleman on odesk. The rest of the covers I make myself using stock images and an image editing program.
Q. When your new book first goes live, what do you do initially to promote that book. Do you build a website? Facebook pages? Lens? Anything else?
I’m building an email list under L.T. Ryan. I send out a quick broadcast message. Sometimes I post a release note to the blog. I’ve created a page that lists the Noble Intention series, where it can be purchased, and ETAs on future episodes and stories. I’ll post about new releases it on my Jack Noble facebook page found here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jack-Noble/333773700042676. I haven’t done anything on twitter for promotion, but will when I release the compilation book. I am currently building up followers and just slowly tweeting and retweeting.
Q. What ongoing promotion do you do, to keep the momentum going for your book sales? Do you schedule free days? Do you go onto the book forums like GoodReads and chat on them about books in general? What else do you normally do? Please give as much detail as you can.
I’ve focused more on writing at this point rather than ongoing promotion. The way I see it, that will come when I have more books available for purchase. I’d like to get through Season 2 as well as a bunch of short stories before spending a lot of time pimping myself. Plus, the best promotion is a good story that leads to another good story that leads to another good story.
Q. For free days, in particular, do you wait until you have another book in the same series or Genre, to promote and add a link that book to the free book? Or do you schedule your free promotion anyway to get that initial boost? In essence, how do you plan and execute your free days?
Both and it depends on fiction vs non-fiction.
For non-fiction I like to schedule a few free days right away and see what kind of boost I can get in the category.
For fiction it makes more sense to have additional stories available. There are fewer fiction categories, which makes it tough to end up high in the popularity charts or in the top 5 after a free promo.
Q. What plans do you have going forward, that you could share with us?
I’ll continue to outsource non-fiction on specific topics utilizing writers I’ve been working with for two or more years. I try to organize the work according to their strengths and weaknesses.
I have one Genre of fiction that I’ve outsourced some short stories. I am ramping production up and intend to do so over the next few months.
I’ll continue to write Jack Noble stories. I just wrapped up the 5th Episode, which is the season finale. It should be published by August 24th. I’m revising some of the earlier episodes and then compiling all 5 parts into a 500 page book. It’s really cool to say that… 500 pages! I’ll likely price the collection at $4.99. Episode 1 is out of KDP Select at the end of August. I’ll be listing that through Smashwords and setting the price to free. Amazon will pricematch (eventually) and at that point I’ll have the perfect hook to get people into the series.
I am planning a shorter Jack Noble novel that will go into his younger days. If all goes well, that book will be released on October 1st.
I also plan to write short stories and novellas around Clarissa, Bear, Pierre and Charles. All of the characters are so very real to me now; I think I could write about them for years to come.
I expect to release start of Season 2 (Episode 6) the beginning of November. Season 2 will consist of 5 more episodes featuring Jack and the rest of my dysfunctional family of characters. My plan is to have the Season 2 compilation book available on Christmas.
I also plan to start a new short story series and will work on getting six or so complete the remaining two weeks of August. (My original intention with Noble Intentions was for it to consist of short stories, but the each episode ended up growing into 25,000 word novellas.) I have three ideas I’m batting around a couple ideas in my head and will make a decision soon. Depending on which idea I use, I’ll publish under LT Ryan or a new pen name.
Q. Last question, you will be pleased to know! What tips could you give us that will help us to achieve the level of success that you are having in this business?
Pick one area and focus on it. Kind of crazy for me to say after listing all the pots I have my hands in, right. But, if I were to do one thing and one thing only, I’d write Jack Noble stories. I’m fortunate to be in a position where I can take on the extra workload of outsourcing work, editing it and publishing.
If you choose non-fiction, then research until you know the topic inside out. Write the best book you can. Cut the fluff and truly help people. Once you are done with that, write another book.
If you write fiction, live your story world. Maybe you don’t have hours a day to hack away at a computer spewing out literary gold nuggets. But you likely have plenty of time during the day you can be thinking about your characters, thinking about upcoming scenes, little bits of dialogue, and things of that nature. Grab a cheap voice recorder and record notes for yourself. You might be able to do this with your phone.
Have faith and don’t quit. True, there are some overnight success stories. But it takes most people a certain amount of time to reach that critical mass where everything starts working in their favor.
About LT Ryan.
Lee “L.T.” Ryan lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA with his wife, three daughters (ages 18, 13, and 1), and one psychologically unbalanced but lovable dog. He enjoys writing fast paced suspense thrillers. He wishes he could write the kind of book that an indie filmmaker would snatch up. Although, if he did, he’d never admit it. When not writing, he enjoys reading, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and spending time with the ladies in his life.
Current projects include Noble Beginnings: A Jack Noble Novel, Noble Intentions: Season Two starting with Episode 6, an unnamed Mitch Tanner novel (thriller), and several short stories.
You can find our more about Lee at his Authors Website : http://LTRYAN.com
Lee also has a Facebook Page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jack-Noble/333773700042676 (Jack Noble)
It just remains now to thank Lee for the time he took to do this interview for us all, and for the full and frank answers he gave. Lee has just launched the “Jack Noble Season One” collection on Amazon.com and if you would also like to thank L.T. for his time, then why not pick up a copy of his new release. I certainly will be.
You can pick up the book on Amazon Uk HERE
And from Amazon USA HERE
I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did. I always appreciate any author who is willing to freely give his time to help the rest of us succeed. Thank you Lee.