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Monday, 2 May 2011


UPDATE - Since this interview took place it has emerged that John Locke paid for positive reviews of his books on Amazon. He decided against putting this information in his HOW TO eBook and so some of the answers in this interview should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Author, John Locke seems to have come out of nowhere - from obscurity to bestsellerdom in an instant - "My background is niche marketing, where I built a successful business selling specialty insurance, and then another one, investing in specialty real estate. So the first time I saw the business model for selling eBooks on Kindle, my eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas. Why? Because Kindle doesn’t just level the playing field for self-published authors, it actually slants it in our favour."

Wanting to know more about the writer the Archive pinned him down for a brief question/answer session.

"Specifically, I saw that a self-published book could be offered on Kindle for 99 cents, and still turn a 35 cent profit. I was stunned! I walked around in a daze for, well, days, trying to explain to people what that meant. No one seemed impressed. To me it was like receiving the keys to the kingdom, and I immediately set a goal to become the world’s greatest 99-cent author." JOHN LOCKE

TA:Every 7 seconds, 24 hours a day, a John Locke novel is downloaded somewhere in the world – How does a new writer get noticed amongst all the other eBooks out there?

JL: For me it was a full year of trying everything, and building a loyal support team one email at a time. I used social media to build a network of friends, and they spread the word, and my blogs attracted large numbers of readers, who also spread the word. It was grassroots all the way.

TA. I loved your western, Follow the Stone. Why did you suddenly switch to the western genre after the success of your Donovan Creed novels?

JL: I didn’t switch to the western genre, I added it. The Donovan Creed audience is deeper than it is wide. People either love my books or hate them, so once I had as many fans as I could find on my own, I had to come up with a new method of gaining fans. Western readers usually don’t look for the types of books I write, but I felt if they like my westerns, they might give my Creed books a try. I also expect a number of Creed fans to try my westerns. Writing the different genres is like a palate cleanser for my brain, and allows me to come back to either series with a fresh, energized outlook.

TA. I understand you’re close to finishing a follow-up, so can we expect more westerns?

JL: Absolutely! I love writing westerns. I’m writing not just a western series, but a western serial! The story of Emmett and Gentry that began in Follow the Stone will continue from book to book, in sequence. The new book is titled, Don’t Poke the Bear! and it’s a hoot! It should be out before mid-May.

TA: Self-publishing, which you’ve scored a remarkable success with has lost the stigma of old, but from the retailers’ point of view how can we be sure we are going to get a professional product?

JL I pay a professional editor to edit my books. Still, even with books published by traditional publishers, mistakes can occur. When a reader contacts my website to report an error or formatting issue, my publisher gives me instant service, correcting the problem within hours, in most cases.

TA. Self-publicity must be paramount in self-publishing. Any tips?

JL: I used Twitter to build a friendship circle, and attracted others to my personal blog site to expose them to my style of writing. I have also done a number of high-profile guest blogs.

TA. Tell us a little about Donovan Creed? Who is he?

JL:Donovan Creed is a former CIA hit man who kills suspected terrorists for the government, and performs free lance hits for the mob. He’s a smart-aleck tough guy with a heart of bronze. Creed is not a typical hero, who often says and does the wrong thing, has a penchant for call girls, and is almost completely clueless about women. But he has an endearing way about him. He’s like the oversized dog you adopt from the pound against your better judgment that drives you crazy and constantly misbehaves. But just when you’re about to take him back, he saves your life, or surprises you by doing something so unexpected or endearing, he wins you over. So that’s Donovan Creed. He’s the kind of guy women WANT to love and the kind of guy men want to BE.

TA Your books have scores of good reviews on Amazon – you can’t get a following like this without first writing a good book? Any tips for new writers?

JL:Write the types of books you like to read. Build your books around memorable scenes. Write your dialogue the way people actually talk, instead of the way they’re supposed to talk. I always give authors the same advice: don't take yourself too seriously. Write the types of books you like to read. I offer my readers a fun, breezy read. If I can give them some chuckles and hold their interest for a few hours, I feel I've earned my 99 cents. I know I'm on the right track if I laugh out loud when I'm writing a scene. And if I don't laugh out loud several times while writing a book, I don't publish it.



Davieboy said...

Thanks to your recommendation I'm now 90% (you can tell it's a Kindle book!) through Follow the Stone.
A great read, I'm now firmly invested in these characters and look forward to the follow-ups. Will embark on the Donovan Creed novels next, just as John Locke ordains!

old guy rambling said...

I am going to spend my hard earned 99 cents on a John Locke and see if I can add him to my reading list. Caught me when he said he liked a few good laughs in each book. Nice Post

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

John's western, Follow the Stone is a great read and if you guys fancy another great Kindle western might I suggest Chap's O'Keefe's Misfit Lil Cheats the Hangrope.