An Interview with Alec Hutson on Self-Publishing, Fantasy, and the Book Industry

The battle has been going on for years now: traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. For fantasy and sci-fi, romance and young adult, a million different options are available to those brave enough to try.

And whether you decide to traditionally publish or self-publish, getting your book discovered is a problem. Amazon has weird algorithms. Goodreads has merciless reviewers. Bookbub promotions can be effective, but hard to attain.

But good things can happen to good books. Alec Hutson is proof. Hutson, author of the fantasy novel The Crimson Queen (December 2016), decided to self-publish after a frustrating year of trying and waiting and trying some more to get agents to read the book.

In just five months, the book has 800+ ratings on GoodReads. He’s seen spikes of 100+ book sales overnight. And he’s out-earned any advance that agents could promise him.

When my friend gave me a copy of The Crimson Queen, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s hard to find a good fantasy book. Especially in the world of self-publishing. But it was a great book. Far better than the absolutely dreadful Queen of the Tearling, which can be found recommended in New Yorker blogs and National Bestseller lists alike. It’s rated higher, too.

So how did Hutson break though? What was his journey to becoming a self-published author? I recently had an email interview with him to find out.

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Promoting Your Book with BookBub: A Case Study

My first novel, Blest, was published last year in March. It wasn’t traditionally published, but it wasn’t traditionally self-published, either. I worked with Alloy Entertainment to outline and write the book. It’s been an interesting process, because we’re also working with the Powered by Amazon team.

Powered by Amazon takes book marketing to a new level. As a marketer myself, it’s been really interesting to see how the team has promoted Blest. Especially since I’ve been studying how books are being marketed for a few years now.

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The Big Bad Discovery Problem: How Is Anyone Going to Find Your Book?

Discover books marketing

At #FutureBook16, a conference based in London, authors, agents, publishers, and others converged to discuss the future of the book. Or, really, the future of publishing.

Spoiler: the industry doesn’t think it’s that bright. In his keynote, Tim Healy Hutchinson Hachette UK said that the book market is in “secular decline.”

The entire industry is shaking, reeling, seizing up. I’ve talked about the failure of the book industry to adapt to digital marketing strategies.

One statistic that I saw passing through the Twittersphere really leapt out at me:

In online searches, 60% of all book searches are deliberate.

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Blest is now available on Amazon!

I’m happy to announce that my book, Blest, is now available on Amazon. If you’re into young adult, fantasy, or romance, I’m sure you’ll love it.

Blest is a novel about what defines us as people and whether we let the world define us or whether we get to define ourselves.

When sixteen year-old Jim Blest meets Claire Morgan for the first time, he knows that there’s something special about her. And he already knows that there’s something special – or at least very wrong – about him.

As they learn what they really are, Jim and Claire have to wrestle with their feelings for each other… just as they’re pitched headfirst into a war that’s been going on for centuries.

When everyone is telling you who to be and what you need to become, do you listen to them? Or do you work tirelessly to break free from the path that was already chosen for you and try to go somewhere else entirely?

Check it out on Amazon!

Luxury Coops, Chapter 2

Luxury Coops, Chapter 2

Anna can barely contain her disgust as she waits for her Seamless delivery. The creepy guy’s gaze lingers even after he walks back into his smelly slaughterhouse.

She tries not to imagine the daily pain and torment of the creatures behind the doors. She fantasizes that the man wakes up in a cage himself, stacked on top of other men with no respect for animal life.

This thought warms her so much that she barely feels the winter air.

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Why “Humans of New York” Proves Every Cynical Writer & Artist Wrong

Humans of New York is an experiment in digital art & journalism.A few weeks ago, a journalist met the President. The journalist was a blogger who took photographs and talked to people. He’s also the author of The New York Times bestseller, “Humans of New York.” His name is Brandon Stanton and, in late January, he managed to help raise over a million dollars for Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn, a school in one of New York City’s most impoverished neighborhoods… and helped the students and principal meet the President of the United States.

He told the story on a blog. He told the story through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. And, above all, he told the story through photographs of people talking about life.

Stanton is making a living taking photos and reporting on things. He’s not associated with any media publication. He took the tools technology has made available and used them to make a huge impact.

Stanton’s success isn’t just inspirational, it’s a powerful indictment of the cynicism permeating the art world when it comes to social media, art, and the digital world.

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3 Ways to Measure Your Book’s Online Marketing Campaign

Measuring your book's online marketing is important.When it comes to online marketing, independent authors like to think they’re ahead of the curve. Social savvy, internet savvy, and savvy in other miscellaneous ways.

But just because you made a Facebook Page and have a Twitter account doesn’t mean that they’re helping sell your eBook.

Online marketing is a mysterious mix of luck and gossip. Whenever social media is brought up – whether by indie authors or bands, or in a corporate boardroom – a reflective hush falls over the crowd. The sound of doubt.

Social media or a blog campaign can help promote your eBook. But you need to know how to measure those efforts to see what’s actually working and what’s just hype (such as paying $599 for social media services). Amazon won’t give you any kind of dashboard to see where sales are coming from, so it’s up to you.

Here are three ways to do it:

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