Welcome fellow Bloggeritas to Author Interviews with The Unapologetic Nerd! Today I'm talking with author/poet/social-media marketing guru Dane Cobain of Booktrope Publishing.
Dane originally contacted me to discuss reviewing his newest novella. After he told me a bit about where he worked and how he got published, I JUMPED at the chance to pick his brain about what publishing looks like in 2016, and what that might mean for aspiring writers!
Greetings Dane! Thanks for jumping on board! Why don't you start out by introducing yourself and giving us an idea of some of your most recent works?
Hi! My name's Dane Cobain, and I'm a British author and poet. My debut novella, a supernatural thriller called No Rest for the Wicked, was published by Booktrope's Forsaken imprint in the summer of 2015. My collection of poetry, Eyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home, is due out on March 22nd.
1. What is Booktrope, and what made you decide to be a part of it?
Booktrope is a hybrid publisher, which essentially means that it's somewhere between a traditional publisher and self-publishing. Booktrope is pioneering a community-based approach to publishing - there are over a thousand of us at the moment, from editors and proofreaders, to cover designers, marketers, and authors. I wanted to be a part of it because the community ethos appealed to me - everyone is always happy to read and promote each other's books. I know that I've read a fair few Booktrope books in my time!
2. What are your thoughts on eBooks vs. printed books, and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I've never been a fan of e-books, but I do think that they help writers to reach a whole new audience, and they also make it a lot easier for readers who prefer electronic formats. Personally, I collect books, and an electronic book collection just doesn't look as impressive as a physical collection does. When it comes to differing publishing approaches, I think that anything that forces the industry to look at different routes to market is a good thing. The writing industry is insanely competitive, and I think that different types of publishers are suited to different types of writers. The key is to know yourself as a writer, to know your potential publisher, and to know your audience, too.
3. Take us through a typical workday: what works for you? Do you use daily writing goals?
Well, I have a day job - I work in social media marketing, which, interestingly enough, involves a lot of writing. It also teaches me a lot of useful marketing skills that I can then use when promoting my own work. When I get home from work in the evenings, I usually listen to music and rotate through activities - writing, tidying, and marketing - every time a song changes. I don't have any goals, per se, but by following that routine, I'm able to max out my time as best I can, and to get quite a lot of stuff done.
4. How do you utilize social media to promote your books?
I'm basically all over the internet - I do a lot of guest blogs and guest posts, and I work with a lot of bloggers such as yourself to send them copies of my book to review. I also just generally stay busy - I write a lot, I run my own blog, and I have several different sets of social media accounts for different projects that I'm working on. That way, they're all able to support each other.
5. Describe the process of writing your first novel. What were some of your biggest challenges?
I think that for the purpose of this question, it's best to talk about Annie, which was the first novel I ever wrote and which hasn't been made available for general release. I guess that I struggled a lot with some of the basics of spelling and grammar - I thought that I was pretty hot on it at the time, but looking back at it, the writing seems stilted and occasionally it's just flat-out wrong. I've learned so much since then that it's hard to pick out any single thing that was a challenge, because it all was. To some extent, it still it!
6. What's your least favorite part of the writing process?
It's probably the layout stage, when the book is finally polished and edited and ready to go and you have to wait for it all to be formatted and to go to print before you can hold a copy of it in your hands. I'm impatient - I don't like waiting!
7. What books have had a major influence on your life, both as a person AND as a writer?
I think that I'd have to pick Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. His world-building was fantastic, and it was so believable that you felt like the story was more real than you were. It inspired me to read more, and it also inspired me to start writing.
8. Name the top 3 books currently in your To-Be-Read pile!
I have a to-be-read bookcase, and so picking the top three is a bit of a struggle. But I'm currently (finally) reading the first book in the Game of Thrones series, and it's so good that I'll probably power through the next three books, one after the other.
9. Any advice for young, aspiring writers you wish someone had told you?
Don't be afraid! When I was first starting out, I wondered how I'd ever be able to compete with all of the awesome people who were out there - turns out that nobody really knows what they're doing, and so you should just decide what you want and make it happen. If you want it enough, it'll happen.
10. And finally, are you working on any new projects at the moment?
For sure! I always have plenty of projects on the go - at the moment, these projects include a techno-thriller novel called Former.ly, a non-fiction book called Social Paranoia, a horror novella that's adapted from a screenplay I wrote called Come On Up to the House, and several other things. There's lots going on, so be sure to check back often!
Dane Cobain is an independent poet, musician and storyteller from a place you've probably never heard (High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK), with a passion for language and learning. When he's not in front of a screen writing stories and poetry, he can be found working on his book review blog (www.socialbookshelves.com). His debut novella, a supernatural thriller called No Rest for the Wicked, was released by Booktrope's Forsaken imprint in the summer of 2015.