Q&A With Author Ben Adams
Want to know what other writers think? Check out our I Am A Writer series where we ask writers to share tips, experiences, and thoughts about what matters to them.
As a self-published author, what is the most difficult aspect of marketing your book?
My debut novel, Six Months to Get a Life, was released in January. I wrote the book’s grand rom-com finale before I had even begun to consider how best to market my story. I was the typical newbie author, assuming that the book would go live, people would find it, read it, love it, review it, recommend it to friends, and even enter it for awards. Idiot. I am now much more savvy. I have built up a friendship group of lovely bloggers and re-tweeters, and invested in some excellent noise-generation. The challenge I face is still the same challenge that every author faces, though – how to get the book under the noses of those elusive new readers.
Everyone remembers their first professional review. How did you react?
During the last couple of months, I have energetically touted Six Months to Get a Life to prospective reviewers. My debut novel, which also happens to be the best book I have ever written, has received excellent reviews from eminent book bloggers and has been awarded a place on the Awesome Indies list of quality independent fiction. The Awesome Indies process involved submitting my manuscript for forensic examination by two severe-looking people in lab coats, armed with tweezers, forceps, and a microscope. Luckily, Awesome Indies loved Six Months… and reading their review, and those written by other bloggers, has brought me nothing but pride and pleasure.
In your opinion, what is the best way to react to a negative review?
There are two answers to this question – the right answer and the honest answer. The right answer is far too worthy to bother with. Personally, when I read a 3 star review of my book on Goodreads, I kicked the dog, ranted at the children, and wished all sorts of evil on the illiterate idiot responsible. I did just about stop myself from emailing the culprit, though.
Being on television or the radio to talk about your work can be nerve-wracking. Can you share one of these experiences with us? How did you overcome your fear?
Since Six Months to Get a Life was released, I have participated in a number of radio interviews. The first one was the worst. It was with a guy in the US whose broadcast was about dating. My protagonist in Six Months… has a lot of fun dating. Having read the book, the radio presenter somehow assumed that I would be some sort of dating expert. My friends found this hilarious. The interview went something like this:
“How’s your love life at the moment?”
“Mind your own business.”
“Ok, thanks for coming on my show.”
How do you prepare for interviews? Can you share a few tips?
Alright, the dating interview wasn’t quite that bad, but it did teach me four valuable lessons.
a) The interviewer will want to focus on you as much as, if not more than, on your book. So think of a few memorable anecdotes about you.
b) Think of the key things you want to get across and just say them, irrespective of the questions you are asked. That’s what all politicians do.
c) Put up your Chinese Walls. By this I mean decide what is and what isn’t off limits. I decided I would only talk in general terms about my ex, but wouldn’t divulge why we’d split up. And yes, they did ask.
d) You don’t have to do every interview you are asked to do. Say “no” if the interview won’t be heard by your book’s target audience.
Ben Adams is the author of Six Months to Get a Life, the not autobiographical at all tale of a man battling to get over his ex, be a good dad to his children, and find a new love following his divorce. Ben lives in South West London with his boys, his dog, and his constant stream of girlfriends. He dreams a lot, too.
How did you react to your first professional review?