Does writer’s block exist? And can you build a loyal readership as an independent thriller author?
These pressing questions and more today, as best selling thriller and mystery writer Dan Padavona hikes through the forest, answers reader questions, and juggles pinecones. All right, the latter is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture. It’s gonna be epic!
Jackie Marie asks: Do I suffer from writer’s block? And if so, what do I do about it?
And I want to answer this carefully. Because I don’t want to come off as being well, I’m just this super creator who doesn’t deal with the problems that other authors deal with. But the answer is no, I don’t. I don’t even believe that writer’s block exists. I think it’s a myth. I’m not the only person who feels that way. Stephen King also says that writer’s block does not exist. That’s easy for Stephen King to say, of course, because he can create 1000 Page novels in his sleep. He believes, just as I do, that writer’s block, as I mentioned in an earlier segment, is nothing but fear. Fear that you cannot get the words on the page, that you don’t know what is going to happen next in the story.
Now, Stephen King writes from the seat of his pants, which means he creates the story on the fly. If I stay organized, and I have at my disposal, every single day, a roadmap which leads me from point A to point B, I can write my required words and move about for the rest of my day. And that’s the only way I know to stay ahead of that fear. Otherwise, I think I would succumb to the same issues that other authors do. And I know that for a fact, because before I started doing story beats, and planning things ahead of time, I did.
J. P. Collins asks: As a self published author, was it difficult for me to build an audience of readers?
I’ll change that to the present tense and say that, yes, it is hard. It’s still hard. Finding new readers to bring into my series is always difficult. And I don’t think that the self publishing title makes much of a difference there. Unless you are a mega author with a humongous name, publishing houses really don’t do that much for you in terms of promotion. And I know this, because I know traditionally published authors. You’re usually expected to do your own promotion work, to attract people to your webpage, to get them onto your mailing list. So I think that this is something which probably applies to all of us as writers. It’s difficult.
I recommend that anyone author who is interested in building a readership from scratch, to investigate the different advertising platforms, such as Amazon’s AMS, Facebook ads, BookBub, ads, anything you can think of. Even Google pay per click. If you can find a way to build an audience, to get people on that mailing list, then you need to do so.
What things don’t work? I have found some excellent readers, very loyal readers through group promotions. For the most part, I have found that those types of promotions don’t work very well at all. Not unless you are working with high level authors. What you end up with is a bunch of free seekers who want your free book. And people have collected so many free books through these promotions that a lot of them don’t even read them.
My mailing list is decent. It’s not nearly where I would like it to be. But it does represent that I have established a fan base, but there’s a long way to go.
So Madison Jennifer asks: How much do the places where I grew up or visit influence the places in my books?
And the answer is a lot, and you’re kind of looking at it right now. Wolf Lake State Park is loosely based on a combination I would say of Taughannock Falls, and Robert H. Treman State Park. As far as the village of Wolf Lake goes, I would put Ithaca, maybe Auburn, and Skaneateles, New York, all three of those Finger Lakes cities high on the map for influencing the village of Wolf Lake.
I really think it’s important that you have these influences as a writer, and that when you’re writing about these locations, that you have that extra bit of motivation to want to vicariously live in those places while you’re writing. I love the Finger Lakes, and they certainly inspire my books. And I think that they will continue to in the future.
If you’re new to my name, or you have heard of me as a thriller author, but you’ve yet to check out one of my books and aren’t sure if they’re right for you, I have a 100% risk free way for you to check out my writings. What I want you to do is go to my website, DanPadavona.com. That’s DanPadavona.com. And click on Dead and Buried, my free thriller book, which is exclusively available through my website. This is the prequel to the Darkwater Cove series and you will not find it on Amazon, or anywhere else. You can download this book to your Kindle, your Nook, your favorite tablet, even to your phone. And if you’re really feeling adventurous, you can even print out the pages and read them right off your printer. This is a great way for you to check out my writings. So once again, go to my website, DanPadavona.com and click on your free copy of Dead and Buried.