I have a wonderful guest with me today. John Knoerle, author of The Proxy Assassin, is going to tell you what it's like to self-publish and give you a few tips to help you if you decide to self-publish your book. John began his creative endeavors in the early 70s as a member of the DeLuxe Radio Theatre, a comedy troupe in Santa Barbara. He then moved to LA and did stand-up comedy, opening for the likes of Jay Leno and Robin Williams.
Knoerle wrote the screenplay Quiet Fire, which starred Karen Black, and the stage play The He-Man Woman Hater’s Club, an LA Time’s Critic’s Choice. He also worked as a staff writer for Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.
Knoerle moved to Chicago in 1996 with his wife Judie. His first novel, “Crystal Meth Cowboys,” was optioned by Fox TV. His second novel, “The Violin Player,” won the Mayhaven Award for Fiction.
John Knoerle’s novel, A Pure Double Cross, was the first volume of a late 40s spy trilogy featuring former OSS agent Hal Schroeder. The second volume, A Despicable Profession, was published in 2010. Knoerle’s latest book, The Proxy Assassin, Book Three of the American Spy Trilogy, has just been released.
Visit his website at www.johnknoerle.com.
Thank you for this interview, John. You self-published your latest book, The Proxy Assassin, Book Three of the American Spy Trilogy. Would you please tell us why you chose the self-publishing route?
I self-published the first two volumes, so self-publishing was a given.
Take us through the process. You had an idea for your book, you wrote it, then you decided to find a publisher. What were your experiences with that? Or did you decide to self-publish without looking any further?
I didn’t look any further. I’d been published by a small house previously but it didn’t work out. They produced a beautiful hardcover book then never promoted it.
And the big houses are in lockdown mode at this point. My agent told me point blank, “It’s impossible for an unknown author to get published in New York now.”
What different online stores carry your book?
The usual suspects. Plus you can buy books directly from me at www.johnknoerle.com
Do you think that having your book self-published makes any difference to the media? Are they open to interviewing self-published authors or reviewing their books?
They’re certainly more open than they used to be back in the bad-old-days of the ‘vanity press.’ That was when the media assumed that, unless your book bore the imprint of a major publisher, you were a hack or a poseur.
The world of publishing isn’t so rigidly hierarchical any longer. Thank goodness.
Authors who go the traditional route have an edge over self-published authors in regards to distribution to bookstores. How did you handle that as a self-published author?
Sad to say I have found that marketing to bookstores is more trouble than it is worth.
On the other hand, self-published authors have the edge over traditional books in the regards that the author has all the control. I’d like to begin with your cover. Did you make it or did you have someone else design it? If you had someone else, can you tell us who it is?
Sure. Her name is Katherine Bennett and she is a stone cold pro who works as a graphic designer for a catalogue company in Chicagoland. She did all three of the covers of my spy trilogy.
Did you get someone to format it for you or did you do that?
I have learned how to do that myself, though my fellow author/publisher Stephen Smoke lent a very capable hand.
What was the hardest challenge for you to self-publish your book?
As an old dog I had to learn new tricks involving Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and the various mangy offspring of the Big Three.
What steps are you taking to promote it?
We’re promoting The Proxy Assassin with ads on FB, Goodreads, Red Room and doing multiple targeted giveaways on literary websites like Librarything.
What has been the best marketing tool or method you have used that has resulted in the most sales?
We had a bigass book launch party with all our friends and neighbors here in Chicago, gave out tons of personally autographed copies and sent our minions off to spread the word via Amazon reviews and social media.
We also produced a trailer – a black and white video of a scene from the novel, which is set in 1948. It has received over 40,000 hits since we posted it on Youtube.
Do you have any advice you’d like to share with other self-published authors?
Yes, I do.
Don’t quit your day job!
Thank you for this interview, John. We wish you much success!