You never know what you’re going to find when you pick up a new book. I was pleasantly surprised when I read Immurement by Norma Hinkens. From the first page, you get a sense of a well-thought-out world, rich characters, and beautiful writing.
When I saw that she’d won the Next Generation Indie Book Award for Young Adult fiction, and that she had an impressive 62 reviews on her book, I was afraid to reach out to her. Since stepping out into the writing world, I’ve realized some writers just don’t have any interest in connecting with other people in their field. Norma is definitely not one of those authors! She was so warm and so willing to answer all of my questions.
I thought she’d be a wonderful person to ask for an author interview from. She sent me great answers to questions I sincerely wondered about, like why she chose indie publishing over traditional publishing, how she managed to get so many reviews, and more. So, check out her interview:
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
When you self-publish the workload can be overwhelming at times and it drains the creative side of your brain. It’s really important to carve out sacred writing time in the midst of the mayhem.
Why did you choose this route?
I got the imperial thumbs down from the traditional publishing world after two years of back and forth. I was close to securing an agent on two different occasions, but it never panned out and it took forever to query and get responses
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
I would avoid most of the smaller paid promo sites as they just don’t move the needle. Concentrate efforts and dollars on the bigger ones.
What do you do to get book reviews?
Mostly crawl on my hands and knees over broken glass to find them! It is very time consuming to research and reach out to appropriate book bloggers who are often inundated with requests. I’ve also done a couple of Blog Tours which have garnered a handful of reviews. I listed my book on NetGalley for a month, and I’ve offered a free copy of my book in exchange for an honest review in a couple of Facebook groups I belong to. Organic reviews are the icing on the cake.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
Sadly, no. I’ve been mostly throwing spaghetti at the walls and hoping it sticks, meaning I explore every avenue knowing that only a few reviewers will come through for me.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
It’s not a black and white issue. A five-star review can hurt you if it’s obviously someone gushing who has some skin in the game (acquaintance or email subscriber,) and a one-star review can help if it’s apparent the person has either never read the book, can’t spell, or is simply mad at life in general and on a rant. Sometimes the things a hater hates about your book are the very things that make someone else want to read it. The telling reviews are the ones that reveal a common thread. Pay attention if you keep hearing the same constructive criticism over and over again.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Derry is one of those individuals for whom life is not worth living if you can’t live free. She isn’t some “chosen” one with special powers. Instead, she overcomes her limitations and fears, and reaches deep inside herself in order to lead a rebellion against a regime’s horrific abuse of power.
I love this last question, because her main character is so complex and interesting. If you’re interested in checking out her book, you can find it on Amazon. And, here is the blurb:
The Sweepers are coming. They hunt the young. Earth’s end is her beginning.
Sixteen-year-old Derry and her brother live in perpetual fear of capture. They survive underground on a scorched earth overrun by gangs, clones, and mysterious hoverships. When her brother goes missing, Derry’s only hope of finding him is to strike a deal with a group of cutthroat subversives. Desperate to save her brother, she leads a daring raid to uncover the secrets behind the Sweepers’ hoverships, but she soon finds out the world she knows is a lie.
Keeping her brother alive may require trusting her enemy and opening her heart to something she never thought possible.
Immurement is the first book in The Undergrounders Series, a sci-fi dystopian thriller trilogy. If you like captivating apocalyptic tales, gritty complex heroines, and twists you won’t see coming, then you’ll love this fast-paced, end-of-the-world adventure!