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Joe Ducie Q&A

August 2, 2017

With Joe Ducie’s latest novel Lost Grace just being released in paperback edition, here’s a peak into the mind of the author behind the Reminiscent Exile series.  I’ve worked with Joe for years now on the covers for this series, which he self-publishes, and in this interview he shares his thoughts and experiences on self-publishing.  Joe also won the Guardian Hot Key Books Young Writers Prize in 2012 which led to his YA novel The Rig being published by Hot Key Books, followed by its sequel Crystal Force.

VC: Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about the type of stories you write.

JD: Howdy – my name’s Joe, I’m a writer from Perth, Western Australia, with books published all over the world. The genres I write in are broad and many, monstrous and myriad, but tend to focus on Urban Fantasy and Young Adult fiction. My main series of novels are THE REMINISCENT EXILE (of which Vinny does some amazing artwork for the covers, seriously check it out). These days I write full time, but my background is heavily weighted toward law enforcement and counter-terrorism.

 

 

 

VC: What made you decide to self-publish, and if you could go back and give yourself some advice before starting to self-publish, what would it be?

I saw a lot of success stories and read some excellent fiction that I wouldn’t have otherwise found on the shelves of bookshops. This would have been back in 2012. I thought, ‘Joe, you’ve got stories that need telling, why not pop a few up and see what happens’. It wasn’t that quick and easy, of course, I did my research, learnt a few tricks – such as ensuring the story goes through professional editing and that the cover art (again, thanks, Vinny!) looks sharp. Self-publishing shouldn’t be a quick process, but it should be a consistent process. If I could give that young and dumb kid heading out into this world back in 2012 any advice, I’d tell him to focus more on the writing. On producing the product. I spread myself too thin, once I achieved some slim success, and the writing suffered. Not the quality, that still passes muster, but the consistency! Write every day, kids.

 

VC: You’ve also experienced the traditional publishing side of things with your ‘Will Drake’ series.  To you, what are the biggest pros and cons of traditional publishing vs self-publishing?

Yep, it’s definitely a mixed bag of pitfalls and pedestals. I like being a hybrid author, mostly because any book I write doesn’t necessarily have to die at the publisher’s door, if it doesn’t get picked up. The self-publishing option means that book may still see the light of day. Again, a slew of beta readers and editors hack at it for a while before it will see any such light, but often if I’ve faith that the story is worth reading then the readers, and the reviews, reflect that faith once the book is published.

A lot of control is sacrificed in the traditional publishing sphere – and that’s not a bad thing, but it is something to consider before signing any publication contract. You also may end up writing something that may not gel with what you want to write, as happened to me–sort of, which led not to writer’s block but writer’s apathy. I had no desire to put pen to page. If you ever lose the flow, folks, it’s because something is wrong. Find out what and fix it.

I am a fan of both models – whatever gets my stories out into the world. I’ve no preference, at all, and love being involved in both spheres.

 

VC: Do you do much marketing for your books? What have you found to be the most effective tools for this?

I’m a bit guilty here – I don’t do much marketing beyond maintaining an email list of readers (sign up here!) and spreading the good word on social media. I’ve never paid for advertisements or marketing from all the dealers offering such services online, particularly for self-published efforts. Perhaps I should, but again the stories regarding such marketing options are positive and negative. Maybe one day, when I start taking this writing business seriously. ;)

Oh, I lied a touch above – I have paid for a few Facebook boosts on links to my Amazon page and such, but the cost there is negligible, less than a cup of coffee. I wouldn’t consider it proper, committed marketing.

 

 

VC: When it comes to self-publishing, how important do you think the cover design is in helping your books get noticed?

It’s the whole game. For any and all the readers walking out onto the eBook fields. We shouldn’t judge books by the cover, but we all do. The very first thing a potential reader sees is the cover. That’s why I aim for quality. Vinny’s work is that quality and speaks for itself. I owe a great deal of the success I’ve seen in the self-published volumes to the eye-catching and colourful covers Vinny produced for me. We’ve got a lot of covers to go down the line, too, mate!

Of course, the cover is one thing – the next step is having a story within worth reading. And then repeating the trick, ad infinitum.

 

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Find out more about Joe and his books at joeducie.com and follow him on twitter at twitter.com/joeducie.

The first four books in The Reminiscent Exile series (Distant Star, Broken Quill, Knight Fall, Lost Grace) are all out now in ebook and paperback editions and The Rig and Crystal Force from the Will Drake series are still available.  Joe is also the editor of a number of anthologies.

 

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