Guest Author Q&A with Dean Crawford

Write what readers want, give them what they’re craving for in your chosen genre. Be different, but don’t deny the masses what they’re expecting
— Dean Crawford
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If you’re looking for a great thriller, action or sci-fi book to sink your teeth into, you are in a good pair of hands with Dean Crawford. Dean is the author of over thirty truly immersive novels, including the Ethen Warner series, Atlantia series and Warner and Lopez series, to name but a few. Dean is both traditionally published and also independently published under the Fictum Publishing label. You’ll find all the links to Dean’s books on his Amazon Author Page.

I first met Dean back in 2014 when I was fairly new to publishing. Dean helped me through a tough spot in the writer’s process, to which I’m still incredibly grateful to him. I continue to read and love his work, and still have a soft spot for the Soul Seekers, one of Dean’s YA stand-alone books.

I’m here today to chat to Dean about his experiences as an indie author versus a traditionally published author, and his upcoming projects.

L.M: Hi Dean, so lovely to speak to you again! I’m very grateful you agreed to this guest author spot on my blog. To get us started, please could you tell us a little about your traditional publishing experiences and what lead you to the decision to also become an independent author? Have there been huge pros and cons in each?

Dean: Thanks for the invite! I started writing in 1995 as a hobby but with an aim to getting published internationally, and I finally signed a major publishing deal in 2010 with the help of my literary agent, Luigi Bonomi ( LBA Books, London ). The deal got me going as a full-time thriller author, but by 2013 it was obvious to me at least that publishing was undergoing a revolution. Amazon’s Kindle and other e-readers had changed the marketplace, and I saw an opportunity to join the rush with a few titles I’d written that hadn’t been picked up by publishers. It turned out to be a very smart move, as independent books now outsell all traditional publishers combined worldwide and represent the largest reading market. Other authors who failed to take advantage of the new publishing world often now find it very hard to maintain any kind of career as authors.

The pros to indie publishing are that your money is your own, with a typical 70% of gross royalty rate as opposed to 12.5% of net with a publisher. You can publish faster, gain fans more easily and promote globally with ease on the digital market. The cons are that unless you’re willing to spend on hiring editors, cover designers and marketers, you have to do everything yourself. Some thrive on this, others struggle with it.

L.M: For the independent authors out there, could you give us a few pointers regarding book promotion and really connecting with your readers?

Dean: Write what readers want, give them what they’re craving for in your chosen genre. Be different, but don’t deny the masses what they’re expecting. Book promotion should be a mixture of paid advertising, for which there are many outlets, and cultivating a mailing list. If you can build a decent sized, well engaged list of followers, you can launch with confidence and reduce the cost of promoting new books because your fans will buy it in large numbers and propel it high into the digital charts, the easiest and most effective way to get that all-important visibility.

L.M: What is your favourite part of the writing process?

Dean: Every bit of it! Every job has its down side, but writing for the most part is very enjoyable across the board, especially when you’re doing it for a job. I wouldn’t change any part of it. Perhaps the best bit is hitting upon that unique, ground-breaking idea for a new novel and getting started on planning it, when new ideas and concepts are popping into my mind faster than I can write them down.

L.M: If there is one writing tool you couldn’t live without, be it a piece of software, or your favourite chair, what is it?

Dean: My computer. It may sound obvious, but modern PCs make the task of writing a novel so much easier, especially in terms of editing and correcting. I have no idea how people made do with typewriters or longhand back in the day.

L.M: How long after becoming a writer, did you become a full-time writer?

Dean: 15 years after first starting out. It’s not an easy road to becoming an author, and it’s not easy maintaining a career as a full-time author either. The average author earns £10,000 per year or less, and most earn much less than that. I’m one of the lucky ones but I’ve also had to work very hard at it.

L.M: What was the hardest scene or chapter that you’ve ever had to write?

Dean:  A scene in Eden, where a two-year-old girl wanders off into a post-apocalyptic world, abandoned and alone. My daughter was the same age at the time.

L.M: How do you choose the names for your characters?

Dean: They come quite easily to me, and usually something about the name suggests something about the character’s nature. Ethan Warner is named so because he was a journalist in dangerous countries, and his work often warned others about the dangers of being there.

L.M: What is your favourite story ever told, book or script is, and why?

Dean: That’s a tough one, but I’d have to go with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Rarely has a movie so perfectly captured the power of the three-act structure.

L.M: Can we have a random Dean Crawford fact? Something we don’t know about you.

Dean: I’m also a 3D graphics modeller, building airoplanes for flight simulators. It’s something I do when I’m not writing.

L.M: The new Star Wars movie is out this month. Are you a fan?

Dean: I grew up with Star Wars and love everything about it! It’s just about the only movie franchise that I’ll go to the cinema to see ( cinema is great, but home entertainment is so good these days that I rarely visit cinemas any more ).

L.M: Do you have any writing New Year’s resolutions?

Dean: To keep doing what I’m doing.

L.M: Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?

Dean: I currently have a novel out on submission with publishers via my literary agent which I should hear about very soon. Being a ‘hybrid’ author gives me the best of both worlds – if a publisher makes an offer that is suitable to me, I can sell books to them. If they don’t, the book gets published anyway under my own label. I’m also half way through a crime novel for my Power Reads series, which should be released sometime early next year.

L.M: And finally, is there anything that you would like to say to your readers?

Dean: Only that I hope all readers who discover my work enjoy reading it, and I look forward to writing many more novels in the years to come 😊

Thank-you so much, Dean! We’re looking forward to all your future publications! If you would like learn more about Dean Crawford and his fantastic work, please visit his website at http://deancrawfordbooks.com/

Dean Crawford

Dean Crawford