An Interview With Declan Finn – Part 2

"Honor At Stake" by Declan Finn
“Honor At Stake” by Declan Finn

When I started reading Declan Finn’s early novel A Pius Man, I reached out to him and asked if he was interested in doing a blog interview. He graciously accepted. As before, this interview will be in three parts, posted over three days. I hope to have my review of the novel up next week. The first part focuses on the books – particularly on The Pius Trilogy. This second part focuses on his experiences with writing and publishing. The third part focuses on Mr. Finn himself.

You can find out more about Mr. Finn’s works at his web site.

Bold text is my questions. The rest is Mr. Finn’s response, presented without editing unless noted.

What made you decide to get serious about writing?

I’ve been serious about it ever since I was 16, when I discovered that I couldn’t not write. I don’t quite start getting detox if I don’t, but the voices in my head don’t leave me alone.

How long did it take you to write your first novel?

No idea. When I accidentally started writing a fan fic when I was 16, I just wrote. 15 months later, I stopped when I hit four novels. Also, they were single spaced, and around 200,000 words a piece.

Can you tell I didn’t have much of a life when I was 16? Or 17?

How much time do you spend writing every day?

Around 6-9 hours, depending on how much time I’m allowed by other concerns.

You’re with a pretty small publisher. As in, I’d never heard of them until I picked up your books. What made you decide to go that route?

Originally, I went with Damnation Books because a friend of mine was an acquisition editor who was “bored.” I sent her a project called Honor At Stake, and she liked it. Who knew?

Did you submit your books to any larger publishers before going with them?

With The Pius Trilogy, I had two agents for it. The second one took years, submitting to Doubleday. No one wanted it – okay, yes, there were a few editors who were interested, but the industry was so screwed up, the ones who were interested were laid off, fired, downsized, etc. Because I got my agent the same year tens of thousands of employees were being laid off from publishers.

Great timing, huh? So, I “gave up,” and self published – because patience might be a virtue, but so is prudence.

With my current books, I’m first submitting to this new publisher that I had never heard about before last year. Something called Castalia. Ever heard of it?

Heh. But, of course, given my optimistic nature, I’m already formatting these books to be self published.

It seems that some of your books are self published and some are indie published. Can you tell us a little bit about your experiences with both routes?

Indie publishing was fine, up to a point. It was nice having an editor and an illustrator, and someone on formatting, and not having to worry about those details.

On the other hand, waiting on distributors, and getting no input on how sales are going until royalties come in makes it feels like the book is being held hostage.

For us other indie authors, what’s been the most effective method of marketing your books?

Twitter. Social media in general. And by this, I mean being SOCIAL with people. I have managed more reviews off of simply interacting with people than anything else, including ads.

What’s been the least effective thing that you’ve tried?

For marketing? Posting links at random 12 times a day on Facebook.

Your publisher just got bought out. Can you tell us about your plans for your books?

Yes, the publisher I originally signed on with was purchased by another company. My original publisher had a backlog in the hundreds. The new company had been the successful publisher of 12 books a year. You can see where there could be some problems.

I’m taking my books – all of my books – and running for the hills. Actually, I didn’t want to take every last book with me, but when I asked about getting the rights back, it felt like they couldn’t get rid of me fast enough. It could just be that they assumed I wanted to leave, but I thought there could have been more conversation about it. Or any conversation. I sent in the question, and the next thing I knew, my works were being wiped from the servers.

Tune in tomorrow for part 3.

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