On Writing – L is for Larry Kollar – An Interview With The Bestselling YA Fantasy Author

Today I am joined by the very talented Mr Larry Kollar, fantasy/thriller/short story scribbler, who is going to talk about the run away success of his YA fantasy novel, Accidental Sorcerers and what  makes a book a bestseller.

 Good morning Larry, welcome to Writerland..

Why do you think your YA fantasy novel Accidental Sorcerers is selling so well?

I don’t think it’s any one thing, but a number of things:

1) An eye-catching cover is a big help (thanks to Angela Kulig for finding the art and assembling the cover)

2) 99¢ is an impulse purchase for a lot of people. If the book sounds remotely interesting, and the reviews are mostly favorable, people are willing to take a chance on it.

3) The proprietor of a rather popular book blog invited some authors in a Goodreads group to send guest posts or interviews. I ended up doing an interview that dovetailed well with a blog tour.

4) YA Fantasy is a popular genre.

5) I got LUCKY!

Does genre play a part in your success story?

I think it does—Fantasy is popular now, especially YA Fantasy. In many genres, if your book gets above 10,000 in Amazon’s overall rankings, it starts showing up in Top 100 listings. For Fantasy, you need to reach 1,800 overall and about 1,500 to make the Teens Top 100. That tells me that both Fantasy and YA titles are the big sellers right now.

Do you think there is a tipping point when book sales perpetuate themselves, or is it something you have to continue to work at?

Once your book gets some traction on Amazon (and, I presume, other bookstores) they take notice and start promoting it in their email blasts. I’ve always seen at least a little uptick in sales when Accidental Sorcerers shows up in a promo email from Amazon. But after a couple months, sales start to fade. So if you want to push the book back up, you need to keep working at it.

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of self publishing?

Advantages: time to market, control over just about everything, and you can publish things that would have a difficult time with traditional publishers. Accidental Sorcerers is a good example of the latter, since it’s a novella. They’re too long for most magazines, too short for book publishers—but they work very well as eBooks. If you’re on a train (or the back seat of a car), or don’t have time to devote to an epic novel, a novella is a good way to lose yourself for a couple hours.

Are there any differences in your approach to marketing the book in the US compared to the UK?

No. I’m clueless about what’s popular in the UK right now, although I’ve had a few sales through Amazon’s UK store (and FR and DE as well). I treasure every one of them.

Do you have any advice or suggestions on how to improve book sales?

If you can get a book reviewed by a major book blogger, and get a 4 or 5 star rating, that should make a big difference. To be honest, I’m surprised you haven’t seen more sales from making the final round for the People’s Book Prize.

One thing that probably helps, in the eBook world, is start off with a bang. Most eBook stores allow potential customers to sample the first part of a book, to see if they think they’ll like it. For those who actually try it, it means you have to draw them in right away. My novel White Pickups has a slow start, and slow sales despite glowing reviews. But Accidental Sorcerers starts out with a boy awakening an ice dragon. One more way eBooks have changed things—starting the action right away is probably going to lead to higher sales.

What are your writing plans for 2013 and beyond?

I’m in the middle of an ambitious production schedule for the first half of the year: I released Accidental Sorcerers and The Crossover (a free fantasy novella) in January, then my anthology Oddities at the end of March. Later this month, I’m hoping to release Pickups and Pestilence, the sequel and conclusion for White Pickups. Next month comes the second Accidental Sorcerers story, titled Water and Chaos.

Then I have another Accidental Sorcerers story drafted (The Sorcerer’s Daughter) and a fourth in progress (Into the Icebound). The next major project that I want to start is a YA contemporary fantasy, the Wings Trilogy. I hope to start that later this year, and that will take me well beyond 2013. But there will be other stories. I like to write a #FridayFlash for my blog each week, and there’s a “pre-zombie apocalypse” novella called UW-401 that I want to finish. I’ve committed to collaborate with my co-op partner, Angela Kulig, on another zombie story as well. If I could pay the bills by writing, I could do it full-time, easily.

Thanks Larry – sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for the next few weeks !

Buy Accidental Sorcerers:  amazon.com  amazon.co.uk  smashwords.com

Visit Larry’s blog: http://farmanor.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter: @FARfetched58

Larry’s Latest Flash Story: Joab Dower in the Great Cedar Swamp #4

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3 Responses to On Writing – L is for Larry Kollar – An Interview With The Bestselling YA Fantasy Author

  1. Helen Howell says:

    Nice interview you two! ^_^

  2. Well done, Larry and continued good luck- except I really know how hard you have to keep marketing. I now have more YA authors guest posting on my blog and the YA novella market does seem to be very popular fot them just now.

  3. Larry Kollar says:

    Thanks, Helen!

    Nancy, marketing is always going to be experimental, and more than a little scary. And if you need another author to guest blog, let me know! 😉

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