Sunday, August 08, 2010

An Interview with Author Stacey Cochran

I met Stacey Cochran at an event introducing, a local print-on-demand company. I was and am inspired by his persistence in promoting, supporting, and expanding the causes and joys of writing and publishing and the importance of community networking. He's opened my eyes to some of the uses of technology tools for persistent writers.I read CLAWS 1!  Even though it takes a village, momentum has to begin with one human..

Stacey Cochran was born in the Carolinas, where his family traces its roots to the mid 1800s. In 1998 he was selected as a finalist in the Dell Magazines undergraduate fiction competition, and he made his first professional short story sale to CutBank in 2001. In 2004, he was selected as a finalist in the St. Martin's Press/PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Contest. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife Dr. Susan K. Miller-Cochran and their son Sam, and he teaches writing at North Carolina State University. His books include CLAWS, CLAWS 2, Amber Page, The Colorado Sequence, and The Kiribati Test.

Stacey is currently touring to help promote the release of his latest novel CLAWS 2, which is available as an eBook-exclusive through the Amazon Kindle store.

Paperback versions of the first novel in the series are available here:


MARGARET: So what exactly is a Blog Tour?

STACEY: A “Blog Tour” is the online equivalent of an author’s book tour. In a traditional brick-and-mortar book tour, a publisher pays to fly an author around the country (or world) to visit a number of cities and bookstores and libraries. The goal is to get the author face time with booksellers, librarians, and die-hard readers in order to help create word of mouth. Sometimes author events at bookstores lead to newspaper articles and radio or TV interviews in the local areas the author visits. All of this is meant to help sell books.

A Blog Tour on the other hand is done completely online. Instead of visiting bookstores and libraries, an author visits a number of prearranged blog sites in order to do interviews like this one to help generate word of mouth and interest in his/her book.

For my CLAWS 2 Blog Tour, I am visiting upwards of 30 blog sites between July 1 and September 30. It’s cost-effective marketing.

MARGARET: How well does it work?

STACEY: So far July has been my most successful sales month in a year. So the preliminary evidence indicates that it helps a lot. What’s been especially interesting is to see how the first book in the series CLAWS has seen a strong surge in sales. I didn’t really anticipate this because I’d never published a closely linked series book like this and toured for it. It’s interesting to note that the original book is actually outpacing the new release at a roughly 5:4 ratio. Folks are likely discovering me through the web and blog tour and its various 3rd-party effects and are willing to give the first book a shot. Plus the first book is priced at 99 cents as an eBook, and the new release is priced at $2.99. The lower price point on the older title may be influencing its higher sales numbers.

MARGARET: Why the difference in price?

STACEY: Great question. Amazon Kindle incentivized a higher price-point this July by offering U.S.-based authors a 70% royalty rate if they listed their book for $2.99 or higher. The old royalty rate was 35%, and Amazon is keeping all books priced under $2.99 at that rate. So my motivation to bump the price of my new novel CLAWS 2 to $2.99 was based on the fact that I’d be drawing 70% royalty on all domestic sales. I basically would have to sell seven books at the 99 cents price and 35% royalty rate to match how much I make on the sale of one book priced at 2.99 and earning a 70% royalty rate. Like I said, CLAWS is outpacing CLAWS 2, but at a 5:4 ratio, not a 7:1. So I’m making much more money on the new book, even though it’s selling slightly fewer copies.

MARGARET: So what are the books about?

STACEY: CLAWS and CLAWS 2 are wildlife thrillers. Each book features a biologist Dr. Angie Rippard as the protagonist, but in each novel Angie is in a different setting and the books feature different animals as their focal points. Mountain lions in Arizona in the first novel; grizzly bears in Colorado in the second novel. Both books feature similar plots: a ruthless real estate developer has designs to develop a resort community too close to wilderness lands. This leads to animal attacks on humans, which brings Dr. Rippard into the investigation.

I have plans for a third book, CLAWS 3 to feature spotted leopards in the U.S., but I have not written it yet. My hope was that I would be able to sell the series to a major publisher, but that has not materialized. If I’m ever able to sell the series to a major publisher, I could probably turn out at least two more novels in the series. Maybe sell it as a five-book deal.

MARGARET: So how can we help?

STACEY: Well, it’s generous of you to offer to host me on your blog. If there are any readers out there who have good followings on their blogs and are reading this, you could drop me a line to let me know you’d like to host me. I still need to fill out my tour toward the end of September.

More than anything else, though, I need well-written reviews of CLAWS 2 on Amazon. And by “well-written” I just mean that the reviews need to be informed by actually reading the novels. I don’t mind a negative or critical review as long as it’s written by someone who read the book. In fact, reviews that point out areas for improvement can actually be very helpful.

MARGARET: Thanks for visiting, Stacey.

STACEY: Thanks for having me.

1 comment:

Stacey Cochran said...

Thanks, Margaret.