Hey everyone, and welcome to my interview with Michael Diack, author of The Super Spud trilogy and generous giver-away-er of the awesome prizes waiting at the bottom of your screen. Here we talk small presses, marketing strategies and ways YOU can win, so without further ado, here let’s get into it…
Where did the idea for Super Spuds come from?
The initial idea of walking, talking crisp packets came in primary school when I was asked to write a short story. One day when I was 19, I remembered that story and immediately opened my laptop and typed away. The first chapter of The Super Spud Trilogy is essentially that story – Colin and Lucy meet in a multipack and after becoming separated, strive to meet-up at the local rubbish tip…
How did you get yourself signed with a small press?
I was working abroad when, by chance, I saw a magazine advertisement for Pen Press. I sent the manuscript out, they wanted it on CD, and everything went from there. Their critique was quite a thorough assessment but they said they’d be happy to publish it.
Can you give a quick overview of the process from signing to publishing and the time it all took?
From sending the manuscript away to receiving my book took 6 months. I got my initial critique back (4 pages) after 4 weeks, which highlighted what they liked and didn’t, but crucially said they’d want to publish it. I was assigned an editor, who helped me broaden my target audience by encouraging me to make the book more approachable for the younger audience (no swearing, etc…) while still applicable for the mature audience (references to film, television, mild innuendos). After two months of editing I started working with my cover designer. My marketing manager then designed a press release and created a marketing plan for me. He also emailed and rang a lot of bookstores, local newspapers and local magazines (which I got into) and, to this day, he is trying hard to sell the animation rights for the Super Spuds. We both feel the concept would suit animation quite well (something like Spongebob Squarepants, perhaps) and some of the reviewers have suggested this as well. His emails just add the professional touch when contacting these large firms, as they would clearly ignore an email by me.
What are the advantages of small press?
It felt like a very personal experience. Everyone at the publishing house was like a family and if I ever had a question, I could email and get an immediate response. It was obvious they really cared about my book and everyone was very professional in their job.
What’s been your most effective marketing strategy so far?
Doing a giveaway on Goodreads has helped the book to get noticed; nearly 1,500 people entered my three giveaways so far. I sent copies to the winners and I had some great reviews from them, one girl totally got my sense of humour and told Family Guy to ‘move over’, which was great to read. I think I’m also going to head to Waterstones book store with some copies of my book and place them on the number one selling shelf, moving Fifty Shades of Grey to number two and take a picture. Then tweet that I displaced one of the bestselling books of all time from number one spot!
And there you have it! Now, onto the contest details. For your chance to win a signed copy, a critique from Michael AND a cameo of your very own Super Spud character in his next book, leave a comment with your idea for a Super Spud flavor and the personality you think would go with it.
For your chance to win a signed copy and a $30 e-book voucher, email your most creative Super Spud illustration to katherineamabel at gmail dot com.
Now if you’re stuck for inspiration, my review has a few teasers and a sample illustration, to get you kick-started, and as an extra kicker I’m throwing in a $10 e-voucher, thanks to my handy rafflecopter widget below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway