Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Ben Coulter. He is the bestselling author of the Poisoned Saints trilogy.
Thriller, Crime, Contemporary
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Ben Coulter was born in 1980 and raised in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, England.
He has been writing 'as long as he can remember' in one form or another. The aim with his debut novel Poisoned Saints, was to portray to the reader an authentic criminal lifestyle through the art of fiction, whilst using the regretful foundation of experience.
Poisoned Saints was released at the end of 2012 to a pleasing on-line response and soon became a number 1 best seller.
The follow up 'Keep on Running' was released in May 2013 and is fast catching Poisoned Saints on the Amazon Kindle charts.
The third and final instalment of the Saints series was released in December 2013 - 'When The Saint Comes Marching Home'.
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Let’s start with what’s next. Do you have another book on the horizon? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
I am currently working on my fourth novel. It’s completely separate from the Poisoned Saints trilogy. It is an anti-war novel, set in the U.K. West Africa, Afghanistan and Malaysia.
You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that?
Social Media is extremely important. It’s the main way I promote my books. I’ve used various approaches. one that seems to work very well, is, finding other users (Twitter) who like the genre of my books, or follow a similar author already, and then following them. Then obviously it pays to have a decent bio on your page and personal tweets. Not just tweet after tweet selling your book, or posting links to your books, etc.. I find people, myself included, despise that kind of annoyance. Sure, have posts promoting, but also engaging, originally and insightfully.
Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
I have done several other interviews and again social media is the best place to keep up with this, following me on Twitter etc.
You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?
Thanks. I contact my man at Spiffing Covers with my back cover blurb, with an idea in mind, then he comes back with something completely different. I realise he is better at book cover design than me and agree completely, but still add a few things here and there, and we come to a fine looking cover together! It’s teamwork and I certainly wouldn’t be able to do it without their expertise.
You have several great book trailers. (See links below.) They look very professional. Do you know how much impact they have had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailers?
I had the trailers made for the first two in the Poisoned Saints trilogy and I still don’t know if they really help or not, hence not getting one made for the third book. That’s just me being honest. They get views, but that may just be via other visitors to my YouTube channel, I’m sure they do help the book throughout the promotions though as they are very well made. The process is very similar to the cover process, accept with a different man, at a different company, who is also very good at what he does.
What writer support groups do you belong to? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?
No specific online groups, but once again social media is great for this. Talking to other authors, editors etc.. Most of the publishing and marketing process I learnt online from blogs and websites, and a few e-books on the subject; A.P.E. being a personal favourite.
What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?
It’s been great, hence why my books are only available through Kindle as I chose to stay with KDP for their free promo services. Free giveaways really help pull in new readers who would just not bother otherwise. The sales for the other books always go up around the time of a giveaway. Some people see it as losing money, I don’t, I see it as gaining readers, which to me is far more important. The only downside is the people who may download for free without reading the description properly regarding the gritty nature of the books etc.. and then leave a negative review about that exact issue i.e. ‘empathy for a drug dealer? I don’t think so..’ read the description before reading the book! But there you go, what can you do? The good outweighs the bad. I also tried Goodreads giveaways with the paperback, which was okay, but I noticed most of the attention was people adding it to their shelves, shelves which already seemed thoroughly over-populated. But who knows, it may well pay off in the future.
How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?
Without wishing to repeat myself, it’s all again about social media. Getting the cover up and posted around a month or so before the release date, the video if there is one. The back cover blurb also. A new facebook page etc.. I find the cover to be most effective, with the log line, it gets people interested and excited for what’s to come.
Living in England creates a unique selling and marketing situation. Where is your biggest audience? Does marketing online help in this situation?
The U.K. is definitely my biggest audience, the Poisoned Saints trilogy is very much an English lifestyle being portrayed and probably best understood by people who can relate to it because of this, or fans of U.K. crime in specific. My fourth novel, Renounce, mentioned earlier will be much broader in range and hopefully in reach. But yes, I do have U.S. readers and they have only found me via the online marketing.
What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?
If someone approaches me online saying they’ve enjoyed a book, I will ask if they wouldn’t mind leaving a review, but only then. I wouldn’t hound or beg for reviews as I don’t think they would then be honest reviews. I’ll ask once and once only, which to me is important. Fake reviews can be spotted a mile off and really don’t help the book, they also invite negative reviews in retaliation. I have had a few book review bloggers approach me via Twitter, to which I will happily oblige with a free e-book. I like honest reviews, good or bad. They help people decide if the book is for them or not, all you can ask for is honesty.
Author's Book List
When The Saint Comes Marching Home
- Poisoned Saints Book 3
The third and final instalment of the best selling Poisoned Saints trilogy:
Billy finds himself thrown straight back in at the underworld deep end, working directly for the ruthless Mr Granger, with The Dunn’s soon becoming a distant and painful memory. Finding himself, then, as Stambro’s Top Boy he’s forced to do and sell things that do not sit well, testing his twisted, black morals like never before.
A chance meeting with Hayley leads to an unlikely, but passionate, romance. The pair soon realise they both want the same thing; to escape Stambro for a new and honest life in the Far East.
With DI Jack Cloud back on the case and hungry for Billy’s blood, Mr Granger pulling him closer into his inner circle with every treacherous job, and fresh adversaries and harms jumping out from every turn, escape will not come easy.
Can Billy Marine beat the system whilst trying to find and retain inner peace? Can he get out intact, mentally and physically? Does the world really hold a place for such a hardened gangster to grow and change? Or, is he destined for such an ill-fate as all his old crew that have gone before? Strap yourself in tight, because one thing’s for sure; it’s going to be a bumpy, humours, violently wonderful road to the ultimate resolution.
Order the Book From: Amazon
Keep on Running
- Poisoned Saints Book 2
A masterclass in Crime Fiction, taking you to places other authors fear to tread. Addressing raw social issues such as addiction and violence, whilst giving you action, humor and on the edge of your seat suspense.
Keep on Running will draw you in to its Far Eastern whirlwind, gnaw at your soul, then spit it out leaving you craving for more. Ben Coulter truly is in a league of his own.
Billy Stone is an ex-Marine and boxing champ living a lavish criminal lifestyle whilst on the run in Thailand. But, when a botched hijacking on the Burmese border leaves three men dead, Billy must make fresh alliances with a feared mafia boss, whilst trying to keep hold of a new-found love and himself out of one of the world’s toughest prisons.
"If you thought Poisoned Saints by Ben Coulter was fast paced, put your Nike's on for Keep On Running. With great research and intelligent writing, Coulter has given us another roller-coaster. This is a book that should go on your bucket list."
In this follow up to the Amazon number 1 best-seller Poisoned Saints, Billy runs head first into trouble whilst on a marijuana run inside the treacherous Burmese border. Back in Thailand, Billy is forced to make a new deal with a murderous crime lord whilst keeping Islamic terrorists and ruthless Russian gangsters at bay.
As love unsuspectingly enters his life in the form of all American girl next door, Mel, Billy struggles to keep his gang of criminal misfits in line; Che, his old Stambro friend and struggling drug addict, Nate, a former US Marine and Compton psycho and Orly, the laid-back, weed smoking Frenchman.
Can Billy keep up his affluent lifestyle whilst cultivating his new-found romance? Can Che resist the hedonistic delights of South East Asia? In the contrasting land of Buddhism and the death penalty lessons will be learnt. Billy must stay one step ahead of his past whilst out smarting the present, or be forced to Keep on Running.
Keep on Running
Order the Book From: Amazon
Ben Coulter's first novel is heartbreaking at times, humorous at others, and a hard and gritty epic throughout. Poisoned Saints takes you inside the growing drug epidemic in the UK, with first hand experience and unapologetic detail from the author. Saints takes you on a journey of mystery and suspense, whilst keeping you company with true-to-life drama and facts along the way. Get prepared for an exhilarating ride into what's really going on outside your door, but be warned, once you start reading you will not be able to stop.
Charlie is a cocaine distributor living in a run-down London overspill, but when he discovers his top dealer shot to death, Charlie must find the killer and a way out, whilst losing the tail of Detective Jack Cloud in order to flee the country with his lover and a clear conscience .
Order the Book From: Amazon
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