Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author John Dolan. He is the author of the TIME, BLOOD AND KARMA series.
Literature & Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers
John Dolan - AUTHOR, POLYMATH, SMARTYPANTS
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"Makes a living by travelling, talking a lot and sometimes writing stuff down. Galericulate author, polymath and occasional smarty-pants."
John Dolan hails from a small town in the North-East of England. Before turning to writing, his career encompassed law and finance. He has run businesses in Europe, South and Central America, Africa and Asia. He and his wife Fiona currently divide their time between the UK and Thailand.
His mystery novel 'Everyone Burns' is the first book in the 'Time, Blood and Karma' series.
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?
Hi, James. My next novel is one I have co-written with Virginia-based thriller writer, Fiona Quinn. It has been quite an exercise in logistics, I can tell you! Fiona and I have never met and the whole project has been done through our contact over the Internet. Yes, I know, we must be mad. It's called "Chaos is Come Again", and is a slightly off-the-wall psychological thriller. It will be hitting the virtual shelves at the end of October.
You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?
My social media relationships have been crucial. I have some amazingly supportive fellow authors from all around the world. It's heartwarming to see how generous people can be with their time. My primary method of building relationships has been through Twitter (although I do also have a blog) and yes, all these contacts and interactions have delivered both friendships and book sales.
Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?
I don't maintain a reader list. I'm probably unusual in this, but I feel uncomfortable with hard selling through emails, and prefer to connect on an ad hoc basis. I guess that's my British heritage :)
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?
Since I live on the Thai island of Samui, book signings are not really on the cards - and the holidaymakers here would have only a limited interest in listening to my burblings. Logistics therefore drive me to be more of an Internet Man, and that is what my business model is based on. I do blog interviews, however.
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?
Thank you. I do all my own covers because I'm a control freak and love messing around with artwork and graphics software. I don't involve anyone in the design. That way, I have nobody to blame but myself if the covers suck. (Which I hope they don't!)
You have written a short story called Jim Fosse's Expense Claim. Can you tell us if they had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work?
It's hard to say what impact 'Jim Fosse' has had on sales, though the short story was designed as a free giveaway to introduce folks to my writing. The first chapter of 'Everyone Burns' is included with it and hopefully tempts some people to buy the novel. I think you might term this the 'Drug Dealer Strategy'. Boy, am I getting cynical in my old age. The Jim Fosse character also appears in my novel 'A Poison Tree'. I like to connect the dots!
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?
The free giveaway can work well in introducing readers to a series, and I have done free promos for 'Everyone Burns' using BookBub - each time producing a ton of downloads. I am cautious, however, as to how many further sales these events produce. I assume that only 10% of free downloads ever get read, and of those maybe one reader in four will like my writing enough to buy another book in the series. On that math, 10,000 downloads garners me 250 incremental book sales - although I do see a short-term 'bounce' in sales also as a result of the increased visibility the promo provides.
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?
I try to organise a promo of an existing book around launch time, plus my author and blogger buddies are always helpful with publicising the release. I've tried Goodreads giveaways too, but the jury is out on how successful that is. My launches tend to be phased. If you hope for a 'big bang' with thousands of launch sales, you are likely to be disappointed. I like to remind myself that we writers are running a marathon, not doing a 100-metre dash. Patience.
Living in Thailand creates a unique selling and marketing situation. Where is your biggest audience? Does marketing online help in this situation?
I'd have to say there are pros and cons to this. Living in Thailand gives my writing about South East Asia credibility (I hope!) but, given that my sales/marketing model is Internet-based, it probably doesn't matter where I am. My biggest audience, incidentally, is in the USA. I make three-quarters of my sales there.
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?
I send out some complimentary copies to interested readers, but generally rely on my reading audience. I don't pay for reviews, ever.
Author's Book List
A Poison Tree
- Time, Blood and Karma Book 3
“You kill my wife and I’ll kill yours.” You must admit, as a proposition, it has an alluring symmetry to it.
It is 1999, and as the Millennium approaches, old certainties wither. For family man, David Braddock, his hitherto predictable world is undergoing a slow collapse. The people closest to him seem suddenly different. As desires and aspirations tangle around each other like parasite stems, betrayal is in the air.
And so is murder.
Fans of Braddock will finally learn the sequence of events that drove him into exile in Asia, while for new readers, ‘A Poison Tree’ is the perfect introduction to the ‘Time, Blood and Karma’ series.
Order the Book From: Amazon
- Time, Blood and Karma Book 2
'For the last half-hour my mind has been playing games with me. I keep thinking I see Claire at the periphery of my vision, but when I turn my head she vanishes.
But then of course she would. She is a ghost, after all.'
It is the spring of 2005 and the macabre ‘burning murders’ have ended. Life has apparently returned to normal for the Thai island of Samui.
For private investigator David Braddock ‘normal’ means finding a missing drug smuggler, sleeping with the Police Chief’s wife and ensuring his office manager’s latest money making scheme doesn’t bankrupt him.
For Police Chief Charoenkul it means resuming his seemingly-endless wait for that elusive promotion to Bangkok.
However, the peace is destined to be short-lived. Unbeknown to both men karmic storm clouds are gathering and murderous forces are about to be unleashed which could destroy them both ...
‘Hungry Ghosts’ is the second volume in the ‘Time, Blood and Karma’ series. It marks the welcome return of David Braddock, the charismatic anti-hero from ‘Everyone Burns’.
Order the Book From: Amazon
- Time, Blood and Karma, Book One
'He opens a drawer of his desk, casually takes out a pistol, flicks off the safety catch and points it at my head.
He says almost sorrowfully, "Do you imagine me to be a gangster, Mr Braddock?"'
It is January 2005 and the charred remains of two Europeans have been discovered on the Thai island of Samui.
Local Police Chief Charoenkul, sidelined by his superiors, enlists the reluctant David Braddock, a burnt-out private detective, to assist in an ‘unofficial’ investigation.
But Braddock has problems of his own, including an affair with the same Police Chief’s wife ...
Peppered with irreverent humour and some pithy comments on everyday life in the Land of Smiles, 'Everyone Burns' is much more than a crime novel. It is also a carefully-crafted psychological study of an anti-hero for our time.
Order the Book From: Amazon
Jim Fosse's Expense Claim
Once you've met Jim Fosse you'll never feel quite the same about opening your e-mails ...
A darkly humorous short story of obsession from John Dolan, author of 'Everyone Burns'.
WARNING: Contains sexual references and some really terrible grammar.
Order the Book From: Amazon
- Barnes and Noble
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