Monday, June 5, 2017

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with 'Call to War' Andi O'Connor @oconnerandi #PUYB

Andi O'Connor is the award-winning author The Dragonath Chronicles, The Vaelinel Trilogy, and The Legacy of Ilvania. She’s written multiple books, including the critically acclaimed Silevethiel, which is the 2015 Best Indie Book Award winner for Science Fiction/Fantasy, and the 2015 New Apple Official Selection for Young Adult. Silevethiel was also named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2013. Andi's short story collection, Redemption, is a 2014 Kindle Book Awards Semifinalist.

You can frequently find Andi as a ​guest panelist at Comic Cons throughout the country including the Rhode Island Comic Con, Philcon, Conclave, WizardWorld, and Chessiecon. Andi also writes for Niume where she provides writing tips, advice, and insight on her career as an author. You can connect with Andi on
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For more information, visit Andi’s website.

About the Book:

Darrak's adventure concludes with this thrilling finale of The Dragonath Chronicles!  

Following the betrayal of two of his trusted companions and a devastating battle in Mystandia,
Darrak's talents are desperately needed by the citizens of both Earth and Dragonath. Torn with the decision of where his loyalty should remain, he finally decides to confide in Andillrian. Together, they craft a plan they hope will save Darrak's home planet, but their optimism is short-lived.

The Hellborn's army has begun the march to war.

With less than two weeks of preparation remaining, their weaknesses become unavoidably apparent. Planning for defeat suddenly becomes as important as planning for victory. Darrak's insecurities continue until the moment the first arrows begin to fly. He can only hope that help from a few unlikely sources will be enough.

For if they fail, Dragonath will fall.


Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

I didn’t have to do much research as Call To War is the third and final book in my series. I had already done most of the research I needed for the first book in the series, which mainly focused around medieval weapons and battle techniques.

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I self-publish all of my books. My first book, The Lost Heir was published through a small publisher, and I hated the experience. I ended up self-publishing all my subsequent books and actually re-released The Lost Heir under my own imprint once my contract with the publisher ended and the rights reverted back to me. Self-publishing takes a lot of work and money in order to make the final book professional enough to stand with those that are traditionally published, but I enjoy it. I’m able to retain control over the covers, formatting, and pricing. Being able to hire my own editors that I work well with is also a major advantage.

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the ebook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like?

I had hired a formatter for the first four books I self-published. The last one, although it was the same formatter that I’d used before, was a terrible experience. There is a great deal of italicized text for telepathic dialogue. Even though the file I sent them had everything right and all they had to do was format it for an ebook, I received nine drafts from them before it was correct. It was such a frustrating process that I decided to research how to format an ebook and did Call To War myself. It actually went much smoother than I anticipated, and I’ve created my own template to use for my future books.

If self-published, how did you determine the price?

I researched what other traditionally published books in my genre were being sold for and chose a comparable price. I don’t believe in giving full-length books away or selling them for next to nothing. Doing so gives the impression that it’s not worth anything and isn’t well-written, but the author is also cheating themselves out of earning what they deserve for their hard work. 

How did you choose your cover?

The cover was actually a pre-made cover from the designer I work with. They did the first two books in the series and just happened to have a pre-made cover that fit perfectly for book three.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

I do a combination of both. I handwrite everything first before typing it up, so when I type up what I wrote for that day, I usually make some changes. But I save the major revisions and editing for once it’s complete. My main objective is to get it written and finished first. Polishing comes second.

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book?
I have bookmarks specific for all of my books, as well as mugs and totes. I also make beaded bracelets with my characters’ names on them. All of the swag is used almost extensively when I go to ComicCons. The bookmarks and bracelets are given out free and are great ways to engage in conversations with people who come to my table. The mugs and totes are available for sale, and I also usually have a Con special where if you purchase three books you get a mug or tote for free.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

Some authors swear by this, but I’ve found it to be a complete waste of time. In my experience, people who download free books download them because they’re free, not because they have any intention of reading them. All offering your book for free does is cheat you out of any legitimate sales and royalties. The best way to sell copies of your book is promotion, getting people interested in you and your work, and reviews.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

Hire a professional editor. Hire a professional cover designer/artist. Begin promoting your new release months beforehand to gain hype.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

Continue with promotion via social media. Get as many legitimate reviews as possible, whether through professional review sites or bloggers. Engage your audience in order to generate more interest. For example, ask them who their favorite character was or encourage fan art.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out?
I sent the book out to beta readers to generate reviews, updated my website and all my social media pages to include the new book, generated interest at Comic Cons, sent out the cover and important information to my newsletter list, and built hype through social media.

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

Since this is the end of the series, my long-term goal is to generate more sales for all three books, particularly now that fans and potential readers know the series is complete. For an extremely optimistic long-term goal, I’d love to have it made into a movie. I’ve had a number of fans tell me they think this series would make a wonderful movie, and I’ve even been approached by a film director who thought the same. Unfortunately, the amount of CGI required was out of his budget!

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

Thank you for your continued support and love of my writing! It means the world to me, and hearing how much you enjoy my work never gets old! Knowing my writing speaks to you so deeply is what keeps my pen on the paper! Lots of love!

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