I got to chat with awesome self-published author Ian D. Moore about his latest novel Salby Damned. I met Ian through a wonderful writers group on Facebook and he is always full of writing wisdom and support. I was so excited to talk with him about this great looking thriller, his writing and self-publishing process!
I was born in Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham, England. I am the middle of three children, with an older brother and a younger sister. I grew up in a working class family, only my mother remains though my childhood was filled with love and many an adventure. My father was a talented wordsmith though he never published, sadly. I’ve two sons aged 17 and 10, they mean the world to me. The stars and the universe fascinate me the most, as well as history and folklore. As for hobbies, well, as a writer, I observe, research, and allow my mind to run riot (it does that part real well). My claim to fame… I once played Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins at snooker… even after ten pints of lager, he could still have beaten me with his eyes closed, but he was entertaining to play. My passion, as well as writing, is reading. I do love a good book, especially the real paperback type. It is my goal to assemble one of the largest signed indie author book libraries in the country. Currently, I have fourteen, but then, I only began three months ago.
How did you get started on your writing journey?
Tough question. I began ‘writing’ stories in school, though never to any particular standard. Only when I began to write poetry, short verses for friends—sometimes comedy, more often as remembrance for a lost loved one, did I begin to learn how to write. I’m still very much learning. Salby Damned was my first effort at a full blown novel, so I guess my ‘professional’ writing career began with that, at the beginning of 2014. Since that time, I’ve learnt so much—all thanks to Facebook group The Indie Author Support and Discussion Group (IASD). The writers fare from around the world, serious talent and experience. Every day I learn something new to aid my mastery of this craft. With luck, my next novel, due in August 2015 and a sequel to Salby Damned, will give an indication as to the progress I have made up the author ladder. It is a very long ladder.
Are there any poets or writers who influence you? How so?
I loved Pam Ayres, still do to this day, her wit is as sharp as it ever was. Authors range from the classical greats, right through to modern day—all have some influence to my own writing. Several indies I already aspire to write as well as… I’m still practicing.
My debut novel, Salby Damned, was published in July 2014. It is an action/adventure story in essence, with undertones of military and romance thrown in. It’s a story of human resilience under pressure, a race against time. Since then, I have collaborated with 27 authors from around the world on an international anthology in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Technically, that is the last book I produced, with the assistance of so many other people. The theme for the anthology was ‘Relationships’, which proved to be an interesting topic to send out there for interpretation. The stories ranged from the bizarre, evocative, right through to the heart-warming and I am immensely proud of each and every person who took part to produce the book for the charity. There were few restrictions on style, type or genre. The stories range from just 980 words through to over 4k. There is something for everyone and ALL of the royalties go to the charity.
How is the title significant?
Salby is an acronym for Saliva Activated Live Blood (TYPE) Y virus. This is the genetically engineered strain accidentally released and the name of the town it is buried under.
Where did inspiration for this come from?
Two things. The first was a request from my younger sister, Helen. To write a more adult zombie book, given that she had been reading a series for children that was very good. The second was a radio broadcast I heard at work which concerned Shale Gas Fracking and the government go-ahead to allow companies to blast away under our own homes if needed.
Tell us a little bit about the characters? What are they like and how did you come up with them?
The characters range from people I knew or have known in my life and army career. A couple of the lesser characters were based upon people I meet in my working life. Tom and Holly Lloyd are based upon the actual children of my now ex-partner. Their mother, Charlotte is partly based upon said ex-partner. After the split, I considered changing the names in the novel but decided that dignity was the better option. (The children and my ex were written in at her request) They will still feature in the sequel.
Who do you think would like your story and what kind of readership are you aiming for?
I hope that Salby Damned covers a multitude of genres and age ranges, it has a little of everything in it. Ideally, I’m aiming at those who wouldn’t normally read zombie books. Not least because it isn’t about zombies. It’s a feel good novel about the human ability to overcome. It was supposed to be a zombie story for grown-ups, I guess it grew from there to what it is.
What is the message you are trying to get across in your book?
This could happen. When it does, we will still survive it by looking out for each other, by caring, helping, and doing what we can to save our species.
What is your writing process like?
The title of a book will come to me while I’m trucking up the road in the middle of the night. Sometimes it’ll be a line, or even a single word. What happens next is that I write it down—then I expand. Often, I have no idea what the characters will be called, who they will be or what they will do. I try only to write and let the story take me. Only then do I follow set procedures like edits/betas and proof reads. I don’t have a set process, I have to admit. I don’t plan anything as such, it just comes to me as I drive.
How do you go about editing your story?
I do three sweep edits of my own. A Hemmingway to get rid of the clutter, then a close edit for punctuation, then a second edit for grammar etc. Then it goes to my editor, Kelly Hartigan at XterraWeb services for the pro-edit.
Where did you find your cover artist and what was the process like?
As a newbie to indie publishing, I picked a designer from the phone book. It cost a fortune but they did a good job. The cover is certainly memorable. They were efficient and good to work with, keeping me informed from start to finish. They also provided a mini site for promo purposes, the link for which is included below.
How did you go about getting published?
I self-published via Createspace for paperbacks and Amazon Kindle for the ebooks.
What was your self-publishing experience like?
Initially, a LOT of trial and error, much more of the latter. It is a complicated process not least because you have to learn how to format for both. As a relative beginner with office word, I had to learn EVERYTHING. I’m still learning now.
What are the pros and cons of self-publishing?
Besides writing your novel, you have to get a cover, you need to format your book, edit it, rewrite it, edit it again. You have to advertise it yourself, hours of promotions, sales pitches and blurbs. You’ll sell very few unless you’re extremely lucky and good at all of the above, BUT, when you get a few sales and some feedback, there is nothing can compare to how you feel. There are many pro’s and many cons, each will differ from author to author.
What were the surprises? Good or bad? If so, what were they?
My biggest surprise came from fellow indie Max Power. His 2015 awards gave Salby Damned the Recommended Read Award. I was very am very proud of that. Likewise, to get a good review from authors I know are seriously talented makes my week. As I wrote Salby Damned, the surprise came when I finished the first draft and looked at what I’d done. Never would I have thought that I would produce a book, let alone another one and a charity anthology. I owe a lot of people a lot of favours, all in good time.
How do you go about promoting your book as a self-published author?
Because I write purely for my pleasure, I don’t promote very much. If people buy my book and enjoy it, that’s good enough for me at the moment. I work full time trucking 60 hours a week, I’d rather write, build a foundation with more novels, then worry about promotion when I have a reasonable social following and with luck, a fan base.
Is there something about the whole process you wish someone had told you before? Good or bad?
The advice I’ve been given runs into pages. It would have cost me thousands to learn what I have for free thanks to friends and fellow authors of the IASD Facebook Group.
Do you have any advice for writers who want to self-publish?
Email me and I’ll bring you into the IASD Facebook Group, it’ll be the best advice I can give. Aside from that, if you have a story, write it—I and my friends will help you with the rest.
What plans do you have for the future of your writing?
I plan to write a sequel to Salby Damned, due out in August 2016. I’m also working on a paranormal title called Being Within, to be started after the above. We, the Indies For Charity Group, are also working on a 2016 edition of the You’re Not Alone charity anthology and we will do so each year, I hope.
- Facebook: http://www.iandcmoore.facebook.com
- Twitter: http:www.twitter.com/@ianstories
- Website: http://www.iandmoore.net
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Book Nano Site: http://ccdgroupftp.co.uk/im/
Ian has also been so kind as to give you a free except of his novel! If you would like to purchase it follow this link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ian-D-Moore/e/B00NDTBUQ8/