An interview with “The Bird Room” author Chad Hofmann, featured this month on SPR’s Lead Stories.
Tell us something about your book. The basics: what’s it about?
The Bird Room is 17 short stories of horror, the paranormal, and the unknown. These stories were all written over the past five years or so with one or two that date back about seven years. I had always thought about publishing all these stories into a collection and finally the came, and here it is.
How did you come to self-publish? Did you try to get published traditionally?
I almost tried to get published traditionally. When I decided to publish The Bird Room, I was looking into getting a traditional publisher, and when I read about all the work I was going to have to do just to get one, I started looking at self-publishing. I decided I could learn everything I needed to know to publish a book online and from others so I decided to cut out the middle man. It’s a lot of work, but in the end it has been a great learning experience and I can’t wait to self-publish my next book.
What self-publishing service did you use? Happy with the service?
I used Createspace for my paperback and am happy with the product and user friendliness of their site. And I published my e-book through BookBaby which I am pretty happy with. My only gripe with BookBaby is that you can’t take part in the KDP promotional deal and it takes forever for your sales to update. Otherwise I am happy with the widespread distribution options, my book can be read on basically any e-reader.
What avenues have you taken to market the book? Have you gotten reviews, interviews, TV, print media coverage?
Any avenues I can possibly find to get in touch with people who are interested in reading my book. I have gotten reviews from larger websites that you have to pay for (like Kirkus, and PW) and from smaller blogs. As for interviews I have done a pretty solid amount of interviewing as well. TV and print are harder and I haven’t had much luck with them. One editor told me they really only want people who are fairly well known. Maybe one day I will be so lucky.
What drove you to write this particular book?
It was more of a moving on thing to be honest. When I first started this it was just to get these stories out of my own hands. I kept tinkering with them here and there and it would distract me from writing anything new. So one day I decided it was time, I took them just as they were, cleaned them up a little, and put them into The Bird Room.
Is the book in any one particular genre? Is it a genre that’s familiar to you?
It’s a few different genres: Horror, Paranormal, and Sci-Fi. I like to read all of these genres and for some reason every time I put the pen to the paper it ends up being some sort of dark fiction.
Who are your greatest writing influences?
Each and every person I have ever read, from C.S. Lewis to Stephen King — and every independent author out there who hasn’t given up.
What’s your writing regimen? Any tips for keeping focused?
I just write, and when I can’t figure out what to write about or I get stuck; I grab a notebook and write about why I can’t write. Then, once I’ve thoroughly beaten down the anti-creativity wall, I write some more. As for keeping focused sometimes it’s hard, I normally try to close the internet, turn off the TV, and just put on some kind of classical music.
Any final words of advice for those looking to self-publish?
It’s never too soon to get started, even before you finish writing your book you should start learning everything you can about how to find readers and start developing those relationships. And whatever you do don’t give up, not ever.