“As for promotion and marketing, you need to know that it’s hard, it’s frustrating, and it’s time consuming. Yet it’s necessary, why go to all that effort in creating a book that you’ve poured everything you have into, only for no-one to read it?” – Kay MacLeod
Guys! Kay MacLeod is an inspiration for women, she is an author with her job and household work, she travel around 40 minutes everyday to reach her office …… amazing !
1) Hi Kay ! Tell a little bit about yourself.
Hi Prakash, and thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog.
I’m a fantasy author with a huge love for magical powers, fantastical creatures, engaging characters, and epic storylines. I’m from Nottinghamshire in England, which may or may not explain my tea addiction, and I live with my husband and my cute little tuxedo cat. When I’m not writing, thinking about writing, or promoting my writing I can usually be found attached to my PC or 3DSXL playing an engrossing RPG.
2) When and how you realised the author within?
It should’ve been obvious to me a lot earlier on, I tell you! I spent my childhood reading my way through my dad’s bookshelf and coming up with my own characters and taking them on adventures in my mind. I still have dozens of pictures that I drew of my creations during my school years, mainly of sword-wielding anthropomorphic squirrels.
I continued coming up with different concepts as I got older and in my early twenties I decided that I wanted to write one into a full story, it was still just a hobby at this point though, I have bits and pieces from that project that I will use in the future.
The true revelation came to me in church one day, when the speaker asked, ‘what are you passionate about?’ I knew the answer was fantasy and bringing my work to life, and as she spoke about doing something with what has been put inside us, I knew that I had to be an actual author, with complete works out there for people to enjoy. I released Heirs of Power two years later, going from knowing nothing about the process to self-publishing my first novel.
3) Tell us something about your books.
It’s hard to know what to pick… I think people connect with my books through the characters; the thing they usually say about The Constellation Saga is that the characters are all well-rounded and sympathetic. Kitty is a badass hunter with a sweet core, Serena is trying to hold everything together within herself and the group of heroes, and Asher is pretty antagonistic and snarky, yet you’ll probably love him!
6) What was the hardest part of writing your book “Heirs of Power”?
It was my first full novel, so just knowing how to do it was hard. It was my first time planning and developing characters, I had to figure out my chapter structure, and how to keep the story moving. I have to admit; the bit afterwards was much tougher. I didn’t realise what went into releasing a book, there are a lot of steps, with so much to learn at each point. Thankfully, I have a lot of great people who helped me out along the way.
7) Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I learnt so much. I couldn’t begin to figure out a list of things I can do now that I had no idea about before this project. The most important thing I did learn though is that I can write a novel. I can finish a book, I can do this colossal thing that I’ve been determined to do, and I can do it in a way that people enjoy and want to see more of. And that feels incredible.
8) What are your future projects?
Right now, my main project is finishing The Constellation Saga, I’m nearly done with the first draft for the second book, The Mage-Lord’s Legacy, and it will (probably) be four books long. After that I’ll be starting a huge project that has the working title ‘Tales of Orthaya.’ It’s set across a vast fantasy world and there will be different sets of novels that follow different groups of characters, similar to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series but of a more serious nature. One arc is about an ice mage that joins the magical police force in the main city of the kingdom, another follows a half-elf looking for adventure and plunder in an artifact retrieval business. There’s a lot going on and I can’t wait to get into it!
Constellation fans shouldn’t worry though, I have several ideas I’ll be making into short stories about your favourite Lucidians, and there’s a good chance that a prequel will turn up with the original Constellations in at some point.
9) How do you involve in promoting your book? Any marketing technique you want to share?
I’m still quite new to the business, so I’m taking whatever opportunities arise and experimenting to see what works. I love to appear on other author’s blogs (thank you!) and have them over to mine to help to showcase each other’s work. I’m active on social media, especially Facebook, and I love to get involved in promotions with Goodreads groups.
I’m always looking for reviewers too, a lot of people prefer to look at reviews before buying a book so having people willing to give their opinions on Amazon and Goodreads is vital. I’ve contacted book bloggers and been featured on their sites, they’ve been fantastic.
10) How you made your first book published? Share your experiences and strategies of promotion and marketing.
I self-published Heirs of Power through Amazon/Createspace, and am part of their Kindle Unlimited program. It was a steep learning curve, there’s a lot to figure out. Too much to go into here, so the main thing I recommend is to get into some indie author groups, most are incredibly supportive and will answer any questions about the process that you have.
ry everything, reach your audience, find those fans that will beg you for the next release, they are out there. Just don’t give up before you meet them.
11) Give your thoughts about traditional publishing Vs. self-publishing? Which are the publishing platforms you use to publish your books?
I think there are merits to both types of publishing, and authors that suit each one. I think that anyone that has the drive and passion to write a book is amazing and whichever is the right way for them to publish is great.
Personally, I chose self-publishing because I know that many of my tastes and ideas are not particularly mainstream, and I would be too much of a rebel if I was told to change things by a publisher! I like the freedom I have not only within my books, but with things like release dates too. I’m so busy with work, family, and church right now that I may have struggled to meet a deadline, yet when that settles down and I have more time to write I can choose to release more frequently than a publisher would allow.
So far, the only platform I’ve used is Amazon, but I may try others in the future.
12) Personally, I would like to know about social and political issues of your country? Have you ever thought to write about those or something which may be beneficial for the society or nation?
I think there’s a lot of turmoil going on in many countries right now, and that is true of England too. With issues like Brexit, the NHS, and issues in the government, there’s something for everyone to be concerned with. However, I’ve never felt the urge to write about any of these issues. My strengths lie in creating different worlds and giving people an escape into a fantasy realm where they can leave the stresses of reality behind for a while. And, as much as I believe that it is important to deal with the problems facing our country, a bit of healthy escapism is necessary for balance.
13) What advice would you want to give to an aspiring writer?
Write, read, read about writing, then write more. You improve through practice and reading what better writers have produced. Other than that, there’s no magic, nor is it something you’re just born with. If you want to write a book, just do it, come with dedication, patience, and the humility to receive criticism and you’ll go far.
Random Chit Chat
1. You admit that you are a fantasy addict, tea addict too 😊, you play Bass and you have a tech-savy husband, I don’t think that you have faced writer’s block ever. How you find your addiction, your hobby and hubby helpful in your writing career?
Haha! I think every writer struggles sometimes, I call mine writer’s knot instead of writer’s block though. I struggle most when I come up with an idea that wasn’t in the original plan and then realise that means I have to shift a million other tiny pieces around it, then spend ages untangling plot.
Tea is a very important part of my life, it is my writer’s fuel. Come to think of it, it fuels most other activities in my life too… Fantasy is something I’ve adored forever, whether it’s books, games, artwork or shows. It means that I can spend an evening playing a computer game and write it off as research
I play bass at my church on Sunday mornings, and music is great for me because it’s one of the few times that I’m not thinking about writing. Much as I thrive on my creations, it’s good to take a step away and lose yourself in the rhythm and God’s presence for a while, then come back with more focus.
And my wonderful husband! He’s so good to me, putting up with my hours poured into my work, telling people about my book, and helping out with my website and other techie bits. He’s truly amazing, I don’t know what I’d do without him.
2. When I have written my short story books, I thought that there may be number of styles in presenting the stories, like novel, story, memoir etc, so that everyone may get something as per interest. But sometimes I had negative reviews, people want elaboration while I avoid adding extra words. Have you ever faced negative reviews? How you handle those?
It’s difficult because writing is a very subjective thing, there will always be some people that dislike your work. I didn’t particularly enjoy the Harry Potter books, and I know that the majority of readers would gasp in horror at that, but everyone has their own tastes.
I resigned myself to this fact before I released my book and I critiqued myself hard to prepare for them. I understand where my weaknesses are, and I’m working at improving in those areas, so if someone were to mention it I wouldn’t be hurt, I’d understand their point.
It’s important to remember that most negative reviews are an opinion, and nothing to change your whole style over. Someone mentioned that they though my novel was too slow-paced, yet there are also reviews saying it was fast-paced. In this case, I think readers are comparing it to other books they’ve read, so again it doesn’t bother me too much, I’m just happy they read my work and took time to share their opinion.
3. I am a management professional with hectic schedule of working for ten hours every day. Usually I write during travel to distant places to utilise those forty hours of journey by train. I use table only to format my manuscript. You are a working women. How you manage your time to write your books? What is your writing process and place of writing?
I manage with great difficulty! I work full-time, with a 40 minute walk to my job, so any time before or after my shift is usually crammed with as much writing or promotion as I can fit it. I like to take a week off work and just blast out a chapter a day to make good progress now and again too. Or I can be found with either a laptop or my phone typing away whenever I’m out and about and have a spare few minutes. It has to be a relentless pursuit to finish, sometimes I wish I was the type of author to churn out 50K novels but I had to go and fall for 130K epics, didn’t I?
My typical writing process is sitting in my office at my PC with a cup of tea at my side and my cat sleeping across one arm, it makes typing hard but you can’t move something that cute!
4. I started writing for newspapers in the year 1990. But stopped writing in 1996. Again, when I became active on Facebook, I came to know about Rhonda Byrne and “The Secret” inspired me to become a published author and my thoughts on social, political and religious issues helped me a lot in writing my books. Where from you got inspiration for writing books?
I’ve been immersed in fantasy all my life, my dad introduced to books like The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings when I was a young child, and my parents always had beautiful unicorn, fairy and dragon art. I was always interested in RPGs like Final Fantasy, Baldur’s Gate and Never winter Nights. Then I moved onto playing pen and paper Dungeons and Dragons when I was a teenager, where I experienced my first taste of building a world and storyline for other people to interact with. I got into the card game Magic: The Gathering around that time, and loved to read the stories that went with the cards, and find out about the worlds they took place in.
I couldn’t say that anything specifically from them influenced me, other than the desire to create something that others would love as much as I loved my hobbies.
5. I think a personal Facebook profile and book pages are useful to get well connected with readers. You have an author page and personal profile too. How effective you found that?
Here’s something not many people know- I didn’t have any kind of social media before I became an author! I’m so glad I do now, because I’ve met so many great people, both authors and readers, and it’s a real honour to get to connect with them. It makes my day to see people getting excited with me about my work, and talking to me about what they are doing.
6. What do you do when someone follow you on Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon or Facebook? How actively you are involved with your readers and followers? I usually follow back and start reading them to learn something new or creative. I have seen some people like or follow someone and unfollow later.
I love to get new followers, and I always follow back. The only time I mute or unfollow them afterwards is if their content is explicit and something I prefer not to see. Even if it’s an author that writes in a genre I don’t read, I still like to cheer on their wins and encourage them.
My followers are awesome, we have a lot of fun and they are super supportive. I do daily getting to know you questions on my Facebook page so that my readers can learn more about who I am, and they get to leave their answer to the question so I find out more about them too. I got my community to vote on which character from my book they would like to see an interview with, and I share pictures of my latest game purchases and giant boxes of tea…
7. I think Indie authors may get advantage of mutual help rather than unknown reviewer, critique or blogger and it may be a great promotional tool to interview, to have guest posts or to review each other. Adding books to goodreads shelf and review or discussion may be a free promo tool for Indies. I think Indie authors must be in regular touch with each other through e-mail or social media. What do you think?
It’s certainly easier to have the support of other indies, and it’s a wonderful community. Many of my greatest promotional opportunities and reviews have come through connections with other authors. Sharing each other’s posts on social media isn’t just a way to help the author though, it also means that readers have the chance to pick up something they may never have found otherwise.
8. I never used any paid service for cover design, formatting, editing, marketing or even web designing. What about you?
I did pay for my cover design, mainly because I don’t have time to learn that skill for myself, and I most likely will continue to until I get to the point where I can work less hours. I do personally know my editor but there was no way I was letting her go through a manuscript of that size without paying her!
9. Kay ! Do you think that readers prefer traditionally published books over self published? What may be negative or harmful for the image of an Indie author?
Like authors, readers are all individual. I’ve met those that swear by indies, saying they only read self-published books because they want to support the art. Then there are people that avoid anything that isn’t traditionally published as they believe it can’t be the same quality. I’m the type of reader that doesn’t think to check, if I like the sound of something, I’ll go for it.
Indies do sometimes get viewed negatively, and that’s because there are books out there that aren’t up to scratch. I think it’s unfair to judge anyone by someone else’s work though, and there’s usually enough on Amazon’s ‘look inside’ function to see if it’s a book you could enjoy.
10) I have got some good friends on Goodreads and you are the best among them. I learned a lot from you. What would you like to share about your experiences?
That’s so sweet of you to say, thank you! I’m honoured to have you as a friend. I just want to say that no matter how tough this journey’s been, it’s so worth it. If anything, it’s made me want to work harder and achieve more. I honestly believe that if you have a story in you, you should share it, and with the rise of self-publishing there’s no reason for you not to. Just having someone read it and say, ‘when’s the next one out?’ is the greatest feeling, and there are people out there that are dying to read a book just like yours!
11) How can readers discover more about you and your works?
Please come and visit me at any of the links below, I have interviews, reviews, and other interesting stuff on my website, including the first five chapters of Heirs of Power for free in the ‘books’ section.
Oh, and come join in my daily Facebook questions, I’d love to meet you all.
Thanks for having me, I’ve enjoyed it so much!
Kay! I am sure this is the longest interview you had ever. OMG! So many questions!!
Wish You all the best !