Welcome to Day 4 of #NJ12DaysOfAuthors (May) Series! @Jake_Mical #IntoTheInk
At the end of this series, 1 lucky visitor will win a (12) Kindle e-book pack which will include a copy of each book featured in this series + a $10 Amazon gift card! Simply leave a comment below to be entered into the drawing!
On the fourth day of the May “12 Days of Authors” Series… Nonnie’s gift to you…
AUTHOR, JACOB MICAL!
My name is Jacob Mical and my love affair with literature began, as many others did, when I read the Lord of the Rings for the first time. My love of those books, and others like it, inspired me to want to write my own stories. My first work, The Death of Kale, was an exploratory work, not only as my first foray into writing a novel, but also telling a story that was near and dear to my heart. My most recent work, Into the Ink, is more of an adventure and I am quite proud of it.
NJ: Hi, Jacob! Let’s get right into this chat! Is your author name a pen name or your birth name?
Jacob: Birth name
NJ: How long have you been writing?
Jacob: I actually wrote a short book in grade school that is on an old hard drive and worked intermittently on various projects over the years, but I began seriously writing in 2016 with intent to publish.
NJ: Give us a little background on your featured book today, INTO THE INK.
Jacob: The idea was born from the simple thought: “What if characters in novels/stories were aware of their nature as characters?” This evolved as I thought about which characters in which stories would be the most interesting to consider their self-awareness and that became a major theme in the novel. When I decided that in order to present this the best way would be to put my own characters in front of popular story characters, the ball was moving and rolled quite smoothly all the way down the hill! So Kash, Wilson, and Radcliffe travel to a number of different stories and meet some familiar characters such as Merlin, Zeus and Sherlock Holmes. However, when Morgana is accidentally released from her eternal prison, they must find a way to keep her from stealing their power and changing things in her novels thus damaging literary history and by extension the history of the world as we know it.
NJ: Where can readers purchase your book and how much is it?
Jacob: Into the Ink is on Amazon for $19.99 in paperback and $9.99 for the e-book.
NJ: I have been in this business long enough to know that quite a few readers have a purchase price point and will only spend so much on an e-book. How do you price your books and what is your logic behind the pricing?
Jacob: The only real thoughts I had about pricing were just what I thought the book was worth. What would I be willing to pay for this? I was really hoping to do well the first time and so focused on a lower price in an attempt to make it more attractive. However, with Into the Ink, I am very proud of it and know it is worth the price I am asking for it.
NJ: Jacob, before any RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB members come along and offer their sage advice on pricing, let me just save them the extra steps. We all feel that our books are worth so much more than what we know we will “have” to price them at for them to sell. In all honesty, you have to be a seasoned author, OR an author with a book so good that word of mouth about it is so strong, that everyone wants to run out and grab a copy to see what the buzz is about. When pricing books, especially e-books, you have to ask yourself those all important questions… do I want to get maybe 1 or 2 sells from this book priced at a higher price point, or do I want to get many book sells with it priced at a lower price point? Whether you will ever hear it spoken, many won’t purchase an e-book priced over $2.99 or $3.99 unless you’re a celebrity or a very well-known writer. That’s just the truth of the matter. I notice that your book was recently published on April 16th but you haven’t gotten any reviews yet. Since I’m deep into this advice right now, let me go even further and give you an example of why I mention that. One of our members of the RRBC, recently published her book, THE EDGE OF FEAR, on April 21, 5 days after yours. Her page count isn’t that far from yours but her e-book is priced at $.99 and already it has 2 reviews. I know that’s partially because it is currently an RRBC BOOK OF THE MONTH and RRBC has a built-in reader base when members put their books in the catalog. But, even with those two reviews, I know she has sold so many more copies of it already and those reviews will start rolling in shortly. I know, because it’s sitting on my Kindle waiting for me to read and review it and others have mentioned that they have purchased it. So, my advice would be to drop the cost of your book, and promote it under that price drop. I would also take advantage of Amazon’s 5 day FREE promo feature that they have and maybe take your book on a blog tour to push the FREE downloads during that 5-day period. (Check out 4WillsPub blog tours, if you’d like). Just some tips that would probably enable you to see your book move in a positive direction. Now, let’s get back to the interview. I got on Twitter many years ago because my social media manager at the time, told me that I needed to be on Twitter. He did not give me an actual reason as to why (I had to learn my “why” on my own), just that I needed to be there. What was your main reason for getting on Twitter? For support? For fun?
Jacob: I got on Twitter at the behest of another as well, someone who is quite successful and mentioned that the author community was quite wonderful. I am on social media for support and to get my name out there!
NJ: Jacob, another bit of advice… those in the Twitter community really like to know that you’re on Twitter to reciprocate support so when you say “I am on social media for support and to get my name out there,” you might want to add that you’re also there to support others, as well. I share that bit of advice for any other interviews you might do. What other social media platforms do you use to market your book(s), and have you found them to be beneficial?
Jacob: I also market on Instagram and Facebook. I am on LinkedIn as well but am less active. I have absolutely found these to be beneficial. My efforts on Instagram have already resulted in miles more exposure and support than I had when I published the first time.
NJ: Supporting others is a huge part of my identity. I believe that when you invest your time and support into others, you find that your circle grows by leaps and bounds of others giving the same to you. When I first got involved heavily on Twitter, I was pushing others more than I was pushing myself – I continue to do so. Do you support others on social media? If so, how?
Jacob: I always do my best to support others. I know how much it means to me when others share and post and retweet my work. Therefore, I reciprocate as much as possible. Since I am relatively new to Twitter I have yet to learn many strategies, but my main tactic is to read, like, and retweet pinned tweets of author pages and supportive accounts as well as any others that fall in my areas of interest. I mainly am trying to be a part of the author communities on each platform. I am open to collaborations that aim to reach as many eyes as possible not only for my books but yours as well.
NJ: Jacob, since you mentioned that you’re fairly new to Twitter, check out this post on the RRBC site, “ARE YOU A TWEETER-DEE OR, ARE YOU JUST A TWEETER-DUM-DUM?” There are some amazing tips there on how to get around Twitter and become a better supporter. Do you actually take the time to read tweets from others before you retweet them, or do you just hit “retweet” without ever engaging in the tweet?
Jacob: I will be honest, I move fast most of the time and only skim most of them, but I read quickly so when a title or cover catches my eye, I slow down enough to take a closer look. I will click through to read the full description or perhaps peruse a blog from time to time, however.
NJ: Jacob, thanks for being honest. We’re all extremely busy, so I’ll offer this bit of advice, as well. I believe in Karma strongly – you know, what goes around comes back around, so, if you want others to take the time to engage with your tweets and learn more about your books and what you have going on, slow down and take the time to engage with the tweets of others. If you visit the blog post above, you will quickly begin to slow down on Twitter as you might find yourself re-tweeting something that could embarrass you greatly, or even put a dent in your reputation as an author. What you give is what you get, but you have to stay true to that, even when no one is watching. Moving along – if you could map out the perfect way that you would want others to support you on social media, how would you ask your followers to support you? Just imagine that everyone who reads this interview will run out and follow you. How could they best support you? What would you have them do?
Jacob: The best way to support me is to keep up with the things I post and participate in the interactive posts that I do. In this way the people, accounts, and authors that find themselves in my posts and stories will grow as one and each time a new person joins this chain, every person gains another loyal follower.
NJ: One of the main reasons for my “12 Days of Authors” Series, is so that people can begin to focus on making more intimate and beneficial connections. By my introducing readers and authors to new readers and other authors, a more meaningful relationship is garnered simply by my sharing more about you and how you operate. It’s not all about gaining followers. You could have a million followers, yet, only 10 of those are interacting with the information you’re sharing on Twitter. And, how many are actually running out to purchase your book? (I know, I see this all the time. There are those who think that simply because they have a massive following, they have arrived. That’s hogwash!) You have to become engaged in what others are doing for them to want to become engaged in what you are doing. This process works only one way – when you show others that you are just as concerned about them succeeding as you are about your own success, that’s when you can call your followers “loyal” because, as is the culture of the RRBC, our members will bend over backwards to help you succeed when they know you are in our community to support others and not just yourself.
Jacob, we all learn something new almost every day while on social media and I like sharing what I have learned with other authors, in hopes that it will benefit them in some way. Have you come across any writing resources that might benefit other authors?
Jacob: All of the things I am learning on social media are more geared towards advancing my following on each platform. As far as writing resources, there are a number of people with “how to” posts, but I think the most helpful posts are motivational ones. On days when you can’t even imagine opening your laptop to write a single word but you see that your followers or that one person who you really support and look up to posts something about hustling and working hard it always seems to bolster the resolve and help motivate.
Can you share with our audience 2 or 3 of the top methods you use to market your books?
Jacob: I think my most effective method of marketing my own books is my willingness to share others’ work. As far as Instagram goes, I have approached my content strategy such that I am trying to attract a wide and diverse audience by showing who I am across the board. So, my posts are not just about my books. Of course, I am out there shouting out my work often on stories and posts, but I am also introducing the reader to who I am through my adventure posts and different joke posts and random stories. I have grown on social media quicker than I thought possible by being present and giving it time and application. Into the Ink has already performed better (at least online) than The Death of Kale due completely to my daily efforts on Instagram and now Twitter.
NJ: What is the one bit of writing advice you would give to any author, experienced or newbie?
Jacob: The greatest advice on writing I have ever come across is not actually my own but it has inspired me and I always refer back to it when I am frustrated or stuck. R. A. Salvatore once said when asked this same question: “If you can stop writing and put it aside and be ok with not completing your writing projects and endeavors then do it! Writing is a tough business, but if you can’t, if you are inexorably compelled to finish your stories…then you are a writer.
NJ: Is your reputation as a writer important to you, OR, might we look up one day and find that you are in a Twitter brawl with someone?
Jacob: My reputation is certainly important to me, but I do not take myself too seriously. I will not be engaging in any “twitter brawls” either. My time on social media is too precious to waste in such a manner.
NJ: In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between the writers you see today around social media, versus the writers of old? (Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, even Stephen King)
Jacob: I think there is more stylistic bravado in writers of old. I think there is more attention paid to grammatical methodology and structure. There seems to be more emphasis on making stories riveting and captivating these days. Authors of olden days seem more confident that readers will love their work because the writing is exquisite as opposed to telling a story that tuns the pages and reads at a fast pace. A perfect example is Huck Finn vs The Davinci Code. Mark Twain was unperturbed with what the style of his writing did to the story, in fact I imagine he thought it furthered the drama. Dan Brown wants you to read his book in one sitting.
NJ: I like your take on that. Good response. Jacob, do you value professionalism in the literary arena and worry that the lack thereof makes it harder for those of us who wish to be taken seriously in this business? Or, does the unprofessional behavior of some around social media not bother you at all?
Jacob: I think the unprofessional behavior on social media comes with the territory and I do not let it bother me. I think there are enough readers out there, even on social media, that can recognize serious authors from those who aren’t. I do value professionalism to a point. If you’re querying agents or publishers then sure, professionalism is important because that is what they are looking for but on social media, at least for authors, it is (or should be) about connecting. Sometimes, being too professional can be boring. Without being abrasive, crude, or antagonistic it is possible to connect with people through silliness, jokes, comedy, zany anecdotes and wild behavior that is memorable. Making people smile is a surefire way to be remembered.
NJ: Hmmmm… first, I don’t think there is anything boring about being professional – also, being professional does not mean that you can’t laugh or make others laugh, or even let your hair down at times. Professionalism entails more on a different and greater scale. Professionalism is how you handle yourself when someone has given you a poor review of your book. Do you respond negatively to those reviews? Do you run around crying to others that someone gave you a bad review, or do you thank them for taking the time to read and review your book and you move on? Professionalism is how you choose to engage when someone attacks you on social media. Do you respond in kind or do you choose to ignore the negativity? Professionalism is caring about your reputation and the associations you are aligned with online. So, as I stated above, there’s a lot more to it than just choosing to not make a spectacle of yourself publicly. Now that wild behavior you mentioned, well, that’s a horse of a different color, as they say. No wild behavior for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to have fun, but, wild, not for me professionally speaking. Jacob, if you have ever received any, how do you handle not-so-flattering reviews of your book(s)?
Jacob: I try not to take it personally by reminding myself that there are billions of people on the planet and it is simply ludicrous to think that every one of them will enjoy my work.
NJ: Good for you. Do you appreciate honesty regarding your writing because you know that only honest feedback allows you to grow as a writer, or, are you one of those who would prefer that others lie to you and tell you only what they know you want to hear?
Jacob: I certainly enjoy honesty because telling me what they think I want to hear does nothing. I am genuinely interested in whether someone enjoys my writing. My growth as a writer is paramount and my editor is quite liberal with her red pen for which I can only be immensely grateful.
NJ: Jacob, thank you for allowing me to share so much advice with you today. It was all meant to assist you along the way.
OTHER QUICK FACTS ABOUT JACOB…
- Full-time writer
- Writes under Fantasy and Fictions genres. “I loves to write what I read.”
- 2 books published to date (The Death of Kale and Into the Ink)
- Into the Ink is my favorite of the two. It’s an adventure that takes you for a ride while exploring an idea and/or opportunity that I would cherish to have if it were something I could do myself.
FOLLOW JACOB ON…
Facebook: Mical Books
Guests, thank you so much for dropping by to support Jacob on Day 4 of the May “12 DAYS OF AUTHORS” Series! It would be awesome if you would pick up a copy of his book above, and after reading, share your review to Amazon. Ensure that you leave him a comment below, and also LIKE his feature before you leave, for your chance to win the grand prize package listed above! We’d both appreciate it if you would share his feature to Twitter and Facebook, as well.
To follow along with the rest of the features in this series, visit the “12 DAYS OF AUTHORS” home page! There will be a new feature tomorrow! I’d also love it if you would #follow my site, as well as following me on Twitter @NonnieJules, as my truest joy is in service to others. I’d love to support you, too!
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