Today, we interviewed Joseph R. Lallo, author of the epic fantasy Book of Deacon series, as well as steampunk, science fiction, and super hero novels. He’s been self-publishing since 2010, and he’s really rocked it with his Book of Deacon series (over 1,000 reviews on the first title at Amazon). He recently quit his day job to write full time.
Among other things, we discussed:
How Jo has used permafree to sell his series (and how he’s kept it selling well for over four years)
The importance of cover art and some of the difficulties of finding killer covers in science fiction and fantasy (i.e. is it better to go with custom illustrations, photo manipulation, or symbol-based designs)
How helpful writing and publishing in a series can be for getting to that point where you earn a steady income
What’s working in marketing right now
Making plush toys (and other merchandise) out of book characters (or dragons/familiars/pets) from your stories and whether there’s any money to be made merchandising these things.
Do authors need to file for copyright? What should you look out for when it comes to contracts with publishers? Do you need an agent to handle foreign rights and contracts or is it better to hire an ip attorney? What should you establish upfront before co-authoring a book or series with another writer?
We talked about these questions and more tonight with our guest, urban fantasy author Laura Kirwan. Laura used to be an attorney but is now focusing on her fiction. We pumped her for lots of information on the legal issues authors (especially independent authors) often wonder about, and we also discussed her experiences with KDP Select and writing for (and marketing to) a specific age group with your fiction (hint: Laura’s protagonist is not an 18-year-old orphan destined to save the world).
Do you need to file for copyright for your novel, and if so, how do you do it?
For indie authors, should you create an LLC or other entity to “protect yourself” or are you OK writing and publishing as yourself?
If you decide to take a traditional publishing contract or pursue a hybrid model (some books traditionally published and some books self-published), what should you look out for on those contracts? (i.e. getting rights back in the future, non-compete clauses that could prevent you writing in the same genre, what happens if you don’t earn out your advance?)
If someone comes along and wants to buy your foreign rights in such-and-such-country, do you need to hire an agent or is an IP attorney a better choice?
Do you have any legal recourse if you sign with a publisher or business partner in a foreign country and they don’t follow through?
The things you want to establish before co-authoring a book/series with another author.