Up Close And Personal With Ivan Stoikov.
Hello, thank you for the kind interview invitation! I hope I chose the best title for my first book Tale Of The Rock Pieces, though there were a lot of other opportunities in my head (The Adventures Of The Ancient Wizards, A Fairy-Tale Of The Ancient Times, A Young Wizard’s Tale, etc). It is a fantasy/romance/mystery/thriller story for kids from 9 till 99 years old. A story about the dangerous, yet glorious ancient times of fierce battles, amazing deeds, incredible creatures, and one of the most wonderful feelings – the LOVE with capital letters… Times, when a ten year old boy could be the only one who could save the ancient Earth from the long and dreadful dominance of the most evil human race – the horrible Brown faces…
Tell us a little bit about your writing process? What methods do you use to write and how did you make it through the grueling process of writing your book?
Actually, it was really easy for me to write my first book. I just had to remember some of my dreams when I was a kid (both those I had while sleeping and while I was awake). Combined with some events from my past (like when I met a wonderful girl with so amazing hair and appearance that later on she really helped me to create the perfect image of mermaids), plus a lot of my knowledge of animals and plants (I’m a graduate in biology), they were the base on which I build my tense plot, new, unseen characters like weightless korks, rock pieces, Fiery men, water dragons, Brown faces, one-eyed people, etc. It is a book for kids, so the text is not as complex as in some other manuscripts of mine, which was another advantage for writing it. According to my opinion, to write better one has to use everything at his/her disposal: not just the good imagination but also any event, dream, knowledge, experience he/she had… Then, the writing process becomes a really good and never-to-be-forgotten adventure! I guess the secret is to try to write that way that the story could become a part of the writer, as the writer becomes a part of the story too… I mean a writer has to laugh together with his/her characters, cry with them too, share all their mishaps, good and bad moments, etc. When our characters become our close friends (or real enemies, if they are bad and do all the evil things we could imagine), then the writing process is something we could fulfill fast and with little problems like writer’s blocks, lack of inspiration, or moments when our imagination is nowhere to be found…
Besides, to grasp the logic of the story was something that was really useful too. Once I thought up some details about my characters’ behavior, way of life, strivings, etc, it was really easy to find out all their adventures, capabilities, ways to act in difficult situations, etc. Everything in a story is connected, a writer cannot make good characters do evil stuff and the opposite… All these methods were irreplaceable when I wrote my Tale Of The Rock Pieces and helped me to finish it just for a couple of months.
Explain to us the process you took to get your book published, from formatting your manuscript to preparing it for print all the way to getting an ISBN and the book cover design.
It was not easy for me to publish my book, I’m Bulgarian, I still live in my native country and had to look for a way to publish it for a long time. After some rejections, finally I found a good self-publishing company and had to follow their guidelines to make my manuscript a real book. I had to use the services of some good friends of mine to edit my manuscript (it needed a lot of editing, actually) and transform it into a word file with the appropriate formatting and with my illustrations inserted in the proper places (all the illustrations and the cover of my book are made by me). After that, the agents from the company turned it into a PDF file with the book’s ISBN and send it to me for revision and approval.
Did you use the services of a book coach or a self publishing company to help you through the process or did you do it yourself? Tell us about your experiences.
I’m really glad I found StrategicPublishingGroup company. They gave me good tips and advices about the editing of my manuscript, formatting it and how to write a good synopsis at the back cover, or interesting gratitude lines at the beginning. They revised my entire manuscript and corrected many errors.
What would you do differently with the publishing of your next book?
I wouldn’t repeat the same mistakes I did for my first book. I would pay extreme attention for the grammatical errors I usually make, no comma would be missed on the right spots, or no comma would be added where there shouldn’t be any. My illustrations and cover will be much better, for the e-version they will be colorful and all of them will be made by programs like Photoshop and Illustrator. My promotional video will be made by better programs like flash, with much more special effects, better sound, etc
How did you market your book? Can you share some of your creative/non-conventional ways/secrets on how you sold your book?
As I live in my native country but write in English, for the present I cannot use many of the marketing strategies other authors use. Yet, the agents of StrategicPublishingGroup company gave me many advices and good tips. Using them, I could promote my book via all the methods Internet provides: social sites like facebook, myspace, sodahead, etc, posting regularly in my blogs at my site and at blogspot.com, wordpress.com, networkblogs.com, etc, commenting at sites and forums that discuss similar issues, creating some promotional videos at youtube.com, vimeo, dailymotion, etc,
Share with us the different platforms you use to sell your book (bookstores, signing, affiliate programs, website etc.).
As I cannot use some of the methods for selling, I have to accentuate on others. I sent some signed copies of my illustrations, cover and poems from my book to some friends all over the world, I use my website, blogs, etc. for promotion of my book/s, my promotional videos at youtube, vimeo, dailymotion, etc. do a good job too.
Do you use social media in book promotion, and if so, which platforms work best for you? Can you share some tricks you got making it work for you?
It turned out social media sites could be a wonderful opportunity for book promotion and selling. I have many fans already at my fan page at facebook, I usually post regularly a thought, a blog post, illustrations, etc. connected with my book. Everyday I wish a happy birthday to those friends of mine who celebrate, but not just the common greeting, it’s connected with my book/s and goes along with a greeting card which actually is a future illustration of mine: According to a book of mine, a dragon must light the birthday cakes’ candles so that one’s good wishes could become true…;) Hope my greeting card will save you the trouble to look for such a dangerous creature. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Best wishes! Let the wonderful noise of the sea always sounds in your ears! (a greeting of the water dragons’ hunters – my Tale Of The Rock Pieces).
Also, I send some of my short poems from my book/s as birthday presents, like:
Let’s watch the moon, let’s meet the sun!
Let’s hear soon the way the Deed was done!
Let’s listen to the music the shiny crystals played,
let’s welcome crowds of creatures good and great…
I also post many of my blog posts like notes, questions at the social sites like facebook, myspace, sodahead. I don’t forget to download my promotional videos there too, which could be very useful for marketing.
Care to share some numbers? How many books have you sold to date?
Well, to tell you the truth, I cannot say I sold a lot of copies from my first book. Though there is some good interest from my friends and other users at social media sites, blogs, etc, many of them are waiting to get a better copy of my book. For the present, it is available only as an e-book in PDF format, so many readers prefer to get a paperback or a Kindle version.
How was your book initially received? Has it been reviewed? What was your response to the reviews?
I haven’t received bad reviews from publishers, though I sent it to many. They didn’t accept and approve it for publishing, but usually their response was that the reason was not in my manuscript but in the tense and hard market. After reviewing it, StrategicPublishingGroup liked my manuscript but pointed out it needed a lot of editing before the publishing process to begin. Of course, I didn’t oppose to any of their suggestions and opinions, they were in this business a lot longer than me, so they were the teachers and I was the student…
How do you handle negative feedback from critics?
I am proud to announce I didn’t receive much negative reviews from readers, critics, etc. Many of the people I met liked my poems, excerpts, story, videos, etc. Only one of the youtube users told me that my book was nothing compared to Harry Potter masterpieces. I wasn’t angry, I cannot force my opinion to anyone, but explained to him that probably he didn’t read my book, otherwise he wouldn’t be so harsh… I also added that I’m fan of J.K. Rowling’s stories about the young wizard (actually, I knew so many details from the books that I won 10 tickets for the premiere of the 2nd movie in Bulgaria just answering the questions in a radio game), but my book is much better in some ways. Then, I sent him a friend request and added we could probably be good friends as in the future we could share a lot of opinions, tips, etc…
Where are some of the places where you sell your book besides through book distributors, your website, book stores etc.
For the present, I use only the site of my publisher, the links at my site, social media sites, my blogs, etc. Yet, there are many more opportunities for that the future!
Do have any future projects you’d like to tell us about?
Oh, yes, there are so many other books in my head that wait impatiently to be written too. Actually, my next The Opposite Of Magic is almost ready for publishing, but it needs a lot of editing first, and I have to make the cover and some illustrations too. Of course, I’m eager to start writing my next projects: Kids’ Funny Business, The Lord Of The Christ, Lake Mystery, Space Ghosts, A Writer’s Adventures, Space Parazites, Space Hide And Seek, The Origin of Gods, Incredible Future, A Detective’s Life, etc…
Thank you for being on Authopublisher, Ivan, and I hope to hear from you again!
You are welcome! Thank you again for the good opportunity!
For more on Ivan:
http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/TaleOfTheRockPieces.html, http://allanbard.hit.bg, http://allanbard.hpage.com, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Allan-Bard-Ivan-Stoikov-Fan-Page-Strategic-Book-Group/121092637984053,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yw3a5n00FI, http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/ivanstoikov.allanbard, http:// www.allanbard.blogspot.com, www.allanbard.wordpress.com, https://twitter.com/#!/allanbard,
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