MARTIN CROSBIE: THE STORY OF THE DEAD LIST ACTUALLY HAPPENED
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Martin Crosbie made his dream-come-true in self-publishing. His efforts and success were covered by Amazon’s press release, Publisher’s weekly, Forbes Online and Mail newspaper. The author’s debut novel My Temporary Life was downloaded 150 000 times. On November 10 he released his latest book The Dead List.
Our next guest was born in Scotland, but now lives in Canada. It’s a great pleasure to introduce Martin Crosbie.
– Martin, what is your book The Dead List about?
– It’s so difficult to talk about The Dead List without giving away key plot elements, but I’ll try. It’s a story of a rookie policeman who is stationed in a small Canadian town. He has a past that doesn’t fit with an inexperienced officer. When he is called out to investigate a dead body lying in the street he knows the man has been murdered. But, he can’t reveal how he knows. And from there, the plot thickens.
– How did you decide to write the story of John Drake series?
– The main part of the story actually happened. I met a man many years ago who had made an agreement with his friends (the vagueness is for your own good, believe me), and he was the last man standing. I always wanted to incorporate the man’s story into a novel. It took me years to put all the pieces together. I think my friends and family got tired of hearing me tell them about this great idea I had for a new novel. It was nice to finally tell the complete story.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– This is a police procedural novel and I wanted the story and flow and process to be believable. I dislike predictable films or books. Real life and good literature is so much more interesting than much of the material that’s presented to us. I enlisted the help of several police officers who were kind enough to school me in procedures and terminology. Not all of the facts are entirely accurate. In order to advance the story I had to occasionally step away from police procedures, but most of it is presented in the way that a police investigation would unfold. I’m very thankful to the officers who took the time to help me.
– Tell us something more about your main character John Drake? Is he close to someone from your real life?
– This is the first novel in the John Drake series. Some of Drake’s history is alluded to in the first book. The second book visits his past life and shows who he really is. Some readers of my previous novels have figured out who he really is. I’m looking forward to revealing who John Drake used to be in the second book (out in 2016).
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– The story bounced around in my head while I was writing my last three novels. The actual writing time once I knew where I was going was nine months. Then, I submitted to Amazon’s Kindle Scout program. Within 45 days they released it.
– My Temporary Life became a big hit. Did you except at the beginning that the novel will be so successful?
– Yes, and no. I think we have to believe in our work. We have to have the dream that we’re going to connect with hundreds of thousands of readers. If we don’t have that dream then why push forward? We have to believe that there are readers (lots of readers) for our stories. My Temporary Life was rejected by agents and publishers. Lots of agents and publishers. But, beta-readers kept telling me how much they enjoyed the story, and they wanted more. So, I thought I’d written a pretty good book. I believed in my work, but I also realized how many books (even back in 2011) were being published every day. So, during the day I kept a lid on my expectations but, and this applies to every new novel I release, I was hopeful that it would connect with a lot of readers. Fortunately, I was right.
– Who are you (Would you describe yourself with few sentences)?
– I’m the guy in school who was always writing stories. Then, I took a twenty-five year break and started up again. Today I’m very fortunate that some of my income comes from my books and I’ve been able to develop some good friendships with many of my readers.
– What are your writing habits?
– I think we all have times during the day when the muse speaks to us a little more directly. My most creative times seem to be late afternoon and then well into the evening, sometimes even in to the next day.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your book?
– I just wrote an article about gratitude. Every time I see a new sale appear on my dashboard I do indeed realize that somewhere a reader has gone into their wallet and paid for my work. It truly is a great time to be a writer, and it’s an honor to receive money for something I enjoy doing so much. But, if I were satisfied I may as well stop. I always want to reach more readers and receive input and try to keep becoming a better writer.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– Other than the normal channels I’m also reaching out to the tourism boards of the towns where the story takes place. They have helped me with some mentions on Twitter and hopefully that relationship will give me a new avenue to connect with readers. And, I’ve decided the best thing I can do to promote this book is to write the next one. I really don’t like it when I read the second or third book of a series and keep comparing it to the first book and saying that it doesn’t measure up. My goal is to make every book in the series better and more interesting for the reader than the preceding book.
– When we will see your next novel and would you unveil something more about it?
– I’m very fortunate in that I receive requests frequently from readers asking about the third book in the My Temporary Life trilogy. I revisited the work I’ve put into the draft (over the past three years) recently and I was surprised to find that I like what I’ve done. I guess Stephen King is right. We should shelf our projects and revisit them later on. My goal is to release the third book in the trilogy and the second John Drake book in 2016.
– You described your self-publishing experience in two books How I Sold 30 000 eBooks on Amazon’s Kindle and Indies Unlimited. What are the top 3 most important advises that you may give to future authors, who want to self-publish?
– Don’t rush it. Make sure you have told the best story you possibly can. I endlessly preach about utilizing beta readers. Do it. Make sure your story is ready.
Hire a professional editor. Self edit, yes, but then, after beta reads, use a professional editor.
Write whenever you can. Blog, write articles, accept interview request. It all helps make us better writers.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– What’s the most satisfying thing that’s happened to you since you self-published? I’ve had several occasions where I’ve been able to witness readers talking about my books. Not just talking about them in general, but discussing character motivations and plot twists. Once, I had a message on Twitter from a new follower who began by asking me why one of the characters in My Temporary Life did what they did. My first book sold a lot of copies. Including free giveaways it’s been downloaded now almost two hundred thousand times (yes, I’m very fortunate). When those numbers started happening it was surreal in a way. It was a wonderful experience but it was difficult to mentally imagine someone just sitting and reading my work. When I see in forums or receive a message like the one on Twitter it makes it real again. It takes it back to how it’s supposed to be. I write stories and (hopefully) readers read them. As writers, that’s all we really want, isn’t it.
Take a look at his books:
How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on Amazon’s Kindle
The Dead List (A John Drake Mystery)
My Temporary Life-Book One of the My Temporary Life Trilogy
My Name Is Hardly-Book Two of the My Temporary Life Trilogy