David Kazzie, a lawyer from Virginia, USA, author of three successful novels, releases his new science-fiction thriller, Anomaly, in early December.
Thank you for joining me today David. Did you grow up in Virginia?
Yes, Norfolk, Virginia. My parents immigrated here from Lebanon many years ago. They always intended to take us back to Lebanon to live when I was small, but the civil war made that impossible. Eventually, in the mid-80s, when I was about 12, they decided to remain in the U.S., much to my relief. I’ve visited a number of times, mostly during the not-very-fun times of the 1980s – several times we were there when heavy fighting broke out in and around my mom’s hometown.
What kind of law do you practice?
I work for the state of Virginia and prosecute disciplinary cases against healthcare professionals that are licensed by the state. I’ve worked there for almost nine years and I must say it’s a pretty fascinating job.
Do you have an ambition to become a full-time author?
Ha, yes! I think about this a lot. If I were able to sell a lot of books in a short amount of time (I mean, A LOT of books) that would help replace several years’ worth of salary, then I might consider it. Probably ten years’ worth. So, in short it would take a lot to convince me to make a go of it.
What would be your advice to new writers who think they have a book in them?
You have to make time to do it. I hear from many well-meaning people who say they would write a book if they only had the time. Believe me, it’s hard. Half the time I would rather be doing something else. But you find time. In the car at your kid’s practice. Late at night. Early in the morning.
Can you tell me all about Anomaly and how it come about?
It’s a science fiction thriller, in the vein of the recent movies ARRIVAL and INTERSTELLAR, with a little bit of the TV show LOST mixed in. I thought I had a cool story. I had not written straight up science fiction before, but I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.
Twelve years after her first husband disappeared on a research mission to a remote island, astrobiologist Claire Hamilton discovers that he may still be alive and that he had actually gone to investigate an extraterrestrial artefact, not a meteor, as NASA had told her years ago. Now NASA has asked her to join a new mission to the island.
What were the biggest challenges when writing?
Understanding the scientific concepts enough to be able to at least sound like I know what I am talking about, even though I really don’t! I’m probably more worried about this book than any other. Science fiction gives you a lot of flexibility, but you have to be consistent through the story world. I had ten people read this manuscript – far more than I usually do.
You self-publish your books. Other than getting the words onto the page what would you say was the most difficult part of the process?
Yes, all my books are self published. The biggest challenge is marketing. My books had all but disappeared from the Kindle store. I finally started advertising on Facebook this year, and it has made a big difference.
I now have a marketing plan. I had previously stuck to a silly belief that eventually people would discover my books and I would live happily ever after. I’ve had success in the past, but it had been a long time, I was barely selling any books at all. This summer, I took a course called Ads for Authors by British thriller author Mark Dawson a few months ago and started running ads in August. It has made all the difference. I went from selling roughly zero books per day to more than 50 per day, some days more than that.
You’re the second person to recommend Mark Dawson’s course, with British bestselling author Adam Croft calling it life changing.
I do recommend checking out the Ads course. I do think it works for some genres work better than others, but I have no complaints. The bigger and more commercial the genre, the better I think someone will do.
Can you tell me about your experience of using social media advertising?
Facebook advertising has been my go to. I use a short piece of ad copy to advertise The Immune Omnibus Edition (basically my flagship book), and an apocalyptic-looking image from FB’s stock images. Then I target audiences I think will like post apocalyptic books. These posts show up in the target’s audience newsfeeds and I’ve been lucky to see a good chunk click on the ad, which takes them to the Amazon page, and a good number end up buying it.
How do you measure your success?
That’s a hard question. It depends on the day you ask. Some days, it’s when I’ve sold a lot of books. Others, it’s when someone tells me they were up half the night reading. That’s actually the best measure. I’ve written something that has convinced someone to sacrifice sleep! How cool is that!!
If you enjoyed this interview then why not follow my blog where I’ll be posting more interviews soon. I regularly provide an insight into my own experiences as I publish my debut novel, In The End, an apocalyptic thriller that will leave you breathless, available to pre-order now.
If you’re an author, or work in the industry and you’ve got an interesting story to tell, drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org