Today I’m interviewing D.G. Torrens, a bestselling hybrid author and poet. She’s written and published eighteen books over the last ten years and is currently penning book nineteen, Full Circle, due for release June 2020.
Her first book, Amelia’s Story, has been downloaded over 500,000 times worldwide. Amelia’s Story is the author’s true-life story and was never intended for publication – originally, she wrote it for her daughter. Then she went on to write military romance, romantic suspense, romantic drama, contemporary romance novels and poetry books.
How are you published? Why have you chosen that model?
I am a hybrid author. Originally, I started out as an indie author (by choice) I like to have complete control of what/how/where… Also, the 70 percent royalties as an indie author are very attractive. As time progressed, I built my author brand and gained a loyal reader base.
My first book, Amelia’s Story, was the catalyst from indie to hybrid. It became a number #1 Amazon bestseller in (paid) bestsellers lists and remained there for quite some time. Then it made movers and shakers on Amazon, attracting the attention of my now literary agent, Hershman Rights Management. HRM offered me a deal and I took it! They secured an audio publishing deal for my Amelia Trilogy and the rest is history as they say.
How did you learn about book publishing? Are there any tips you’d like to share with readers?
I got into the business over ten years ago. I was a complete novice and literally taught myself from scratch.
It was daunting at first, learning the publishing industry with no knowledge base, to begin with. However, I did my research, paid attention to what other authors were doing. I also joined various organisations and groups that were publishing based. I gained a great deal of knowledge that way.
I connected with many great authors from around the world and was not afraid to ask questions. Those authors are still great friends today and we help each other through cross-promotion. The key was research and paying attention to the ever-changing industry.
How did you get started and was there any specific event that was the trigger to your writing career?
I started writing at a very young age, around nine years old to be specific. I loved to write short stories and poetry.
This was a way for me to escape from my unwelcome reality at that time. I would transport myself into a fictional world when things got tough. My love for writing and storytelling grew and grew.
I decided to write my autobiography for my daughter, Lilliah. So that she could better understand her mother’s journey. Originally, Amelia’s Story was never intended for publication. It became my No #1 bestseller and remains so to this day.
How are your books distributed and where do you find most of your readers?
My books are distributed through Amazon. My audio books through Amazon/audible.com/bookstores.
What forms of marketing do you use to reach and engage with readers?
This is a very popular question that I am asked often!
I use many forms of marketing. My marketing and promotion schedule is ever-changing. I use social media a great deal, you would be surprised how many sales I get from Twitter for example.
Building your fan base takes time though. I have almost 30k followers on twitter and this is growing all the time. I use a virtual assistant to help manage my feed as it would be impossible to write as much as I do and maintain all of my social media engagements.
Staying relevant is key, post often, share other authors’ work and they will reciprocate. Cross-promotion is a great way to promote and gain new fans as well as sales along the way.
I do have a strategy though, with so many published books (18 in total).
I rotate my marketing and promotion of them by using paid book promotion sites to offer discounted books for short periods of time. This is very effective especially if you have two/three/four books in a series. By reducing the cost or offering it for free for a limited time, this increases downloads ten-fold, then if the readers enjoy the first book in the series they will go on to buy the second and third at full price.
So, I often use book #1 in any series as a loss leader and this has proven to be amazingly successful for me over the years. The key is to find the right paid promotional sites that deliver. There are many out there and I have tried and tested all of them. I have now narrowed it down to a select few that always deliver and never disappoint.
What marketing has been most successful for you? Why do you think that is?
This is tough because so many marketing ideas have proved successful.
If you as an author are lucky enough to be selected by Bookbub.com for a promotion – wow! This is a total game changer. You can receive upwards of 30 to 50,000 downloads in just 48 hours. I have run many promotions with them and they have all been very successful.
However, if you have a limited budget this can be very costly as for a one day promotion this can cost anywhere between £500 to £2,000 depending on what package you select. But trust me it is worth every penny. The money you make back in sales is huge.
I use many companies to advertise my books and promote them. I don’t think it is just one particular thing. It is a combination of things, cross-promotion, SMM, advertising, paid promotions, giveaways, author events, and so on. I am a hardened marketer for sure. I spend as much time marketing as I do writing.
You have to remember and I quote, ‘If no one knows about your books, then how can you expect them to sell?”
No one else will do it for you. So you have to be proactive in this department. I am also keen on branding. I always advise new authors to concentrate on building their brand.
How do you keep in touch with your readers?
I am very prolific with my social media engagement, FB author page, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. I do giveaways for my readers often. I attend many book signings around the country.
But one thing I always do is respond to each and every message I receive from my readers/fans. They have taken the time to read my book and message me, the least I can do is show my appreciation and respond.
Is there any marketing you’ve done that didn’t work for you?
Yes, as I mentioned earlier, I have tried and tested everything and not everything works. Everyone has their own set budget for marketing and promoting and it is important to use it effectively.
There are some book promotion companies out there that will promise you the world and produce the exact opposite. You have to find what works for your genre. What works for one genre may not necessarily work for another.
Do you have any tips on reaching an audience and building an army of fans?
This is another question that I am frequently asked!
Be present, stay relevant and engaged with your SM followers. Share the right content, retweet, comment and do polls that will encourage your readers to participate in.
It has taken me years to build my loyal fan base (around 60,000 across my SM sites). Follow the people on SM that will benefit you and you will benefit them too. You can learn from them as they can from you.
I share advice and tips with new authors, answer questions from readers about my books and writing process. The more engaged you are the more fans you will have. It is important to point out that an author should never become blasé once they have reached a certain point – because as quickly as you can gain fans, you can lose them Just as fast. I have found that being humble and never taking your readers/fans for granted has helped me enormously.
Anything else I haven’t asked about?
Writing for me is like breathing – I cannot live without it. Yes, I get paid for doing what I love. But that was not always the case! I will be writing and publishing stories until my dying day paid or not… It is in my blood. I often say that ink flows through my veins.
Thanks Dawn for talking to me about how you market your books and engage with your fans. I hope you carry on breathing – and writing – for many years to come!
You can find out more about Dawn at her website.