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Interview with Brian Fitzpatrick: Writing, Marketing, and Putting Yourself Out There

Today, we are fortunate to have Brian Fitzpatrick, author of the SciFi, YA novel Mechcraft, in our midst. Brian is going to talk with us today about Mechcraft, and the various techniques he’s employed to get his name out there and build his audience. You’ll want to stick around and hear what he has to say.

Welcome Brian! Your book Mechcraft hit shelves earlier this year. Can you tell us a little bit about the story?

Thank you for this interview.

In Mechcraft, Jake London’s ideal teenage life is thrown into chaos when he discovers the ability to control a swarm of shape-shifting nanotechnology that has, until recently, lain dormant in his DNA.

Mechcraft is the skill of controlling the nanotech, summoning and creating tools, weapons, and even machines. Being the first person born with the nanotech, warring factions desire to use Jake for their own sinister ends. Now, with two Mechcraft agents at his side, and a horde of enemies chasing them down, Jake finds himself in a desperate race to safety. . . It’s slick sci-fi action of The Matrix meets the awe and wonder of Harry Potter.

How about your protagonist? Are they inspired by someone you know in real life?

Jake is a 15 year old with a stable, easy life until the nanotech embedded in his DNA activates and reveals a god-like power. He’s kind, compassionate, a bit timid at first, but crisis reveals his true nature. He’s not based on any one person, but in some ways he represents the best in all of us.. what each of us aspires to be like. But he’s certainly not without flaws – and these will be dealt with deeper in the sequel.

Does Mechcraft carry a primary message?

Although this story is fast-paced and full of action, at its core Mechcraft is about Hope and Perseverance.

How important is research to you when writing a book?

For me, it depends on the subject. In many cases thorough research is required for authenticity. However, beyond the basics of nanotechnology, no other research was needed for Mechcraft. Most of this tech and the abilities stemmed from my imagination. Los Angeles plays a role in the story, and I provided a lot of detail of the geography. I live locally, so no research was needed in this case either. However, when stories are set in unfamiliar locations, research is vital to keep it real.

Do you believe it is more challenging to write about beliefs that conflict with the ones you hold yourself?

Surprisingly, it’s not difficult to step into the role of characters who hold conflicting beliefs to my own. In fact, sometimes those opposing characters are the most fun to write. In Mechcraft, the villain Sasha is perhaps secretly my favorite character despite her absolute madness.

Do you write down revelations and ideas as you get them?

I’ve paid the price in the past when ideas come and I tell myself no need to write it down, I’ll remember this amazing idea for sure. Nope! I would inevitably forget. So now I write down everything. Everything!

I’ve noticed that you have been participating in events such as signings and readings. Do you have any advice for authors wanting to increase their event presence?

This is where reaching out and getting to know people really helps. Call local bookstores. Drop in and speak to the manager. Go to conventions and network. Meet anyone and everyone. And always have something on hand to give interested people: a business card, a postcard, or even the book itself.

I went to Wondercon in Anaheim, Ca this past March and met wonderful, energetic, ambitious people of all success levels. Those connections have led to a radio interview I just did, a connection with a TV writer/producer, and a seat on a panel at the next Wondercon.

Many authors are introverted and aren’t comfortable putting themselves out in the public. I get it. I was one of these writers. I forced myself to initiate conversation and ask questions. I was awkward as hell at first, but over time and with practice, I became better and more comfortable. It is worth the effort.

What is your setup for book signings?

If it’s a table signing/booth, I have my vertical banner, a tabletop banner, a lighted marquee, and I like to have a high stack of books. The more 3-D you can make your table, the better. For a talk/signing I just have the vertical banner behind me as I speak.

What else do you do to market your own books yourself? Any advice on that front?

The honest truth is authors must market themselves consistently and often if they want to transition to earning their living writing. For authors who are satisfied with just completing and publishing books, then marketing is not so much a factor. If you want financial success and widespread readership, you must learn to put yourself out there. You must become social media savvy, be willing to do public appearances, and perhaps budget for PR. I commit to a minimum of one hour a day on marketing, often times more. Business cards, postcards, banners, social media interviews, podcasts, guest blogs, book trailers, book signings, audio book release… it’s all part of the deal. But as you become used to the process, it can actually be fun.

How active are you on social media? And how do you think it affects the way you write?

I’m extremely active on social media. The best advice for social media presence is to dive in. Get a dedicated FB page or group. Create a Twitter account. Create an Instagram. If you want to go deep, you can also add Snapchat and Tumblr. Post genuine, engaging content- not just advertisement for your book. You need some of that, but don’t overwhelm your audience. Post questions, polls, related articles, and of course updates on all things about your book. Learn to use hashtags on Twitter and Instagram- they will link you to wider conversations and draw in followers. Avoid the businesses that offer to get you followers for a fee. These are mostly BS and can ruin your credibility in the online community. Social media savvy is vital to success. Take the time to learn. There are dozens of YouTube videos to help you.

My writing is affected only by the time my marketing and networking takes away from actual writing. I’m working on balancing the two. The Mechcraft sequel is not going to write itself and I need to park my butt in front of the laptop and get some work done!

Do you have a new project on the horizon, and can you tell us a bit about it?

Mechcraft is just the beginning. The sequel, Mechcraft: Harbinger, is on its way. This will be followed by the conclusion, Mechcraft: Cataclysm. My goal is to land a film deal for this trilogy. I also have a TV series outlined, a graphic novel series, mobile apps, video games, action figures, and a trading card game all in the mix.

And my favorite question – if you were given the opportunity to join a book club with your favorite authors, dead or alive, who would you want to become a part of the club?

My dream club would be H.P. Lovecraft, Anne Rice, Ernest Cline, Peter Clines, Chuck Palahniuk, R.A. Salvatore, Robert Kirkman, and Stephen King.

Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. No matter if you get stalled, or stop. Start again. Never call it quits. The successful author is not necessarily the most talented, but the one who persevered.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with or follow you (website, blog, Facebook, Goodreads, etc.) and links?

I’m building a Facebook community at: www.facebook.com/Mechcraftbook
I’m also active on Twitter: @thewritingfitz
And on Instagram: @MechcraftOfficial
My website is a bit too simple and needs an overhaul, but it is open for visitors: www.writingfitz.com

More about Mechcraft by Brian Fitzpatrick

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Los Angeles – Jake London’s ideal teen life is thrown into chaos when he discovers the ability to control a swarm of shape-shifting nanotechnology that has, until recently, lain dormant in his DNA.

Mechcraft is the skill of controlling the nanotech, summoning and creating tools, weapons, and even machines. Being the first ever born with the nanotech, warring factions desire to use him for their own sinister ends. Now, with two Mechcraft agents at his side, and a horde of enemies chasing them down, Jake finds himself in a desperate race to safety.

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Jacqui Castle
Jacqui Castle is a professional freelance writer and first-time novelist, living and writing in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. Jacqui's debut book, The Seclusion, was named one of Kirkus Reviews' "Best Science Fiction Books of September 2018" and is now available at all major retailers.
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