Sommer Nectarhoff writes atleast 8,000 words per day and that might explain why he has been able to publish 1.5 Million words and nearly 20 books before the age of 24. He is an author from Chicago, who currently lives in Boston, where he goes to school. He’s always loved to read and write both fiction and poetry. His shorter pieces have been published in a variety of literary journals, and he is the author of numerous books to date, including the fantasy series The Book of Lokk.
Sommer was a guest on AC Fuller’s podcast and that’s how we connected (AC is a past guest). Talk about connections that can get created as a result of podcasting.
Below are the shownotes from Part I of our discussion.
Part II of the interview can be found here.
The news page about book pubishing in India is introduced on on MyKitaab Podcast. Link to the same is at www.mykitaab.in/news
Listen to the Podcast Episode
Discussion With Sommer Nectarhoff
- Sommer Nectarhoff has published 19 Books till date. He is a self published author.
- Sommer took classes as an astrophysics and mathematics major, but wrote his first book when he was on a two year break.
- His first story is called the Judge. He wrote 21 more stories, and published them as a collection of short stories titled 22.
- He read the comment at the back of a book which read “This was published by CreateSpace.” That is how he ended up publishing through Createspace and he became a self published author. He made several mistakes in his first book- he was not aware of the importance of marketing, the book had some typos, among other typical mistakes that first time authors make. But more importantly, he was not aware how big the market was in that genre.
- His second and third books were in the Literary Novel genre, where books by authors such as Hemmingway and James Joyce dominate. Unless one has previously published in the New York Times or the New Yorker, it is difficult for new authors to break into this genre.
- He began writing the Book of Lokk in September 2014, with the aim of building a fan base. He published the Book of Lokk and followed it up with 9 sequels in 9 months.
- Writing in fantasy genre makes a lot of economic sense- once a fan base is built, they are ready to buy the next book(s) in the series. This reduces the marketing effort.
- Sommer made his first book perma free, which got thousands of downloads but he did not include links to his upcoming book. As a result he could not capitalize on the reader base that he had already created.
- He uses three channels for marketing- Reddit, social media and word of moutn.
- Reddit has many communities, including communities for fantasy writers. These are very active communities. Giving a free book is the number was Patrick Rothfuss and George R R Martin.
- Social Media is the other channel- it is far less successful than a free book. Sommer for example posts a cover of his free book as a way to generate interest. He finds that Instagram is better investment in terms of ROI. Facebook is also known to work, but he hasn’t tried Twitter or facebook ads.Word of Mouth is the third channel. His fans have played a big role in word of mouth publicity for his books.
- The post where Sommer introduces himself and the Book of Lock to the readers. He was introduced to Reddit through his friends. This post received a lot of engagement from the readers and had a tremendous response.
- He believes that the engagement is very high in Reddit. The fantasy subreddit has 89,000 subscribers, but they are the true fans. Engaging with them is a great way to build an audience.
- Sommer wrote 5,000 words per day for the sequels in the Book of Lokk series. He would finish the draft in 10 to 12 days, and work on editing the book for the remainder of the month.
- He uses Scrivener. He believes that for Fantasy in particular, he can keep all his notes in Scrivener and it provides the functionality to export to epub format.
- He has written two other books that have not been publsihed- a Thesis for his school, a collection of short stories. He has also written the Death of Ydain (written in Middle English) a 400,000 word epic. He has also written 12 novellas. He plans to use the 12 novellas as a marketing campaign.
- Sommer had to break up the Death of Ydain into 2 volumes of 200,000 words each because CreateSpace does not support such long books.
- He believes that the ture fans do not mind frequent releases of books- in fact, they cannot have enough.
- Sommer’s cover designs are designed by his friends who is a student in Art school. He let the friend read the book and design the cover based ont heir interpretation.For Death of Ydain, he worked with a freelance cover designer who is not a native English speaker.
Links and References
Ways to Contact Sommer