Today I welcome back author Steve McHugh for a chat about self-publishing. Steve has recently released Born Of Hatred, book two in his series The Hellequin Chronicles (scroll to the bottom to see where you can pick them up, if you haven’t already. And if you haven’t, why not?).
There was a time when Nathan Garrett was feared. When the mention of his name was enough to stop his enemies in their tracks. That time has long since passed.
When Nathan’s friend asks for help investigating a pattern of horrific crimes, he reluctantly agrees. But his investigation leads to a serial killer who is something more, or less, than human, a creature of pure malevolence and hatred.
There are some things that even a 1600-year-old sorcerer hesitates to challenge. But when evil targets those Nathan cares about, his enemies will discover exactly who Nathan used to be. And why they will learn to fear him once more.
Born of Hatred is an action-packed, Urban Fantasy set in modern-day England with historical flashbacks to late nineteenth century Montana. It’s the second book of the Hellequin Chronicles, following the widely praised Crimes Against Magic, which introduced sorcerer Nathan Garrett.
KLS: Welcome back to my humble Blog, Steve. Make yourself comfortable. Pay no attention to the demon spawn lurking in the corner. He’s harmless, truly.
SMcH: Thanks so much for having me here, I have some treats for your demon. I hope he likes wine gums.
KLS: That was awfully nice of you, just watch your fingers he gets a little — ow — wow, that has to hurt. Let me wrap that for you. So, congratulations on the huge success of Born of Hatred. It must feel good to rake in all those 5-star reviews. Have you ever gotten a less than stellar review? If so, how have you dealt with it?
SMcH: Thanks for the kind words, Born of Hatred has done better than I’d ever dreamed, and better than Crimes Against Magic, which was my main aim.
I’ve had a few bad reviews, which is to be expected, you can’t please everyone, and for the most part they don’t really bother me. If someone didn’t like my book because it wasn’t for them, then fine. But there have been a few reviews when it’s felt like the author has attacked me personally for not writing something they like, or written a review where you’re not sure they actually read the book. Mostly I just vent and move on. It’s all you can do.
KLS: Let’s dive into the business end of things. What prompted you to go the Indie route in your publishing venture?
SMcH: Money, fame and power. Actually I went with it because I wanted to have control over my own work. To be able to decide the cover, the promoting and such. I did originally try to go the traditional route, and got a few nice comments from agents, but after a while I just figured I’d do it myself.
KLS: Do you foresee yourself ever blending in the traditional publishing route? Or do you see no reason to pursue that legendary brass ring?
SMcH: I don’t know is the honest answer. I like the idea of having control over my work. I don’t like the idea of someone else deciding on how the cover should look, or changing the title. These are things I worked on and want to keep how I see them. That’s not to say that if I ever received an offer from an Publishing House I wouldn’t consider it. I’d be mad to just say no outright, but I’m not going after the traditional publishing model.
KLS: How much of the editing, formatting, cover work, etc. do you handle yourself?
SMcH: The editing is done by people far smarter than I. I have an editor and critique partners, alongside some fantastic beta readers. They pick the bones of my book clean so it makes sense. The cover is done by my friend Eamon O’Donoghue, who you can see more about here: http://www.eamonart.com/ He’s far, far more talented at art than I could ever be. My entire artistic skills stops just after stick men.
KLS: But I bet they’re fantastic stick men. What has been one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced being self-published?
SMcH: Dividing your time between writing and promotion is quite hard work. I’m not very good at telling everyone how awesome I am anyway, so promotion is quite a difficult. And sticking to your own deadlines. It’s tempting to just say, I’ll put it back a week, but you kind of need to make sure that you don’t keep swapping them about a lot.
KLS: And, conversely, what has been one of the biggest rewards?
SMcH: Having people tell me they like the book. Getting e-mails from… well, I guess they’re fans. That never ever gets old. Although, I guess that’s the same for all published authors.
KLS: Marketing. It’s a toughie. What are some words of wisdom you can give to others? What have you done that’s worked, or not worked?
SMcH: Facebook and Twitter are very helpful, even if it’s just for people to spread the word or get in touch. Use other people’s blogs (and accept them on yours in return), and then hope your book catches on. The best piece of marketing is to write a good book, and get a good cover. A good cover will sell you books. Twitter may not.
KLS: And finally, not because I’m impatient or anything like that, when can we expect the next book?
SMcH: I’m hoping the summer. Although that may change. I’d like to get books 3 and 4 out this year, but then I’d also like to sleep, so we’ll see how that works out.
KLS: Ah, yes, sleep. I’ve heard about that. I think it’s a myth, myself. But I wish you all the luck, and thanks for stopping by.
SMcH: Thanks for having me.
Steve McHugh is the author of the popular Urban Fantasy series, Hellequin Chronicles. The first book of which, Crimes Against Magic, was published in April 2012 and followed by the sequel, Born of Hatred in December 2012.
To learn more about Steve and his work, you can find him at:
The Hellequin Chronicles are available at: