Author collectives offer a great way for indie authors to find a community–and to make that community work to their benefit. With the launch of their twelve-book box set, Deadly Dozen, we asked the bestselling authors of the collective “The Twelve” to share how they work together, what social media works for them and why they enjoy being part of an indie author collective. Here are some of their answers to a half-dozen questions.
1. Who are The Twelve?
J.F.Penn: The Twelve (of us) are award-winning and bestselling authors writing across the boundaries of thriller, mystery, horror and crime, connected by a love of intriguing characters, fast-paced writing and edge of your seat tension.
2. The Twelve is a Facebook based collective. How has social media changed your way of doing business as a writer?
Allan Leverone: Social media has given every author the opportunity to connect with readers – and other writers – on a scale and at a personal level that would have been impossible previously. I take my work very seriously, but try to make sure I never take MYSELF too seriously, and nothing keeps an author grounded like having a reader point out that typo that slipped through editing on page 224.
Joshua Graham: As much as I love being there in person at a book signing, or a conference, meeting people, talking to them face-to-face, there’s just no faster and widespread way of communicating to our fans and readers like social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, etc., have—for better or worse—changed the way we communicate not only as authors but as a global society.
J.F. Penn: As a British author who has lived in Australia and New Zealand, it’s brilliant to be able to connect with readers as well as other authors through social media, and for me, that’s mainly Twitter. I have only met one of The Twelve authors in person, and the others are connections that began on social media. It’s a way to connect across the world and reach readers without having to physically be somewhere.
Linda Prather: The idea of selling books through social media was terrifying for me at first. I’m a people person, and I loved book signings, book festivals and just meeting my readers in person. I still do, but that’s on a much smaller scale now. In the last two years social media has really changed in ways that allow authors to actually meet their readers on a much broader scale and develop long-term associations. My readers aren’t just fans I see once a year now at a book festival, they’re people I can talk with and communicate with daily, weekly or monthly. Social media has allowed my readers to become more than just fans. They’re now some of my very best friends.
3. What’s the benefit to individual authors to form a group like The Twelve?
Diane Capri: Quite simply, twelve authors have the potential to be twelve times as effective as one.
Vincent Zandri: I used to date a visual artist and I was always a little jealous at how she and other artists in the community went out of their way to support one another’s work. My experience with other writers was that they rarely wanted to support anyone other than themselves and their own ambitions. But that’s all changed with the eBook revolution in which everyone and anyone can be a player. Groups like The Twelve are designed to not only serve as a support platform for our writers, but also as a promotional tool.
Allan Leverone: Writing – and selling books – is not a zero-sum game. If I achieve a certain level of success, that does not come at the expense of another author. In fact, the opposite can be true. If a reader enjoys my books, what would make more sense than to check out books by similar authors, even if he’s not terribly familiar with them? That’s the basis for The Twelve: authors supporting one another while offering readers the chance to broaden their horizons. As mystery/thriller authors, our writing styles may differ, but we all offer great stories and tremendous value.
4. Is the concept of The Twelve something limited to Indie authors, or could traditionally published authors benefit as well?
J.F.Penn: One of the fantastic things about the changing world of publishing is that entrepreneurial authors, however they publish, can work together on common goals like reaching more readers. It’s about connecting to authors in your genre who might appeal to the same market, and fostering relationships that enable collaborative working.
Diane Capri: Most of us are hybrid authors, so we don’t see the dichotomy between traditionally published and indie published that some groups do. For us, everyone can benefit, and we expect everyone to do well.
Vincent Zandri: We all do our own thing, and this thing too. Like Diane had pointed out, most of us are hybrid authors, myself included. I look for numerous outlets for my work, be it big publishers, indie publishers and more recently, my own indie label, Bear Media. I can’t possibly find the time to publish all of my books by myself, so I need to rely on publishers to do some of them for me.
Carol Davis Luce: I, too, am a hybrid author. Before turning to indie publishing, I felt disconnected from readers. Now as an “indie author” the communication channels are wide open in both directions. I’ve never felt closer to my readers, of which many are good friends. I’ve never felt closer to my peers. Sharing with and supporting my fellow peeps is part of the indie game. It is all about connecting authors and readers. We’re a friendly, motley crew, The Twelve. When we’re not committing mayhem or blowing up something, we’re searching for new ways to reach out to you. To entertain you. Won’t you come into our lair?
J. Carson Black: I’m a hybrid author as well. Carol Davis Luce and I met in 1989 at a writers conference, and have been friends ever since. Our prospects have risen and fallen often over the years, but since the advent of indie publishing, we have found a wonderful audience for our books. I went indie with my Laura Cardinal series and it was an awesome experience–there are so many great readers out there. I agree with Carol–so many of my readers are good friends
5. How do you manage your own busy schedules and find the time for a big project like DEADLY DOZEN?
Vincent Zandri: Somehow it all gets done by the end of the day. Everyone in this group not only has displayed huge enthusiasm, but the energy never seems to wane.
Allan Leverone: DEADLY DOZEN, and working with The Twelve in general, is such a tremendous opportunity that I for one am happy to make time in my schedule. One of the biggest challenges any author faces is how to get exposure for his or her work. I would have been crazy – or even crazier than I am – not to jump at the chance to work with the talented and successful members of The Twelve.
Joshua Graham: Time management is a critical issue for today’s author who must not only write, but be an entrepreneur. I think we can understand and support each other’s efforts in The Twelve, because we face common challenges.
Linda Prather: My daddy always told me to work smarter, not harder. The benefits from the ideas and information shared by The Twelve far outweigh the amount of time it takes to develop and maintain a group like The Twelve. Our goals are similar, and although our styles are different we all aspire to provide our readers with well-written, edited, top notch fiction. I love being part of an enthusiastic group that writes the type of books I want to read, review and share with my own readers. The Deadly Dozen gives my readers an opportunity to sample other great authors in the same genre.
6. What does the future hold for The Twelve?
Joshua Graham: We could tell you, but then….