J Alexander Greenwood ~ Pilate’s 7

J Alexander Greenwood

J Alexander Greenwood

We love interviewing J Alexander Greenwood because he has so much great insight about indie publishing. We also love his John Pilate Mystery Series. So, you can imagine how excited we are to have the opportunity to interview him again, now that he is planning to release his new book Pilate’s 7.

For those who aren’t familiar with the wonderful John Pilate Mystery Series, I asked J Alexander Greenwood to tell us about John Pilate, beginning with the first book: “Pilate’s Cross is based on a true story of a real-life murder that happened in 1950’s Nebraska. I took the true story, updated it and added a back story. I thought the book would be a one and done deal. I had a nice response, and I thought about what could happen next if I continued with the characters and took it to the next level. That’s where Pilate’s Key came from.”

J Alexander Greenwood took John Pilate to the beach: “He went to Key West to write a book about what happened during Pilate’s Cross.” Alex smiled and added: “A little bit of meta stuff going on. I don’t believe in just doing two things. I’m a Gemini and a second son and I like threes. Shortly thereafter, I came up with Pilate’s Ghost, which I thought would be the end of the series. Pilate’s Ghost wrapped up everything that happened in the first and second books.”

But John Pilate’s story did not end with Pilate’s Ghost. J Alexander Greenwood waited about two years and came out with Pilate’s Blood late 2014. Now, Alex is releasing a new book to the John Pilate universe called Pilate’s 7, and it’s not a novel. Pilate’s 7 is a collection of short stories centered on the other characters in the series. Pilate’s 7 is available for pre-order through July 31, 2015. After that, it will be on sale everywhere.

According to J Alexander Greenwood: “I have a lot of things going on in my life and those characters help keep me sane. I get emails and phone calls at home from local fans asking what’s next, and I wanted to write a love letter to the fans that keep me going. So, I decided to write a book of short stories with John Pilate as a peripheral character and to base them on seven of his friends or maybe even enemies. Some stories take place 40 years ago, some take place now and some take place 5 minutes before the next book comes out.” What characters are featured in Pilate’s 7? Alex shared that Taters, Kate and Scovill have stories, but he would not give out any more spoilers.

I just want to note that you can read any of the John Pilate Mystery Series books out of order and still enjoy the story. The books are designed so you can read them as individual novels.

J Alexander Greenwood book signingPilate’s 7 is published through his publishing company Caroline Street Press as e-book only this time. As J Alex Greenwood explains, “Producing paperbacks is a costly proposition, and I wanted to produce something affordable and easy to get. I’m experimenting with this to see how we do. About 70% of the sales for the series are e-book anyway, 28% are paperback and 2% are audio versions.”

Alex founded Caroline Street Press to help talented indie authors with the e-book and on-demand publishing process. In addition, Caroline Street Press can help with finding an editor, cover design and creating a marketing plan. Some authors and titles that you should check out include Enchanted Circles by Paul Medina and Fiddling with Friends in the 1920s: A Chautauqua Trouper’s Story by Ken Weyand.

While I was researching J Alexander Greenwood, I came across his book Kickstarter Success Secrets. It seems like everyone has a crowdfunding campaign these days, so I asked Alex where he got his secrets: “It’s learning by doing with me. I make mistakes, so you don’t have to. For my third book, I decided to try Kickstarter and see if I had enough fans to foot the bill for the e-book and the paperback and to put a little money in the kitty for the Pilate’s Cross audio book. In three weeks, we raised 106% of the money to produce Pilate’s Ghost and to start the audio version of Pilate’s Cross. During the campaign, I wrote a series of blog posts about every step I took. One day, I decided to put together an e-book about the experience and put it up on Kindle. I did it in an afternoon; I did everything myself. The ironic thing is that this book has been my runaway top seller. In addition, the book also available as an audio book on Audible.com and Amazon. The e-book is only $.99 and the audio book is around $3.99.”

Alex then admitted, “I’m thinking about doing a Kickstarter for the next paperback. I’m also thinking that when I complete the series, I want to do a nice box set. That’s a tough sell. The good news is that I plan to write about a dozen John Pilate novels, so I’ve got about 10 years to go. I’m not worried.”

Since J Alexander Greenwood has the perspective as both an indie author and publisher, what advice does he have for other indie authors? “Make it easier on yourself and the rest of us too. Make sure your books are professionally edited. Make sure your covers are professionally done. If you contact me through Caroline Street Press, even if you don’t hire us, I have a list of great graphic artists, who can help you with a decent cover. If authors are out there who are not putting out the best product, it makes easy for people to turn their nose up on indie authors. So, do yourself a favor and do me a favor and get professional help with your book. You’ll thank me later, I promise.”

What’s up next? J Alexander Greenwood is already working on the next novel in the John Pilate Mystery Series, title TBD. You can keep up-to-date on the John Pilate website and on Facebook.

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Cynthia Kahn, Founder of Amused Now