I’m delighted to welcome Karl Vadaszffy to IndieIQ , for my first interview in quite a while. This is Part 1 of a 2-part interview. In the second part, Karl will reveal some of the secrets of his success. Although Karl is not self-published – his books have been published by his agent – he is still ‘indie’ and with no marketing budget or publicity he has sold an incredible 35,000 ebooks in a short period – hitting the Amazon top ten with his crime novel The Missing.
Read on for inspiration.
Hi Karl – can you tell us how successful you’ve been?
The Missing was released as an eBook through my agent’s e-publishing company, Peach Publishing, and became a top ten bestseller on Kindle in the UK after about ten days on release. It peaked at number six. So far, in three months, it’s sold over 35,000 copies. Reader reviews have on the whole been overwhelmingly positive and a number of bestselling authors have praised it, offering blurbs to support its release. These are Glenn Cooper, Matt Hilton, James Becker, Elly Griffiths, Patrick Lennon, CM Palov, Thomas Perry, Scott Phillips and Quentin Bates.
We’ve recently started a drive to increase the sales of Full of Sin. Due to the success of The Missing, Full of Sin was selected by Amazon to be part of its September eBook promotion. Sales are slower than they were for The Missing, but they are picking up gradually. I’m really proud of the reviews Full of Sin has received from readers and authors including Sophie Hannah, Matt Hilton, Karen Campbell, James Becker, Robert Ellis, Cathy Kelly, Patrick Lennon and Thomas Perry.
The Missing was written over the course of about a year. Then I submitted it to a number of agents. I got positive feedback from several, but they highlighted the same flaw: the improbability of the latter stages of it and the twist. It had a very different plot then, with a completely different ending and even a different villain. After receiving this feedback, I rewrote the last third of the novel and then submitted it again.
I had a false hope when one well-known agent asked me for a meeting (at BAFTA in London – a very exciting time), but he wanted me to change the style of my writing so that it would become more like James Patterson (The Missing is inspired by Sophie Hannah’s Little Face and aspires to follow her style of writing, which is nothing like Patterson’s). When he realised this would result in a massive overhaul of the novel, he changed his mind. Shortly after this, I approached Sonia Land of Sheil Land Associates. She read The Missing, liked it, asked me to make some changes (this resulted in three redrafts) and then she offered to represent me.
Full of Sin, which was my debut novel, took four years to reach publication. It was a story I’d originally written when I was sixteen. It lived for several years in a wardrobe and, one summer several years later, I decided to rewrite it. After I completed the rewrite, I submitted it to almost every agent in the country and, while I received some positive feedback and made a lot of contacts in agencies, the result was always the same: it was too dark for the publishing climate at the time. Eventually, just as I was about to put it back in the wardrobe, a new independent publisher offered to release it.
The release happened very quickly – only two months, which was really the result of our combined lack of experience. In hindsight, it was a bad choice to rush it. The copy-editing wasn’t done properly and the publisher had little experience in getting books into shops. As a result, it didn’t sell well and when the contract came up for renewal two years later I took back the rights. I’ve since rewritten Full of Sin and it’s been re-released by Peach Publishing. And I’m thrilled that my agent loves it.
Have you had anyone help you or have you completely gone it alone?
Sophie Hannah has been like a mentor to me. I met her through my work at school and have read all her books. She inspired me to write crime fiction. She read early drafts of both books and provided me with invaluable feedback. With The Missing, Sonia Land’s advice helped develop the plot and characters and really helped me take it to the next level.
What impact has your writing success had on your life and career?
I’ve always wanted strangers to read my writing and now they do. Knowing that this is happening makes all the effort worthwhile.
After studying literature, linguistics and Spanish at university, I trained as an English teacher and actor. I have edited magazines, taught English as a foreign language in Poland and taught English, Media Studies and Drama in secondary schools in England.
I currently juggle my teaching responsibilities as a Head of English with work as a freelance journalist. My articles regularly appear in ten industry-leading magazines that cover the automotive, aerospace, technology and travel sectors. My articles are read by over 12,000 subscribers in print, and more online.
The Missing: a fast-paced crime thriller. John Simmons’ girlfriend disappears, but the police doubt she ever existed. Is she a hallucination, or the next victim of a serial killer?
Full of Sin: a dark human drama. Sean is taken from his drug-addicted prostitute mother at the age of eight. Foster families can’t handle him, but he meets his match when he is taken in by the Andersons. When a passionate tryst with his foster sister ends in violence, the comfortable life Sean has come to see as his own is over and he must learn to fend for himself.
In part 2 of this interview, Karl reveals what he did to send his books soaring up the Amazon chart. Follow me on Twitter to make sure you don’t miss it.
About the Author (Author Profile)Mark Edwards is the co-author of Catch Your Death and Killing Cupid, which hit No.1 and 2 on Amazon when self-published. They were subsequently published by HarperCollins. He is keeping a toe in the self-publishing waters with his scary short story, Kissing Games, available on Amazon now. Mark offers consultation and book description services through IndieIQ, along with lots of free advice for authors. The mission of IndieIQ is to help writers find readers.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Karl Vadaszffy Interview Part 2: How to Reach the Amazon Top Ten | Indie IQ | September 23, 2012