Writing to Market and Loving It – An Interview with Full-Time Author Boyd Craven



Boyd Craven has penned more than 20 books over the last two years, only recently deciding to take the plunge into publishing. His “The World Burns” series has hit the top 10 in the Dystopian Genre in the USA, the UK, Canada and Australia. Boyd has made his home in Michigan with his wonderful wife and about a million kids, but travels to Texas to visit family as frequently as possible. He hunts and goes fishing when he’s not dreaming up post-apocalyptic nightmares to put his characters through. Fear not, though. Boyd is a huge believer that in the darkest hour there is always a glimmer of hope to hold onto.

Join Boyd and me as we discuss:

  • Going full-time against conventional wisdom.
  • His favorite part about being a full-time author.
  • How a bookstore started selling his book.
  • His plan when he first launched “The World Burns“.
  • Why understanding your market pays off as an indie author and how he does it.
  • A marketing technique he uses that generated the third largest launch of his career.
  • Why he moved away from novellas to focus on full-length novels.
  • How he coped with imposter syndrome that put him in a two week writing slump.
  • His writing routine and why he starts at 4AM.
  • Why having a publishing team is so important.
  • How writing sprints were life changing for him.
  • Why some of his books didn’t sell.

When did you actually take the leap to become a full-time author?

I was going to do it in May last year (2015), but that’s when I put my two weeks in. So I didn’t up starting until mid-June (2015). I could’ve started around March of 2015 because I was outpacing my salary 4:1. It was really difficult to make the decision because I kept thinking, “No, this isn’t going to last. This isn’t going to last.” All the conventional wisdom said, “Save up for a year’s worth of income.” By the end of April, I was like, “I just made a year’s worth of income.” May hit and I was like, “This is not slowing down.” That’s when I realized it was costing me more to work for someone else than it was to sit at home and write.

Wow, that’s amazing! So, how long did it take to get to the point where you could just leave your job?

I had been writing and publishing since about 2012, and a lot of it was romance and erotica under different pen names. I had a horror pen name. I was getting close to making a full-time living doing that, but I would go really hot for a month or two at a time then something would change. I didn’t keep the right series going. It would fall back, and there was just no consistency. So, it took about two years for me to really figure out what I did to get where I was. Then it took me a little while to figure out what I did right and to keep emulating that.

Oh, we’ll definitely be getting into that a little bit later. What’s your favorite part about being a full-time author?

Setting my own schedule. It’s being able to ask my wife, “Hey, you want to buy a motor home?” My wife was like, “Yeah, where is it?” I was like, “It’s up by Traverse City.” She was like, “Well, we need a hotel room. Scheduled. The kids get school off on this day so let’s go look at it.” It’s just the freedom to do little things like that. I travel a lot more now too, but half of it is a tax write-off. Some years with my job I would get zero vacation time so my wife would go on vacation with the kids. I’d stay behind because I couldn’t get time off from work and someone needs to watch the house and let out the dogs. Now that I’m full-time I just pick up my laptop right here. I take it with me, and I work.

 That’s so awesome. I feel you on the vacation limitations.

Are you still working?

I’m definitely still working. I’m over in the corporate world, and I’ll be there for a little while. Yea, getting only two weeks’ worth of vacation time sucks because it’s just not enough.

Right. Well, this year I was able to go to Texas to see my mom, and we were down there for about ten days. Then I went to Austin for the Smarter Artist Summit hosted by Self-Publishing Podcast guys. Then I’m going to another conference in St. Pete Beach, Florida for their annual get-together. I mean, it sounds like I’m doing all this vacation stuff, but every time I go somewhere the family does their thing, but I’ll go hang out a little bit. Then it’s back to doing author things.

Currently today, how are you generating revenue? Is it just primarily eBooks? Or do you also have audio books, hardcovers or paperbacks? What kind of mediums are you working with, and what’s the percentage breakdown for those?

I would say that eBooks are 70% of my income with audio books probably about 20%. It used to be a lot higher, but my paperback sales started taking off. I didn’t know this, but I published at Createspace for paperbacks, and I do the expanded distribution. Well, my grandpa went to the doctor’s office, and he just called me about this yesterday. Someone approached him and said, “Oh yeah, I just ran across your grandson’s book at the book store.” He was like, “Oh really?” Then some of the nurses go, “Oh yeah, we’ve got half of them.” Or something like that, but there’s a bookstore somewhere around here that started picking up my paperbacks so the expanded distribution works.

 That is so cool. So, expanded distribution, can you describe that a little bit? What is that?

It’s one of the options you can do. It gives you a chance for book stores, libraries, and places like that to pick you up. So, you’re not just selling on Amazon or Createspace. Lightning Source and Ingram Spark are supposed to have a lot better ability to get under catalogs that bookstores use to order.

OK, we’re going to rewind a little bit. Can you tell us a story when things weren’t going so well for you as an author? Tell us your worst moment as an author or as you were trying to become an author. Really bring us to that moment, tell us the story if you can.

I just paid all my bills, and I had $12 left in my checking account. I had enough gas to get to work for the rest of the week, but then I had $2. I had plenty of food, I mean I was a farmer so food was one thing we never went without. But, $12 kind of sucks. I was writing this new series, and I needed stock art. The cover image I wanted was $7. So, I got $5 left to last me a whole week, and I was like, “Uh, do I do it? Do I not do it?” I mean, what if the car breaks down? What if one of the kids gets sick and they need medicine? $5 would leave me pretty high and dry for a while. But I bought it, and it immediately starting selling well.

 What’s your biggest take away from that story?

It worked out for me that time, but it doesn’t always. I mean, I’ve written so many books that might have sold one or two copies out of the gate and then never sold another one again. So, now that I kind of know market expectations I can pretty much gauge how much I’m going to sell at launch and then where it’s going to end up ranking wise. Back then, I took a lot of risks I probably shouldn’t have, but I was learning the market.

 True, very true. At what point did you realize that you can make a living as an author?

I remember reading about Amanda Hawking. I don’t remember when I first started hearing about her. It was 2011 or 2012, but I read some of her stories and I’m like, “These are really good. I like writing too. If she can do it I can to. A lot of people are getting on board with this so this will be kind of fun.”

 Nice. So, when you finished your first manuscript what did you do with it? You can choose which series or which genre you started with. Did you have a plan?

My plan was to put it out there and keep writing. I can write fast, and I’ll choose the “The World Burns” for this example because that’s the one that really changed things for me. It was probably around February 2015, and I was tired of writing romance and erotica at that point. I wanted to write something that was fun. So, I spent a weekend, and I think it was 25-35,000 words, and I finished it. Then I bought a stock image, played around with that, and I had a friend help me with the typography. Then I put it up and forgot about it. I got busy with work, and two weeks later, my friend was like, “So, how’s your book sitting in the top 100 and you’re not crying about this or laughing or cheering?” I was like, “It’s what!?” She was like, “You’re not even paying attention?” I was like, “No, I had no expectations.”

 Do you remember the price point? Did you go with Kindle Unlimited?

Yeah, I did. I priced it at 99 cents because it was a new genre and everyone out there was pricing higher. I put it under my real name this time around, and no one knew me. It was a brand new work so I put it up for 99 cents to get attention and just walked away. It built organically.

 Do you feel like that tactic still works today?

It depends. I think part of it was timing and hitting the market right on the nose. I didn’t realize I wrote to market when I wrote that piece, but I definitely did.

 Nice. When you say write to market what do you mean by that?

Well, Susan Kaye Quinn and Chris Fox wrote books about writing to market and writing to genre expectations. You know, using tropes correctly. I’ve been a fan of post-apocalyptic books, and in real life I’m a prepper so I just wrote about what I know. I did read some books, but I didn’t study it the way I probably should have. I also never intended to be a post-apocalyptic writer. It was something fun I wrote about, and I didn’t think people would actually read this kind of stuff.

 That’s great it just took off that way.

Right. When I realized it was taking off I had to figure out what I did right. That was last year (2015), and then I thought, “How do I keep writing the same kind of recipe with different characters and a different story line to keep them drawn in?” Then something interesting happened: I started using Facebook to get an idea of who’s looking at my book. I found out the majority of my readers were the ladies in their mid-40’s to mid-60’s. So, I changed my writing slightly to be less blood and guts, and I added more hints of romance. You know, not to over-do it to where I’m going to scare away the guys, but it’s about understanding who your buyer is. I’m probably two to three times where I was a year ago as far as sales.

 Because you honed in on your market essentially? Can we go into that a little bit more? What’s your take on understanding your buyer? How do you approach that?

I think it’s going to depend on every genre. For me, finding out that the majority of my readers were females in that age group really affected what I did. Who doesn’t like a story with good guys blowing up bad guys and the hero falls in love? It’s the difference between a Schwarzenegger movie and “The Notebook”. You’ve got to find a happy medium when you’re writing the story that both people are going to enjoy for date night.

 I like that. So when you were on Facebook, how did you realize that they were in that age bracket?

In the “Ads Manager” dashboard you can pull out the different analytics. It has some graphing features under the ads manager.

 Very cool! That could be really powerful for authors trying to figure out their market better. So, looking back, if you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would get an understanding of the market and the buyers before I just started writing the stories. I mean, there are stories I like to write and knowing how to make them appeal to the broader market would have made the difference early on. You can still write the story of your heart, but you have to understand what people are going to expect based on what you’re writing. If you write, “Good guy/bad guy post apocalypse, then at the end everybody dies” there isn’t room for book 2. There isn’t room for people to go anywhere else. You build up these characters and then everyone’s dead. You’re probably not going to get another sale out of that customer, depending on the genre. I’m just using that as an example.

 So, how would you go about it if you were just clean slate? How would you understand your buyers before you create a story?

I would’ve taken a better look at what was selling and then understand why. At that point, I wouldn’t necessarily need to poll the readers. I would need to see what’s in the best sellers lists to see who is selling and why. I started understanding a little bit more about the pull that traditional publishers have on those lists. I would have ignored them a little bit more honestly because they can do a lot of things to influence the ranking. Indies can’t, and that was just throwing me off. I didn’t understand how much of an effect it had until late last year. For example, when they publish it they’re trying to hit the top of a list. Or they’re putting it out on a specific day of the week. What’s the best day for an indie to launch? Has there been another traditional publisher that’s fixing to launch on the same day you are? Are you going to get slipped under the rug because they’re coming in with all this marketing or can you ride its coattails right onto the lists?

 Those are all good points.

So I hate to say it, but it kind of depends.

 There are just a few variables, right? Haha.

Right, but, I would’ve tried to understand it a lot better from where I was. Before, I was just writing a book and putting it out there to sink or swim without knowing what people actually wanted. I mean, I read a lot, but I didn’t read extensively in every genre that I was trying to write in. I can only read so many books.

 You mentioned that you would essentially write to the general masses and for the group of people in that genre. What are your thoughts on niching down into, say, men versus women or some other type of individual type of person? What are your thoughts on that?

I try to make mine have a broad appeal. It sounds horrible, but that’s part of the reason why my price landed too because I wanted more readers. I didn’t really necessarily want all the money. I still price fairly low for a lot of people. All of my novellas are still 99 cents when they come out.

 That’s a really great point there. You want readers instead of money. So, that was essentially your strategy, which I think is perfect if you’re starting out. You want more readers so you can build a platform that you can leverage after you publish your next book.

 OK, so what is one marketing technique you currently use before and/or after your launches?

I use social media. I’ll use my blog and social media for example. On my blog, I’ll start live leaking chapters like, Chapter 1 of “Devil Dog” went up on there. I also send out a Mail Chimp to my list saying, “Hey, this is what I’m working on. If you guys want to get involved here’s the first chapter. I’m going to put up around three chapters overall. Give me feedback if you like this or not.” By the time I get chapter three self-edited and out there my editors wanted to shoot me. They were like, “I can’t believe you put this crap out live without running it through us first.” And I’m like, “No, because it might change.” It was kind of an experiment. I did get some feedback, but most of it was to just keep writing. My biggest posts that were read on Facebook were ones that linked to my blog where I was live leaking all the chapters. By the time it finally hit I had a massive buy. Just with Mail Chimp and mentioning it on Facebook it launched into the top 300. I’m not a top 100 author normally. That was probably my third strongest launch ever.

 Nice. If you don’t mind me asking, how big is your mailing list?

My mailing list is about 1200 people right now. It’s just a little prawn list, but when I publish a new book, I get 70% engagement right away.

 That’s huge, man!

I built my list organically. I had another list that I built up using giveaways and stuff like that, and I ended up segmenting that list out. I don’t use it. I want to advertise with my list, but I don’t want to get in trouble. If someone signs up for something free, and then they unsubscribe or hit you for spamming then it puts your account at risk if you get too much.

 How long did it take for you to build that list of 1200 people?

Umm, just a year using my real name. I mean, I was publishing under pen names beforehand, but this was a brand new list. Everyone just knew that Boyd is the guy that worked at the local farm. I was at the farmer’s market. That’s all they knew about me. Some people knew I wrote but some people didn’t. That was the one thing I did right though. When the book started selling I hurried up and made a Mail Chimp account for Boyd and stuck it in the back of the book.

 What’s your launch schedule like? How often do you actually launch a book?

About once a month. It used to be more, but I switched from writing only novellas to writing a novella and a novel a month. Now I’m slowing down a bit more towards a novel a month.

 What’s the reason why you’re going that route?

Kindle Unlimited to be honest, and longer books in my genre seem to have more stickiness. I kind of hear it’s that way all across the board too, with the algorithms. Longer books tend to hold their rankings better. They have a greater perceived value.

 Have you ever been in a slump or taken a break from writing? And if so, what did you do to get out of it?

Yes, last…was it November or December when Fallout 4 came out? The timing was absolutely perfect. I was feeling crispy, and I doubted myself. I thought, “The writing sucks, I suck, my life sucks. Yes, I’m making money now, but it’s all going to suck and fall down all around me. Then I’ll be crawling back on my hands and knees to work trying to get piecemeal.” That was my whole attitude. They call it imposter syndrome, I guess. I was still doing really well, but about that time “Good Fences” was still on all the lists, and Fallout 4 came out. I took about a week and a half to two weeks to play video games and read a lot of books. I realized that I just needed a little bit of a break. Then I started getting an idea for this other book and was writing notes down. Next thing you know I’m doing my morning sprints again while I’m writing. I’ve got the headphones on, the music on, and the door locked. You know, child proofing my office.

 Yea, it sounds like you had some internal struggles going on there with imposter syndrome. How did you break through that?

I just couldn’t let it bother me the way it was. Otherwise, it would have been all-consuming. It was starting to bug me so I got the new video game I was waiting on, and I got the new Xbox one, Fallout 4 edition with the big hard drive. I was like, “I can’t be too depressed when I have Fallout 4 to play.” Then I played that, and I went through the different factions and different endings, and by the time I was done I was like, “Wow, there’s a lot of stuff that different book series have pulled from the Fallout series.” There are similarities with being locked in a vault or a bunker and later coming out to find what’s happening with civilization. I can think of a big indie author who sells millions of books like that. You know what I mean? Well, he’s not the only one actually. Then I went back through, and I looked at the different stuff on Rage. That was supposed to be one of the best rated graphics for the old X-box. I realized that there were a lot of similarities in the games, in the stories, and in the movies. It was very “Mad Max” type of stuff, and I started getting my own ideas again. I started penciling down those ideas and drawing my inspiration from somewhere else. Pretty soon, I was out of that funk, and I was ready to go.

Awesome. You mentioned you started getting back into your morning sprints. Can you explain what those are?

This is something Rachel Aaron or Chris Fox talk about quite a bit. It’s a set amount of time to write, and I have an accountability partner. I’ve been doing these sprints for about one and a half years now. So, I’ll wake up and send my partner a message saying, “You up? No? Well, we’re starting in 10 minutes. Get your butt to the keyboard.” She’d respond, “Well I haven’t eaten.” Then I tell her to grab a muffin or something quick like that. Sometimes it’s her messaging me and telling me to get my butt into gear. I’ve experimented, and my best time is 4 AM to 10 AM. So, it’s a good six hour block of time. I’m half awake, no caffeine, and this is important for me. No caffeine because I want to keep that eyes-half-open dream state, and I don’t edit as I go. I don’t even watch the screen as I’m typing. I set the timer and on 25 minutes I turn it off, the light goes on in the room, and then I can open up my browser to go on Facebook or we have a chat window outside of Facebook that we leave open. I tell her, “I go this many words, and this is my word count for the day.” Then we usually take a break for 5, 10, or 15 minutes. We definitely break for breakfast and lunch, but we don’t stop sprinting until we hit our word count.

So you do 25 on, 5 to 10 off, and then 25 on again?

Mhm. That way I can use the restroom, get a drink of water, let the dog out or give first aid to the kid that cut his hand off. No, my wife’s downstairs. She knows when I’m writing, and I close the door. It means she can deal with that stuff. Not that it’s happened, but it’s the only kind of situation they’re allowed to break me away from my writing. It took a while to get my family to understand that because all of a sudden Dad’s home all the time, and that’s one of the hard things. When you’re writing full-time family and friends don’t know your schedule unless you tell them. So, they’re going to call you anytime or they’ll stop in because you’re just writing, and you’re here all the time. They don’t realize that a 20 second interruption is 20 minutes of lost productivity because your mind got out of that creative flow state.

What’s your target word count usually?

You’re going to kill me – at least 10,000 but between 5,000 to 10,000 words is my goal. I do that for five days a week. Lately, it’s been 5000 words a day rather than 10,000 words a day because I suddenly got busy last week. I lost some days that I have to make up for. So, when I’m on it, I’m on it good but sometimes life happens.

What do you do to get back on track? Do you try to increase your word count and make up for it?

No because I hit a figurative wall after about 10,000 words. I don’t edit as I go, but there is a big difference in quality. If I try to push past that I start to feel worn out.

You start to get diminishing returns?

Mhm. Six hours a day sounds like everyone’s dream job. You work six hours a day then you make great money, but it’s not just six hours a day. That’s just for creating the content. I have a whole checklist I go through before I publish a book, and some things overlap each other time-wise. Like, when I finish one book it goes to my first editor. Then I contact the cover designer (or I contact him a few days before the book is done) and give them a synopsis and free reign to start getting some drafts together that I can look at. Once the book being edited I start writing another book. When the book comes back from editing I can either deny or accept the changes. The suggested changes, like a big plothole, I’ll do a rewrite for. Within 48 to 72 hours I get that manuscript to a second editor, and I’ll go back to writing the other book. Usually I get about a day or two in, and then I’ll have some covers to look at from my designer. So, I check those out, and it usually doesn’t take more than a couple of emails. From the time I start writing I’m about 60% to 70% done with the new book, and I get the final edits back for the completed book. I go through those completely. I send them to my proof reader, and she makes sure there’s nothing glaringly obvious. At this point it’s been through two editors so she’s really just reading the book. When she’s all done I send that to a formatter and hopefully by the time the first book launches I’m almost ready to get the ball rolling on the next one.

Did you always have this team set-up?

No. I used to do it all, but I found that I was better at content creation than I was at making covers and marketing. You know, my proofer is also my virtual assistant so she does a lot of the Facebook stuff for me. She schedules posts, and she’s invaluable. It takes a lot off of me. It’s still a 10 to 12 hour a day job though but by having a team in place I’m able to concentrate more on writing than anything else, and that’s what’s making me money. Marketing and covers won’t sell if there’s no content.

Yes, exactly. How did you go about finding those people?

The cover designer I knew when she started making her own covers. Well, we met about two to three years ago. She started doing this stuff a year and a half ago, and it was just amazing. It was paranormal romance, which I don’t write, but I was just like, “Wow this is really awesome. It’s on par with a lot of stuff that I’ve seen some of the best rated designers do out there.” I said, “I’m writing a private detective book, and this is the premise on what it’s about. Would you be interested in making a cover? I know it’s kind of outside of what you normally do.” She really loved the idea. The covers were great, and I’m like, “This is it! This is it!” Like I said, we’ve been friends for a while. I’ve also been friends with one of my editors for a while. For a long time I did not want to mix friendship with business. I mean, that could just be disastrous. I ended up saying OK because she was like, “Give me a part! Give me a part! I’m pretty good.” As it turns out, she is really good. The other editor that I use was recommended from another indie author. I looked at what she’s edited and really loved it. Then, my formatter is from Kboards. I wanted to get my whole backlist on paperback so I just reached out and talked to him because it was one more thing I didn’t want to learn.

His prices were good enough, and I was just like, “Here’s three to four at a time. I want to get my whole backlist into paperback.” So he did, and we’ve kept working on that. In the mean time, I had all these eBooks that needed paperback covers all of a sudden. I definitely couldn’t do all of them myself. So between my virtual assistant and the cover designer I got everything in paperback. It’s about who you trust, who you’re friends with, who you’re recommended, and then trying them out. There have been some folks that I tried, but it didn’t work out. For example, one time I paid a lot of money to get an edit done. Then I went through it myself a month later, and I found 20 to 30 errors. I was like, “Yeah, I paid for that.”

This is great. Thank you for diving into that a little bit for us. I’m glad you touched on that because I think it’s really important for authors starting out to understand that in order to be successful at this you really need to have a full-time author mindset. It’s about setting up a team so you can focus on your strengths. You can’t do everything yourself or else you’ll be going 24-7, and then you’ll burn out. Then you’ll just stop because you won’t be able to take it anymore.

That was the nice thing about word sprints and setting a word count goal. Because before I did that, I would come up to the office, and I would sit down. The next thing I know my wife’s knocking at the door, and I’m getting upset because you don’t knock on the door. Also, there’s no one bleeding, but she said, “Its past bed time and you haven’t eaten today.” Then I look at my word count, and I’ve only got 7,000 to 8,000 words done for the whole day from morning to past bedtime. Then when I started doing sprints I got better and more efficient. Now, I’m doing 7,000 to 8,000 words in about five to six hours and can get up to 10,000. I can’t say enough about sprints. I love them. It is life changing for people that can find out when it works for them, when their optimal time is.

OK, perfect. So, what’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?

This is going to sound horrible. Guys don’t look at me and think, “Oh, he listens to Lindsey Sterling.” Guilty. If you need my man card it’s back here somewhere. Her soundtracks are from video games. They’re all acoustic and are just kind of fun. So I just play that real quiet in the background. I listen to her version of Skyrim and Legend of Zelda theme songs probably at least 100 times a day. So it’s just the same four to five tracks looping over and over all day until I’m done. So I think for the ritual or the habit it’s helped me drop my mind into that flow state. I didn’t know what else to call it until Chris Fox wrote his book, but it literally is the flow state. It’s about training your mind to switch gears in the flow state. That, for me, was the best thing ever learning about interruptions, habits, how to make my own, and optimizing them.

Oh man, I could talk about this stuff with you all day, but I can’t keep you for that long. So, what are you most excited about right now?

All the changes that have come in the industry and seeing all these indie authors succeed. Also, I’m really excited about helping out a couple of friends that have had long term dreams of doing this. I’m not mentoring, but I’m kind of like, “This is what I did that worked, and these are the books that I read that really helped me out.” If they have questions I can help or I can point out smarter people who can help. It’s about knowing who to talk to or where to read.

Absolutely. What advice do you have for those of us trying to become full-time authors?

Write a lot. If you’ve done your market research then don’t overstress. If the first one doesn’t hit, like for example I always say, “Use serial or series.” The people that are making money and doing this full-time generally have a story or a single world that they’ve created and they’re writing around. So, when the next book comes out they already have built-in buyers. If you’re writing a stand-alone then it’s going to be hit or miss. You know, I’m not going to say write in one genre, but until you’ve got a fan base going then write in one genre.

I think that’s huge because I believe one of the hardest things to do when starting out is being able to focus.

Yes. Now, like a lot of people will say, “I wrote this story, and I need to write the sequel, but the zombie story won’t get out of my head.” Yeah, write out the zombie story outline, stick in it a drawer, and write the book you have to write. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to write that one next. Write the next book. It’s a mental thing, it’s just like writer’s block. You have to do what you have to do because if you want this to be your business and your career you have to. It has to get done one way or another.

Exactly. So what is the best way we can reach you?

Email or Facebook. Email at boyd3@live.com. My Facebook is Boyd Craven – Author.

Alright, Boyd let’s end on a positive note. What’s one of your favorite success quotes, and what does it mean to you?

The only thing I can think of is an old video game called Blood. I don’t know if you heard that game or not, it came out after Doom. It’s ID Software I believe. It was after Doom and Heretic, but it was a take on Evil Dead and Army of Darkness. It was a first person shooter, and at the very end of the game, and it might be different for everyone, but when you finish killing the last bad guy he goes, “I did it my way.” It was all creepy.

Even though I write what some people think is a formulated type of fiction it’s still mine. I’m still writing what I love; it’s just an understanding of what the market is that bridges the gap. So, I might be using genre expectations and not doing things earth-shattering, but I still did it my own way and it works.

OK, show and tell time. Not everything I write sells well. Here are two private detective books. I didn’t write them towards any trope or market, but I wanted to write them. They don’t sell. They’re still for sale, but see here’s the thing: I wrote these exactly how I wanted to knowing they weren’t going to sell, and that was kind of an experiment despite the fact that I wasn’t going to write these to a market or genre expectations. It was a sink or swim approach. That was affirmation for me that the way I’d been going was the right way. I could still write books I wanted to write, and they still sell. So, I did it my own way, but I did it my way with a plan.


If you want to go on a post-apocalyptic thrill ride then check out Boyd’s Amazon author page.

Enjoy the interview? Then please let me know! Email me at Brandon@buildyourauthorcareer.com or leave a comment below. I read every email and comment.

Feel free to check out some of my previous interviews with other inspiring authors:

Eric Thomson

Timothy Ellis (Part one and two)

Aaron Hodges

To your consistent progress,



2 thoughts on “Writing to Market and Loving It – An Interview with Full-Time Author Boyd Craven”

  1. Super interview! Some really good advice in there for authors like myself. As ever, I am reminded of what I already know but am not yet doing. Hearing other people talk about it is a good kick start to my motivation. I have come to realize that finding success in self publishing is about having a disciplined process and routine. Boyd pretty much exemplifies this process and the results he gets proves it works. More and more I’m seeing examples of authors who found success when they decided to take a more systematic approach, especially when it came to properly researching the market before writing. Then of course finding a way to increase their daily word count and up their publishing schedule. Sounds easy but I’m discovering it takes a lot of work and discipline. And faith that you will get there of course 🙂

    1. Thank you, Neal!

      I’m ecstatic that you go so much out of the interview. You hit on some huge realizations here too! Being disciplined with a writing process/routine is critical. It will truly set you up for success because it increases your publishing frequency, which will make way for happy fans and a more stable income. Great insights, Neal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *