Author interview, Richard Johnson

Author interview, Richard Johnson

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed one of Richard’s humorous takes on the zombie apocalypse. Now it’s time to put him under the spotlight and see what makes him do it…

Me. Question 1. I reviewed Dead Drunk 2.5 so I started with adolescent characters – did that change the way you wrote this one ? Your humour obviously runs through the whole series, along with your love for beer, how much of that is your own sense of fun and how much is what you hear from your characters ?

Richard. ‘I did take down the raunchiness from a ten to a nine for this one because of the new characters and their ages. Miles, Chris and Artie are all teenagers, after all. But I still wanted to maintain an edge with both witty banter and physical situations, so it wasn’t by much. In my opinion, normal is boring, and with the Dead Drunk series I do try to push boundaries. As far as the characters vs myself?  I’d say fifty fifty. Thank God I’m not doing an autobiography.’

Me. Question 2. Horror is a very personal thing – you definitely have a thing about zombies, but do they scare you ? Is that something that’s followed you from childhood or did something set it off later ? 

Richard. ‘Zombies have been a fascination of mine since childhood. I watched the original Night of the Living Dead and was hooked. After that I was making zombie survival plans before they were even a thing. It was Return of the Living Dead that scared the absolute crap out of me though (I was too young for that one). To this day, that is the one movie I will not sit down and watch. The zombie woman talking was pure nightmare fuel.’

Me. Question 3. Screamfix is all about supporting indie horror – what advice would you offer to an aspiring writer ? Any sources of support or inspiration you’d share with us ?

Richard. ‘I would say to anyone starting out, don’t give up before you finish.  There were times where I would just quit for months at a time. Don’t quit. I didn’t think anyone besides a few friends and family members would enjoy my book and I was dead wrong. Fight to the finish!

As an Indie writer, when you get done with the first draft, then the real work starts. It is impossible to self edit your work to a final product. I use programs like Grammarly and Autocrit to help, but you simply have to have a second set of professional eyes to catch some mistakes. I have used Manuscript Magic for my editing and formatting, and they have always done a great job. Just make sure you do your research before you hire somebody and don’t pay everything up front. There are a lot of scammers out there.

Also, I cannot stress enough the importance of a professional looking cover. Don’t judge a book by its cover? Bullshit! Everybody does it. There are hundreds of thousands of books to compete against in the market and if your cover stinks, nobody will find out what’s inside. Find what popular covers for your genre look like and get something similar done.
On advertising, I have spent a lot of money trying pretty much everything and right now the only company that will be a return on your money is Bookbub.com  Other sites might get you a few clicks or sales but not what you pay in. To really get momentum, a Bookbub promotion is the gold standard.

Finally, get Amazon reviews for your book. If somebody tells you they like your book, ask them to write a review for you. It feels weird the first few times but you get over it, and like a quality cover, good reviews will drive sales.’

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