Category: Interview

Interview with an Author: Alex Clermont

Self-promotion is one of the beauties of Social Media. A company, a dev team or a single person can build an entire business on Social Media Marketing. Although studies have shown that not every business can do it, for many others this is their best option. Take my brother, Alex Clermont for example. He’s an author that got tired of dealing with traditional publications. Frustrated by the amount of obstacles he had to go through to get his work in front of an editor he decided to publish and advertise on the web.

When Alex’s book “Eating Kimchi and Nodding Politely” came out I couldn’t help but take notice of his web presence; I was really proud of him. His book is selling and with reviews on Amazon building I decided to sit down with him so I could pick his brain.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I got frustrated with the constant rejection letters that come with submitting to literary journals and other publications. It’s tiring to spend months sending out a single story to 30 different publications and have them all reject you. Gertrude Stein spent 22 years submitting before getting a single poem accepted. After some research it seemed like self-publishing could be a better route.

That’s pretty awesome but since you’re an unknown it must have been hard for you to get attention online. How did you come up with your marketing plan?

Well I thought about two things: First, what mediums can help me reach an audience of people who’d be interested in what I’m writing about. Second, what’s free. The free thing was really, really important. From that I devised a plan that included the creation of my blog, a Facebook fan page, a twitter account and a bunch of other stuff that creates a brand image of a cool guy that writes deep stories about you, me and the rest of us.

My blog was really essential since it was both personal but also contain short stories that gave visitors an idea of my writing style. I tried to avoid what I saw as flaw in other indie author blogs. I didn’t try to write about my process of writing. At this beginning stage of my career that wouldn’t attract fans, but other would-be indie authors who aren’t interested in becoming my fan. I also tried to keep the quality of the stories on my site on a professional level. People who often self-publish creative writing on their website/blog put up amateurish poem and quickly put together stories. I wanted my blog to really put on display my abilities, so I put up almost the same quality of writing that I’ve submitted and published through others.

What did you want to accomplish by doing social media?

Branding was my aim with social media. I just wanted people to know about me. I needed to project three or two essential and likable characteristics about myself that people could gravitate towards. I figured if i spread that image around enough, backed up with content, I could create a fan base. You know, book groupies.

Do you like doing all the marketing by yourself?

No. I hate the fact that I can’t focus on writing all the time but I like having direct control of my image plus I get all of the revenue.

What are your thoughts on traditional media?

I think traditional publishing is going down a very dark road and more people [writers and readers] are looking at ebooks… As an author you have more of the revenue and more of the control and you don’t have to wait around for success. A lot of great authors like Michael Crichton got many rejections before someone printed their novels…. Publishers aren’t the arbitrators of anything.

Would you consider all this a success?

I do. I can connect with my audience and built a long-term career. People are reading [my work] now, buying it now, commenting on it now, as we speak.

Alex spoke to me about his average monthly sales and I have to admit I’m impressed. It’s easy for best-selling authors to sell online but for an independent author to write, publish, market and sell a book by himself it proves that the world is changing. Producers and consumers are interacting in more direct ways and it seems like we’re all the more better for it.

Alex Clermont is a writer born and raised in New York City. He also regularly posts short fiction pieces on his website Alex’s first book “Eating Kimchi and Nodding Politely,” is a collection of narratives about his time living in in South Korea. He also smiles a whole lot. Say “Hi” if you get the chance. :)