K.C. Julius is the author of the Drinnglennin Chronicles, an epic fantasy quartet. She’s a hybrid author, and has already published the first two books of the series, Portents of Chaos and A Realm at Stake, with plans to release the second half of the series in April and June of this year. Read on for an interview about her books and experiences as a hybrid author.
S.R.: First, congrats on your publishing the first two books in your series The Drinnglennin Chronicles (Portents of Chaos and A Realm at Stake)! You were originally traditionally published (Beyond the Green Door). How did you decide to become a hybrid author, and go the indie route for your series?
K.C.J.: Thank you! The short answer is: control, creative freedom, longevity of the work, retention of the rights, and more financial gain. When Beyond the Green Door was traditionally published in 2002, indie publishing was still in its infancy and was considered by many to be synonymous with vanity press publishing. In today’s world, independent publishing is becoming more and more the norm. And since most traditional publishing houses do little, if any marketing and pay small royalties, it was clear to me that if I was going to do the work, I’d like to reap the rewards.
It’s important to note that the success of indie writing is dependent upon assembling the best team you can afford: beta readers, editors, a website developer, cover designer, cartographer and formatter. The work has to be worthy of readers, who deserve nothing less than the best you have to offer.
S.R.: What is The Drinnglennin Chronicles about?
K.C.J.: The Drinnglennin Chronicles is classic epic fantasy—sword and sorcery, intrigue and betrayal, with a sprinkling of romance—in the tradition of LOTR and A Song of Ice and Fire, but as a BookLife Prize reviewer noted, “it never seems derivative of other works; the imaginary-world fantasy carries enough seeming verisimilitude that at moments it reads like a solid historical novel.” The quartet follows the adventures of seven protagonists as they come of age in a world on the cusp of chaos. And yes, there be dragons…
S.R.: You’ve got plans to release books three and four very quickly, with Bindings of Peril coming out in April and The Wings of Dread coming out in June. What’s your strategy here as an indie author?
K.C.J.: I’ve done a lot of research to guide me as an authorpreneur. I’m a member of ALLI (the Alliance of Independent Publishers) and also participate in a number of FB writer forums, all of which have proven to be invaluable resources. This rapid-release strategy is recommended for books in a series that are featured on Amazon KDP select. Since we live in the age of “binge,” I believe readers will be more willing to give the series a chance if they know all the books will be available within six months. I’ve waited six years, until the final book was completed, to send them out into the world. We’ll see how it goes!
S.R.: You’ve gotten great reviews, including from the BookLife Prize. How are the results so far of your rapid release for the series?
K.C.J.: Portents of Chaos got a tremendous boost from family, friends and mailing list subscribers on the day of its launch, and it ranked on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in four categories: Historical Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Coming of Age and New Adult/College for nearly a month. The reviews have definitely helped drive sales. I just launched A Realm at Stake last week, and it’s currently trending on the Hot New Releases list in Historical Fantasy, Myths and Legends and Nordic/Viking fantasy.
S.R.: What was the process for writing, prepping, and marketing your series?
K.C.J.: I’m a disciplined writer, spending four-five hours daily during the week on the manuscript. Until recently, I dedicated weekend time to marketing, but now that the first two books are out, I’m spending more time on social media every day. I’m very active on Twitter, and also have a presence on Facebook, IG and LinkedIn. I haven’t yet started doing paid advertising, but that’s the next step after the final book of the series is released.
S.R.: Any advice for indie authors who may want to rapid release a series?
K.C.J.: Do the research. The success of this strategy really depends on the genre in which you write, how quickly you can release the next book, etc. I admit I’m still learning as I go along.
S.R.: What do you hope readers take away from The Drinnglennin Chronicles?
K.C.J.: I crafted the Chronicles as a book I would love to read myself. My characters are very human, despite inhabiting a fantasy world, with flaws and struggles of their own, and many of the obstacles they have to overcome are of their own creation. I hope the series transports readers to another world that continues to resonate with them long after the last line.
S.R.: Once you finish your epic fantasy quartet, what do you plan on working on next?
K.C.J.: What a good question! I’m considering re-releasing Beyond under a new name, and completing the trilogy I originally outlined for it. But if the Chronicles takes off, there’s always the possibility of continuing the tale with the next generation of characters. Then again, I might start an entirely new series. Time will tell. 🙂
K.C. Julius has been writing since she could hold a pen. The Drinnglennin Chronicles, her epic medieval fantasy series, is the culmination of a story that has been running through her head for over a decade.
K.C. currently lives in Düsseldorf with her jolly German husband, Bear the dog and Saber the cat, both rescued from the streets of her beloved Jakarta. She loves to travel, take long walks in the woods, read, welcome visitors and spend time with family and friends at her lake house in New Hampshire.