Or is there? You might argue that releasing your debut self-published novel through Amazon and gaining the number one spot in the Amazon UK Top 100 Humour Charts is a little unconventional, to say the least. You might even note that his 20,000 twitter followers, all collated in a short period of time in celebration of this same novel, is a little odd, as well. Even the subject matter of his book, two characters suffering from OCD and a serious lack of social graces, seem a little whacky.
Unusual? Yes. Dysfunctional? Clearly not.
Derick Hudson is an Irish writer who self-published his first novel, DYSFUNCTIONAL ROMANCE, earlier this year. This book tells the story of Sandra and Barry, two people who end in a variety of hopeless situations, including hopelessly in love. I caught up with Derick to ask him more about his literary journey.
LWW: Congratulations, DYSFUNCTIONAL ROMANCE is continuing to reach success after success, with a number one posting on the Amazon Top 100 Humour Chart notched firm in its belt. How do you feel with its journey to date?
Derick: In a word, exhilarated! It has been a roller-coaster ride…and an addiction, causing me to drink a little more wine than I am accustomed to! All my spare time outside of my day job seems to be consumed with thoughts of my next opus, while at the same time making sure to continue to promote DYSFUNCTIONAL ROMANCE. I would recommend the pleasure (and torture!) gained from writing to one and all!
LWW: It’s easy to look back now and gloss over the writing process, but you must have had some dark days, as all of us do. How did you stay motivated when working on the writing process to keep at it?
Derick: The best way to stay motivated, especially during those dark days, is to focus on the rewards…not financial, or you would become disillusioned! The reward of having thousands upon thousands read your work in so many countries is so gratifying! Without sounding morbid, it is also quite comforting knowing that when you eventually finish your book, it will outlive you, leaving a permanent impression in all things literary…unless Amazon suddenly decides to delete all your files!
LWW: Let’s go back to the start of your DYSFUNCTIONAL ROMANCE journey. Was this a well-thought out book by a plotter, or are you more of a pantser?
Derick: You do need an overall plot to begin with. I find the best way to start is by writing a book blurb and take it from there. If the book blurb sounds enticing go with it! I find that after the initial hurdle of getting the first few chapters down the book begins to write itself and the plot takes many sideways turns and twists, with the end direction changing constantly!
LWW: Did inspiration hit you in the form of a character, a plot, a theme, or did you kind of just pick up the pen and start writing?
Derick: I’m left handed which I believe makes me one of those annoying ‘creative’ types. So I think too much…and sometimes I hit upon a storyline that draws me in, like DYSFUNCTIONAL ROMANCE. I think you base characters/story lines on elements of your own life experiences, although very often, particularly in the humour genre, you end up exaggerating everything!
LWW: When it came time for publishing, did you try for a deal or did you know from go that you wanted to self-publish?
Derick: I had tried to attract agents previously with book concepts/sample chapters and came very close to getting a ‘super-agent’ on board for a thriller I was writing, which was long listed for the prestigious Harry Bowling Literary Prize. I enjoy the freedom self-publication brings. Having no deadlines, no PR gigs, nobody constantly critiquing your work, are real benefits! The only thing I could do with is a good editor to cut down on the proofing!!!
LWW: One of the things you managed to do extremely well was conquer twitter early on and develop a strong following; what advice would you give to any writers looking to use this forum as a marketing tool?
Derick: I think you need to interact with your followers. I also think you need to make your twitter account interesting. Having a witty bio helps. Tweeting excerpts from your book is enormously rewarding as it gives your followers their first real sample of your work.
LWW: What other marketing strategies did you employ to help your book reach number one?
Derick: Offering my book as a free download for two days on Amazon Kindle recently had quite a dramatic effect. Over those two days 10,000+ readers downloaded DYSFUNCTIONAL ROMANCE! Using my Goodreads, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to promote my book also adds ammunition to the marketing mix.
LWW: Finally, what’s coming up next for you? Any other works in the near future?
Derick: I’m afraid so! I mentioned earlier I’m now addicted! My next book will once again fit into the humour genre…although this one could be a little controversial. This time we’re talking excommunication! Watch this space…