Catherine Fearns, writer and metal mama

Introduction: 

Hi! I’m Catherine Fearns, and my crime thriller ‘Reprobation’ was published last month. The sequel, ‘Consuming Fire’, will be out in early 2019, and I’m working on the third. I’m a writer from Liverpool, UK, although I currently live in Switzerland. When I’m not writing novels I also do a bit of journalism, writing about heavy metal for music websites. Other than that, I have four kids so I’m a semi-professional taxi driver. 

Q & A: 

Indie or Traditional?  Or somewhere in between?  Tell us how you’re getting your books out into the world.  

Traditionally published, but my publisher is a small indie, Crooked Cat. My books are available on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback. Independent publishers do not have a marketing budget and rely on their authors to get out there and sell the book. It has been a steep learning curve for me; marketing is hard work, time-consuming and often demoralizing. When I get my sales figures I never really know what to expect, but I’m always a bit disappointed: all that work (and sometimes money, marketing is expensive!) for such little gain! But I’m gradually getting the hang of it and building up a following. I really believe in my book and I’m trying hard to get it out into the world. 

Where can we buy your books??  Links please! 

mybook.to/Reprobation 

You can also find Reprobation in select bookshops in Liverpool: Write Blend and News From Nowhere. It’s lovely for authors to see their books as paperbacks on the shelves, but small publishers do not have distribution networks, so I have to go and contact bookshops individually if I want them to stock me. Some bookshops have been incredibly supportive, some have been quite rude, and others would like to help but they simply cannot handle the workload of dealing with authors directly. It’s a tough business on both sides. But the fact is that the majority of my book sales are e-books; paperbacks in shops are more for author morale! 

Who are your favorite authors/writers to follow on social media?  Please give us 3-5, so we can follow them too! 

I’m not a big Facebook user and I haven’t got round to Instagram yet, but I love twitter. 

Robert Macfarlane regularly tweets a single, evocative word or phrase that describes something in nature, accompanied by a beautiful picture. I find his tweets so inspiring that I often make a note of them, and they usually spark up a great twitter discussion. 

@RobGMacfarlane 

Stephen King, one of my all-time favourite authors, is cutting and funny on twitter. When it comes to Donald Trump he is satisfyingly visceral. 

@StephenKing 

Kim Kelly is a writer who tweets about heavy metal, anarchism, unions, and how to get young people engaged with politics. She’s right up my street. 

@GrimKim 

Rebecca Williams is a British writer who I have been following since I joined twitter last year; she is so open and honest, and I have really enjoyed watching her writing journey. She’s a busy mum like me, has a really engaging style and is very supportive of fellow authors. She comes across as so nice, I’d like to meet her in person one day! 

@stupidgirl45 

Which authors/writers do you find the most supportive on social media?  You know, the ones who are always cheering you on, retweeting your posts, and all around wonderful people.   

My fellow Crooked Cat authors are wonderfully supportive; Jo Fenton, Tom Halford, Heidi Catherine, Megan Mayfair, Val Penny …. my goodness there’s not enough space to list them all! But I love them and we are a great collective. 

Lizzie Chantree (also a Crooked Cat author) is a marvel on social media, and she’s all about helping others to improve their own social media skills. 

@Lizzie_Chantree 

Rachel Gilbey is a book blogger who organised a brilliant book tour for me; the amount of work she put in was impressive and hugely appreciated. 

@gilbster1000 

Sam Missingham runs Lounge Books, of which I am a member. Her Facebook group is brilliant and I have learnt so much after only a few weeks of joining. 

@samatlounge 

In general I have to say that I have some really lovely twitter followers, virtual friends who I’ll never meet but who feel like a support team. It’s gratifying when I get a ‘like’ for one of my silly tweets about how I cooked a death metal salmon en croute or bought yet another guitar pedal. Actually the tweets about my personal heavy metal adventures are much more popular than the ones about my books. Oh dear, guess I haven’t got this whole marketing thing right! 

What have you done (or do you do) to show support to your fellow authors? We’re always looking for more ways to help lift each other up! 

I have a web series called ‘Book Playlists’, where I invite authors to make Spotify playlists to their books, or their work in general. Since I’m a heavy metal journalist who writes dark novels, my website is quite evil-looking! Anyone who thinks it suits their book is very welcome to make a playlist! 

Here’s a sample from author Sarah Tipper: 

https://www.catherine-fearns.com/the-cleo-howard-diaries-the-playlist/ 

I write Amazon reviews for as many books as I can; before I became an author I didn’t realise how important reviews are. I have done quite a few Crooked Cat books, and I have a backlog to get through! Nowadays if I read a book and I like it, I write a helpful review. If I don’t like it, I think I would keep quiet unless it had mortally offended me for some reason. 

And I share/retweet whenever it feels right. It’s hard to get the balance, because if you retweeted everything you wanted to, followers would just get turned off. Twitter often feels (especially on a Saturday for some reason) like a huge list of people promoting books, and I just glaze over much of it. So I try and be selective so that when I do post, my followers can be sure it means something.  

Anything else you’d like to share?  A story of support?  Your favorite book?  Favorite blog?  Add anything extra here.   

I’d like to give a shout out to the Facebook group called UK Crime Book Club. I’m a member of several Facebook groups; I find groups to be the best way of navigating Facebook. UK Crime Book Club is extremely supportive of their author members and I am very grateful to be a part of it. 

Thank you for having me!  

You can find Catherine online at 

https://www.catherine-fearns.com/ 

And on Twitter @metalmamawrites

Buy Reprobation HERE 

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