Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Featured Author: Mark Staniforth



Porn stars and serial killers, Nazis and nymphomaniacs, hunchbacks and bare-knuckle boxers: just a few of the disparate cast of characters who call the remote moorland community of Fryupdale their home. These 18 short stories reveal the unflinching truths behind their lonely, sad and sometimes hilarious lives - and why the world beyond village limits will always seem so distant. (Description from manyBooks.net)

Mark Staniforth is making quite a name for himself as a British bad boy writer. He gives his story collection
Fryupdale away free at Smashwords.com, and as long as you understand this is for adults and probably has not one heart wrenching tale in the whole lot, you'll get a charge out of this weird little book.

Here's his Q&A:

10 Questions
1) How long have you been writing?
Since as long as I can remember. I would fill exercise books at primary school. It seemed natural to me that I should pursue a career in journalism. I'm still a journalist, but I regard my fiction writing as something quite different. I've had a number of short stories published in internet magazines including 'Night Train', 'Eclectica' and 'Southpaw', and one of my stories in 'Fryupdale' - 'Eleutherophobia' - was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize.
2) How are you marketing your books?
As a journalist, I have a grasp of what media outlets like out of a press release, and I've had some success placing pieces in local media. I publicise the book via Facebook and Twitter (@markstani), and link every post to the book's own blog - fryupdale.blogspot.com. I had a big spike in interest when I publicised the book on a number of e-book sites: notably manybooks.net and mobileread.com. I've placed it on Goodreads. Apart from that I've experimented a lot with pricing. Initially the book cost $2.99. When I made it free, the number of downloads quadrupled overnight. At this stage of my career, I'd rather have the extra readers than a few extra dollars in my pocket. I guess it's about trying to establish a readership base for (hopefully) bigger things to come.
3) Tell us why readers will like your latest book.
It's a collection of tough, gritty, down-to-earth tales from a semi-fictional North Yorkshire village. There's all sorts of folk from the fringes of society: porn stars, aliens, drunks, Nazis: you name it, they're probably in it. It's loosely based on the kind of place I grew up in, so I like to think I've got a good idea about what makes the characters tick. I won't lie - if you're a fan of chick-lit or wizards this stuff might not be for you. You could say it's an antidote to Harry Potter and all the best-seller, TV book-club froth. Hopefully that will count for something in itself.
4) How do you edit your books? Do you have help?
I haven't sought out any professional help with this collection, although given my trade I am able to ask favours from a bunch of pretty reliable sources. It's something I'd seriously consider for a novel. Given that a lot of the short stories in this collection have been published (and therefore subbed) elsewhere, it's not something I felt was necessary on this occasion.
5) Where are your books available?
Mainly, of course, Smashwords: http://bit.ly/bnC6MY
It's also available through Manybooks.net at: http://bit.ly/dsn5bY
And a Kindle version is on Amazon priced £2.16: http://amzn.to/coWpmn
6) What have your reviews been like so far?
This is the area in which I'm really struggling. Apart from a few newspaper reviews, which have pretty much copied my press releases, I haven't had any. I'd love for someone to tell me what they think on my Smashwords site or the book's website.
7) What do you deal with at your blog/website?
Fryupdale.blogspot.com is basically a promotional tool for the book: there's a few stories up, as well as links to downloads. My regular blog site, markstaniforth.blogspot.com, includes some of my other stories as well as culture-related articles or pictures I've spotted from elsewhere. And I have a third site, kolakubes.blogspot.com, which promotes the novel I'm working on now.
8) Have you found reader discussion groups for your genre?
I find the mobileread.com forums excellent for broad discussions relating to the e-book revolution. The same can be said for kindleboads.com, nookboards.com and kinfinity.co.uk. Chatting to other e-book authors and readers can really help, in particular when it comes to marketing ideas. And it's always a chance to promote your own book at the same time!
9) Would you like to review your favorite Smashwords writer?
I would love to. I think there should be more sites like this, or perhaps a section of the Smashwords site dedicated to its authors' blogs. I'm tempted to throw my own website open a little more and review some of the best work from Smashwords. After all, without the promotional backing of a big publishing house, I think it's imperative that independent authors do all they can to help and encourage one another.
10) What are you working on now?
I'm revising a novel called 'Sweet Tooth - The Ballad of Kola Kubes'. It's loosely based on the 'Sweet Tooth' story published in Fryupdale. I like to think it's a cutting satire on today's obsession with celebrity and those who will do anything to get it. Others may see it simply as a silly story about a porn star. Either way, it will hopefully be hitting Smashwords early next year.

Please everyone, download the FREE book and give Mark Staniforth a great review.

1 comment:

  1. Mark- Great interview. I read a couple of your stories in "Fryupdale" a while back and I remember liking them very much. For one reason or another, I got side-tracked and never got back to them. As soon as I saw your interview, I instantly rememebered it. I am going to download it now from SW, give them all a good read, and promise to post a review when done. Also going to post about it on my blog. Best of luck and I look forward to the read.