A keen reader since childhood, Leeland Artra has always had an avid interest in science-fiction/fantasy. As an adult, he trained in computer science with the Navy, and currently works as a software engineer for Expedia.
Leeland loves to play role playing games and spin stories, and would happily dream and write all day. After twenty years of thinking about publishing a book, he finally 'got serious' about in 2012 and self-published. Eventually he would love to make writing his primary job. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife and seriously-idea-inspiring kids. [Source]
Q. You’ve got a cool cover that says “epic fantasy” nicely. How much impact do you think covers and blurbs have in getting people to try a book by an unknown author?
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” That is not true. Everyone I know is attracted or repulsed by the book cover. Even more so my cover had to work well the smaller sizes for Facebook ads, and Amazon also bought lists. I knew I needed this to be extremely good, eye catching, and compelling... [Do] not skimp... I looked on my own for other cover art designers, I checked out dozens of example works (and how well they were selling) and in the end I just loved some of the work done by Streetlight Graphics. They had made a number of covers that resonated with me so I chatted with them and finally hired them. It has been a wild and fun ride ever since.
Q. I see you tweeting book quotations and other such teasers often on Twitter. Can you talk about how social media has played a role in your sales success?
I believe social media has been a primary factor in my book’s jump in sales. Before I decided to become an author I had decided I didn’t like Twitter and only played with Facebook to keep up with a few friends. However, the moment I decided to be an author I knew I needed to be “socially visible.” Again I read articles, I looked at other authors (indie and traditional) and I lurked on their Facebook and Twitter feeds carefully monitoring what they did. Over six months I came to some conclusions on how to use these well without being annoying. First and foremost I always want to be able to connect with any fans directly. Naturally I wanted to advertise too.