IndieReads: When did you start writing?
Jan Domagala: I started writing my first full length story around 1980/1, I’m not quite sure exactly. Up to that point I’d messed around with stories but never finished any of them. I used to either get bored with them or had another idea which I’d start. When I was at school I used to draw my own comics and I was really embarrassed about anyone finding out about them in case they laughed, or thought it was kids stuff you know? But look at that market now, it’s big business and it’s branched out into movies and graphic novels and tv.
IR: Are you self published or did you use an independent publisher?
JD: I’m self published, my first two books were done through Lulu.com but my latest, the first in a series is through Createspace.
IR: What genre do you write in the most?
JD: This is a difficult one for me because I tend to think my books, especially my new series, are action/adventure thrillers but they happen to be set in the mid twenty fifth century so there has to be that future element in them. So I suppose they’re sci fi action adventures. My first book was a spy action adventure, very much in the Jack Higgins vein, my second, which I’d planned as a trilogy, was my tribute to Star Trek. My latest is as I’ve described at the start of this question.
IR: What is it about that genre that attracts you?
JD: My new series like I said earlier is a sci fi action adventure and this came about because I’ve always been a fan of action films and sci fi so I decided to try and combine the two. My earlier attempt at writing an action story turned out to be in the Jack Higgins vein and my earlier attempts at writing a sci fi story all turned out to be either Star Wars, Babylon 5 or a tribute to Star Trek. It’s so difficult to come up with something that is truly original, something that doesn’t reference any of the three themes I’ve mentioned because they’ve become so ingrained in popular culture now that what used to be science fiction is now, or soon will be science fact. So I decided to try and combine my love of action adventures and throw in some sci fi and the result is Ronin, the first in my Col Sec series.
IR: How many books have you published?
JD: I’ve touched on this in earlier questions. Three in total so far, Rogue, A Dangerous Game, was my spy thriller and first, then came The Starcorp Chronicles, Book One, /
An Alliance is formed was my tribute to Star Trek and the first in a proposed trilogy which I will get back to, some day. Finally there’s Ronin, A Kurt Stryder Adventure, the first in my Col Sec series. I have the second instalment almost ready for publication, it’s going through the proof reading phase and should be ready in a few months and I’m hard at work on the third book.
IR: Which one should people start with?
JD: Ronin, most definitely. Although I have sequels planned for my earlier works, I would like to revisit them and see if I could improve on them before I get started on the sequels. Ronin is what I consider my best so far and if people like it they won’t have long to wait for the second in the series.
IR: What was the prime motivation in publishing your work through independent channels?
JD: I sent Rogue to a few publishers and agents and as the rejection slips were beginning to mount up I saw an article in a daily newspaper about how Lulu.com was revolutionising the publishing industry. Rather than waste time trying to get a book deal I thought it best to just get my work out there so the public could decide for themselves. I’d watched the publishing industry get inundated with celebrity books and supermarket chains only stock the top twenty or so best seller lists and the realisation that I was in a catch 22 situation dawned on me. To get a book deal you have to be a published writer but you couldn’t be published without getting a book deal. So after some research I decided to give it a go. I followed it up with The Starcorp Chronicles which I’d written around the same time. When I discovered Createspace with it’s resource of Amazon I decided to swop over to them.
IR: What were your early experiences like?
JD: Publishing with Lulu.com was difficult, not in the respect that the process was made so by them but rather because I had no idea what I was doing. I rushed Rogue through at first just to get it out in paperback, so it came out with a blank cover and no blurb or description. After a while a had a rethink and prepared a proper cover which my son put together for me and I got it out in hardback and I was quite pleased at how professional it looked..
IR: What did the process teach you?
JD: The process taught me a lot of respect for what publishing houses do to get a book ready for publication. I didn’t realise and I suppose it was naive of me, just how hard it is and what’s required to make the public aware of your work once the writer’s part is finished and the final full stop is added. Writing a book is relatively easy compared to selling it. It taught me to be as professional as I possibly could with every aspect of this entire process. It’s a learning process I had to go through and one that should not be taken for granted as it has taught me to continually strive to be better at what I do.
IR: Have you seen a change in the independent publishing community?
JD: If you mean by it’s growth then yes, most definitely. More and more writers are embracing the concept and a few have become extremely successful because of it.
IR: Do you read other independently published authors works?
JD: I tend to stick with my favourites in the main but occasionally I’ll try out an author whose work I’m interested in, whether they’re indie, I’m not sure, it all depends on what the work is.
IR: Where can people find your books and which source has been the must successful for you?
JD: Ronin is available in paperback and kindle editions from both the US and UK sites of Amazon and Createspace.
Rogue is available from Amazon.com and Lulu.com in hardback and The Starcorp Chronicles is available from Lulu.com in hardback.
IR: Do you have any advice for some one who would like to be an Indie author or publisher?
JD: I don’t consider myself qualified enough to give advice but if I was pushed I would have to say, know your market, do the research needed for your project and don’t be afraid of asking for help or advice. Above all be professional in everything you do, the reading public know what they like and are not stupid, so they deserve the best you can give them. If you do that and you get their interest they’ll stick around for the journey.
IR: Do you do your own cover art or do you have some one do it for you?
JD: Cover art is as important as what’s inside the book, it’s the first glimpse of your work and if it’s not right then anyone browsing will not stick around to see if the rest lives up to the first impression, and for that you need someone who understands your work and can give a good representation of it. I always use someone else for my covers. For Ronin I used an artist named Richard Hawksworth, keep an eye for him his work is amazing. For my second Col Sec book I’ve kept my options open and not decided yet who to use but there are at least two artists work I’ll be looking at.
IR: Do you have any new works coming out soon that you can tell us about?
JD: The second Col Sec book features a secondary character from Ronin as the lead. A terrorist organisation targets Col Sec and Earth in particular. The lead character is thrown into the action right from the start and discovers the threat to be more extensive than anyone could possibly imagine. He must fight to defend not only Earth but the safety of the Confederation against a threat so insidious that the attack could come from any quarter at any time.
IR: Is there anything you would like to share?
JD: As any writer my ultimate goal is to get a book deal and become known by the public for whom I hope to write. That may or may not happen, so until then I will continue to write and self publish in the hope that I will improve and grow as a writer and eventually reach the audience I know is out there just waiting for a good book.
Jan Domagala (1955-ongoing);
Has always had a love of reading and from that grew his love of writing, he lists among his favourite authors; Jack Higgins, Matthew Reilly, James Rollins, Clive Cussler, David L Goleman, Jeremy Robinson, and Wilbur Smith.
Working full time in the ceramic printing industry of the Midlands he still finds time to write every day and one day hopes to be able to become a full time writer.
Recently he moved to the picturesque Derbyshire Dales where he lives with his girlfriend and their two cats.
His first book in a proposed series about Col Sec in the mid twenty fifth century entitled Ronin; A Kurt Stryder Adventure, is now available from Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle editions.
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