Kellie “K.M.” Rice
Works: Darkling (2013), The Wild Frontier (2015), The Country Beyond The Forests (2015)
Youtube: Happy Hobbit
First off, thank you for taking your time to do this interview! I was very excited to do this, and I think that you are the perfect example of what an independent author can do. Which came first, your Youtube channel or your writing career?
Definitely writing, since I wrote and illustrated my first book in kindergarten, though I can’t say that it was exactly the launch of a career! I brought it to my class for show and tell and my teacher was so excited that she sent me to the principal’s office so that I could read it to her. The book was about a trick-or-treater who visits a haunted house. When put into perspective with [my book] Darkling, I guess I do have a thing for ghosts! That said, I made my first video when I was 12 and allowed to use the camera. It was a joke infomercial I created with one of my aunts, piggybacking off of years of making ridiculous content with my trusty Fisher Price tape recorder. I still have a backpack full of cassette tapes. When I look back at these hijinks, along with various plays, dog shows, and elaborate magical other worlds that I literally tried to create for my younger siblings, I see that I had a strong urge to entertain!
Do you find that your Youtube channel helps promote your books?
My book sales have definitely been helped by the popularity of my web show, Happy Hobbit, that I created with my sister Alex. Viewers have enthusiastically supported me and were among the first readers and reviewers of my debut novel and continue to be a driving force to help get my pen name out there. While I never intended for my writing career and web series to be linked, they have connected in many wonderful ways. This symbiosis will only grow stronger since I’m now also launching a K.M. Rice vlog to complement my author videos.
How can writers use multiple mediums to promote their writing?
This is something I’m still learning, but when you’re an indie author (and even when you’re with an agency) and in charge of your own marketing, you really have to brainstorm and come at it from all angles. I knew early on that I wanted to have video content connected to my books because visuals are so much more accessible than the written word in today’s world. You need to give your audience every opportunity to connect with you, so I highly encourage taking advantage of all of the platforms of social media. You don’t want your followers to have to work or change their habits to find you, so you have to go the extra mile for them. Start a Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook along with your website.
How big of a role does being involved with OneRing.net play in the success of your books?
That’s a tricky one. The site itself is, of course, the premiere fan site for the author J.R.R. Tolkien and I’m a volunteer staff member. While we do produce our web show Happy Hobbit for TheOneRing and have a symbiotic relationship, it wouldn’t be appropriate to ever post about my novels on the site just because I’m a staff member and our followers like to read, so I keep those sorts of announcements for my author page and our Happy Hobbit page. And that’s fine with me. I adore our Happy Hobbit fans but it’s something we do for fun and don’t earn any money from. I’d rather earn from my own attempts to entertain. I have benefitted indirectly, however, by TheOneRing promoting Happy Hobbit. It’s trickle down fandom!
What technique(s) do you use to promote your books when they are about to come out?
I haven’t really pushed any of my releases yet, other than my debut novel, Darkling , in which case I revealed the cover and premise in the week or two leading up to the release. I wasn’t all that clever about it! I have just completed a four book series called Afterworld and am waiting to hear back from agents before I push the first book myself. I would love to have a 30 second teaser trailer along with multiple promotional images to help hype and advertise the series, because it is my greatest work to date.
You were recently involved with a few major comic cons, do you feel like these types of events are beneficial to independent authors?
I certainly do. I’ll never forget the first time a reader came up to me after being on a panel and said that she had recognized me from the picture on the back of my book and not from my web show. I was as tongue tied to meet her as she was to meet me! Not only do conventions give you an opportunity to connect with your readers but they also give you an introduction to new ones. If people like what you had to say on a panel, they are likely to ask you for your card or look you up. In this age of nearly nonexistent book tours, conventions are a great alternative for those writing genre.
What is the most important lesson that you have learned when it comes to self promotion?
Like most writers, I tend to be a bit shy by nature. I used to want to just write my books and hide in the woods, letting them speak for me. That option was taken away from me once our web series went viral three years ago. Since then, it has been a struggle to accept being a public persona while still keeping most of my life private. It’s a constant balance. Only in the past year or so have I been comfortable enough to use my pen name as a rallying cry for likeminded creatives and readers. My goal is to not only entertain through my writing but to also build a community through social media based around unleashing the wildish nature in all of us and fostering creativity through artistic pursuits, reading, adventuring, etc. I call my followers “wildlings” and encourage them to share what they’re up to. Reading a book is a sacred, communal experience between the author’s imagination and that of the reader and deserves to be celebrated, so I love to engage with readers and followers. I seem to have to learn again and again to take risks and put myself out there!
What is up next for you? Do you have any books in the making?
Yes! As I mentioned above, keep your eyes peeled for Afterworld Book 1: Ophelia, which is the first of four Historical Fantasy/Romance novels where the past and present collide and one woman must navigate both to keep her loved ones safe. I am also beginning a new author vlog which you can find on my K.M. Rice YouTube, and of course, have several new novels and screenplays in the works. Be sure to follow me on the social media of your choice and to check out my website to keep up with new releases, announcements, appearances, and more!
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