The Author Inside You Podcast Show Notes:
118 Bill Halpin
A book signing at a local bar? Our guest, Bill Halpin, has had great success with multiple book signing events at local breweries. He tells us how simple they are to set up on this episode of The Author Inside You podcast. Plus, Bill explains the steps on how he was able to obtain over 70 reviews for his book on Goodreads!
118 Bill Halpin
[00:00:00] Announcer: you're listening to the author insides you podcast, a weekly podcast designed to motivate you to finish writing a book, choose a publisher, and build an audience. Keep listening if you're looking to get propelled into the next chapter of your life. And now it's the author inside you podcast.
Matt: Hello, I'm Matt Rafferty
Leah: and I'm Leah Rafferty.
Matt: Joining us today is Bill Helpin, author of The Cult of Eden. Bill was born and raised in Orlando, and now he's an optometrist and upstate New York. Bill, thanks for joining us tonight.
Bill Halpin: Hey, Leah. Hey Matt. How's it going? Great. Thanks for having me. Sure.
Leah: Well, bill, I hear that you have some interesting places to do book signings.
Can you tell us a little bit about those?
Bill Halpin: Oh, sure. The idea wasn't mine, but my favorite place to do book signings is that any. Brewery. That'll have me.
Matt: What do you do to approach a brewery? To get a book signing?
Bill Halpin: Not too much. I mean, myself, I'm pretty [00:01:00] experienced and drinking beer, so I know all the ones in the area.
you just call them up or either call or email, and just tell them what you're doing. you know, I'm a local author. A book just came out. I love to have a little event going on, and it, 100% of them have been. Receptive to it. They love the idea. yeah. They don't charge anything to show up. Bring some friends, drank beers and sell some books.
Matt: all right. And then do they
Bill Halpin: promote it? It depends. one place was really great. She, maybe this creepy little tree to go along with my book and put up posters everywhere. And other ones just, you know, put something on social media.
Leah: Well, it sounds like a fun evening, that's for sure.
Bill Halpin: It's great.
And everybody knows a few beers in. They might be a little more inclined to come over and talk to you.
Leah: Well, Bill, when did you decide to become an author?
Bill Halpin: A long time ago, I was always been a big horror fans. You know, Stephen King books, scary movies. And [00:02:00] I was lucky enough to have family who. Like the same thing.
I'm a roommate in college who love the same thing. So we watched everything from, you know, major motion pictures to the very terrible, you know, scifi channel movies that were on TV, you know, on a Tuesday afternoon. And it just got to the point where watching, you know, some bad movies, it's like, Hey, I could probably, you know, write something as bit or maybe even better than that.
Leah: And your grandfather played a role in getting you interested in horror films.
Bill Halpin: Oh yeah, he was great. He, both him and my grandmother, you know, we watched, or the world's, we watched a, those scary movies that came on, you know, late night on cable channels. he got me hooked, you know?
Matt: And so how did, how did that connect to, you know, watching movies as a kid to end up publishing a horror book as an
Bill Halpin: adult?
Yeah. I actually started off, wanting or writing it as a screenplay, and then doing some. Research into that with a screenplay, somebody could buy it, maybe not for so much, and [00:03:00] by the time it actually gets to to be a movie, they've changed so much of what your original story was anyway. But if you wrote a book that in itself, you know, hopefully could sell, and if it got really big, that could be made into a movie.
Anyway. So I kind of changed gears pretty quickly from a screenplay to a
Leah: novel. That's interesting.
Matt: And then what was your, what was your writing process like.
Bill Halpin: It was a stop and go. when I first started putting words on paper, I was in optometry school, my maybe my second year. And there were times where six, eight, 10 months would go by without me even touching it.
Cause, you know, hard semester or exams coming up or what have you. Then you graduate and I'm working full time. So from start to finish probably took me. Close to eight years. Well, I've been better since, and I'm already, you know, I'm more than halfway done with SQL, so this timeframe would nearly be as long, I hope.
Leah: Well, that's interesting that you decided to start writing during school. What do you know that, was it therapy for you or what triggered you?
Bill Halpin: It was definitely a [00:04:00] balanced cause with terms of school. It's like any kind of medical profession, it's memorization. It's, Bland textbook effort plan textbook, and this.
The creation side of it was missing. So this was a, a fun side project for me. And I always thought, you know, writers have kind of the best type of celebritiness there could be, cause you're not super famous, but people who like your Gianna of stuff. Yeah. May end up knowing you pretty well.
Leah: Well, yeah. It seems like authors have, their fans are very, very dedicated to them,
Bill Halpin: which you can still go to the supermarket without being
They accurate. Yeah.
Leah: You don't really know what the, the authors look like.
Matt: Bill, tell us about publishing your book. Did you, self-publish or find a publisher?
Bill Halpin: I did find a publisher, although I never could find an agent. I went through maybe 20 or 30 different agents and, kind of a common story. And they don't get back to you.
cause I know they're, they're swamped with their own, you know, tons of people submitting. But I ended up. I was going to self publish if I didn't get [00:05:00] anything. But I ended up finding a independent publisher who didn't require an agent and liked the book and signed me a contract.
Leah: So he had a publisher and we heard that you had a title in your mind that you wanted to use, but they had a different idea.
Bill Halpin: The title of the book for, since the beginning was called coloboma, which is just a kind of a rare eye deformity that, the main villain. the novel has, and I thought that was the perfect title for it. but the publisher said, absolutely not. No way. Nobody will know what the heck it is. And no one likes to your John rhe basically told me to change it and I end up changing to the cultivating.
And now I think that's so much better. But it's, it's so funny that you're so set on something, but if you, there's people who know a lot more than you out in the world. It's for the best. Listen to them sometimes. Sure.
Matt: They understand what's marketable. Right,
Bill Halpin: right. Oh, the w without compromising yourself too much.
Leah: Sure. And what about that cover up your book? Did you get a say in that?
Bill Halpin: Very much so. I know it's not always the case, but cosmic egg were, were very, and I [00:06:00] don't know if it's, it's easier for them, but they told me to, you know, go onto Adobe photo stock at monster, the exact side of it, and just find a couple of different artwork that you think will be a good fit for your novel.
And I assumed that I had to submit a one. I said this one of my favorite, and they agreed and they took it and you know, put a couple edits on it and made it beautiful. I think I love, I love the cover and I love the fact that they let me kind of design themselves. I like judging a book by its cover. I think a unique cover is sometimes the best part of a book.
Leah: Yeah. It seems like even if you don't want to do that. Unfortunately, like if you're at a bookstore, har a library, it is. Unfortunately, a book cover does jump out at you and you grab that book.
Bill Halpin: You're, and when you're done, it's on the shelf. That's all. It's, you know, you're going to be seeing, you're not going to open up and look at the words anymore.
Leah: Now I see on your book cover, it says book one. So did you know prior to even ending up published that you were going to write a sequel?
Bill Halpin: Oh yeah. The story a, it doesn't end on a, I mean, there's maybe a couple of threads that are cliffhangers, but [00:07:00] I knew the story and the kind of the world I built wasn't enough to hold just one book.
I don't know if it's going to be three or four Vietnam. I know how the endings. You're going to come about, but I'm not sure how long it's going to take to to reach that.
Leah: And you're working with the same publisher.
Bill Halpin: They haven't officially asked for the second book yet, but that's the plan. Okay,
Great. Bill, do you have any advice for people who are writing a book and they're busy with their career?
Bill Halpin: Well, the first thing we don't, I'm not saying to take eight years, but really make sure that you don't rush it out. Because for me, when I finished the rough draft and in the first draft, I mean, I was excited.
I was ready to go. Years went by and I said, I'm done. But, you know, I went through, I waited, I had some people knew what they were doing to look at it, and there's a lot of errors and a lot of like logical steaks that needed to be tightened up, even though so tempting to put it out right away, you want to do yourself a favor and really make sure everything's ironed out as well as possible because you only get one chance to make a first impression.
I read so many books out there. [00:08:00] That unfortunately can just tell where Russian, they're full of mistakes and that just kind of takes you out of it.
Matt: You're right. Typographical errors definitely do that. Bill, I saw on your Facebook page that you had a short story published in a book
Bill Halpin: that just came out of the blue.
I want to, one independent publisher that I wanted to go with initially, dark regions press. They were close to submission, so I just subscribed to their newsletter and every once in a while they had just a writing contest. That anybody could submit to. And this one was just, about a core story of a soul survivor on a deserted Island.
And so as an anthology they putting together, so it was, I think, short story, I forget what the max was, but mine was like 700 words, but I won third place in that. The cultivating, that wasn't my first published. this came out just a few months before that, but. It gave me a little bit enough earnings so I could join the core writers association as an associate.
Leah: Yeah. Well, that's good advice because some people might get disillusion, but you kept at it and here you found and rewarding [00:09:00] experience through them, right?
Bill Halpin: Yeah. I mean, that will always go down as my first publication, technically a good boost to go into the release of my novel.
Leah: do you look for any other writing contest or was that just a fluke
Bill Halpin: that that was kind of a fluke?
They'd actually had a few more that I didn't write or do anything to submit to. I'm trying to focus on the second novel now cause I'm still at a full time job and working six days a week sometimes and trying to do at least an hour a day. I wish I wrote more short stories. I mean the first book is about 98,000 words and the second one's going to be around the same.
It's the same word. Count.
Leah: This episode of the author inside you podcast is sponsored by
Matt: scuba file. When you go to scribble file.com you'll find a community of writers across the top of the page. One of the tabs on scribble bio is labeled Academy, and when you click on that, you'll find all sorts of great articles on how to make your writing better.
Now, I just read the one on [00:10:00] quotation Mark usage. It's a great idea to get a refresher on how quotation marks should be used when it comes to sitting down and writing your book. It can be difficult to remember exactly where the punctuation goes or whether you need one at the beginning of each sentence.
Leah: Some of the authors that we spoke to in the past have said that grammar has slowed their writing process down. That's why it's important to go to scribble file.com and go to the writing Academy tab. Some other examples of articles on the writing Academy are correct colon usage, correct. Semi-colon usage in what are comma splices.
These are all tools to help making writing easier.
Matt: So if you need a refresher course on punctuation, there's no place better to go than the writer's Academy on scuba file. So head over to dot com
Leah: so talking about finding time to continue writing. What are some of your tips on how you find time to write.
Bill Halpin: Bring a laptop with me. And even at work in between patients, I might [00:11:00] open it up and try to crack out 20 minutes of of progress. It's just whenever you can. I'm a night owl, so I don't really, I don't really wake up, I can't do the waking up early to, right. So before I go to bed, I'll try to get some time in there.
Does every day I got my, I have my laptop with me in my backpack, whether it's, you know, waiting for my car to be serviced or, you know, at work during a break. Just whenever you can.
Leah: Great. And it's an also relaxing for you.
Bill Halpin: Yeah, I think there's still, I don't want to say hobby, but a part time job that it's still fun for me.
Matt: Now, did cosmic egg provide editing service?
Bill Halpin: they did. That's part of the, of the contracts. You submit the manuscript to them? They do. There. Editing. They'll send it back to you to go through one more time for you, submit it, and then it's final. And that's maybe if I had a second tip to tell the listeners is, I don't know.
It's not my idea. I can remember where I heard it from. But I read the entire thing out loud to myself just to make sure everything.
[00:12:00] Leah: All right. Main idea.
Bill Halpin: It picks up a couple of things that everybody missed, even, you know, the editors, so it helps you see in its totality. The advice that I did get was to read it all, if not in one go, kind of within a day or two, not over.
In a weeks cause then it loses that effects.
Leah: Oh, okay. Sure. Right.
Matt: And did your family think you were a little crazy reading the book out
Bill Halpin: loud? A little bit, but I warned them.
Matt: You sit out on the front porch at night and read it out loud.
Bill Halpin: That's right
Matt: on good reads, you have over 70 reviews of your book or 70 ratings of your book.
How did you do that?
Bill Halpin: I spent a lot of networking. I sent out a number of advanced copies to any kind of a reviewer that I know liked horror or like dark thrillers or kind of toes that line as far as the genre goes and they all, I mean, it's still almost like agents where a lot of them just don't respond to you.
A lot of them, like free copies of books and a lot of them took the electronic, I did get some advanced copies of the paperback that I sent out, so I ate it a little bit there. But I mean, it was, [00:13:00] it was worth it because reviews are. Almost worth their weight in gold, and it's been so far really positive reviews.
I think there's a lot, I forget what exactly what the averages now, but it's. Over four stars, which I'm extremely happy about. Amazon's doing well too.
Matt: Excellent. That's great. So how did you find the list of people to send them to? How did you do that? Networking?
Bill Halpin: I did a lot of it from Instagram. There was no list.
I just kind of searched horror bloggers and I found one and. Send it to her and I looked on all the people she's following and went down that list to see who might be interested in it and send it to them or reach out to them. You know, I always ask first, I don't want to spam them or, or assume they would take it, but most people are pretty responsive there.
Matt: Yeah. This is some great advice. So finding people who might be interested in giving you a review, asking him if you can send it to him, and then getting a review. That's great.
Bill Halpin: Once they accepted the book, I never really bugged them about, you know, are you finished yet? So sometimes it took weeks, sometimes it took months before they got around to reading it.
But when they did [00:14:00] and they said, Hey, we liked it. I said, great, and you mind posting up on good reason. And Amazon, I think you just can't be afraid to ask that. You know, politely ask the people who like it and not the people who don't like it.
Leah: What are some of the surprising opportunities that have happened because of your writing?
Bill Halpin: I've been able to network with a lot of authors out there that I. Hadn't heard of. I Googled local authors and and found a couple of in my genre. So we've become friends and we've done some of those brewery signings together cause it's so much more fun to do it with someone than by yourself. It's gotten me a lot more proficient on social media.
I didn't know what I was doing on Instagram a year ago, but now I'm pretty proficient at it.
Matt: Excellent. So what would you say is the best social media. That you use to help promote your book?
Bill Halpin: Well, definitely Instagram because the community, they're just a lot more, I think, responsive and, and fun. And I, I liked the, the interface more than Facebook.
And then my own website, which is, bill [00:15:00] Halpin books.com, which I have to say, Hey, you got my name right. My last day. A lot of people mess that up. I don't even tell you how to say it every which way you can think of. That's wrong. Half open, Helen.
Matt: I would guess putting an R in there for some reason, like how prin
Bill Halpin: that's I've, I've had that.
Yeah. I've had reviewers put that in the review. Harpen Oh,
Bill Halpin: they're willing to terrorize you. Hey, I'm not gonna say anything, but because it was a good review.
Leah: But we're looking at your website right now, and I have to say, I really like it. It's very nice.
Bill Halpin: Oh, thanks. Ah, I put pretty much that all together by myself.
Just using Wix. we'll give a shout out to you, a website, unsplash.com that gives you a lot of free, really high quality photos. That you can use without having, you know, any needing any rights to it. Most of the pictures on that website came from there. if you look at the website, the logo with the eyeballs that has that coloboma and the pupils, if you can [00:16:00] see that I got designed from somebody on fiber.
Matt: we've used fiber too. Yeah.
Bill Halpin: Oh, it's great.
Leah: And then I think it's cool because when you scroll up, you can see more the picture underneath. That's, I think that's really neat. Everyone needs to go to your website and check it out and then purchase a book at the same time. Right.
Bill Halpin: And what the heck?
Matt: The cool thing about Wix is that you can use it for free and you can design a website for free.
Bill Halpin: Oh yeah. I actually got quotes. I knew another optometrist who does that on the side, or has a company for it. And. Yeah. He's like, Oh yeah. And he quoted me like hundreds of hundreds of dollars, and I'm like, Hey, I'm not only have a book out yet, I can't, you know, I can't swing that right. Hit it. Maybe when I hit it big, but.
Yeah. Which is the way to go for all you, a beginner authors out there.
Matt: We'll bill. What's a good way for people to get in touch with you if they want to reach out?
Bill Halpin: Yeah, I'm very responsive on email, Instagram, Facebook, and the website has a kind of a, has a contact form on there as well. So those four are the main ways
Matt: and the best way to [00:17:00] purchase the book mill.
Bill Halpin: Amazon would be a, probably the best, but it's, it's for sale anywhere. Books are sold. Any major retailer, Amazon, Barnes, noble. Walmart target. They don't have it. And ebook and paperback.
Matt: Now your publisher got it on those websites.
Bill Halpin: Yeah, it's on the publisher website as well. Although we didn't talk about the publishers based out of the UK.
Leah: So tell us a little bit about working with them.
Bill Halpin: It's primarily through email. They have a publicist that they assigned to me, which we did a few Skype calls, but other than that, he's got to deal with that time zone difference. But it's also nice because they have people in their network from the UK. So I have.
And then you know, my contacts us so we can team up on those. Great,
Matt: and a larger audience.
Bill Halpin: That's the plan.
Matt: Well, bill helping, author of the cult of Eden. Thanks for joining us on the author inside your podcast.
Bill Halpin: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Leah: If you have any questions for either Matt or myself, please drop us a line on our Facebook page, the author inside you.
Matt: And until next [00:18:00] time.
Bill Halpin: Right on. Thank you for listening to the author insides you podcast with your host, Leah and Matt Rafferty.