Learn from a self published deaf author

Daryl Hajek has published two books with a third in the making. He took the self-publishing route and in this interview gives some marketing advice. Oh, and he’s deaf, which is a reoccurring theme in his writing.

Read an Interview: What’s your single favorite event that takes place in one of your books?

Daryl Hajek: ​In Blood Blossom, Christine blows up her mother’s house.

RAI: Is that a spoiler or more of a fun fact?

DH: ​It’s both a spoiler and a fun fact, heh-heh-heh!

RAI: Your books fall in the horror genre. What’s so appealing about horror?

DH: I find horror intriguing, fascinating, mysterious, and unpredictable. One just never knows what one is going to get when it comes to horror. ​

author photoRAI: So as an author, horror gives you more power? Do you feel the pressure to surprise?

DH: ​Horror does not make me invincible, but gives me opportunities to be creative and original​, so as not to emulate the likes of Stephen King, Clive Barker, Robert McGammon, John Saul, et al. Originality is key and, no, I don’t feel any pressure to surprise readers. When I write, I do the best I can to entertain and intrigue readers, and if readers are surprised, even better!

RAI: You’re a self-published author, something that used to be seen as a last resort for failed authors but which today is the first choice to many. Why did you take that route?

DH: ​It’s more economical than going through a major publishing house which can be very expensive.

RAI: With no publisher behind you, how do you market your book?

DH: ​My editor said, “Authors are not marketers.” Authors have to learn to market their own books. The routes I’ve utilized are by way of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, my blog, Youtube, DeafVideo.TV, and AllDeaf.com, to name a few.

RAI: How do you reach audiences outside your own friends and family? I mean, building a following on social media is challenging in itself, is it not?

DH: ​Authors have to do their own marketing, and most of them use social media which is very challenging, because there are more than one and a half million self-published authors vying for the same thing: to get their books out there in front of everyone, as well as to try to get on bestseller lists, to get a book deal through a publisher, or get their book made into a movie.

RAI: You’re deaf, and deafness is a theme at least in your second book, The Preternatural. How has your own deafness affected your writing?

DH: My deafness has made me a better communicator especially in terms of writing. I can vividly convey and share what is being described, without using sign-language, regardless of topic of conversation.

RAI: Is writing a relief, sort of a world where you’re on the same level as others who can write?

DH: ​Writing is therapeutic and sort of an escape for me, yes. I can block out external stimuli and focus on the story at hand, both in my head and on paper. I’m unable to compare myself to other authors, because everyone is different. Each has his or her own ways of relief and being in worlds where only they can envision and experience.

“Blood Blossom is a dark, suspenseful family drama about two sisters and their mysterious mother who engage in a battle of wits over an estate.”

RAI: I like your book titles, particularly the third one, Eyes That Hear and Ears That See. How did you come up with that one? How do you go about brainstorming titles?

DH: That one is actually the title and context of a poem by a family relative who wrote it for me for my 21st birthday. The poem itself is in the book, as well. As for brainstorming titles, I take the contents of the book, such as the book’s theme or subject matter, and come up with titles that tie in with the elements of the books.

RAI: That poem, I would guess it celebrated your deafness, am I right? ​What has it meant to you?

DH: ​You’re absolutely right! The poem celebrated my deafness and basically acknowledged that it’s perfectly okay to have an imperfection such as a physical disability, so long as no one judges the person with the disability. The poem meant so much to me, coming from a pure heart with love, acceptance, and honor.

RAI: I’m sure you’ve described your books a thousand times, but can you summarize each one in only one sentence per book?

DH: Blood Blossom is a dark, suspenseful family drama about two sisters and their mysterious mother who engage in a battle of wits over an estate.

The Preternatural ​is a supernatural horror thriller about a deaf family in a haunted house and the story is narrated from a deaf perspective.

Eyes That Hear and Ears That See [not yet published at the time of writing] is a dark fantasy-drama about a deaf woman seeking gainful employment, but with an unexpected twist.

RAI: What were your thoughts behind the covers of your books? They’re quite mysterious and dark. Will your third book follow the theme?

DH: With Blood Blossom I wanted to keep the cover simple, yet convey an element of mystery, hence the pair of red roses dripping blood and a black background. With The Preternatural I kept it simple and aimed to convey a sense of dread and foreboding which draws in potential readers. Eyes That Hear and Ears That See will follow the same theme.

“I can vividly convey and share what is being described, without using sign-language, regardless of topic of conversation.”

RAI: Any hint of what will be on Eyes That Hear and Ears That See?​

DH: The book’s title will definitely have purple or lavender text on a dark background, and my name will be printed in white like it is with Blood Blossom and The Preternatural. I’m still working on ideas for the cover’s image, which will most likely have something to do with sign-language and deafness. It will be interesting and intriguing enough to draw in readers.

RAI: How has your writing changed over time, if at all?

DH: My writing has improved, thanks to my editor, who is a great teacher! I’ve learned to tighten my writing with regards to sentence and paragraph structure, as well as cutting certain words from writing, eliminating unnecessary details and redundancies, and gaining a better understanding in terms of developmental editing which is different from proofreading and copyediting. ​

RAI: Anyone can publish a book. But can anyone write one?

DH: Some can write and others can’t, because it takes talent, creativity, passion, and the ability to tell a good story that captivates and intrigues readers. It also takes time and patience.

​RAI: What advice would you have to anyone who wants to write a novel?

​DH: As Stephen King said, “Read a lot and write a lot,” and I whole-heartily agree.

Stay updated about Daryl Hajek and his books on his Facebook page.

RAI large (600px)Browse the archives and read more amazing interviews!

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