Meet the Teaching Artist: Best Practices in Self-Publishing with David Hopkins
by Writing Workshops Staff
4 months ago
David Hopkins is a fantasy novelist known for The Dryad’s Crown, a story set in the vast world of Efre Ousel. Beyond his writing, he's a full member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association) and founded Cake and Prose, a popular literary series in Dallas-Fort Worth. Many also know David from the ArmadilloCon writers workshop in Austin.
David is now offering a new seminar titled Best Practices in Self-Publishing: How to Bet on Yourself Without Going Broke, and we couldn't be more excited to bring this class to you.
This seminar is designed for authors looking to navigate the complexities of self-publishing without falling into common traps. David will guide participants in avoiding costly rookie mistakes, setting up a pre-release plan, and making wise financial decisions about production and distribution.
Whether you're considering publishing an ebook, paperback, or audiobook, David's seminar provides practical advice for a successful and cost-effective release.
Hi, David. Please introduce yourself to our audience.
I got my start as a somewhat serious writer about 20 years ago, writing comic books. Then, I wrote for magazines. The money was slightly better, and the opportunities kept coming. So, I kept doing it. My time as a journalist was brief, but beneficial. I had some great editors. I learned a lot from them and the other writers I met. However, I always knew I was going to return to fantasy and speculative fiction. I finished my first novel three years ago. My second one came out this year, and I'm working on my third. I've also written a short story collection, and I co-authored a memoir about a Dallas burlesque dancer.
What made you want to teach this specific class? Is it something you are focusing on in your own writing practice? Have you noticed a need to focus on this element of craft?
It's an amazing time to self publish. The comic book industry was a bit ahead of the book industry—and so, I saw it emerge and flourish in both worlds. Obviously, print-on-demand and ebooks play a big part of it, but it's also the improved perception of indie authors. Indie publishing is now seen as a viable alternative to corporate publishing, and there are some very talented indie authors finding an audience. The problem is it can be very, very expensive to self publish. A lot of people are throwing money at their books hoping they get lucky and become the next big thing in indie publishing. Their passion for self publishing mutates into desperation, and that's a dangerous place to be. My hope is that I can help indie authors avoid some of the common money traps in self publishing. I'm not saying that self publishing is cheap. It's not. But I can definitely make this class worth your time. Two hours to cover all the important aspects of self publishing and give you guidance on how to get where you want to go.
Give us a breakdown of how the course is going to go. What can the students expect? What is your favorite part about this class you've dreamed up?
It's a Zoom class, so it won't be too scripted. Here's the schedule I have planned: The first 30 minutes will be on the "top 5 mistakes gamblers make," and how it applies to self-publishing. The second 30 minutes will be on putting together your self-publishing calendar and where to best spend your money. Then we'll have a ten-minute break. The next 30 minutes will be on resources and processes. We'll get very granular on how to actually format a book, load it to Amazon and elsewhere. All that. The last 30 minutes will be a Q&A. Feel free to ask me anything. Come prepared with questions. I think my favorite part will be sharing the "gamblers' mistakes." I did some research on it, and it's amazing how closely the mistakes line up with common mistakes that indie authors make. Turns out that a gamble at the black jack table isn't too different from the gamble of self publishing. Being self aware about these mistakes is crucial.
What was your first literary crush?
I really loved Bill Mantlo's Cloak and Dagger. Then, there was also Louise Simonson, the writer for the original X-Factor comics. She's an amazing storyteller. And Stephen King. I got into King at a really young age. Too young probably. I devoured everything he wrote. My mom would take me to B.Dalton, and I could pick up another novel. She didn't care—as long as I was reading.
What are you currently reading?
The Strange by Nathan Ballingrud
How do you choose what you're working on? When do you know it is the next thing you want to write all the way to THE END?
As an epic fantasy author, this is an easy question. I have to write the next book in the series. If I don't finish it, the adventure ends. And who wants that? My fantasy series, Tales from Efre Ousel, will consume a big chunk of my life. There's just no getting around that.
Where do you find inspiration?
Shakespeare, comic books, obscure fairy tales, podcasts about medieval warfare, Nordic folk music, cool shit on Netflix. Fortunately, I don't need much to get me excited about what I'm writing.
What is the best piece of writing wisdom you've received that you can pass along to our readers? How did it impact your work? Why has this advice stuck with you?
Chuck Wendig once said if you can write 350 words a day, five days a week, you'll have a novel within a year. 350 words is manageable. It's a good reminder. Sometimes, the best advice is to just do the work.
What is your favorite book to recommend on the craft of writing? Why this book?
It's been a while since I've read it, but A Writer's Coach by Jack Hart is very good, a solid, no-nonsense book on craft. I also think every writer needs a copy of Dreyer's English. These are not sexy books, but you'll become a better writer if you read them.
Bonus question: What’s your teaching vibe?
Friendly, helpful, chill, easily amused. I'm not here to crush any dreams, but we need to be realistic about what you want to achieve. If you want to write a novel you can be proud of, that is absolutely within your power. If you want to make a career from your writing, that's much more difficult—and a lot of it is outside of your control. But it's not impossible! I sincerely want to help you increase your odds of success.
Learn More About Working with David:
You can learn more about David's upcoming class, Best Practices in Self-Publishing: How to Bet on Yourself Without Going Broke, and sign up now.
Note: This class is best suited for those not seeking a "rapid release" strategy. Join us to gain a clear understanding of self-publishing from a trusted expert. Join David in this journey to explore new dimensions in writing and enhance your craft!
Instructor David Hopkins is a fantasy novelist with an interest in Shakespeare, medieval history, fairy tales, and myth. He is the author of The Dryad’s Crown, a story set in the vast world of Efre Ousel. David is married to artist and designer, April Hopkins. They have two daughters, Kennedy and Greta, and a dog named Moose. David is a full member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association) and founder of Cake and Prose. He’s also an instructor for the ArmadilloCon writers workshop in Austin.