Derek Murphy spent years as a struggling artist before figuring out the secret to success. “You need to write books people actually want to read.” Though the advice seems obvious to entrepreneurs, Murphy says many authors rebel against his pragmatic publishing tips and prefer writing books for personal fulfillment rather than financial gain. —
“For me personally, I’d rather write books that more people enjoy. Scarlet Thread has been #1 in dark fantasy for almost a year. And I know I can do better.”
Murphy previously worked with hundreds of self-published authors through his book design business, but became frustrated that so many authors didn’t know what to do with their books after they were published, how to build an author platform, connect with readers or get book reviews. He started publishing fiction mostly to test the waters and see whether his marketing tactics would work for both fiction and nonfiction... it took him less than a year to start making a full-time income from his writing and quit client work altogether.
Now he travels full-time while writing fiction and teaching others about publishing. In 2017 he began inviting authors to join him on writing retreats in historic castles around Europe. This is the third castle Murphy has rented, the first being a chateau in southern France, and then a medieval fortress in northern Spain. “It’s not as expensive as people think,” Murphy comments. “Split between a group of authors, we pay less rent than we would for an apartment in a major city.”
Murphy rents castles for Nanowrimo as a way to inspire other authors, and because he loves what the movement symbolizes: that anybody can write a book, as long as they have a supportive community of writers working towards the same goal for a limited amount of time. “50K in one month is totally possible. And once you’ve done it a few times, you realize you can do it every month. It doesn’t have to be an annual thing. If you want to be a writer, you need to write. A lot. Some people say the first million words is just practice. I’m at about a million words published now, and I can’t wait to launch all the new projects I have in the works.”
During the retreat, the authors average around 3,000 words per day. Thriller author Jay Tinsiano, one of Murphy’s guests, comments: “Working alongside other writers, exchanging ideas, great conversation, strolls in the beautiful woods: All of this made for an exceptional writing experience.”
Bradley Charbonneau, another guest, writes: “My productivity saw heights never before achieved, experienced feedback was across the table from me, and I could do it all in my socks.”
Derek Murphy also shares book marketing tips at writing conferences around the world, and recently published a guide to “Guerrilla Publishing” for authors who can’t join one of his events.
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