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“There’s something to be said about mastering the algorithm; many authors have done this to great success, but most have yet to crack it.”

Breaking into the indie market with the Break-Ins!

The Break-Ins are taking the indie world by storm right now! This group is doing fantastic things for a bunch of self-published authors and helping put them on everyone’s radar. From authors who published in 2023 to those debuting in 2024, this group holds some incredible people. I’ve been lucky enough to snag an interview with the ringleader Joshua Walker today! A warm welcome to Josh (and of course all authors of the Break-Ins group!).

Q. First of all, I would like to thank you for taking the time to chat with me today! Can you give us an introduction to the group? Who is involved and where can people find you?

Of course! Thank you for the opportunity, Kris. The Break-Ins are a collective of sixteen debut authors who, simply put, needed some friends to help them navigate the trepidatious waters of the publishing industry. It was initially created by myself and Scott Palmer, though we quickly gained some of the most incredible people out there as assets and new friends: Calum Lott, Rob Leigh, Isaac Hill, Kaden Love, Adrian M Gibson, Louise Holland, Sam Paisley, Bryan Wilson, Nick Church, Jonathan Weiss, Nicholas W Fuller, Francisca Liliana, Andrew Watson, and ZS Diamanti. We actually hosted our first group giveaway at the end of February on what has now become our collective website, although you can of course find us individually on socials and our own sites.

Q. The Break-Ins is such a fantastic idea! What was the catalyst for reaching out to a group of authors and pulling them together like this?

Honestly, I just didn’t know enough. I’d spent years saturating myself in all things publishing, and for a while I was trying to break in via the trad route, but it didn’t pay off. I decided Indie was for me as I am incredibly passionate about being in command of my work, and have the tech savvy and focus to dedicate to administration and marketing. But I simply didn’t know how to network with other authors. Everyone was really nice, but there was a sense they were in their own echelon of establishment and tenure, of which I obviously lacked.

When I came across Scott’s X page, I thought only good things could come from talking to others who were on the same path as me. We both quickly realised that we were trying a lot of the same things, making the same connections, and could really benefit from an author discord that allowed us to band together and share ideas and feedback during our launch cycles for debut works.

Q. Self-Published authors can often have a hard time marketing their works. What has been the benefits of marketing in a group dynamic?

There’s something to be said about mastering the algorithm; many authors have done this to great success, but most have yet to crack it. We figured we had a better chance if we could create an echo chamber of our work together. It definitely saw all of us get tremendous boosts in following.

I’d love to take the opportunity to answer this question by allowing some of the other members to jump in, too!

“I think the benefit of marketing in a group dynamic is that we can all bounce ideas off each other and workshop our strategies. That way, we aren’t just trying something out or testing something in a vacuum. Some people may have a successful strategy that could work for you too, or you can tweak it.”

Rob Leigh, Author of Pathlighter

“Being self-published, it’s hard to know where it’s valuable to spend your time. By working with a group you can get the combined knowledge of everyone’s successes and failures, spend time where it’s most beneficial, and avoid places where it’s easy to waste time and money (for example, running ads if you don’t know how….like I did).”

Sam Paisley, Author of The Elements of Time

“The benefit to marketing in a group dynamic has been the group itself. To be more specific, the community that it creates. In a group, a team, you get to bounce ideas off each other and get the benefit of sixteen opinions (in the case of The Break-Ins). The diversity of experiences and opinions gives you an edge and makes marketing feel less cryptic and more accessible!”

Isaac Hill, Author of The Dragon Legion

Q. As a new group of authors either debuting in 2023 or 2024 what are some of the ways you hype each other up for releases?

Something as simple as being present for one another is all it takes. If shit hits the fan, I know everyone has my back. There are always small road bumps in the publishing process, and it’s especially gratifying and reassuring to know that others have made it through similar road bumps, or can at least offer words of support. Here are some of our other thoughts on this, too:

“There are so many ways we hype each other up from sharing each others good news to being able to pick each other’s brains. For me, the thing that stands out the most and is the most valuable is having a dedicated crew of supporters. It’s like we have our own dedicated hype squad cheering us on, particularly on release days. This work can be isolating at times, but not with this crew! Everyone of The Break-Ins understands the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into making these creative works; their knowledge makes their support especially meaningful.”

Nicholas W Fuller, Author of Stranded

“One of the best things about being with the group is that we can hype each other up even when we’re struggling. I recently went through some health problems with my

 mom at the same time I was releasing a new book (on top of having fours kids of my own). Needless to say, I was wiped out. But The Break-Ins had my back and rallied the troops for me. Even if I was having a hard time being hyped. They kept me going with encouragement and spreading the love on all the socials. It’s something else.”

ZS Diamanti, Author of Stone & Sky

“Reading each other’s books and talking about why we love them! We are all busy with our own reading and writing, but taking some time to read a little of someone’s book and then talking about it can go a long way. Spreading the love over Twitter is a sure way to get some eyes on a book.”

Kaden Love, Author of Elegy of a Fragmented Vineyard

Q. Have you all read each other’s books yet? Let’s hear a couple of favourites from the group!

I’ve certainly started working my way through all these great stories! For a start, Rob Leigh’s Pathlighter is a fantastic adventure fantasy that roots itself in a mixture of classical influences. Sam Paisley’s The Winds of Change is brilliantly done wholesome portal fantasy with seriously good depictions of friendship. Louise Holland’s Spark of the Divine is beautiful in every sense, right down to the physical copy of the book. I’ve also read Scott Palmer’s upcoming novella, which was gloriously dark and chaotic.

Of course, there are also so many snippets of each other’s that we have all read. I think we all know each other’s styles well enough now, whether we’ve been able to read an entire work or not. I for one am incredibly excited to see how people react to the stuff that is still yet to come from Calum Lott, Adrian Gibson, Nicholas W Fuller and Isaac Hill.

Q. Outside of the group, what has been your experience in the indie/self-published world? What is your favourite/least favourite thing about it.

My favourite thing about the industry is the incredible indie community that is exponentially growing, and is filled with wonderful writers and passionate readers. Reviewers are obliging, honest, and excited for the work that’s coming out. There are great companies now like The Broken Binding who are doing such good things to better synthesise the trad and indie scenes together and unite people over their love for the genre. It’s a really good time to be a reader, and a writer.

My least favourite thing is managing social media. It’s easier than you think to get burned out while also working a day job, working on your actual writing, and trying to continually market and grow your fanbase. It can be exhausting, and I think we have a tendency to barely scratch the surface of that malaise that seems to affect all of us so acutely.

Q. What can we expect from the Break-Ins in the future? Do you have any cool events on the horizon that we can all get excited about?

Well, I mentioned our giveaway that just wrapped up—that was a really good practice attempt at some other ideas we’ve been kicking around (although I won’t give anything away!). But really, beyond any of the marketing ideas we have, our number one goal right now is to look after one another, and eventually give back in big ways, whether that be starting up a blog as a resource for writers, or mentoring new authors. The sky really is the limit. We just know how good we have it, and we want others to have that, too.

Q. Alright, last question, who out of the group is next to publish? Who has got something coming out in the next few months that we all NEED to know about?

Just trust me when I say you are not ready for what’s coming out this year. Adrian M Gibson is releasing Mushroom Blues (Mushrooms and Blade Runner) on March 19th, and it is brilliantly gritty. Jonathan Weiss and Bryan Wilson are both publishing sequels to their main series’ in April. Scott Palmer is releasing his extraordinary dark fantasy, A Memory of Song in May (it has one of the coolest magic systems I’ve seen). Isaac Hill will be following shortly thereafter with The Dragon Legion (a love letter to the military/heroic fantasy of David Gemmell), and then myself with my debut novel, An Exile of Water & Gold (think epic, political fantasy fused with a whodunnit, and the science of symbiosis). Calum Lott is shaping up to blow readers’ minds with A Dirge for Cascius (True Detective fused with Space Opera) later this year, along with Nicholas W Fuller’s debut novel, Stranded (an absolute romp of a sci-fi adventure). And then we are all mostly going in for a round two—I won’t give away what I know is coming, but there is just so much great stuff to digest over the coming months.

Make sure to check out all of the wonderful authors and books on offer by the Break-Ins group. I know they have destroyed by TBR!

Want to check out a solo interview with one of the members of this fantastic group! Check out Louise Holland’s interview

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The Fictional Escapist

Kris has been an avid reader for most of his life, forever escaping into various worlds, far beyond his imagination. Now at the ripe old age of 32, he spends his days in a sea of authors, review copies and unedited manuscripts; and he is having a blast!

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