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Author Spotlight: Chris-Rachael Oseland

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Apr 9, 2013 5:58:21 AM Oseland has been a fan of the British cult-favorite TV show Doctor Who since she was a kid. So in celebration of the show's 50th anniversary, she combined her talents as a food writer with her in-depth knowledge of all-things-Who to write and independently publish Dining With The Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook. Chris-Rachael answered a few questions for us about her unique book, how she got the word out, and why indie publishing was the perfect solution for reaching her niche audience of self-described "geeks."


Tell us about your book.

Dining With The Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook is the first Doctor Who cookbook since 1986. I grew up watching Doctor Who, and I knew I wanted to do something big for the show's 50th anniversary. As a food writer, I naturally started thinking about dinner parties. One recipe turned into 10, and before I knew it, I decided to come up with a recipe for every single episode of the new series. My goal was to create recipes that are fun, tasty, and manageable for any Whovian, regardless of their dietary needs or culinary skills.


Care to share your author bio?

I am a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. By day, I'm the technology and geek life reporter for The Austin Post. By night, I descend into my lair at the base of an extinct volcano, don my apron and monocle, and subject my minions to countless culinary experiments. I'm also the author of another geek cookbook, SteamDrunks: 101 Steampunk Cocktails and Mixed Drinks, and I write a cooking blog called Kitchen Overlord, which features weekly illustrated geek recipes and sneak peeks at upcoming geektastic projects.


Why did you initially choose to independently publish?

Dining With The Doctor is actually my fifth self-published book. I started with my Victorian cocktail book, SteamDrunks. Kind agents told me the book was well-written and funny, but it had such a small niche audience they couldn't see it selling widely. Instead of putting it in a drawer and forgetting about it, they suggested I try publishing independently. I'm glad I listened. It's worked out great.


How did you choose CreateSpace and KDP?

I checked out several options, but CreateSpace's relationship with Amazon was too compelling to pass up. As an indie writer, I don't have $25,000 sitting around to spend on professionally printing 5,000 books (which was the best deal I could find outside of print on-demand). I don't have anywhere to warehouse all those books, and I didn't want my days to revolve around checking email, packaging books, and driving to the post office to fulfill orders. Using CreateSpace meant I didn't have to deal with any of that. I can sell 1 book, 100 books, or 1,000 books, and makes sure customers get them at whatever shipping speed they choose.


Like most indie authors, I'm addicted to Kindle Direct Publishing's reporting system. It's so incredibly motivating to see how many copies of my books are selling. That lets me know which marketing efforts are effective and which titles my readers like best. It'd be awful to hand everything over to a publisher and never have the faintest clue whether or not my book was selling.


Tell us about your marketing efforts for your book. How did you get the word out?

I started by emailing about a hundred geek-oriented websites and offering them a sample PDF for review purposes. That resulted in a brief mention on BoingBoing and about half a dozen online reviews, including The Nerdist, Den of Geek, and Technabob. I also pitched and secured additional distribution through the awesome site ThinkGeek.


I started a new blog, Kitchen Overlord, to promote my geek cookbooks, plus a related image-intensive Tumblr. I'm doing everything I can to get food photos from the book onto every possible sharable platform I can. I'm no social media expert, but I do know if people see the photos on Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr, Facebook, or my blog, that will help let Whovians know there's a brand new cookbook just for them.


What were your goals with your book project? Have you met them at this point?

I really wanted to get this book out before the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. Traditional publishing takes time I didn't have, and there were no guarantees. Getting it into print before the end of series 7 and the beginning of the anniversary specials was a top priority for me. CreateSpace and KDP made that possible.


What's next for you and your book?

I'm currently working on two other unauthorized geek cookbooks. Wood for Sheep: The Unauthorized Settler's Cookbook should be out in May. The Noshing Dead: The Unauthorized Walking Dead Cookbook should be out in September. At the moment, I'm throwing dinner parties every Sunday so I can gather people to eat all the food I'm photographing.


Any advice for your fellow authors?

Don't leave your book in a drawer. These days, your idea doesn't have to appeal to millions of people. Your book may be an esoteric niche topic that only appeals to 500 people, but if you love your subject and write about it well, that tiny niche demographic will adore you for serving them. Thanks to the rise of indie publishing, there's so much more room for creativity and diverse expression these days.

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