Today we're talking to Daniel Williamson. He is a truly prolific children's author who has more than 15 bilingual children's books out in the market. Discover his indie author tips and tricks in our interview.
How many books have you written and published so far?
That's quite a complicated question for me because I cheated somewhat in my self-publishing journey. I've written a series of bilingual picture books but they are essentially the same story which has just been translated into ten different languages.
There's ten books there from the same story. I've also just recently back translated half the series. Normally they are “Look at me I'm learning French” or German or Italian etc. Now I’ve got five that are “Look at me I’m learning English” but they start in the base language of Portuguese Spanish French etc.
Where do you sell all these books?
They're all for sale on Amazon at the moment and digital ebooks are also available normally on my website. It's very easy to find you can just search for look at me and my name Daniel Williamson and you'll find my author page and all the different languages.
Do you ever sell the books directly?
Not yet. That's something I'm considering in the future. I'm happy for Amazon to do the legwork for me at the moment. Although I would like to start going around to schools and doing talks with very young children. I would like to go to possibly nurseries but certainly schools and do some talks about learning a new language.
Perhaps also do some live practice with new languages with children and then I expect I'll probably sell my books during those sessions.
Many authors find that marketing can be quite hard what's something you've tried that has worked well for you?
I'm testing all different kinds of marketing. I only self-published my first six books back in December. But because I have a bilingual picture book series it appeals to quite a lot of different groups of people.
Anyone who is interested in languages or being bilingual or multilingual. I found I got a good response to my giveaway on Amazon. I got a good response when I posted that in a lot of Facebook groups relating to parenting or homeschooling.
I got a lot of really positive comments to my Amazon giveaway.
I'm also researching Amazon ads spoken to a couple of publishers who say Amazon ads are brilliant and from what I can see so far they are very good because you actually only pay-per-click.
What has not gone well in your marketing?
I was quite surprised that I had 6,000 books downloaded in my giveaway and didn't get that many reviews. The ones that I did get were fantastic and very positive. I thought close to six thousand downloads would give me a thousand reviews or something. But there's nowhere near that many.
I wondered if it was really worth it for this KDP free giveaway. It did make me feel good to be able to help somewhat during the coronavirus. And I did have messages from some parents saying thanks so much. Of course it’s not all about getting reviews and sales, but I was surprised.
Can you share a lovely moment you’ve had as an author?
My personal one for me was the first time I read my book to my daughter. She's half Spanish and so my mum and her have been encouraging her to learn Spanish. It was really nice to have a book that we could sit down and read in Spanish and in English together.
She looked up at me and said “did you write this daddy?” and I that was probably my favourite moment so far. Hopefully lots more of these to come.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of writing a book?
I think just go for it I think the reason a lot of people don't have success in writing a book is purely because they don't actually do the thing. I think almost everybody's got a book in them.
What I would say is do your research. I think the best authors do their research. And it's good to have a focus group. I was very lucky that my mother runs a Montessori Nursery and so she was able to read my stories to children and gauge whether they liked them or not. Obviously kids are the best judges because they're the most honest.
Whether you're writing fiction or nonfiction, find someone who's going to give you a completely honest review. Ideally more than one person. Really you need three to five at least, just to know if what you're doing is good enough. Or if it has it been done before.
I would actually also advise to read up a lot on marketing before you even start writing your book. There's so much that you need to know in terms of marketing. There's so much that you need to know, in terms of not just the story, but all the other pages. The title page and the copyright page and putting the covers together. All these things you necessarily wouldn't think about. I would certainly do research for the first three months before even starting to write.
Where to Next?
We hope you enjoyed this insight into Dan Williamson's indie author journey. This is just one of our many author interviews and book reviews. We love to inspire and educate by sharing stories of other indie authors, to help you along your journey. The best way to keep in touch with these is by signing up to our newsletter. You can also see our full collection of free indie author guides to help you with your publishing. Plus of course, you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.