On July 27, 2016, an independent author sent a business query to a digital nomad, after discovering her blog. Though the nomad primarily blogged about her travel adventures, she also discussed her work in marketing and PR. Her expertise caught his eye.
That digital nomad was our Founder & Managing Director, Alexis Chateau. And the author was Michael Fedison of The Eye-Dancers.
At the time, Fedison was facing the harsh reality that most independent authors grapple with every single day: gaining publicity for his book on his own, without the backing of a publisher. But perhaps even more difficult, was the task of single-handedly proving to readers that his book was worthy of their attention.
“The fact is, as an indie author, and also most likely an indie author with many outside commitments from work, school, family, etc., you simply don’t have the time… to do everything yourself,” Fedison admits. “It’s hard enough writing a novel, and [then] trying to market it.”
In spite of his clear need for their services, Alex says she was really surprised when Fedison decided to take the plunge. “He was intrigued,” she concedes, “but also skeptical. And I could tell he didn’t like the idea of sharing his social media passwords. I didn’t think he would go for it.”
But on August 2nd, Fedison proved her wrong. He is now celebrating a year of working with her team.
A lot has changed since Mike and Alex first started working together. For starters, a few months after Mike became a client, Alex united the team she’d been working with for years, under one PR agency. This meant Mike was no longer working with a digital nomad from a WordPress blog. He was now signed to a PR firm.
Meanwhile, Mike was also moving forward with his own creative projects. He started to work on the second installment of his book, The Singularity Wheel. The new book is scheduled for publishing in November.
Not surprisingly, Alex’s work with Michael Fedison was a big influence behind her recent decision to focus company resources more intensely on the indie author niche.
“When I launched the firm, entrepreneurs flocked to us like flies to carrion,” Alex says. “But, I soon realised that people are more focused on building a brand than a business. While branding is my expertise, the fact is, it takes a business to pay the bills to a PR firm.”
The end result was an internal review that led to the termination of contracts with a few clients; some of which still owe outstanding debts to the firm. This forced Alex to take a step back and think hard about the kind of clients she enjoyed working with.
“I love working with serious entrepreneurs, and will continue to work with them,” she shares. “But it’s much easier to find indie authors who are committed to the success of their books. The problem is making it affordable.”
Alexis Chateau PR resolved this problem by creating a separate division of the firm, which provides the same services, but at discounted rates that suit an indie budget. The new division will be handled by the firm’s Office Cat (me!); and features a new website, and book blog.
“I won’t make a lot of money working with indie authors, but I didn’t start my business to get rich,” Alex says. “Call it charity. Call it passion. Or call it personal bias, as a writer. But I love the idea of giving the underdogs their fair shot at success.”
The Man Behind the Move
Mike was the first person outside of the firm that Alex informed of the new division; and he’s been instrumental in sharing the news about the upcoming launch of black CATastrophy.
But before Mike was busy with turning a company on its heels, he was just another creative spirit hoping the day would come when he could see his work in print. That dream first came about in the second grade, when his teacher gave the class an assignment to write 2 pages on anything they liked.
“Of course, two pages seemed like two hundred pages to a second-grader, but I actually looked forward to the assignment,” Mike tells us. “I wrote a fictional story called The Magic Key, and from that point on, I was hooked!”
Mike would continue to write short stories; and by high school, he branched into writing plays featuring his closest friends. In fact, these friends were the very same people who formed the basis for the main characters in The Eye-Dancers, and its sequel, The Singularity Wheel.
The Birth of The Eye-Dancers Project
Mike first came up with the idea for The Eye-Dancers after a dream he had in high school, that would haunt him for some time to come.
“…under the street lamp, there was a little girl, no more than seven years old,” he remembers.
“The light from the street lamp appeared to filter right through her, as if she were more spirit and ghost than girl. If that weren’t bad enough, she was beckoning for me to come outside and join her–and I could tell, I could feel, that her intentions were far from harmless.”
Mike woke up from the dream, sweating in a tangle of bed-sheets. He then jumped out of bed, and wrote it all down.
He wrote dozens of short stories about his nightmare, afterwards, but none quite captured the idea he had in mind. Then, in 2009, he had the same dream again.
A few years later, The Eye-Dancers moved from a dream, and into reality.
Mike’s book follows four junior high boys on summer vacation, who find themselves on the adventure of a lifetime in a parallel universe.
Working on The Singularity Wheel
When Mike first approached Alex about gaining publicity for his book, the book had already been on the market for a few years. So this time, he decided to get a head-start with promoting the sequel.
In the new book, five years have elapsed since the last big adventure. The boys will have to work together to face a brand new challenge, while tackling the challenges of maturing into adulthood.
“So, much has changed. The challenges are steeper. And the circumstances are about to get even crazier than anything they had to cope with in The Eye-Dancers,” Mike explains.
Plans for the Future
“I do plan on releasing a collection of short stories,” Mike confides. “My next full-length book project is, at the moment, a mystery. But something will come along–most likely when I least expect it.”
In the meantime, Mike hopes more writers will take the plunge and bring their books into the market.
“If you are a writer, keep at it,” he advises. “If you get a bad review, or a rejection slip from a publisher (and we’ve all been there), don’t let that drag you down. Write what you love, and love what you write… Be honest. Be vulnerable.”
About Michael Fedison
Michael Fedison is a Rochester native transplanted in snowy Vermont. He is a lover of imaginative storytelling, and the author of the young adult science fiction and fantasy book, The Eye-Dancers. Catch up with him on his blog.
About Alexis Chateau PR
Alexis Chateau PR is an independent lifestyle public relations firm based in Atlanta, GA. From education, to the arts, to travel, we’ve worked with clients in all areas of the lifestyle industry since 2006. On August 13th, Alexis Chateau PR will launch a special division for its indie authors: black CATastrophy.