Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Super Spud interview, and How To Win The Super Prize!

Hey everyone, and welcome to my interview with Michael Diack, author of The Super Spud trilogy and generous giver-away-er of the awesome prizes waiting at the bottom of your screen. Here we talk small presses, marketing strategies and ways YOU can win, so without further ado, here let's get into it...

Where did the idea for Super Spuds come from?

The initial idea of walking, talking crisp packets came in primary school when I was asked to write a short story. One day when I was 19, I remembered that story and immediately opened my laptop and typed away. The first chapter of The Super Spud Trilogy is essentially that story – Colin and Lucy meet in a multipack and after becoming separated, strive to meet-up at the local rubbish tip…

How did you get yourself signed with a small press?

I was working abroad when, by chance, I saw a magazine advertisement for Pen Press.  I sent the manuscript out, they wanted it on CD, and everything went from there.  Their critique was quite a thorough assessment but they said they’d be happy to publish it.

Can you give a quick overview of the process from signing to publishing and the time it all took?

From sending the manuscript away to receiving my book took 6 months.  I got my initial critique back (4 pages) after 4 weeks, which highlighted what they liked and didn’t, but crucially said they’d want to publish it.  I was assigned an editor, who helped me broaden my target audience by encouraging me to make the book more approachable for the younger audience (no swearing, etc…) while still applicable for the mature audience (references to film, television, mild innuendos).  After two months of editing I started working with my cover designer. My marketing manager then designed a press release and created a marketing plan for me. He also emailed and rang a lot of bookstores, local newspapers and local magazines (which I got into) and, to this day, he is trying hard to sell the animation rights for the Super Spuds. We both feel the concept would suit animation quite well (something like Spongebob Squarepants, perhaps) and some of the reviewers have suggested this as well. His emails just add the professional touch when contacting these large firms, as they would clearly ignore an email by me.

What are the advantages of small press?

It felt like a very personal experience.  Everyone at the publishing house was like a family and if I ever had a question, I could email and get an immediate response.  It was obvious they really cared about my book and everyone was very professional in their job.

What's been your most effective marketing strategy so far?

Doing a giveaway on Goodreads has helped the book to get noticed; nearly 1,500 people entered my three giveaways so far. I sent copies to the winners and I had some great reviews from them, one girl totally got my sense of  humour and told Family Guy to ‘move over’, which was great to read. I think I’m also going to head to Waterstones book store with some copies of my book and place them on the number one selling shelf, moving Fifty Shades of Grey to number two and take a picture.  Then tweet that I displaced one of the bestselling books of all time from number one spot! 

And there you have it! Now, onto the contest details. For your chance to win a signed copy, a critique from Michael AND a cameo of your very own Super Spud character in his next book, leave a comment with your idea for a Super Spud flavor and the personality you think would go with it. 

For your chance to win a signed copy and a $30 e-book voucher, email your most creative Super Spud illustration to katherineamabel at gmail dot com.

Now if you're stuck for inspiration, my review has a few teasers and a sample illustration, to get you kick-started, and as an extra kicker I'm throwing in a $10 e-voucher, thanks to my handy rafflecopter widget below.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'm excited, so I'm going to get things started! Having had cucumber flavor vodka before (which, by the way, was so strong it was like a cucumber had walked up to me and punched me in the face), I see no reason why you can't have vodka flavor chips. They'd have Russian accents, furry hats, and their favorite activities would be hanging out on the rocks and being grouchy with each other, or getting drunk in seedy pubs and trying to mix with the ditzy, lemonade flavor Super Spuds.

    Well Michael, what do you think?

  2. Congratulations Michael!

    I wish you all the best with your Super Spud Trilogy and your journey. Really enjoyed reading about the process!

    Your one sentence blurb "Colin and Lucy meet in a multipack and after becoming separated, strive to meet-up at the local rubbish tip…"


    1. My idea, Cinnamon roll flavored. Pudgy beauty who thinks she's a svelte super model with all the attitude, but of course a big heart!

  3. Sounds like a fun book! Let's see if I was a spud flavor i'd be ranch...cowgirl looking style!

  4. Loving the ideas so far! I can totally see myself writing about Russian vodka flavour Super Spuds or an over-the-top beauty queen cinnamon flavour Super Spud - equipped with fake eye lashes and used human lipstick...who stops male hearts in their tracks whenever she enters a bar and has guys fighting over her. Also loving the idea of a Texan cowgirl Super Spud, they wouldn't be able to ride horses though but perhaps they could be lethal on top of a mouse with a lasso - a sheriff type figure.

    Keep the ideas coming guys!

  5. Melanie Percival21 October 2012 at 09:36

    Hello Michael,

    What about whiskey flavoured spuds? They would be old blues/jazz musicians who talk with deep, husky voices stained by a 50 a day Marlboro habit. They are quiet and moody but they are good listeners who the other spuds go to with their problems, only to be left red-faced when they hear that their problems have been turned into lyrics and sung about! They sleep most of the day but can always be found in a back street bar until the early hours of the morning

  6. Whiskey flavour, vodka flavour... hehe, i'm seeing a trend for alcohol crisps! I love the idea, could write plenty of story lines around these characters keep them coming the competition is almost over - last day tomorrow!

  7. What about "Triple cheese"? He/she would be really daggy and and loads of cheesy one liners. The other end of the spectrum would be "spicy salsa" with short sharp comments, possibly highly strung with a tendancy to burn those around him/her even when not meaning to. All the best with the writing.

  8. Loving triple cheese and spicy salsa flavour, the Super Spuds haven't been to Spain yet. Perhaps they could make a detour on their way back to the UK after crossing the Atlantic. short, sharp comments or cheesy one-liners - so hard to choose, both would make funny personalities!

  9. I know they have already been to Italy but my idea was Italian 'mobster' Meatball flavour. As you might have guessed their personality would be stereotypical mobster with Italian accents. The don of the mobsters could also be referred to as 'The Spudfather'.

    Cant wait to read more.

  10. The Spudfather! Love it, so many ideas from everyone thank you all for participating.