Meet Andre Sanders, Founder of THC Publications

Andre Sanders

Andre Sanders is a former extreme horror turned erotic and romantic thriller author. Born and raised in Southwest Virginia, all of his works take place in the communities that surround him.

He has authored 14 books, and amongst those titles are: CRIMSON GREETINGS, TAKER, WHILE DEMONS KISS, and I LOVE YOU NO LESS. As well as his latest and first romantic thriller novel OBJECTION. His novel TAKER was adapted into a screenplay and currently remains at that.

Hello Andre! great to meet you! Please tell us a little about yourself and what business did you start?

My name is Andre Sanders, and I am a 43-year-old independent author who branded the label THC Publications. In 2015 I published my first two novels, both of which were extreme horror titles. Following those releases, I went on to pen more novels and short stories in the extreme horror genre.

In 2023 I decided to shift direction and embarked on the quest to rebrand myself as a romantic thriller author, and released my most popular title to date–OBJECTION. 

Andre Sanders

With THC Publications being relatively new, as it was created in the summer of 2023, my aim is to distribute erotic, romantic, crime, psychological, and legal thrillers.I would be lying if I stated that my works are geared primarily toward a female audience because I create storylines that can also be enjoyed by the male readership.

To date, I have expanded awareness of my brand by appearing on numerous podcasts, appearing on a television station in Sao Paulo, Brazil, advertising on Broadway, and am scheduled to appear on the CBS network. 

What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea of THC Publications?  What motivated you to get started?

My backstory is a bit murky. At the age of 18 I got into the party scene, and did a lot of substances I shouldn’t have. From there, I became addicted to alcohol and battled with it up until I became a felon as a result of it in 2022.

Prior to my fate in the criminal system, I quit on my own terms and haven’t looked back since. I had an awesome support system around me, so it was quite easy for me to occupy myself with my creative endeavors while also having others providing positive encouragement. I created THC Publications the following year, which stands for Thriller, Horror, Crime.

While I do not plan to write anything more in the horror genre, I added it to the label as a reflection of my past works in a way to pay homage to that dark place that gave me my start.

Having branded this label and going in the direction of romantic thrillers has, in a sense, mirrored my personal life. The positive changes I’ve made, approaching things with an entirely different mindset, and just the overall well-being of my mental health.

THC Publications is a testament to the life struggles I’ve endured and managed to overcome.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product

Prior to last year, I wrote all of my books by hand. I’d carry a small notebook and black ball point pen everywhere I went. On my best days, I was able to average about 300 words, which isn’t a lot in number terms with wordplay.

It came out to about 1 page per day. I did get aggravated often because I felt my writing was incapable of keeping up with my imagination, however, I was too stubborn to try another method.One day I was at work and people were asking why I didn’t use a tablet. Still being firm in how I went about writing, I’d cast their curiosities aside.

Fortunately, there came a day when I questioned myself regarding the same matterI ended up purchasing a tablet on Amazon. When it arrived, I gave it a try and it felt a bit strange to me because it was a drastic change in the way I did things. However, I stuck with the new method and continue to use it to this day.I’m now able to get out approximately 1,200 words on my best days, which results in about 5 pages per day. My last novel OBJECTION was written, edited, and published within 6 months. During my days of handwriting, it took double the amount of time because I was having to write by hand and then follow it up by typing the manuscript afterward.When it comes to first drafts versus final drafts, I use the edited draft to make the necessary adjustments in my original draft to prevent having to go back and rewrite my manuscripts from scratch. 

Describe the process of launching the business.

Launching THC Publications all started with a simple Facebook post on my personal account. I mentioned that I was beginning my own label, because my prior horror works were all listed as independently published and I wanted to separate myself from the horror titles as well as the definition of being an independent author.I began using IngramSpark to publish my new titles, and after purchasing my own ISBN’s, I was capable of listing my label as the publisher. At the moment, I am only a one man show but in the future, I’d like to collaborate with other authors to expand THC Publications. 

When it came to financing my brand for all the promotional outlets, I used income from my primary employer that I’ve been with for 18 years. In regard to advertising, I’ve basically just taken whatever opportunity as it presents itself.

Of course I research ways to advertise and when I find something that interests me, I go that direction. For example, when I landed upon an opportunity to advertise OBJECTION on an LED billboard in Times Square for $500/day, I jumped at the opportunity to promote there for a day.

I believe Times Square has been the most costly advertisement I’ve undertaken, but I enjoyed doing it and reflect on the fact that not many authors are going that far to self-promote.

Other than Times Square, I’ve appeared on various podcasts, Chicago radio, Brazilian TV, and an upcoming CBS interview. No amount of publicity comes free, so I tap into the resources I’ve saved from my primary income.In all, I believe I’ve spent approximately $1,500 in advertisements for OBJECTION.

Although it sounds like a hefty price for self-promoting, I intend to follow the same promotional strategy for all future book releases.  If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that promoting your product is the only way it’s going to get recognized. Anyone can publish a book but it takes advertising to make it sell. You MUST get yourself noticed in order to succeed.It doesn’t matter if you have to spend $200 on targeted Facebook ads or as little as $100 on Amazon ads, you have to sacrifice some amount of income just to begin seeing results.It must also be recognized that mass sales do not happen overnight, it takes persistent advertising to see gradual results. Patience and persistence are key. 

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers? How have you attracted users and grown THC Publications?

Interestingly, it seems to be the most basic form of advertising that has worked to attract customers. I do targeted Facebook ads that reach individuals between the ages 24-55. Not that I’m trying to be age-biased, but I feel that those are the ages most frequently used social media platforms.

I do run more ads targeting the female audience than I do for the male readership, and the reason is that I feel women are more prone to read than men.I’ve learned this based on being a member of the BookTok community. Speaking of Booktok, I have also had success running targeted Titktok ads within the large community of romantic thriller book reviewers on the platform.

Outside of ad campaigns, I have had much success just with my general friends on social media by way of posting book excerpts and promotional achievements. 

My method of retaining customers involves frequent social media posts discussing what I’m currently working on, what’s next, and so forth.

I might be the only author who does a cover reveal before I’ve even started writing the novel.I do this to give them an insight of what’s to come, and every few months I’ll repost that cover along with a one to two-page excerpt so that I’m keeping their interest.

I believe my forthcoming novel UNDERDOSE has had more excerpts presented to readers than any previous work, and I get positive feedback from people saying that they can’t wait until the release and how intrigued they are by wanting to know where the story goes. 

If I had to give any advice to another author or anyone with a product they’re looking to have noticed, then I would recommend giving the public a glimpse into your progress.Show them exactly what you’re starting out with and allow them to see your progress along the way. You’re not only advertising yourself but you’re also sharing your growth and development, and in a sense, you are creating a bond with your potential clients that have been with you throughout your entire journey.

What you gain from someone feeling like they’ve established a bond is the belief that they must have the finished product. 

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Things have been going great following the release of OBJECTION. In the first month, I sold 86 copies, and ever since all sales have been a hit-and-miss. It’s consumer-based after a certain point. However, I continue to market it to potential buyers as a means to keep it in the spotlight for whatever particular moment that they may take an interest in purchasing.Marketing and advertising are a side of the business that is neverending and should be viewed as a long-term goal.

Surprisingly, launching THC Publications has also helped generate further sales of my horror novels that hadn’t made progress since around 2018.Individuals interested in romantic thrillers are taking a chance on OBJECTION and those interested in horror fiction have taken to my past works, so it’s sort of like a win/win. Most of my sales seem to come from Amazon.

I’ve seen very little evidence of an uptick on Ingramspark, which markets your books to retailers such as WalMart, Target, B&N, Books-A-Million, etc. My long-term goal is to grow my label THC Publications into a small press publisher and expand as a unit with other authors specializing in romantic thrillers. As for my own work, I intend to expand sales by continuing to produce books within the same genre.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?  What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome?

Since my label is continuing to expand, it’s hard to identify what’s been helpful or advantageous. I’m experimenting with new advertising methods, learning what works and what doesn’t. So far, every effort seems to have its own unique way of being productive. 

As far as something I had to learn along the way, I had to teach myself how to take a basic book cover and convert it into a 57-foot LED Billboard. Fortunately, the internet provides us with every tool we don’t think we’ll ever need, so the conversion was a simple reshaping of the image on a Google application. Learning things by being hands-on is my best skill. If directions are provided to me in written form, then my mind instantly jumbles the steps all into one and I’m easily confused. However, give me something to work with and I quickly catch on.

I firmly believe self-teaching is a huge benefit for anyone looking to build a foundation on their own. 

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

The platforms/tools that I use consist of things needed for both the writing and advertising phases. For writing, I use Google Docs because it’s simple to navigate and is shared on all of my devices.

I use the tablet for writing and once I’ve completed the manuscript, then I go to my laptop for editing and submissions. For the advertising phase, I use mostly social media-based tools. Facebook ads, Instagram ads, TikTok ads, and I also promote on X.Other resources are Fiverr, where I hire freelance entrepreneurs to send targeted mass emails, schedule radio appearances, and sometimes reach out to social media influencers.

I would say that my favorite tools are Fiverr, because it helps introduce me to new people who are out to help others grow their own platforms and brands, and my second favorite would have to be the ability to run Facebook ads–social media is where everyone spends much of their free time these days, so it pays to get yourself in front of their face every once in a while. 

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

The most influential podcasts I’ve used are true crime-based. Although they serve no purpose in advertising or marketing, they do tend to provide a lot for the imagination. Some notable podcasts that I enjoy are 10xLIFE with Anne Elise, Mr. Ballin, Scare Theater, True Crime Daily, and Deep Dive. I enjoy these podcasts because they show the raw brutal darkness in humanity. It is these elements of depravity that I incorporate in my romantic thrillers to give them more of a realistic feel to the reader. 

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

I would say that if you think it, want it, then by all means go for it. I was a 20+ year substance abuser and never envisioned that I’d steer my life in any business-minded direction. I was writing brutal horror fiction and waking up every day with splitting headaches, hangovers, and the only fix was to start all over again.I made the decision that I wanted to take myself in a positive and prosperous direction, and the determination to do it was spur of the moment.

Given that I’m still in the beginning stages of where I’d like to see myself in a few years, I have a lot of growth and understanding to gain as I advance. Too many people make the mistake of not beleiving in themselves. They pitch the excuse that they can’t do certain things. People don’t take the time to challenge themselves to discover what they are actually capable of achieving. My advice to you is that I encourage you to push your limits. Strive. Struggle. Succeed. 

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now

Actually, I am seeking reviewers/social media influencers that are willing to provide a review by way of Youtube, Vlogs, or other means. I’d like to find such individuals with a following of 100k+ Pay will be discussed on a case-by-case basis.

    Where can our readers keep up-to-date with you?

    X: @ThcPublications
    Email: drehorror80@gmail.com

    Want to build your own business like (THC PUblications)?

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