Blog

Welcome to my blog!  I’ve interviewed over 200 authors about their work, their experiences in publishing, and their advice about marketing and selling their books.  Here you will find those interviews.  It is my belief that authors can learn from each other, and that is the goal of my blog.

I’m always looking for new authors to interview and promote.  If you’d like your work to be considered, check out the terms of use and then send me an email.  Please note that I do not review books and there are certain genres I do not feature on my blog.

Thanks for reading, and keep writing!

Andrew G.

Andrew G. is a science buff who turned his love of astrophysics into a sci-fi novel. In this interview he talks about the task of doing research for one’s writing and explains why he made a book trailer to promote his novel.

1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?

My novel, Entropy, is inspired by my love of science, particularly astrophysics.  I read Michio Kaku’s (a co-founder of string theory) book “Hyperspace” when I was a teenager and it changed my life (as well as completely kicked open the door to my narrow perception of what reality is).  After that I was hooked, I bought every other book Mr. Kaku has written and a lot more from other physicists such as Kip S. Thorne, who has done extensive research on wormholes and practical time travel.  While the mathematics are far beyond me, having only taken three calculus courses and a beginner’s differential equations course in college, I am content with marveling at the concepts that are produced year after year in scientific journals and so forth.  This novel is a culmination of my enthusiastic love of these related sciences as well as my fascination with the unknown.  I’ve had the concept in mind since I was young, slowly building a story line in my head for years.  However, it was just recently that I started writing it down into a novel.

2. How have your sales been?

Since I started (which has only been a week), it’s been about a book a day.

3. What has been your experience with traditional publishing?

Hated it.  I tried really hard to have a children’s book published, but no one will even talk to you if you haven’t published before or aren’t represented.  It’s a system that is biased and viciously subjective in my opinion.  I queried 300+ agents and publishers and no one was interested in giving me the time of day…not one.

4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?

Loved it.  It’s easy and more profitable.  I feel that I have so much freedom with my work and I think that even if I do get an offer from a publisher, I would still stick with this.  It’s a little more work, what with editing and marketing myself, but so worth it.

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Brian T. Shirley

Brian T. Shirley has a unique approach to moving his books: integrating them into his comedy routine and selling them after his shows.  The author of Make Love Not Warts and Four Score and Seven Beers Ago discusses why he skipped traditional publishing and how he learned to do his own promotion work.

1. Tell me briefly about your books – what are they about and what motivated you to write them?

Both my books are comedy one-liners.  I’ve taken old sayings and twisted them around to make some new ones.  I also have added some sayings of my own and thrown in some insults for good measure.  The second book is a bit different in that I’ve taken some popular song titles and made comedic sentences out of them.  These comedic sentences are sprinkled throughout the book.  I’d like to think the readers could make up a game of trying to name the music artists in the sentences.  Some would be easy, others may take a while.  There is also a funny poem at the end of the second book.

I was motivated to write these books when I was going over some old material I had that I was not using in my show.  I had all these sayings and such laying around that I had written over the years that I did not know what to do with, then the idea of a book came to mind.  Something someone could put in the bathroom or on the coffee table for a good laugh whenever they needed it.  I added more lines when I started writing the first one and by the end of it, I decided to make a series of these books.  Each one would be a little different, just to add some variety.

2. How have your sales been?

So far I have sold the most books after my performances.  I’ve actually had more sales from the books than anything else (T-shirts, DVD’s) I’ve ever sold.  Online sales are doing alright, getting the word out as a self-published author has been the biggest challenge.  It takes a lot of money to do promotions so I’m doing the bulk of it myself online. Thank God for people like you.

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Robert Brabham

I met Robert Brabham at a recent Charlotte Writers’ Club meeting and knew he’d make a good addition to the blog.  Robert is a short story writer whose genre is uniquely his own, and he shares his thoughts on writing and networking here. 

1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?

I was determined to have a book “out there” this year and culled together a mixed sampling of my short stories in Does This Knife In My Back Make My Butt Look Big?  Tales of Madness, Eisegesis, and Other Unpardonables.  It is available on Amazon and Lulu.com.  The stories fall under the appellation of speculative fiction, but run the gamut of literary, sci-fi, humorous, experimental, and a couple of out and out horror yarns.  I like to call my work “intense fiction.”  Faulkner said the job of the writer is to express the conflict in the human heart and I suppose that’s what I’m after.  When people ask me where I get my ideas, my response is: I don’t get ideas; they get me.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales have been more than modest without a substantial advertising campaign.

3. How does self-publishing compare with traditional publishing?

I have had success with some short stories with Down in the Dirt magazine, which publishes on demand with Lulu.com and is now available on Amazon.  The short stories also appear on their website.  Down in the Dirt is more of an independent soul and not a traditional publisher.  I self-published my collection of stories with Lulu.com and found their advertising offers prohibitive in cost and have been relying on social media thus far.

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AJ Borowsky

Writer AJ Borowsky likes to think of his first book as a practice run.  Since publishing his second book, What Next: A Proactive Approach to Success, he’s learned more about the work that indies must devote to moving their books.  AJ shares that information here.

1. Tell me briefly about your books – what are they about and what motivated you to write them?

I’ve written two books but the first was just a rehearsal.  I wrote that one, a personal finance book, under a pseudonym and I’m glad I did.  That book really had some good ideas but the execution wasn’t there.  I may re-release it in the future.  I wrote it because I was tired of reading personal finance books that purported to know the “secret” to building wealth or getting rich when the reality is there is no secret.

My latest book, What Next: A Proactive Approach to Success, was written for two reasons.  The first was that I was shocked to get a royalty check for the first book.  It was for only six dollars but if someone (or two or three people) bought it, then maybe I could do better with a well-written, researched, and marketed book.  The second reason I wrote What Next was because I realized that the most successful people I know shared several traits: they were curious, adventurous, and were willing to take risk.

Those traits can also be used to describe independent authors.  We are curious or creative enough to write, adventurous enough to share our writing, and willing to take the risk, and expense, of publishing our work.

2. How have your sales been?

It’s very early in the process but let’s say I’m thankful for friends and family.  What’s most important to me is the feedback I’ve gotten.  It’s one thing for friends and family to buy the book but quite another when they read it and buy several more as gifts or recommend it to their friends.  I’ve been encouraged by that.  Unlike fiction, the number of people who are looking to read a non-fiction book are a bit limited.  Although I don’t like the label self-help that really is the genre of my book and that market is even more limited.  But I feel I approach the material a bit differently.

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Doug Simpson

Doug Simpson published his first novel, Soul Awakening, in October.  Though a new author, Doug is not new to writing: he has had numerous articles published throughout the world.  He’s already learning self-publishing and wanted to share his experience.

1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?

Soul Awakening is a spiritual mystery that delves into reincarnation, past lifetimes, and the attraction of strangers in this lifetime to each other as a result of having shared previous lifetimes together.

I spent a number of years researching the life and reincarnation readings of the legendary American mystic, Edgar Cayce.  Some 2500 of Edgar’s over 15,000 readings, obtained while he was in a deep, self-induced, trance-like state, are reincarnation readings.  These readings reveal details of a person’s past lives, but not all of their past lives.  Only incarnations which were relevant to the reasons why an individual’s soul chose the individual’s body as its residence in this lifetime, were revealed.  To put that in different terms – a soul selects its next residence to achieve progress in its development so it can return to its original God-like state with no further need to reincarnate.  The knowledge which I obtained while researching the Edgar Cayce readings nurtured the seed that became Soul Awakening.

2. How have your sales been?

I have no idea.  I decided that I did not want the hassle of personal selling, so I set it up for all sales to go through brick-and-mortar and internet bookstores.  It is too soon to get much feedback.

3. What has been your experience with traditional publishing?

After a series of form letters like “We are not currently accepting …” from traditional publishers and agents, I implemented Plan B.

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Jennifer Oberth

Jennifer Oberth writes mystery with a touch of humor.  Her love of writing as an art is evident both in her novels and her approach to her craft.  In this interview she discusses her books and explains what new indie authors should do from day one.

1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?

Married To Murder is a short story mystery set on the wedding day of Ella Westin.

Ella doesn’t recall adding ‘solve a murder’ to her bridal to-do list but when she stumbles over the body of her matron of honor, she has no choice; her groom is the only suspect.  Throw in a deaf hairdresser, a ruined wedding cake and a not so retired pirate and Ella wants to throttle everyone in sight.  Can she catch the killer before the wedding is called off?  Or will she be Married To Murder?

I wrote this for a short story contest.  I’d already done the background work – Ella & Joe are the grandparents of the Westins in my upcoming novel series, The Masked Rider.  They’re a lot of fun to write.

2. How have your sales been?

Pretty steady and growing with pockets of nothing.  I’m focusing on the writing aspect and getting more books published. (I have several in the editing process right now.)  It’s interesting, I view my writing as a business but then I get disheartened by various factors
such as sales or reviews or forum comments.  If I look at it as a hobby, it’s a wonderful addition to my life and setbacks and cost of professional editing are in line with the leisurely pursuit of publishing books.  But it’s not a hobby, it’s how I want to eventually make my living.

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Robert Lamb

Robert Lamb has taught writing at the University of South Carolina since 1991, when his first novel was published.  He is now an adjunct professor in the university’s journalism school.  Not only is he an experienced writer, but he’s a publisher who years ago recognized self-publishing as the wave of the future.

1. Tell me briefly about your books – what are they about and what motivated you to write them?

My first novel, Striking Out, is a coming-of-age story set in the South of the 1950s.  It was nominated for the PEN/Hemingway Award and, though published in 1991, is still in print.  My second, Atlanta Blues, is about the search for a missing coed by a newspaper reporter and two cops.  The search leads through the underbelly of urban Atlanta to murder and heartbreak.  The book was a Southern Critics Circle Selection and cited in one newspaper’s year-end roundup as “one of the best novels of 2004 by a Southern writer – and maybe the best.”

My third, A Majority of One, came out this past September and is about a high school English teacher who gets into deep trouble when she resists an effort by local preachers to ban some classic American novels from the classroom, foremost among them The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Six of One, Half Dozen of Another (Stories & Poems), also only recently published, represents my writing life (thus far), with stories and poems virtually from yesteryear and yesterday, with an afterword on their origins.

I am motivated in everything I write by the glimmer somewhere in my mind of a good story that wants to be told.  I will never live long enough to write all that petition for a hearing – which is strange because until I was about 40 I had not a single idea for a good novel, and no idea how to write it if I did.  I’ve often said that I knew how to write long before I knew how to write a novel.  Novel-writing does require some know-how, which means it is a craft.  Get good enough at the craft and you might elevate what you write to the rarefied level of art.

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Melissa Bowersock

Melissa Bowersock has written a variety of books across different genres.  As someone who has both self-published and been traditionally published, she has an interesting approach to marketing that can help all writers.

1. Tell me briefly about your books – what are they about and what motivated you to write them?

I have 4 romance novels, 2 that are Westerns (The Rare Breed, Superstition Gold) and 2 that are contemporary (Remember Me, Lightning Strikes).  I like to think that my romances are more for thinking readers rather than the formulaic sexual tension novels.  I believe my characters grow a lot during the course of finding love.  The Blue Crystal is a fantasy sword-and-sorcery novel, much like Lord of the Rings.  I have 2 action-adventure novels.  Queen’s Gold is based on a past-life regression where a man tries to find ancient Aztec gold he hid in a previous incarnation.  The Appaloosa Connection is a western in which a horse rancher and a sullen teenager go after horse thieves that are in cahoots with the Mexican army.  Goddess Rising is a spiritual fantasy, inspired by a dream about a future when the world has been decimated by a geologic holocaust and the few people await a female savior to return them to greatness.  The Pits of Passion (by Amber Flame) is a romance satire that lampoons every cliche ever written.  It is a literal bodice-ripper, and not for the faint of heart.  My last book, Marcia Gates: Angel of Bataan, is the biography of an Army nurse who was captured on Corregidor and spent 3 years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in the Philippines.

Although my books are inspired by various means, my motivation is that all the stories moved me and interested me and I felt like they were worthy of putting down on paper. I write what I like to read, paying no attention to current fads or commercial formulas.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales have been by fits and starts.  When I do a marketing push, I see more, but then they fall off.  The sales on my non-fiction have been surprisingly good, so it must be word of mouth.

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Custom URL for Amazon Author Page

For those of you who have your books listed on Amazon, Kim Wolterman informed me you can designate a URL for your Author Page.  Here are the details from Kim:

Go to Amazon Author Central and click on Author Pages, and then log in.  You should see your page listing Biography, Blogs and Events on the left hand side and then Author Page URL, Photos, Videos and Twitter on the right.  Click on Author Page URL and it will show you if the URL with your name is available.  If so, all you have to do is accept it.  Takes about 30 minutes for the new URL to show up.

The link will redirect to another url, but it’s a neater, more memorable way to post your page and get your information out there.  My link – http://www.amazon.com/author/kriswampler – is now live.  Thanks for the tip, Kim!

Lance Leuven

It’s not every day that someone decides to take a cross-country journey, blog about it, then turn that blog into a book.  But British author Lance Leuven has done just, and as a new writer he shares what he’s already learned.

1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?

Well it all started with a rash decision after the pub, really.  I was at home pondering my upcoming 30th birthday when I concluded that there wasn’t really anything stopping me from doing something I’d been thinking about for a while.  So the next day I walked into work, quit my job, and then handed in notice on my flat.  My plan was to spend the summer traveling the length and breadth of the UK. I compiled a list of things to see and do and lastly decided to write a blog of my experiences for my friends to follow.  With my long list of tasks to complete my trip became quite a rip-roaring gallivant across the nation encompassing a vast amount of what the UK has to offer.  This, combined with the inevitable bad luck, misadventures and disasters, led me to think that maybe others might enjoy sharing my story, so I decided to publish the blog.

2. How have your sales been?

Well I only published a couple of weeks ago so fairly slow so far.  Due to the nature of the book my first task is to reach the right audience.  Being not simply a genre-specific novel or travel guide or anything straightforward means that reaching the people who’d be interested in its “niche” nature is my first and biggest challenge!

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