Blog

Welcome to my blog!  I’ve interviewed more than 150 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!

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Susanne Matthews

Murder&Mistletoe.jpg

Susanne Matthews has had negative experiences with traditional publishers, but has learned valuable lessons along the way. She shares them here in this detailed interview.

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

My most recent release is Murder & Mistletoe. It’s a Christmas-themed romantic suspense set today, that deals with reuniting two branches of a family separated after the American Civil War—the rich Kaynes of Georgia and the middle-class Kaynes of Northern New York. Not everyone in the family is happy with the idea of sharing their current riches, as well as missing pirate treasure hidden somewhere in the house. One member of the family determines to get rid of the newest Kayne while another falls in love with her and vows to keep her safe despite the attempts on her life.

I decided to write the story after I got my DNA results back last summer. There were things I knew would be there since I had a fairly complete family tree, but there were also a few surprises. Among these were the fact that some members of my family, Acadians, were deported to Louisiana by the British in the mid-eighteenth century, meaning I may have some American family I don’t even know exists. How would they feel about having a French-Canadian cousin?

2. How have your sales been?

Disappointing is the best way to put it, but I have had a few thousand pages read through Kindle Unlimited, and the few reviews I have are positive.

3. You’ve used both self-publishing and traditional publishing.  What are some of the pros and cons of both?

This is a hard question to answer because I believe I got into the writing game at its most
unstable time in modern history. On the pro side: to this day, a traditional publisher, especially a well-known and well-respected one, brings a sense of legitimacy to your writing in the eyes of a large number of people. To many, even in this digital society, you aren’t a real writer unless you publish paperback or hardcover books, available in bookstores.

Traditional publishers take a lot of the grunt work out of publishing, but unless they are a big house, they don’t put your books in brick and mortar stores either. They do provide the editor, the cover artist, and look after the format for the cover release. They may send out copies to reviewers and look into some marketing for the book, but on the con side, they may not see the story the way you do, and they have the last word on edits and covers. A so-so cover can ruin a book’s chances at attracting readers, something a new writer has to do better than an old established one. Some publishers may provide you with paperback and ARC copies for promotion, but many don’t.

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J.A. Newman

Me in London Sept 2016J.A. Newman began writing later in life and is cultivating her marketing strategy. She discusses how her former career influenced her first novel, which came out in September.

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

Where There’s A Will is my début novel. Jess wants to find her perfect partner. Struggling to pay the bills and unsure of her future, Jess thinks all her dreams have come true when wealthy lawyer Giles Morgan stumbles in front of her motionless car one Monday morning. Eddie, Jess’s former boyfriend, has never stopped loving her or given up hope of them getting back together but he can’t hope to give her the lifestyle she craves. Will Jess choose a life of luxury or listen to her heart?

When I joined a creative writing course in 2008 little did I know that one evening I would create the protagonist and write the first page of my first novel.

2. How have your sales been?

The sales of my first book, No One Comes Close, a memoir, have been better than those of the novel. I have some wonderful reviews on Amazon for No One Comes Close which tells the story of young love, lost, then found again twenty years later. I published it in September 2017. I published Where There’s A Will in September 2018

3. You’ve gone the self-publishing route. Have you sought an agent or any work with traditional publishers? If not, why not? If so, what has been your experience with traditional publishing?

I have tried approaching agents and publishers but they seem to take so long in getting back to you. I am nearly 70 and time is running out!

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Jerry Knaak

dark-terror-poster

Jerry Knaak stays busy not only writing, but building a community around his work. Read about the numerous marketing and promotion methods he uses.

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

My latest book is called The Dark Terror, the third in a probable trilogy. My 12-year-old son came up with the title. It tells the continuing story of Elizabeth Danae Rubis, a newly-minted vampire who has been terrorizing the San Francisco Bay Area as she adjusts to her new existence.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales can always be better. As a new author I am constantly seeking ways to grow my audience.

3. You began your writing career later in life than many authors. Talk a little about this.

I have been writing professionally for 25 years or so, but mostly in sports. I started a blog almost six years ago. Writing isn’t new to me. I was the editor of my high school newspaper; I wrote for the cruise book when I was in the Navy; and I became a journalist and sports writer. I tried my hand at a few short stories but they have been lost to the wind. Vampires have always intrigued me and I fell in love with the genre at an early age. I always figured that if I ever wrote a novel, it would be about vampires.

I started the first book in 2011 but set it aside after some negative feedback. I really didn’t know what I was doing. In January 2016, I picked it back up again, rewrote it from the first person perspective and it took off. After complaining that I always felt like I was late to the dance (on trends, literature, music, etc.), my best friend told me: “Because you’re worried about what time the dance started.”

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Michael Stephen Daigle

IMG_7092.JPGMichael Stephen Daigle has had experience with both traditional and self-publishing.  He suggests a variety of in-person marketing techniques and explains which ones work best.

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

My last completed book is The Red Hand, book four in the Frank Nagler Mystery series. The title comes from the mark that the killer leaves at the scenes of his crimes. It is a prequel, set roughly twenty years before the The Swamps of Jersey, the first book in the series. It establishes themes that appear in all the other books, and defines the important relationship in Detective Frank Nagler’s life: with his wife, Martha. It also defines the Charlie Adams murder story that filters through the other books and the political crime scheme that is a constant.

I wrote The Red Hand to clarify those elements, especially as I plan the fifth book in
the series as a book-end to the entire story. Readers also wanted to read the Charlie Adams story. It should be available in the spring of 2019.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales are not as brisk as I would like, but I’ve learned not to panic about it. The marketplace is changing and I need to be flexible in my approach. Some of it is networking and some of it is determining how much I’m willing to spend to market the book.

3. You’ve used both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Which one do you prefer and why?

I self-published a short-story collection and a single short story, but pulled hem back. I was getting a lot of free looks but few sales. I also wanted to rework the collection. I have a small independent publisher who is enthusiastic about my books and has offered more support than I could have imagined. The choice reduced my costs, and frankly, got me published.

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T.L. Chasse

17342950_1900215396857599_5463146575114977439_nT.L. Chasse has used author talks as a means of promoting her books.  She discusses the pros and cons of self-publishing and how writing fan fiction has shaped her craft.

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

My latest book is called Oh, Henry, A Vintage, Maine Novel, about a young man named Henry Titan who discovers that he was adopted. He spends the summer in a small town called Vintage, Maine, trying to track down his birth mother. Henry also happens to have a condition called achondroplasia. During his adventurous summer, Henry gets tangled up in small-town gossip, lies and treachery – there may even be romance in the air.

I was motivated to write this book after watching Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”) talk in an interview. He stated that it was always hard for a dwarf to find roles of real people – rather than playing an elf or a leprechaun. I decided then to feature a young man with dwarfism in a novel.

It has been a wonderful experience. I contacted the New England Chapter of Little People of America. One of their admin set me up with a sensitivity reader, whose feedback was tremendously helpful. I’m so excited to launch Oh, Henry and am looking at a spring release.

2. How have sales for your books been?

My sales have been relatively low; however, that is my own fault. I have not been very proactive with marketing and PR. But the feedback that I have received on my first two novels, as well as the few beta readers for Oh, Henry have all been very encouraging.

3. You’ve gone the self-publishing route. Tell me more about that and how you got into it.

When I first decided to write, it was mostly for myself, as a hobby. After having several close friends who I had shared my stories with request copies, I decided to look into a print-on-demand venue. I went through Createspace and have been very happy with it.

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K.M. Riley

kelly_origK.M. Riley prefers the support offered by traditional publishers.  But she knows marketing and networking are still essential, and she shares some of her methods.

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

Fever Rising is an action-packed dystopian where society has been divided into castes, and the genetically modified fighters are leading a revolution to overthrow the government that owns them.

I was motivated to write Fever Rising when I was working overseas. I had a lot of free time and the inspiration just hit me.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales are decent online. It takes a lot of work trying to promote oneself and make a name for the book. I’ve had more success at local Barnes & Nobles signings where I’ve sold out more than once. There I get a chance to talk to interested readers and answer any questions they might have.

3. You’ve had experience with both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Which do you prefer, and why?

I’ve had experience with both, but I still prefer a traditional publisher. As I’ve stated below, they’re there to help the author succeed, taking a lot of pressure involved in producing the book off the author’s shoulders.

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Raymond Bolton

TriadEBookCover.jpgRaymond Bolton has been both self-published and traditionally published, and prefers the latter.  Find out why, along with the role that word count and a solid manuscript play in publishing.

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

My latest novel, Triad, an epic fantasy, is the final book in a trilogy. It was released by WordFire Press on December 3, 2018. By fantasy, I’m not talking about magic or sorcery. All of the books I write have to do with the paranormal and, in this series, my protagonists are anything but superheroes. Instead, they are ordinary people caught up in adverse circumstances with one unique talent available with which to thwart a nefarious warlord and his armies. In Thought Gazer, the protagonist is a telepath. Foretellers involves a prescient mother and daughter. They come together in the third in the series with a young man who is telekinetic. It has always struck me as odd that the physically handicapped rarely appear in books of this nature, since they are ubiquitous in ours, so I made Triad’s protagonist paraplegic.

2. How have your sales been?

Since I am now traditionally published, I’m not privy to all of the details. All I can tell you is that my royalty checks keep getting larger and my books are, without exception, rated at 4.5 stars or better all across the internet. An interesting side note: WordFire Press informed me that last year 75% of the sales of my debut novel, Awakening, came from China. I find that oddly amusing since, aside from its Spanish translation, it’s only available in English.

3. You’ve had experience with both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Which do you prefer and why?

I have to go with traditional publishing. Although self-publishing helped me establish a readership, having been acquired by WordFire, publisher of the Dune and Star Wars series, has given me credibility.

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Geoff Turner

Archie'sMirror.jpgGeoff Turner sought several literary agents before landing with a publisher.  He discusses his journey and explains why even traditionally published authors need sound marketing strategies.

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

Archie’s Mirror is about a young boy’s search for his missing father. It’s a journey that takes him through the magical mirror of the title and into the mysterious Land Beyond. It’s a book for older children along the lines of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy or Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. I also wanted to write a story that explored the idea of story-telling itself. So, for kids, there’s what I hope is a rollicking fantasy adventure, but there are additional levels there that adults might want to explore, alongside a heady mix of jeopardy and humor.

2. How have your sales been?

Put it this way, I won’t be quitting my day job just yet. The thing I’ve realized about being an indie author – and I guess the same is true with self-published writers – it’s very much a marathon not a sprint. It’s very rare that you’ll find instant success. You have to keep at the marketing, you have to keep at the promotion, and you have to keep searching for your audience. Keep the faith and, with a bit of luck, that audience will be out there, somewhere.

3. You’ve gone the traditional publishing route. Tell me more about that and how you got into it.

By chance I saw that Prospective Press was looking to increase their roster of writers and was asking for speculative submissions. Archie’s Mirror was finished, and I was toying with self-publishing, having received a raft of rejections from literary agents. I figured there was nothing lost by sending Prospective the manuscript. At the very least I thought I might get some feedback on what was wrong with it – the agents had just sent me their standard letters – but, as it happened, the book struck a chord with them and they offered to publish it.

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S.P. Jayaraj

imgp3554S.P. Jayaraj knows the hard work it takes to make it as a self-published author.  Find out how he uses book fairs and Patreon to attract more readers.

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

My book is a story about Gradni, a young elf orphan boy who blames dragons for all the pitfalls in his life. He is determined to destroy them, but he struggles on this journey when he learns that the dragons are not the villains he was brought up to believe. It is a coming of age story in a high fantasy world that is influenced by global mythologies.

2. How have your sales been?

Initial sales were pretty decent considering that I’m still learning about how to market this book in a way that suits me.

3. You’ve gone the self-publishing route. Tell me more about that and how you got into it.

I did initially start sending my book out to agents, and though I got some positive responses, ultimately agents did not think it was a good fit for them. I understand that an agent really needs to feel a unique connection with a book to be able to represent it. I wonder if part of the problem was the vastness of the world that the story is set in which might have seemed overly ambitious and thus hard to trust which I do understand. I could have continued to look for an agent and believe that I might have found one that way; however, I wanted to get this book out there into the world so that I could work on following it up with more stories of Adijari.

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