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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Todd Shryock

Indie author Todd Shryock has been writing and editing for over 20 years.  He recently told me a little about his book and experience as an author.

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

The Fly Guild is about perseverance.  The general idea is looking at what happens to good people when they are continually put in bad situations.  The main character, Quinton, is an orphan in a fantasy city where there is no social safety net.  He ends up in a brutal gang where part of his daily routine is stealing and doing the gang’s bidding.  His reward is usually nothing more than he gets to live another day.  He’s a good kid at heart, but is in a very difficult situation.  I thought it would be an interesting story to follow him as he tries to do the right thing, often with unintended bad consequences.  In the end, he spends his time trying to escape the madness of the city and the brutality of the gang.

I’ve had the idea of a story based on this theme for some time, but with the rise of e-publishing, I thought the time was right to jump in and get it done.

2. How have your sales been?

The book launched in August of this year, and sales have been steadily building.  I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon, but being an independent author is challenging.  It takes a very long time to build a reputation and a following.  I’m happy with the current pace.

3. You have not chosen to go with traditional publishers.  Why?

I tried to go that route many years ago.  I got some “close” or “almost” comments, but nothing beyond that.  To find a publisher, you really need an agent, and getting an agent is just as difficult as finding a publisher.  I also found that the whole system seemed to be a closed loop of people-who-knew-people and I didn’t know anyone in that loop.

As I watched e-publishing rise, I liked the idea of going it alone and not wasting a bunch of time trying to convince someone that my book was viable.  I wouldn’t have the support of a publisher, but I wouldn’t have anyone telling me to rewrite the story with a different plot either.  I published my collection of short stories, Tales of the Sword, as a trial run in e-publishing.  Once I saw how easy it was, I set out to work on The Fly Guild as a full-length novel.

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Catherine LaPointe

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

This book started out as just a series of paintings while I was still in school.  I have always been interested in urban legends, and their homegrown nature, for as long as I can remember.  Coming from an art background, my natural thought was to make an art project out of it.  The more I explored familiar tales, and researched previously-unknown-to-me tales, the more interested I grew in the history behind each one.  I was no longer content to just visually depict my interpretation of these stories, I wanted to share all the spooky details.  That is when I got the idea to write about each tale that I was illustrating, and compile them all into a book.

2. How have your sales been?

I just finished my final revisions, and started offering my book for sale, a few weeks ago.  Needless to say, my close friends and family have started ordering my book, but I have not yet had the opportunity to do any marketing.  I plan to promote and offer my book for sale in some local markets first and build from there.

3. Describe your experience with traditional publishers and how it compares to self-publishing.

I have only contacted traditional publishers for the purpose of illustration and design so far.  What I have noticed is that small publishers are much more friendly to emerging talent.  The publishers I have worked with have all been very accommodating thus far.  I do enjoy the freedom of self-publishing, but sometimes it’s nice to have a partner to spur you on, especially if you are a procrastinator, as I’m sure we all are sometimes.

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

I have certainly enjoyed the freedom of self-publishing, mostly from a creative standpoint.  I can do exactly the project I want, in the way that I want, without having to compromise.  The finished book is much closer to my heart, because it’s a completely personal achievement, than it would be if many others had a hand in the pot.

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Web site profile: SPBRoundup

Patsy Porco runs spbroundup.com, a Web site specifically geared toward indie writers.  Read about her site below and contact her for more information.

1. What is your site about and why did you start it?

SPBRoundup is a site for self-published books (SPBs). Any author who is self-published may submit information about his/her book(s) to me for inclusion in the site.

2. What are your favorite types of books?

Mysteries, classsics, historical fiction, chicklit, novels, funny memoirs, funny anything.

3. Any writing projects on the horizon?

Just some short stories and my blog: patsyporco.wordpress.com.

4. Tell me about the sort of authors you’ve “met” through your site.

They’ve all been enthusiastic writers who are eager to discover new ways to market their books. They’ve been very supportive of my site since its start a month ago.

5. What have your learned about indie writing through your web site?

That both sane and crazy people write books. And some of the books are great and some are less great. And with self-publishing, there’s nothing preventing all kinds of writers to find an audience.

John Tyson-Capper

John Tyson-Capper recently published his first book and so is relatively new to self-publishing.  Read more about his book and his experiences.

1. Tell me briefly about your book.

My book Hodburn Wood is set in Northeast England in1798.  It’s an historical mystery focusing on half brothers, one rich, one poor.  The wealthy character, Hillary, was inspired by Beau Brummel.  He is incredibly beautiful, vain and something of a rake.  The story picks him up on his return to England after a four-year exile in Europe and the the Near East.  His promiscuity is a kind of compulsion that, whilst leaving him unsatisfied, drives him on in an endless circle.   He cares little for anything that doesn’t immediately concern him, and though he is aware of his vacuity, he turns it into a self-pitying badge of honour, as if it is a burden to bear.  In contrast, his half brother, Martin, of whose existence he knows nothing until Martin confronts him, is poor, brought up in a brothel and then later by gypsies.  He has a truly terrible burden to bear, with which he confronts Hillary and which in turn drives the plot pitching the two characters against one another.

2. How have your sales been?

Although I have uploaded the book to Kindle, I am in the early stages of marketing.  I want to elicit reviews, interviews and the like whilst I am waiting for the paperback to become available in the UK (probably after Christmas).  Once the paperback is out, I will launch the novel in Newcastle.  Having said that, I have gained a few sales from the states and the UK.

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

Self-publishing is time-consuming, and there is a lot to learn, particularly regarding marketing and distribution.  I went with Creativespace, their books are great quality products, but from a UK writer’s perspective they only offer distribution to Amazon.co.uk through what they call an expanded distribution channel which just about wipes out any profit.  That’s why I went with Kindle ebooks as well, though online marketing is a whole new ball game to me.  To get around the problems with Amazon.co.uk, I will sell books directly through Amazon’s ‘Market Place’.

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Cynthia Echterling

Cynthia Echterling is a science fiction writer with a variety of works, including one in progress.  As someone who has both worked with a print-on-demand publisher and self-published, she has a unique take on writing and publishing.  Take a look at this recent interview where she discusses her books, self-publishing, marketing, and more.  Her Web site is http://www.welikehumans.com.

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

This may seem odd, but I actually dream up my books. Help Wanted, Human was a dream about a guy working in a spaceport, teaching aliens how to use the restroom facilities. Scavengers was a dream about a primitive looking person picking through ruins and picking thing up out of the rubble. Torq was a tricky little guy in a very rough bar trying to keep people from discovering he was an alien. When I wake up from something like that, I start asking who is this and what is their situation? If it generates a good character and a plot, it gets to be a book.

The Help Wanted, Human series is about a typical blue collar, truck stop cashier who gets a job as an interpreter trainee at the first alien embassy in the US, where hilarity ensues. They are autobiographies published under the name Stephen Wytrysowski, Alien Interpreter. Scavengers is a post-apocalyptic novel about an anthropologist forced to live with the scavengers who inhabit the ruins of the Southern US. Not for the squeamish. Torqed: The Quest for Earth is a hilarious young adult/adult science fiction, fairy tale, dark fantasy mash up about a half-human orphan whose parents’ last request was that he go to Earth, but all he knows about it is what he learned from the fairy tales his father told him.

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Cyndia Rios-Myers

Cyndia Rios-Myers has five published titles and runs a blog for indie authors at http://cindyrios.blogspot.com/.  A prolific writer, she recently discussed her books and her approach to self-publishing.

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

The first one was The Song of the Sleeping Grass (Women’s Fiction).  I was inspired to write that one when my husband deployed for Iraq.  I’d recalled some of the military wives that I had met during my time as a sailor in the Navy and while a Navy wife after that.  Some of their marriages didn’t survive what their husbands had seen in the war and I felt bad for them – bad for the husbands who came home different and bad for the wives who did everything right but still could not save their marriages. This one is available on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble.

My second book was Joppa Park (Women’s Fiction).  I wanted to write a short, but exciting story about a park ranger trying hard to secure a position at a prestigious national park who falls painfullly in love with an unattainable guy.  Besides being in the Women’s Fiction genre, it is also a mystery/suspense novel as well.  Available on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble.

My third book, Rescued by the Wolf – Book 1 of the Wolves (Horror, Women’s Fiction) is my foray into the world of werewolves.  I have always been a werewolf movie freak – long before Twilight and True Blood.  But I wanted to write a story about werewolves who are adults – scary, damaged adults.  It is teenager-angst free, I promise. Available on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble.

My fourth book, Gifted by the Wolf – Book 2 of the Wolves (Horror, Women’s Fiction) is obviously book two of the series.  It continues right where book one leaves off.  It is nowhere near as gory as book one and the storyline is a bit more gentler.  But what I aimed to do here was plant the seeds of what will happen in the rest of the series.  Available on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble.

My fifth book, The End of Thunder and Lightning: Alanna’s Fall (Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Women’s Fiction) was inspired by a dream I had one night.  Alanna is a magic user from the clan of thunder and lightning who was born under a death sentence that will be meted out by none other than her father a villanous man.   She will die at his hands, but what is unknown is how she will spend the time before she falls and what sort of legacy (and seeds) she will leave behind.  Available for free on my blog!

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Michael Meyer

Michael Meyer has published three novels – two humorous and one international thriller – for the Amazon Kindle.  His Amazon page can be found here.

1. Tell me about your books.

Covert Dreams is set in Munich and Saudi Arabia.  A series of frightening dreams is somehow linked to murder.  The Famous Union is a rollicking romp through the halls of academia, where what is what is not.  The Survival of Marvin Baines is a whimsical look at one man’s coping with midlife.

2. How have your sales been?

I hope they will grow.  I depend completely upon word-of-mouth.  Once people know about the existence of my books, I think sales will get much better.  I have complete faith in my writing, but it takes time.

3. Have you tried to publish your books through traditional publishing houses?  If so, describe your experience.

No, I have not.

4. How would you describe your experience with self-publishing in general and Amazon Kindle in particular?

I love it!  I am in complete control of my own writing.  My wife bought me a Kindle, and it was love at first sight.  Amazon has been a terrific partner for me.  Their support staff is awesome.  They seem to always be there for me when I need help.

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Brent Mann

Brent Mann is the author of three published books:  “99 Red Balloons… and 100 Other All-Time Great One-Hit Wonders” (2003), “Blinded by the Lyrics” (2005) and “Lessen the Loneliness” (2011).  He recently agreed to an interview about his books and experience with self-publishing.

1. Tell me briefly about each of the books you’ve published.

“99 Red Balloons” and “Blinded by the Lyrics” were put out through a Manhattan publishing house called Kensington under their Citadel Press imprint.  “Lessen the Loneliness,” my first e-book, was self-published.  I worked with a literary agent to sell “99” and “Blinded” to Kensington, while no agent was involved with my e-book.

As the title indicates, “99 Red Balloons… and 100 Other All-Time Great One-Hit Wonders” is all about pop music one-hit wonders.  Marc Cohn (“Walking in Memphis”), Dexys Midnight Runners (“Come on Eileen”) and Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs (“Stay”) are among the dozens of one-hit acts featured.  When this book was released in 2003, VH-1 was, purely by coincidence, airing a highly-watched series hosted by William Shatner that was a countdown of one-hit wonders.  That really helped the sales of my book.

And this is quite interesting: I received a number of e-mails from people who told me they were at their local bookstore, saw “99 Red Balloons” on display and bought a copy because they remembered hearing about it on those William Shatner one-hit wonder programs.  Only thing is, my book was never mentioned on VH-1.  Shows you the immense power of national television to create a buzz about a subject in general (like one-hit wonders) and put it out there in the pop culture atmosphere.  And the funny thing is, I was living in New York City at the time.  I had a meeting with marketing folks at VH-1’s offices in Midtown Manhattan about tying in “99 Red Balloons” with their one-hit wonder series as kind of a companion book, but nothing ever came of the meeting.

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Love Train – available now on Amazon.com!

I’m pleased to announce that my first book, Love Train, is now available for purchase on Amazon.com!  The link is here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005X3G3PK

The book’s description is as follows:

When he boarded the 10:45 train, Vic Steelbrass had just one mission: learn PowerPoint by the time he reached New York. But when Anastasia Romanov walked into his life, fate handed him a different mission. Suddenly, he has to seduce a beautiful Russian, foil a madman’s bomb plot, AND learn PowerPoint. With countless – or at least more than a few – lives on the line, Steelbrass must prove love is worth believing in…and kill a whole lot of bad guys in the process. He woke that morning as just your average, ex-millionaire, alligator-wrestling, skydiving businessman. But his life would be forever changed when he bought a ticket on…the LOVE TRAIN!

And be sure to like Love Train on Facebook, too:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Love-Train/282379161782742

Thanks for reading!

-Kris