Angelica Markus

angelica.jpgAngelica Markus has crafted her own writing style from the stories she loves.  Read about her marketing techniques and why she says you may need more than one editor.

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

My novel The Watcher is part of an urban fantasy series (the Fleur De Lis saga), and I am writing eight books in total.  I have always enjoyed reading and watching movies about vampires and martial arts. My favorite stories have heroes and villains in them with a bit of historical fiction.  Stories with siblings have always seemed to capture people’s attention differently than other stories.  Also stories with main characters that lose their parents, like Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, etc.  In other words, my main characters are siblings that lost their parents when they were young.

I studied history as my minor in college, and I added a secret vampire world that takes place in NYC.  That’s where I lived most of my life.  They say write what you know.

Here is my synopsis:

Skye Davenport is no ordinary thief.  She has the ability to foresee danger, and she believes stealing from the wicked is justice served right.  Her life takes a different turn when she brings her brother, Christian, on a dangerous mission that leads them to a supernatural world of the undead.  A war has been going on for centuries, predators lurk within the shadows, hiding and waiting for the right time to attack.  Skye knows that she and her brother are the only gifted humans that can stop this war, but there are more filthy beasts to catch, murders to uncover and secrets to be revealed.  What happens when the hunters become the hunted?

2. How have your sales been?

The Watcher, is a long book, and I tend to sell more audio books in Audible the most.

3. You’ve chosen self-publishing.  How have you liked it so far?  Talk about some of the positives and negatives you’ve encountered.

I still have to market myself just like with any publishing, but I don’t have to pay an agent and Amazon gives authors good royalty prices.

Read More

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.

Read More

D.E. Funk

IMG_6557D.E. Funk is a new author who recently released her first novel, Silent Rage.  And full disclosure: she is my cousin!  In this interview, she explains why she chose indie publishing over traditional, and why having a professional editor makes a difference.

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

My book is called Silent Rage and is about the birth of a serial killer. It details the home life of a juvenile, Russell, who ends up discovering the power he has over others through violence. There is only one female in his life who shows any concern about him. Libby Teach is currently a middle school teacher (name makes sense as you read the book) who is at work on her graduate degree which will enable her to become a behavioral therapist who specializes in juveniles. The book is not a juvenile read. There are real crimes and serious issues tackled in the pages.

I was motivated to write for a couple of reasons. First, I love to read and thought why not? I know what I like and don’t like and could surely write one as well. Second, I believe a lot of crimes could be prevented by early intervention such as behavioral or mental health courses taught to middle school aged kids. They face a lot of tough situations and don’t have the skills to address them. Maybe I can make a difference using writing as a platform.

Read More

Lorraine Fico-White, editor

I’ve personally known Lorraine Fico-White for a while now, and serve with her on the board of directors of the Charlotte Writers’ Club.  A professional editor, she discusses the role editors play in the writing process and how indies can make their books the best they can be.

1. Tell me about the editing services you provide.

I am a certified editor providing editing and proofreading services to authors.  Authors contact me before they self-publish or send out query letters.  I provide a free sample edit of the author’s work, evaluating the level of editing required and identifying ways to improve the manuscript’s marketability.  I also assist authors in developing personal bios and summaries for the book cover, creating discussion questions, and critiquing query letters and synopses.

2. What’s the difference between editing and proofreading?

Proofreading identifies grammar, punctuation, spelling, and typographical errors as well as formatting inconsistencies.  Basic copyediting includes proofreading in addition to ensuring content continuity, correct and effective word usage, and clarity of concepts.

Heavier editing includes basic copyediting tasks plus analyzing character and plot development, narrative flow, shifts in point of view, and organizational structure.

3. What role should the editor play in the writing process?

An editor assists the writer in making the book the best it can possibly be.  A great working relationship between an author and editor is critical to the success of a book.  A good editor will not change a writer’s voice, style or story. Instead, the editor offers a fresh, experienced perspective and respects the author’s work.  All edits must be approved by the author.

4. For each editing project you take on, what is your overriding goal?  In other words, what do you have in mind each time you look at a new manuscript or other writing?

My goal is to help authors achieve their goals.  Whenever I review a manuscript, I am always looking for ways to improve its marketability.  Errors and inconsistencies distract a reader, and the book could lose credibility.  If a reader loses interest, he/she will not recommend the book to friends and will not purchase subsequent books by the same author.

Read More

Nancy Ellen Dodd

Editor and award-winning writer Nancy Ellen Dodd, M.P.W., M.F.A., teaches at Pepperdine University and has had extensive experience working with authors, including indies.  In this interview she touches on her work, what she’s learned during her career, and how to write your best work possible.

1. Describe your educational and writing backgrounds.

For more than 25 years I’ve invested thousands of hours of studying writing, including two graduate degrees: a master’s in Professional Writing (MPW, which is a multi-discipline approach to writing) from the University of Southern California and an MFA in playwriting at USC’s School of Theatre.  I have received numerous awards for my writing and some of my stories have been read on public radio.  I’ve also studied writing with several successful, award-winning writers.

My book, The Writer’s Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages, covers the full creative writing process. I’ve also published more than 130 articles and been editor of two print and two online publications.  Presently I’m academic editor of the Graziadio Business Review, a business journal for the Graziadio School at Pepperdine.  Currently, I teach screenwriting at Pepperdine University to undergraduate and graduate students.

2. Tell me briefly about The Writer’s Compass.

The Writer’s Compass is what I’ve learned after thousands of hours of studying writing and two graduate degrees.  Through this process I developed a story map based on the 3-Act structure chart and Aristotle’s and Freytag’s principles of dramatic writing to use as a tool for understanding your story.  For years I have been collecting and developing questions that writers should ask about their stories and I evolved these into a 7 Stage process for writing more efficiently with fewer drafts.  I’ve been using this method, teaching it in workshops, and using part of it to teach my screenwriting students for years.  I finally turned it into a book.

Read More