Author John J. Hohn has experience in marketing and sales that he’s been able to use, not only to drive plot, but to drive sales. In this wide-ranging interview, John explains that background, as well as why he hired a publicist and why taking shortcuts can hurt indie writers.
1. Tell me briefly about your books – what are they about and what motivated you to write them?
I have published two books. The first is a poetry chapbook entitled As I Was Passing By that I self-published in 2001. I have been writing poetry since I was a boy and the time had come to publish a collection for my friends and family.
My novel, Deadly Portfolio: A Killing in Hedge Funds, was first published in the fall of 2010. It was well-received by reviewers with established credentials on the Internet. I began the book after retiring from my position as a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch in Winston-Salem, NC. The book is the third novel for me. The others are still in my file cabinet. They represent my apprenticeship.
Deadly Portfolio flows out of my experience as a financial advisor, a position in which I had a unique perspective on the lives of my clients. I came to know how they made decisions, how well they got along with their spouses, parents, and children, their trials at work or elsewhere in their lives. I saw altruism and greed, generosity and miserliness.
The story is about four families and the tragedy that involves them all after one man, a financial advisor, bends the rules and makes an unauthorized trade in a client’s account. His transgression sets off a string of events that ultimately claims the lives of three of the neighbors before Detective James Raker tracks down the killer and makes an arrest.
2. How have your sales been?
Sales have been steady. I did not know what to expect at first. I have sold approximately 500 copies, not including the Kindle version on Amazon.
3. What has been your experience with traditional publishing?
I tried to get an agent to represent my book for almost a year with no success. I also sent queries to the few publishers who accept direct submissions. I received a number of encouraging responses but no takers.