Diane Schochet

When Diane Schochet befriended another writer who in turn started her own publishing company, she was able to publish her book and see her literary dreams realized.  Diane talks about her book, the specific marketing tools she uses, and a tip that worked for her son’s book as well.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me your book.

Cog Stone Dreams is about Dessa and her mystical, magical, humorous love story.  It is about the bow and arrow murder she witnesses, 9,000 years of history she encounters in her dreams, and includes Jewish themes and the perfection, degradation and restoration of wetlands in California.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

I’m not an indie writer.  A couple of years ago, I took an online advanced UCLA novel writing class.  A classmate liked my writing.  I liked hers.  We met and became friends.  Then in 2011 she informed me that she was becoming a publisher.  Her deceased aunt, Carol Fenner, had left her literary collection to my friend.  Carol, who had won Newberry awards, a Coretta Scott King award and two other awards, had one book that hadn’t been published.  My classmate decided to publish her book, my Cog Stone Dreams book, and some books that she had written, and opened Red Phoenix Books.

Doctor Claudia Alexander, my publisher at Red Phoenix Books, is a scientist.  She says my genre is environmental fiction.  But I’m not a scientist so I say my book is Jewish magical realism.  (Think Isaac Bashevis Singer.  I’m aiming high.)  However, the environment may be a better selling point.  The story is mostly set on Southern California wetlands.  Amazon.com puts books about wetlands in their Lakes and Ponds category.  Today the Kindle Edition of Cog Stone Dreams is the number 17 bestselling and the number 1 best rated in the Lakes and Pond category.  It has been among the top three Lakes and Ponds book for three months now.

3. Have you been traditionally published?

Yes.  Non-fiction articles in magazines.

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James Strait

James Strait has authored two books and has a third on the way.  He offers some good, detailed advice about how to get on the radio to promote your book, as well as which marketing techniques to avoid.

1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book.  Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.

Pretend that there’s a modern democratic republic that has lost its way. Imagine a society in chaos, a political structure compromised by power hungry sociopaths.

Fade to an ultra modern think tank, one whose expertise is genetics, and one that’s discovered that every human cell has a time stamp. And that having the ability to turn the time stamp on and off allows for a clone of any age to be rebirthed.

Picture a cabal of desperate modern times political operatives, with a brand new twenty-first century copy of Thomas Jefferson. Then think the predictable, that the modern Jefferson takes extreme exception to his being rebirthed, that he escapes the clutches of his new artificial deities, and that he goes on the run.

Such is the story line of the newly minted action-adventure novel, Thomas Jefferson is Missing.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

Nothing more than the desire to have some of my thoughts go down in literary history.

3. Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?

Yes, my first book, Weird Missouri, was traditionally published by Sterling. However, Sterling does not publish fiction; thus, my second book, a novel, has been published independently. I chose an independent house that was within an hour’s drive from my home in order to have some physical connectivity, hoping for some hands-on control of the process.

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

While not perfect, it has been a learning experience, a chance to grow, so I’ve loved it.

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