L. Salt

48423891_2216658588547692_5358765205557870592_nL. Salt has used social media to build her audience.  Learn why she prefers a small traditional publisher over self-publishing.

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

My latest book is Legacy of the Iron Eagle. It’s a thriller/mystery novella with some elements of history and suspense. The main character, Philip Rutkowski, son of a Polish immigrant, “enjoys” all the benefits of big city life: a boring, routine office job; the everyday long commute; a massive mortgage; and rare nights out with a few friends. Everything changes for Philip when his colleague and best friend, David Zilberschlag, gives him a vintage mirror to help decorate his new apartment. The mirror belonged to David’s deceased granddad, a Holocaust survivor, who believed that the mirror hides dark secrets from the past. When Philip continues to see visions of a German SS officer in the mirror who tries to talk to him, he decides to look for answers.

I love World War II history. This dramatic period still leaves more questions than answers for historians and researchers, and continues to tease the imaginations of authors and writers with its theories and conspiracies. This is my second novella dedicated to this subject.

2. How have your sales been?

I think it’s a bit too early to talk about great sales. Both of my solo works were published less than a year ago, so I believe I need more time to build an audience of loyal readers and followers.

3. You’ve gone with a small traditional publisher. What made you choose this over self-publishing?

For such an inexperienced author like me, it was a better option. My publishers do all the hard work such as editing, proofreading, formatting, promotion, graphics/trailers, etc. I feel more comfortable working with the professionals who are always ready to give advice, share experience, and provide guidance. That way I can focus on more creative things like writing itself.

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M.L. Ruscsak

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M.L. Ruscsak has had experience with self- and traditional publishing.  Find out how she found her fit with a small press publisher.

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

Secrets, Lies and Betrayal is the third installment in the “Lite and Darke” Series. After writing the second book in the series it became obvious that there were things that needed to be explained further to tie both books together. So instead of doing a full-length book that might have been able to do so, I opted to write four short stories spanning over several years.

2. How have your sales been?

As the book just came out it’s doing about the same as the others did upon release.

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

I started as a self-published author and wanted the feeling of belonging to a community. So I began my journey to find the right publishing house for me. Now that I am with Wild Dreams Publishing I could not be happier. I have found that sense of “family” but still have the option of doing what I feel is right without the publisher telling me which direction to take.

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Crystal Reavis

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Crystal Reavis recently published her book through a small publisher.  Learn more about her marketing methods and the important words of advice she has for new authors.

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

My book is a fantasy set in our world. It’s the first book in my series. Areal, my main character, is a paralegal who begins to have strange things happen to her. A man calls her and tells her she is being watched; soon after she begins to see people with black eyes, people watching her at her house. She also starts to meet new people who may not be what they seem. She learns angels and demons exist and that she may play a big role in their war for the world.

What motivated me to write it was my husband. I have been writing for years and never published anything. He told me he would love for me to pursue writing as a career. I figured I was already writing and had the time, so why not? Literally a few days later I had the idea for this series. I wrote the book we are talking about, Areal, in about four months. I just fell in love with it and couldn’t leave it for very long.

2. How have your sales been?

My sales are climbing. I sold about 11 books in the first month (not great), but I am picking up momentum. Many of my readers are waiting for a signed copy and I am working on getting those out. Once the signed copies are sent out I will have sold about 50-60 books. I am slowly getting better sales.

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Jeff Vande Zande

Jeff Vande Zande has had success with small press publishing, an experience which has helped him positively adjust his expectations about success.  Jeff discusses that along with his thoughts on book signings and reaching your target audience.

1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.

It’s a novel about poetry, Theodore Roethke, fathers and sons, and coming of age in America as an artist.  It’s the story of a young man who comes back to his hometown after an absence, only to find that he hasn’t grown up as much as he thinks.  Denver Hoptner graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in writing poetry.  He returns to his boyhood home in working-class Saginaw, Michigan, and discovers just how little the world of work cares about his degree.  He struggles, too, to come to terms with his widower father.  After he hears that there’s been a fire in the attic of poet Theodore Roethke’s boyhood home, Denver commits himself to saving the historical residence, even when no one else seems to care.  It’s in action that he finds his true poetic self.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

I didn’t really have luck with agents.  I received a few letters that said something along the lines of “Beautiful writing, but not sure how to market this.”  In my experiences with smaller presses, I just found that the editors were more interested in the “beautiful” part and didn’t worry so much about the marketing part.  My experiences with small presses have been positive, if not overwhelmingly lucrative.

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

I suppose getting published from a small press is “traditional” publishing, just on a reduced scale.  So, yes, all of my books are traditionally published, but all from small presses.

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Debra Borys

Debra Borys stays busy with a number of writing projects: from freelancing to writing novels.  Having experience working with a start-up press, she gives insight about the amount of promotional work all authors must do, and some of the methods she’s already adopted.

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

The short stories I had self-published are Red Light, Green Light, Peeling the Onion, and Weeping Widows, a collection of mini-mystery stories.  The mini-mysteries are written for fun – I call them my cynical stories because of the narrative “author” Evelyn A. Archer.  Three of the stories in the collection were previously sold to print magazines.  Also previously published in magazines were Red Light and Onion.  Both are about street kids, one story set in Chicago, one in Seattle, both cities where I volunteered with the homeless.

Painted Black is a suspense novel about a missing street kid named Lexie Green, who at fifteen years old is selling her body to survive. When reporter Jo Sullivan realizes no one seems to care about what might have happened to her, she teams up with Lexie’s friend Chris to learn the truth.  When Jo and Chris investigate Sloan and Whiteside’s funeral home, they put themselves in danger of becoming part of a bizarre collection of freeze dried corpses.

The original idea for the suspense plot for Painted Black came from a news article I read years ago in the Chicago Tribune.  It was about a new method of preservation being used by taxidermists who freeze dry people’s pets to produce lifelike replicas that would last indefinitely.  One person they interviewed stated that freeze drying could be used on people as well, and compared the process to cooking pizzas in an oven.  He sounded so bizarre and unconcerned that it immediately sparked an idea for a character based on him and became the premise for my story.  In my research, I actually found an article in a mortuary magazine about a firm that did preserve a man in this manner.

The idea to use homeless kids as important characters came about from my experience volunteering with The Night Ministry in Chicago.  I was struck by how many times homeless people are treated as sub-human, like they don’t matter.  Some people seem to have only contempt for someone who is homeless even when they know nothing about the circumstances.  Most people just want to pretend that the homeless don’t exist, walking by them with averted eyes.  I would like to make these invisible people visible so we can find solutions to the problem, not ignore it.

I want my readers to understand that the important thing to recognize about homeless people is that they are people.  The homeless part is incidental.  I’m hoping that while my readers are all wrapped up in the suspenseful story in Painted Black, they will somehow subtly have their eyes opened up a little to see that the street people I’m writing about – the same people they walk past on the street without looking at – aren’t really all that different from themselves.

If even only a few people get that, then I’ll feel happy.  I’d be even happier if it inspires someone to make a move to do something about it – volunteer at a local soup kitchen, advocate for improvements in social services, or even just say hi to that homeless person they pass on the corner every day on their way to work.  I am donating 10% of any author profits from Painted Black to The Night Ministry and to Teen Feed In Seattle, in appreciation for the work they do.  I encourage anyone who reads my books to also support any program working to eliminate homelessness.

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