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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Larissa Hinton

YA writer Larissa Hinton is always working on both her writing and her marketing efforts.  Read more about some of the specific services she uses and her advice for finding your target audience.

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

An anthology that will quench your thirst for more than the ordinary.

Everblossom is a journey through poems and short stories that may seem ordinary on the surface but which digs a little deeper as the world not only shifts, but changes.

The author who brought you Iwishacana/Acanawishi now brings you a dash of everything from dark fantasy to the paranormal to even romance.  So prepare yourself to delve into the three stages of the flower from bud to blossom then back to seed; you’ll go through them all with a whole new perspective on what it all truly means.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

Ah, the question everybody wants to know.  Well, before I self-published, I was a staunch traditional publisher junkie.  I sent out query letters to publishers and agents every summer.  And I dreamed of that one day of getting the dream contract.

When the dream became a reality, I could hardly believe it.  There I was, the email of my dreams congratulating me on obtaining a contract and all I could do is cover my gaping mouth and think, “Oh.  My.  God.”

But of course, the contract was faulty so I walked away.  That was the hardest thing I had to do but I survived and started querying once again.  The more I queried, the more I got frustrated that no one saw my talent.  If I was talented to get a contract once, I could get it again. That’s what logic says.

And during this time, a lot or people from Critique Circle loved my book and wanted to buy it and were wondering when I was going to be published.  And it wasn’t just one person, it was multiple people.

Yet no contract came.  Instead, a professor talked about self-publishing and spouted about how much more money an author could make, but I just ignored him until Amanda Hocking’s story came to light.  Then came JA Konrath’s blog.  I read it and I couldn’t help but agree with his arguments.  And he made me laugh.  So after puzzling over the logic and what I thought was my dream of trad publishing, I decided to self-publish.

In short: I decided to self-publish because I was tired of waiting for someone to give me the green light.  Instead, I decided to believe in my books and my readers to find them.  I decided to self-publish and not look back.  And I’m glad I did.

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Patricia Herlevi

Patricia Herlevi reflects on her music background as she discusses her book, Agnes et Yves: Ma Vie en Bleu.  Learn how she makes marketing work without having to break the bank.

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

“French Kiss” meets arts journalism meets Parisian artists meets Katherine Hepburn.  In hot pursuit of an affair with a Spanish Don Juan, Francophobe Agnes’ plans are derailed by a French painter and transportation strike.  Bonjour Paris!

I wrote this novel as an old fashion style comedy with some mistaken identity, especially around “Pablo”, plots twists, and a surprise ending.  I adapted the novel from a screenplay of the same title, but for the novel I brought back the mother character, and brought in more psychological baggage which I dealt with through comedy of errors.

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

Thinking back to my music career which spanned from 1986 to 1996, I have a knack for do-it-yourself projects.  I also think that it is a real confidence builder to take on a project yourself and see how far you can take it.  My motivation for going it independent with music came from a music industry with a closed door policy.  I sent out over 50 demo tapes over the years, and received a large pile of rejection letters.  I still wanted to record and perform music so I found a way to do that without a recording contract.

Now that I am authoring books, I thought I would see how far I could go on my own in building a target audience, and cooperating with other independent authors.  The learning curve is steep, especially at my age, but I have to admit, I enjoy the challenges.  Those challenges spark creative solutions.

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

No, I have not traditionally published any books yet.  I am not averse to publishing books traditionally.  I contacted agents and went the normal route, receiving a fair share of rejection letters and some encouragement.  Then a friend suggested I try Lulu.  At first this felt daunting so then I went with CreateSpace instead.  Since my novel has commercial appeal, especially for the Francophile markets, I don’t know the reasons why it has not been picked up by a commercial publisher or agent.

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