Anurag Shourie

Dr. Anuragpic

Anurag Shourie is an Indian author who chose traditional publishing for his novel.  Find out what led him down this path and his advice for selecting a good book reviewer.

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

Half A Shadow is my debut novel.  It is said that the reign of the supernatural begins at the point where the jurisdiction of science ends.  Never the twain shall meet.  Here is a story that entwines the two domains together, a mytho-medical thriller.

A series of events that occurred on a stormy night while I was dispensing my duties in a cancer hospital led me to conceptualize the plot of Half A Shadow.  It is the story of one man’s quest for redemption.

2. How have your sales been?

The sales of Half A Shadow have been encouraging.  The readers have bestowed a lot of love on this book belonging to an uncommon genre.  The reviews have been mostly positive with the critics giving it a “thumbs up.”

3. You’ve decided to use a traditional publisher for your book. Why did you choose this versus self-publishing?

Self-publishing is a grey area as there is a very thin line of demarcation between self-publishing and vanity- publishing.  I am of the firm belief that if my work is good enough it will find a decent publisher who is keen to share my vision.

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Paulette Jackson

paulettePaulette Jackson was unsure about self-publishing, so she went with a traditional publisher. Learn what advice she has for new authors wanting to make the right choice for themselves.

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

My latest book is The Music Through the Storm and it’s about finding your “song” in your life. The thing that you’re most passionate about and using that to get through life’s storms. Also how music and the arts bring people together and how music is universal and healing.

2. How have your sales been?

Well I have two books, The Music Through the Storm (2nd book release) and The Music In Me that I re-released as a second edition with my new publisher. Both books, since their release, have picked up in sales.

3. You’ve decided to use a traditional publisher for your book. Why did you choose this versus self-publishing?

To be honest I wasn’t confident about self-publishing and wanted it done right and didn’t have a lot of information about it so I went ahead and used a traditional publisher, my new publisher.

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Sarah Archer

Author photo_Sarah Archer (c) Steven Duarte-editedSarah Archer is a traditionally published author who is working to build her brand with a new book.  Learn more about her experiences and her advice for relying on fellow writers to shape your craft.

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

My first novel, The Plus One, is a rom-com with a sci-fi twist.  It’s about a brilliant robotics engineer who, when pressured to find a wedding date, takes matters into her own hands and builds one.  Then she starts to fall for him.  This was an idea I had a few years ago and immediately knew would be fun to write.  It’s been a great way to explore how classic romantic tropes are transformed in our modern world.  And a solid excuse to spend way too much time Googling articles about AI and robotics.

2. How have your sales been?

The book just came out on July 2nd, and is currently available in stores and online.  It’s still early, but we’ll see how the sales go!

3. You’ve decided to use a traditional publisher for your book.  Why did you choose this versus self-publishing?

I’m extremely lucky to be publishing my first book with Putnam.  As a newcomer to this space, I’ve found their support and expertise invaluable.  However, if traditional publishing hadn’t worked out, I would happily have pursued self-publishing.  I come from a film and TV background, where it’s almost impossible to get something made without a team of people.  In publishing, you know that if you write a book, you have guaranteed ways to get it to an audience as long as you’re willing to do the work.  Having that light at the end of the tunnel is very motivating.

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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.

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K.M. Riley

kelly_origK.M. Riley prefers the support offered by traditional publishers.  But she knows marketing and networking are still essential, and she shares some of her methods.

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

Fever Rising is an action-packed dystopian where society has been divided into castes, and the genetically modified fighters are leading a revolution to overthrow the government that owns them.

I was motivated to write Fever Rising when I was working overseas. I had a lot of free time and the inspiration just hit me.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales are decent online. It takes a lot of work trying to promote oneself and make a name for the book. I’ve had more success at local Barnes & Nobles signings where I’ve sold out more than once. There I get a chance to talk to interested readers and answer any questions they might have.

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

I’ve had experience with both, but I still prefer a traditional publisher. As I’ve stated below, they’re there to help the author succeed, taking a lot of pressure involved in producing the book off the author’s shoulders.

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Raymond Bolton

TriadEBookCover.jpgRaymond Bolton has been both self-published and traditionally published, and prefers the latter.  Find out why, along with the role that word count and a solid manuscript play in publishing.

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

My latest novel, Triad, an epic fantasy, is the final book in a trilogy. It was released by WordFire Press on December 3, 2018. By fantasy, I’m not talking about magic or sorcery. All of the books I write have to do with the paranormal and, in this series, my protagonists are anything but superheroes. Instead, they are ordinary people caught up in adverse circumstances with one unique talent available with which to thwart a nefarious warlord and his armies. In Thought Gazer, the protagonist is a telepath. Foretellers involves a prescient mother and daughter. They come together in the third in the series with a young man who is telekinetic. It has always struck me as odd that the physically handicapped rarely appear in books of this nature, since they are ubiquitous in ours, so I made Triad’s protagonist paraplegic.

2. How have your sales been?

Since I am now traditionally published, I’m not privy to all of the details. All I can tell you is that my royalty checks keep getting larger and my books are, without exception, rated at 4.5 stars or better all across the internet. An interesting side note: WordFire Press informed me that last year 75% of the sales of my debut novel, Awakening, came from China. I find that oddly amusing since, aside from its Spanish translation, it’s only available in English.

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

I have to go with traditional publishing. Although self-publishing helped me establish a readership, having been acquired by WordFire, publisher of the Dune and Star Wars series, has given me credibility.

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Geoff Turner

Archie'sMirror.jpgGeoff Turner sought several literary agents before landing with a publisher.  He discusses his journey and explains why even traditionally published authors need sound marketing strategies.

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

Archie’s Mirror is about a young boy’s search for his missing father. It’s a journey that takes him through the magical mirror of the title and into the mysterious Land Beyond. It’s a book for older children along the lines of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy or Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. I also wanted to write a story that explored the idea of story-telling itself. So, for kids, there’s what I hope is a rollicking fantasy adventure, but there are additional levels there that adults might want to explore, alongside a heady mix of jeopardy and humor.

2. How have your sales been?

Put it this way, I won’t be quitting my day job just yet. The thing I’ve realized about being an indie author – and I guess the same is true with self-published writers – it’s very much a marathon not a sprint. It’s very rare that you’ll find instant success. You have to keep at the marketing, you have to keep at the promotion, and you have to keep searching for your audience. Keep the faith and, with a bit of luck, that audience will be out there, somewhere.

3. You’ve gone the traditional publishing route. Tell me more about that and how you got into it.

By chance I saw that Prospective Press was looking to increase their roster of writers and was asking for speculative submissions. Archie’s Mirror was finished, and I was toying with self-publishing, having received a raft of rejections from literary agents. I figured there was nothing lost by sending Prospective the manuscript. At the very least I thought I might get some feedback on what was wrong with it – the agents had just sent me their standard letters – but, as it happened, the book struck a chord with them and they offered to publish it.

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P.B. Dillon

P.B. Dillon, sci-fi author from New Zealand, turned away from traditional publishing after a bad experience.  He discusses that and which methods he now uses as an indie author.

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

The Mage-Wrought Warrior is a fantasy series, the first two books of which are Mage-Wrought and Urgitwoods.  It’s the story of Lito, a hero like no other.  Given life by Garvin, he must struggle against impossible odds to save the life of Tyrealla, Garvin’s daughter – all the while wrestling with the riddle of his own existence.

It won’t be easy: they’re about to be attacked by the Kelits, fierce warriors who paint themselves blue and file their teeth.  Their leader is a Dark Mage who will stop at nothing to accomplish his goal.  The Dark Mage seeks immortality – which he believes he can gain through the use of a jewel that forms part of Tyrealla’s favorite necklace.

Added to this are the complications that Lord Cirovan believes Lito was made to protect him; Tyrealla treats him as if he were repulsive; and, because of how he came into being, Lito doubts that he qualifies as fully human.

Will Lito be able to help defeat the invading Kelits?  Will he be able to save Tyrealla from the Dark Mage?  Will he win her over, or learn to accept who and what he is?

2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?

Publishing has changed.  There’s no mystery to it any more.  If you are online, you have access to all the tools you need – and unless they think they’re on to a major bestseller, I’m not sure traditional publishing offers any additional value.

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

Yes.  I was hugely naive and thought it was the right thing to do at the start of my career.  It took ages; attracting an agent/publisher from New Zealand (where I live) isn’t easy, partly because of the geographic separation which should mean nothing but does.  And then, when I finally got my book deal, I realized that I no longer had control over the cover, the editing, or even the book title – and was still expected to do all the marketing myself.

It wasn’t a pleasant experience.  Turned me away from writing for a number of years.

As soon as the rights reverted to me I decided to start doing it myself.  That was mid-way through last year.  Now I’m in control and can do things my way, and it’s much better – and I’ve already sold more copies than the traditional publisher did.

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Melissa Bowersock

Melissa Bowersock has written a variety of books across different genres.  As someone who has both self-published and been traditionally published, she has an interesting approach to marketing that can help all writers.

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

I have 4 romance novels, 2 that are Westerns (The Rare Breed, Superstition Gold) and 2 that are contemporary (Remember Me, Lightning Strikes).  I like to think that my romances are more for thinking readers rather than the formulaic sexual tension novels.  I believe my characters grow a lot during the course of finding love.  The Blue Crystal is a fantasy sword-and-sorcery novel, much like Lord of the Rings.  I have 2 action-adventure novels.  Queen’s Gold is based on a past-life regression where a man tries to find ancient Aztec gold he hid in a previous incarnation.  The Appaloosa Connection is a western in which a horse rancher and a sullen teenager go after horse thieves that are in cahoots with the Mexican army.  Goddess Rising is a spiritual fantasy, inspired by a dream about a future when the world has been decimated by a geologic holocaust and the few people await a female savior to return them to greatness.  The Pits of Passion (by Amber Flame) is a romance satire that lampoons every cliche ever written.  It is a literal bodice-ripper, and not for the faint of heart.  My last book, Marcia Gates: Angel of Bataan, is the biography of an Army nurse who was captured on Corregidor and spent 3 years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in the Philippines.

Although my books are inspired by various means, my motivation is that all the stories moved me and interested me and I felt like they were worthy of putting down on paper. I write what I like to read, paying no attention to current fads or commercial formulas.

2. How have your sales been?

Sales have been by fits and starts.  When I do a marketing push, I see more, but then they fall off.  The sales on my non-fiction have been surprisingly good, so it must be word of mouth.

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