Next up in my author interview series, is one of my Facebook buddies, Mike Crane. Welcome to the blog, Mike!
Briefly describe your journey in writing IN DECLINE.
These were stories that I had written while I was at Columbia College, or at least most of them are. There are some newer ones. I had been submitting them to literary magazines and so on, but just couldn’t find a home for them. When I got my Kindle, I started to learn that there was a way you could self-publish for free. I had self-published in the past with companies that charge you an arm and a leg to get your stuff out there—that was when I was really young. So, I thought to myself that if I could make a collection out of these stories that made sense, I thought I’d go that route. I’m a huge fan of short story collections. I like putting stories together that belong in a complete package, whether it be theme related or because of the atmosphere or tone. I originally wanted to add something like 12 stories, but I felt that this time I was going to be a lot more selective and only pick stories that really went well together without sounding redundant. So, I ended up with 9, and I’m glad I did. The other stories were good, but they didn’t belong in this collection.
Did you query agents or traditional publishers before publishing on Amazon?
I did submit most of these stories to magazines and other publications at some point in time. It’s always hard to find that right one that fits you.
What factors influenced your decision to self-publish?
I really wanted to find a home for these stories, and I was getting sick of submitting and feeling like I was getting nowhere. At least this way, I could put my writing out there and let others give them a read and see if it’s to their liking or not. And it’s totally re-vitalized my writing. I feel energized and excited. It’s just nice to know that there will always be a way to get your work out there. You may not reach as many people as you would with traditional publishing in some cases, but you WILL reach somebody. That’s a lot better than to have your works just sit and collect dust while you wait for another automated rejection letter.
Will you try to garner a traditional publishing contract for any future books?
It might be nice in the future, but I can honestly say that right now I’m not too worried about it. I’m not depending on my writing for income, which is why I felt like I had nothing to lose with going the self-publishing route.
Did you design your cover art? If not, would you care to share your graphic designer’s information?
For IN DECLINE, I just found a photo off of istockphoto.com and it really fit one of my stories. Which is funny, because this was before I even had a title for the collection. One of my stories was called, Decadent Dan, and I was really beginning to dislike the title. I wanted to call it something else. When I looked up “decadent” just to get some suggestions, I saw, “in decline.” I thought that was perfect, not only for the story, but for the collection itself. It really fits in with the mood and tone of all of the stories.
How did you feel when you got your first sale? Are you pleased with sales so far?
The first couple of sales I made, I knew they were from friends. I was really happy, don’t get me wrong, but once I started getting a few more and knew that they weren’t from people who knew me, I really got excited. Nervous, too. I always get nervous thinking about somebody reading my work. I hope they like it, but I know there’s always that chance they might not. You have to take that risk. While I don’t sell as many books as other authors at this time, I’m pretty happy with the number I’ve sold so far. For a short story collection, which I’m told is a lot tougher to sell than novels, it’s doing pretty well. I’m happy with it. Let’s just say it’s reached more people than it would have if I just sat on the stories and did nothing with them. That’s the important part.
What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
Facebook is a big one for me. I have my own author page, www.facebook.com/authormichaelcrane . I try to post on forums too, but I do my best not to come across as spam or unwanted promotion. That’s really the toughest part of all of this. Promoting.
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Smashwords.com has IN DECLINE, and some free single short stories. That’s a great site to use if you want to put up some of your stuff for free. I use it for some of my short stories. They’ve gotten a lot of views and downloads.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on a novella. Right now the working title is, GOODMAN’S BAD DAY. It’s much more different from what I normally write. It’s more on the silly side. I actually started the book when I was at Columbia, but never got around to finishing it. Ever since the publication of IN DECLINE, I decided to give it another look and I realized that I still had something with it. So, I started over again, re-writing the chapters that I already had and went from there. I’m almost done with the first draft. I know anything can happen, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to see it through this time, and it will most definitely be self-published as well!