Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Interview with K.C. May

To start off the month of December, I like to welcome author, K.C. May to the blog.  Today, her newest book, The Venom of Vipers, is being released on Kindle so be sure to check it out.  In the meantime, K.C. has been kind enough to answer my interview questions.

Briefly describe your journey in writing your first book.
It was a long time ago, back in the 1980s. I had an idea and just started writing. I don’t think I outlined at first, but to be honest, I don’t remember back that far! The first draft was my only draft. I just fixed the typos and started querying publishers, then wrote two more novels in that series. Now, when I read those manuscripts, I cringe. That’s one book that’ll never be published!

My first published novel is The Kinshield Legacy, and epic fantasy adventure. I started writing that story in the early- to mid-1990s, but I wasn’t happy with it and I didn’t know how to fix it, so I put it away and stopped writing. Over the years, the story would not get out of my head, so I started from scratch and rewrote it. When I was done, I rewrote it from scratch again. Finally I had something I could work with. It took a few revisions before I had a novel I was happy with.

Did you query agents or traditional publishers before publishing on Amazon?
I’d just started the query process for The Kinshield Legacy when I learned about a novel writing contest and entered my manuscript. There were three categories, and first place for each was a hardcover publishing contract. My book won the fantasy/sci-fi category and was published in December 2005. Fastforward five years to July 2010 when the publisher reverted the rights to me. I immediately started investigating the Amazon/Kindle approach rather than trying to republish traditionally.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish?
I’d have to say the ease with which I could do it. I’d already received a professional edit from the original publisher, so all I had to do was format the manuscript and upload it.

Will you try to garner a traditional publishing contract for any future books?
Actually, I was urged by a couple of writing friends/critique partners to run my next book, The Venom of Vipers, past my agent, “just to see.” The self-publishing adventure really appeals to the entrepreneur in me, but I did send my agent a query. I haven’t heard back, so I’m proceeding with my plan to self-publish. If a large publishing house waved six figures in my face, I would most definitely want to sit down and chat with them, but with the future of e-publishing as bright as it is, I’m happy on my current path.

Did you design your cover art?  If not, would you care to share your graphic designer’s information?
For The Kinshield Legacy, I commissioned fellow author Ronnell D. Porter to create a new cover. I probably could have used the old hardcover artwork with permission from the original publisher, but I liked the idea of giving it a fresh look. Also, there’s a sequel in the works, and I can create a similar cover so it looks like it belongs with the first book.
Ronnell also created a cover for my novella, Sole Sacrifice.
For The Venom of Vipers, I commissioned artist Rebecca Weaver, whom I found at Deviant Art. I loved the idea of using photo-manipulation, and Becky had some terrific pieces in her gallery.

If you used a graphic designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
For The Kinshield Legacy and Sole Sacrifice covers, Ronnell did the design and presented me with the finished product. I absolutely loved what he’d done and didn’t feel they needed any adjustments. For The Venom of Vipers, I woke up one morning with the idea for the cover. Like the title, it’s a metaphor for the main character’s circumstances. (There are no actual snakes in the story.)

How did you feel when you got your first sale?  Are you pleased with sales so far?
The first sale took me by surprise! During the five years the book was available in hardcover, it sold about 60 copies. I didn’t expect the sales to happen so quickly. I released the Kindle version around the 27th or 28th of July and had one sale that month. In August, I had over 40. For a book I didn’t expect to sell, it did remarkably well – and sales continue to grow month by month! Needless to say, I’m ecstatic. I’m especially pleased that it’s received such wonderful reviews. Nothing makes a writer happier than knowing her stories are entertaining readers!

What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
I’ve been doing it all… twitter (I’m still somewhat of a twitter noob) and facebook, a web site that gets maybe 90-100 hits per month, a blog (which I admit to not posting on very often), and a few reading/writing/publishing-related forums. I’ve found that just chit-chatting with other readers has been great for sales – as long as I just use my signature to draw attention to my books. I don’t like to be spammed, and I don’t want to do that to anyone else. When someone’s especially nice or helpful, I check out their books. I’m pretty sure other readers do the same.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
My books will always be available through B&N, Smashwords and the Smashwords distribution network, too. Readers are everywhere, and they don’t necessarily have Kindles. Those readers are important to me.

What’s next for you?
My next novel, The Venom of Vipers, comes out Dec 1. It’s a science fiction story having to do with a genetically-engineered human subspecies. After that, the sequel to The Kinshield Legacy is next on my list, followed by another fantasy novel that’s been banging around in my head for about fifteen years. Those should keep me busy for a little while.