Briefly describe your journey in writing your first book.
I was inspired by two of my favorite authors, Charles Dickens and C.S.Lewis. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia were a stunning revelation to me; it was the book that moved me from wanting to become a writer to actually sit down and write.
Did you query agents and traditional publishers? How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract?
It took several years. I was offered to write a novel on a certain subject by a publisher whom I had contacted regarding a different project. They had read my sample and thought I would be good for this other book they wanted to do. I accepted the offer.
What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
I had been knocking on many doors; at long last one of them opened, and I walked in. I was not very picky at that point, neither did I have many options to choose from. I have tried several other ways since - different publishers, POD self-publishing. Not all of them were good choices, but I have learned a lot and achieved moderate success.
Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will publish directly for Kindle?
It will be Kindle from now on - unless one of the Big Six comes to me with a great offer; I might consider that. I’ve joined the Indie revolution in November 2010, and I love it.
Did you design your cover art? If not, would you care to share your graphic designer’s information?
I work with two artists: Vladimir Imakaev, a talented writer and designer, and Alla Alekseyeva, a professional illustrator. Alla illustrated the Russian-language version of my fantasy trilogy The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres that is being released by a traditional publisher in Kiev, Ukraine. Vladimir designed the cover of Book 1, The Journey, for them. I have asked the publisher’s permission to use their version of the cover for the Kindle release; they agreed. Vladimir changed the title and author name from Russian into English for me. The other two books of the trilogy have covers designed by the POD self-publisher I had previously used. I plan to change them later on, as the Ukrainian publisher releases the whole trilogy.
I have started another fantasy series titled The Lakeland Knight; I’ve hired Alla, the illustrator, to do covers and illustrations. I love her style. She did an excellent cover for My Sparkling Misfortune, book 1 of this new series.
If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
Both Vladimir and Alla had just the basic idea of what I would like to see on the cover. I saw the drafts and made comments, but we didn’t have to change much. They’d grasped the concept very well and did a great job.
How did you feel when you got your first sale?
My first Kindle sale? The thought that came when I saw it was, “Hey, it works!!”
What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
This is something I need to work on, somehow. Quality social media presence takes time to maintain, and I don’t have that time. Being a perfectionist, I either do things well or not do them at all. For that reason I don’t have a blog and stay away from Twitter. I do have a Facebook page though.
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Yes, my books are available at Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. Through Smashword’s premium catalog they are also getting distributed to Sony, Apple, Kobo, Diesel.
What’s next for you?
I need to complete and release the sequel to My Sparkling Misfortune, nameless at this point. Then I will probably return to The Silvery Castle, another unfinished project of mine that was interrupted years ago (lesson for me to learn: don’t switch between projects, get them done in order).