Friday, May 13, 2011

Interview with co-authors, CK Webb & DJ Weaver

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
DJ. Well, Debra, the story is about a string of grizzly child abductions and the 911 system involvement. A lovely group of characters get together to catch the kidnapper and find the children. Can’t give you any more information but be assured that there are unexpected twists and turns in this one and we certainly hope it frightens the reader¾ that is our intention.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
CK. We did have an agent for a year and a half, but due to irreconcilable differences between us, we parted ways with the agency in February. We felt that it was better for the book and for us under the circumstances.

DJ. Having an agent is not the ‘end-all-be-all’ for an author. We had an agent for awhile, but decided that we were doing more waiting than writing. A good friend of ours, who is a highly successful self-published author was the inspiration for us to get our work out there. Then another good friend who eventually became our publisher, offered to help us in whatever way she could and we decided to take the plunge.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
CK. We have a review site and also review and contribute to Suspense Magazine, after that there just isn’t enough time for much else. If we found one that fit in with our schedule we would jump all over it.

DJ. No critique group but we have several close friends who have read our work and encouraged us tremendously. We live in a small town and it would be hard to find a handful of writers within driving distance. We would love to be involved in something like that but unfortunately it just isn’t available right now.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
CK. As with anything there are pros and cons to indie publishing, but the pros far outweighed the cons. Very simply, we wanted nothing more than to get Cruelty To Innocents: The 911 Abductions in the hands of readers.

DJ. We have talked about our book for quite some time on social media sites and on our review blog, WebbWeaver Reviews. We knew that if the book was picked up by a major house, it would still take months for it to actually get to the public. We just didn’t want to wait any longer and didn’t see a reason not to go ahead on this route.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
CK. We were overwhelmed at the thought of having to come up with hundreds of dollars for editing, but knew it was a necessary part of the process. It turns out that our time spent interviewing authors and doing book reviews was beneficial in other ways. We were introduced to an editor through a mutual friend, we did a little wheeling and dealing and traded off some of our services, for hers. We definitely received the better end of the deal, but she seems happy with it and is onboard to edit book two as well.

DJ. Our editor has taught us a lot about the writing process and we appreciate her so much. I can say I feel that editing your own work is a mistake, unless maybe you have an degree and/or have been proof-reading for a living. I think most authors who do their own edits, miss things in their own work. While I don’t think it is necessary to have a paid editor, it certainly is necessary to have many eyes go through your work and help you with the editing process. The more, the better.

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
CK. When we first began writing I believed there were no good writers or stories out there that did not come from one of the traditional publishing houses. How wrong I was. I know now how much work goes into writing, editing and marketing a book and that there are a ton of amazing authors out there who are self published. It is no longer about the route you take to get there, but the story you tell on the way.

DJ. The face of self publishing has gone through a lot in the last three years…all the rules have changed. At one point I would never have considered it, but now it seems the best thing for our book. I do believe that the large publishing houses are going to have to change their SOPs or they may find it more and more difficult to get quality work. It is already happening. Being a book reviewer myself, I’m seeing it more and more often. So many indie authors have wonderful works out there and many meet or surpass the standards set by the larger houses. Shrinking resources and faster technology are nudging out the old way of doing things. We can only wait to see what happens with the future of publishing.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
DJ. Here’s a list:
Amazon (US & UK & DE)
Barnes and Noble
We also intend to have the book up for sale in hardcopy on Lulu, but that will take a bit longer. We’ll let everyone know when that happens.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
CK. Twitter, Facebook, FB fanpages, Goodreads, LinkedIn
DJ. Here is another list for you; most of our web sites, social media addresses and so forth.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
CK. We will be going into edits for book two in the series, Collecting Innocents, in about a week and once that wraps up and we get back into writing book three. I will let you know. With the blog tour coming up and our writing getting back on schedule, I suspect it will get more difficult and nights will get much later.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
CK. Believe in your work and in yourself, never sell yourself short, DO NOT sign with the first person who shows interest in your work unless you have looked into them thoroughly, edit until your eyes and fingers bleed and then edit some more and last but never least, market, market, market…your book is worth it.

DJ. I agree with CK. If you feel you MUST have an agent, be careful who you sign with. Experience and a verifiable sales record are key points to consider when you are making your choice…and remember, it is YOUR BOOK and YOUR CHOICE!

What’s next for you?
CK. Edits on Collecting Innocents, writing book three, Avenging Innocents and then we will delve into one of the eleven or so novel concepts we have already begun. I believe it is safe to say we will be writing for many years to come.

DJ. We have more book concept outlines than you can imagine, but I believe we will be writing the third book in the Innocents series next. Hopefully, by the time it is complete, we will have fans clamoring for it. Then, on to other worlds and other characters and situations.

Thanks so much to Debra and David for allowing us to talk about our writing and our up-coming thriller, Cruelty to Innocents: The 911 Abductions, on their lovely blog. We hope we have been helpful and we appreciate them for having us.