Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Interview with Chris Blewitt

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
The Chemist is a short story that is based on a true story.  I read an article online a year ago about corruption during Prohibition.  It truly boggled my mind that something like this could happen.  It absorbed me and I started researching if this really happened, and sure enough it did.  I thought it would make a great fictional story so that’s what I wrote.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I did for my first book, Deep Rough – A Thriller in Augusta.  I have a least 100 rejections that I still keep on file.  Little did they know that DR would become the # 1 sports, golf, and sports gambling book on Kindle during Masters week of this year.  For The Chemist, it is just a short story so I did not even bother with trad pubbing.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I belonged to a writer’s group for about 2 years as I wrote Deep Rough.  They were very beneficial and I’d recommend anyone starting out to join a group.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
I knew I had a good story to tell and that people would like Deep Rough.  I had 2 other stories in mind to write and I couldn’t focus on them while I was frustrated trying to get DR published.  I found out about CreateSpace and said, “The heck with it”.  I couldn’t be happier.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I did hire an editor and had one beta reader although I was not happy with the editor and had to re-edit many times after the fact.  I will certainly have many more beta-readers for future works.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
You cannot just upload to Amazon and watch the sales come in.  You need to be really active in promoting your book.  I had only 4 sales on Kindle in January of this year.  After finding KindleBoards & lowering the price, I had triple digits in April.  You also must have a great cover, blurb, book and accept criticism.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Just Barnes and Noble for their Nook. 

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I have a twitter account, facebook, joining indie facebook groups, volunteering for any interview and being active on KindleBoards.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Absolutely.  I finished my next book in February and haven’t touched it since.  I’m aiming to get it out there by July 4th, but it has a ways to go.  Promoting is fun though.  You meet a lot of great people and a lot of great indie books.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Edit the heck out of your book.  Test out your covers before uploading.  Join KindleBoards for great advice.  Ask beta-readers to read your book.  Don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet!

What’s next for you?
I would like to have “untitled” up and running soon.  Picture DaVinci Code meets George Washington.  After that, I’d like to dust off a book I wrote about fifteen years ago and see if it’s good enough to start working on a 2nd draft.