Friday, July 1, 2011

Interview with Bryan Healey

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
"Shattered Wings" is the chronicle of a man named John, the primary breadwinner in a household consisting of his husband Charlie and their adoptive daughter Cassie. When faced with an unexpected unemployment that he is financially unprepared for, John finds himself desperate for new work before his savings is depleted, reminiscing on a past of addiction, discrimination and family struggle as he slowly descends into alcoholism.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I did not. While I wish I had the distribution capacity of a major publishing house, I prefer to self-publish because of the ultimate creative control and feedback immediacy it offers. I am currently querying distribution companies to see if that is an option, but I restrict my options to groups that allow authors to retain all rights.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I am not a member of any formal critique group, but I am a participant in several writer-specific discussion forums, from Writer's Digest to Kindle Boards, and I thrive on the feedback and suggestions that these groups can offer. I am also currently working toward attaining a degree in English, which has helped improve my linguistic rule obedience.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
I find that I enjoy having full control over the creative process, from interior and cover design to deployment and marketing. By self-publishing, I am the writer, publisher, designer and distributor, and it gives me a sense of total understanding of the project and it's scope.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I did not.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
Publishing is a major challenge. Writing has a unique set of challenges and certainly has a stiff requirement for patience, but the "other" stuff (cover and interior design, proofing, editing, marketing and promotion) have their own difficulties and require just as much, if not more, patience. And unlike writing, which always has a satisfying conclusion (the end of a story written), self-publication can "end" in any number of different ways, and not all of them are universally positive.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Yes, my books are also for sale on, Smashwords (which distributes to Apple, Kobo and Diesel) and in some local bookstores where I have gained some traction.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
By day, I am a professional web engineer, so I do a lot of digital work myself. I have designed marketing websites for each of my books and do heavy promotion on most major social networking services. I am also doing limited paid advertising. Offline, I do local book readings and signings at independent bookstores that will carry my work.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Absolutely! Without a schedule, I would be utterly lost. I am currently working full-time as a senior web engineer, going to school full-time for a degree in English, marketing my latest book and writing manuscripts three and four... I could easily lose track of myself if I don't pick specific times for each task. And inevitably sometimes one must dominate when specific activities have deadlines or become overwhelming. It's a delicate process that is easy to unbalance.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Make absolutely certain that you are aware of the challenges you'll be facing; do your research! If you self-publish, you will be taking on all the duties of a lot of different people and you will need to dedicate significant time and energy to those tasks. And then, even with your most valiant effort, you may be underwhelmed by the sales return. If you can't handle this amount of adversity and work, then self-publishing is probably not for you. But if you can handle it, the rewards can be extraordinary.

What’s next for you?
I am working on a novel right now entitled "No Where" that follows a determined man as he tries to flee from an unknown adversary with his biological son and find a way to stop their pursuit. With the help of his brother, he sets off across the country for solace in a secluded family residence, but as his brother probes into the son and his estranged family, he finds some troubling information that threatens their ultimate safety.

I am about half way complete with this manuscript and hope to have it ready for editing and design by mid summer and have it published by the early fall.