Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Interview with Shiromi Arserio

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
Becca is a sci-fi short story about one woman's search for the perfect Earth-like planet for the human race. It's a race against time as a geomagnetic storm is moving in that will disrupt the mission, but at its heart, it delves into loneliness and what that can do to a person psychologically.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
When I'm not writing fiction I write a lot of travel and sports related non-fiction for magazine outlets, so I am certainly familiar with the querying process, however I didn't go that route with my fiction. I suppose part of me was impatient to get my stories out there. I know what it's like to spend a year going from publisher to publisher. Also, unless it's a magazine or website, most publishers aren't interested in short stories, so it made sense to go indie.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I've been a member of Critters.org for years. It's an immensely supportive group.  They basically helped me edit Becca, and I do believe my writing has gotten better because of Critters.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
As I said before, partly impatience and the fact that most publishers find short story collections too risky. Also, I liked what I heard about Amazon KDP. The program's fairly easy, some may argue too easy, and you get to choose your own price point. The fact that it's Amazon is also a big reason right there. That's a huge amount of name recognition.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
No, I haven't done that with either of my projects, which isn't to say that I won't in the future, it's just that at the time my budget simply didn't allow it. I did, however, use Critters to help give Becca the polish it needed.

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
Make sure your book is ready to be released. I made that mistake with The Huntsman's Tale and got slammed for it, and rightly so. There's now a version 2.0 released that I'm very proud of.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Not at this time, no. My books have previously been available elsewhere through Smashwords, but I've since switched to exclusively Amazon. I used to be a Nook owner, so I realize it's frustrating for non-Kindle readers, but there's no DRM for my books so it should be fairly easy to convert. Plus, Kindle is available on so many different platforms.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I don't know that I've found one that works particularly better than others, so I tend to do a little bit of everything. I primarily market through Twitter, but I'm also on various forums, as well as Facebook, and I also promote my books via my personal site and my science fiction and fantasy site, Inter-Galaxy Portal.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Yes. Once you've published a book, it's easy to spend all your time on twitter and forums telling people about it. However, there really is only so much marketing you can do.  Nowadays, while I do spend a portion of my time marketing, most of it is either writing or editing my next story.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Take your time. Don't jump right into it. If you can afford it, hire an editor, if not, find a writing group to spot those errors before you publish your manuscript. It's important to get the formatting and the cover as professional looking as possible the first time round. Also, feel free to utilize the KB forum, you'll find a ton of people ready to help you with covers and blurbs etc

What’s next for you?
I'm currently editing a new fantasy short story called The Long Night. It's a mix of Norse mythology and zombies. I also have a new science fiction trilogy that I'm working on called Shatterer of Worlds

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