Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I spent too many hours of my life chasing the traditional literary and New York way of doing things, and it was largely wasted. That is a world of personal connection, not a level playing field. Once you get there, it’s like arriving at an empty station.
It took me a long time to realize that the New York route means you sacrifice too much control of your work, your ownership rights, and too much of the earnings that should be yours.
Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
After trying several groups, I eventually founded my own writing group called North Atlanta Writers, which is small and personal. It is very helpful in providing feedback on the major choices and direction of a work. We don’t tell each other how to write, just how we respond as readers.
What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
I’m excited there is finally a real alternative. I sought the New York houses and avoided regional ones for a long time, because I thought distribution by the large houses was the only way to get read widely. But doing it that way eats time—years in fact. We all have only a finite amount of it, and I got tired of wasting time on them. I’ll never waste another hour writing a fruitless query letter or waiting months, or even years, on responses from people who already have too much of a good thing on their plate. The sheer lack of professional courtesy offered by the traditional route is enough to drive any self-respecting writer into the Amazon camp.
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Fortunately I have a close group of knowledgeable friends who help me edit work, probably with more attention and care than I could get from hiring someone else.
What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
The sweet sense of relief that comes from controlling your own affairs is tremendous. Taking control of your own career and making decisions for yourself, rather than submitting that control to others is liberating in a way that brings an exhilarating freedom. I’ve never, in my entire life, gained anything from allowing corporations to control my destiny. I’ve only made steps forward by taking them myself. Many years ago, self-publishing was a wasteland, because you were denied distribution. Today, it’s the Fertile Crescent.
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
B&N Nook & Smashwords.
What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I’m not there yet, but soon I’ll employ twitter and facebook.
Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Of course. Like most writers, marketing is a chore to me. Writing is where I want to spend my time.
What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Accept what you can do with it and what you can’t. Your options with the big houses, and even many of the small ones, are not very good. You’ll have to give up a great deal of self-determination to get them to pay attention to you. And all you’ll get for that is a few inches of a few bookstore shelves for a few weeks.
Make the choices and take the steps you need to take to advance your own work—and don’t cede those decisions to someone else and assume they’ll act in your best interest. They won’t.
What’s next for you?
Another novel, Wasted, that will be out by the end of the year. It’s a very different book from Internal Security.