Monday, July 30, 2012

Interview with John J. Marnien, Jr.

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
My most recent book is 2012 THE END OF TIME. I have long been interested in the soothsayers and prognosticators throughout history and into the modern era.  Considering the number of dire predictions concerning December 21st, 2012, I determined to present a different twist on the situation. While it is essentially a work of Science Fiction, I was not   interested in "joining the crowd", but rather desired to present a quality work that would be of continuing interest beyond that date. While the story revolves on the end of the year 2012, the plot relates how people of varied backgrounds and experience deal with a potential catastrophe. The tale shows how persons in diverse locations throughout the country are contending with occurrences that they are trying to understand. In particular, it demonstrates how a religious cult can use people's fears to their own financial gain. The resolution presents a different view and explanation of the approaching disaster.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
This novel, 2012 THE END OF TIME is the fifth book that I have completed. In each instance I did submit queries to various agents/publishers. In fact, I have been rejected by many of the most noted agents in the business. I have acquired a particularly good collection of rejection forms and e-mails. My primary purpose in being an author is to write. Therefore, eventually I would have my book published through an "indie" and get on to working on my next volume.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
The most difficult and exacting critique group that I participated in was  during college. Each individual taking the creative writing courses had to place their work in the library for review and critique by fellow students and interested professors. A number of the students were obviously better inclined towards being rather negative critics. However, those that were serious about developing good style and form offered significant suggestions and observations.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
I researched a number of companies through the internet and secured some books that did comparisons and recommendations. Eventually, I was left with a list of five independent publishers that were highly respected.  I was well satisfied with the costs and the way that my initial work was handled by the company that I had chosen. While I did review the other companies subsequently, in every instance, I went with my initial decision. I also appreciated being able to use my own artwork in designing the covers of my  books. In A SECRET   PASSAGE and in 2012 THE END OF TIME I was also able to utilize lyrics from my own musical compositions and include the sheet  music within the text. 

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I did not hire an editor prior to publishing. I do value an editor's place within the process, however, cost is prohibitive. Also, my spouse and I both have strong backgrounds in English from high school and college, and I was well taught by the simple reading of many authors including the "Classics".   Each book is edited by both of us. It will then be set aside for a while and eventually be edited again. The process continues until we feel that the book is ready for publication.

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey? 
I have learned that for many in the industry publishing is simply a job like any other. You can pursue all of the traditional avenues. You can concern   yourself with writing queries and planning marketing strategies. However, if your goal is to write and you want to see your book finally available to others, self-publishing can be the best solution. Also, if you want to reach the most readers, consider having your book presented as an eBook as well as a standard volume.  

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Of course, my books are for sale on my publisher's site. They are also available from Barnes and Noble and many book sources worldwide.
In addition to the United States, they are currently being advertised for sale in Canada, Italy, Ireland, England, India, Norway and Australia.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
At the moment the only site I am using is However, I intend to soon be involved in facebook and twitter and eventually a blog. I also intend to investigate some opportunities that Amazon is making available to authors.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Marketing has proven to be a necessary evil. I have attended book signings, distributed calendars carrying pictures of my book covers, handed      out other advertising material, established an internet site - basically all of  the usual approaches.  Everything does impose on the amount of time that I have for writing.  

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Keep your dream alive! Right now, the book that you are working on may be the one that goes over in a big way. However, be realistic. Completing the next great American Novel is not why you are writing. You should be doing your craft because you love to do it. Keep writing and telling your stories. Remember too, more important than anything that you write, enjoy your family and friends and life itself.

What’s next for you? 
I have recently completed the sequel to ANY TIME NOW. My new book is AKA SAUCY JACK which is a Science Fiction/Humorous work about the Jack the Ripper investigation.  Also under edit is an allegorical fantasy, BRAMBLE OF MOON VALLEY.

Both books should be available by the end of 2012.